The McLaughlin Group

Issues: GOP Debate / U.S. Security / Speaking Spanish in America / Government Shutdown / Humor in the Debate / Chinese Rhetoric and Actions

John McLaughlin, Host
Pat Buchanan, Author & Columnist
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast
Tom Rogan, National Review/Daily Telegraph
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune

Taped: Friday, September 18, 2015
Broadcast: Weekend of September 18-20, 2015

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ANNOUNCER: From Washington, THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP, the American original. For over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, HOST: Issue One: Debate Two, Return of the Republicans.


CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully-formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.

This is about the character of our nation.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): They are back. Moderated by CNN’s Jake Tapper, the second Republican presidential debate of the 2016 cycle took place Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. There were two debates, one at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, another at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

The earlier debate involved four candidates lower in the polls, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki and Rick Santorum.

The primetime debate featured Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump and Scott Walker.

And beyond their shared words of affection for Ronald Reagan, the candidates quickly sought battle.


MCLAUGHLIN: Who won the primetime debate, Pat?

PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: I think you’d have to say Carly Fiorina won it, John. She was prepared. She was programmed. She was articulate. She was crisp. She was tough.

And after the debate was over, everybody said -- or a lot of people said she’d won, and she has really won overwhelmingly the post-game debate, if you will, on all the TV shows, the talking shows. So, people who think she won are going up, up and up right now, long after the debate is over.

But I will say this: Carly Fiorina is now being projected as, if you will, the anti-Trump in the Republican Party, someone who will do for the establishment, take down Trump, which the establishment is desperate to get done. So, I think -- I don’t think anybody was badly hurt in the debate. Some people did well. I think some people did very well. But there’s no doubt about it, I think that Carly comes out number one.


ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, on debating points, she stood out. She really I think has introduced herself to the country. She’s gone far beyond the Republican base.

She played really fast and loose, though with the facts around Planned Parenthood. And I think she really is overreaching in the criticism she’s making of an organization that millions of women in this country have gotten services from. And to imply that they are selling -- and harvesting and selling baby parts, it doesn’t bear out with the facts and I think it’s really offensive.

But having said all that, she is a tough debater. She called down Donald Trump, and I think Trump basically has been taken down a peg or two. He -- seems like there’s a leveling. He’s sort of one of the candidates.

And I think George -- not George, Jeb -- Jeb Bush had his moments. I think he’s still in the game. And I think Chris Christie actually came back.

So, I think the establishment is still alive and well against the insurgents and I would count Fiorina with Trump as one of the insurgents.

MCLAUGHLIN: When I say who won the primetime debate, if you define -- depends on how you define when, by when you mean who got the most airtime. Trump won with almost 20 minutes, followed by Bush with 16 minutes and Fiorina with 13 minutes.

You care to add to this discussion?

TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW/DAILY TELEGRAPH: Yes, I think how do you conceive of this, the victory, I think is the important point. If you look at the candidates, Jeb Bush had some moments of humor in there, the Secret Service, challenging Donald Trump. I think Carly Fiorina as well, that she had a very powerful line about, I think women across America understood what he meant, and I think his face visibly showed his concern. I agree with Eleanor, he’s being brought down a peg or two.

The question, though, will be, you know, we have more debates to go. I mean, if you think about 1980, you know, George Bush obviously winning Iowa in the first caucuses and, of course, Reagan (INAUDIBLE).

So, it’s a long way. Things will happen, you know, we’ll have to see.


MCLAUGHLIN: If you define winner as an improvement in relative standing? Fiorina, once again, won the most, followed by Rubio. But most out of relatively low level, Bush moved up relative to his lackluster performance in the August debate.

PAGE: Yes. I would agree with that. I think also that Carly Fiorina gained the most from this debate.

However, I wonder though if she’s not still somewhat damaged as far as winning the nomination, because one good shot that Trump got in was her record at Hewlett-Packard. And, yes, that was a hard time for high tech in general, I think she’s got some excuses, but it muddies the waters. And that got --

BUCHANAN: You’re going to hurt a lot more about that, Clarence.

PAGE: Yes.

BUCHANAN: They’re going to be all over that.

CLIFT: Right.

BUCHANAN: The Republicans are, I’m sure, Donald Trump is, and the Democrats certainly will, because that’s what killed her in that Senate debate.

CLIFT: So far --


BUCHANAN: But let me say this -- yes, that’s right. I think -- John, let me say this about George W. Bush, I thought he did a --


BUCHANAN: The same thing.

CLIFT: The same I did.



BUCHANAN: Jeb -- look, I thought Jeb did a good job.

And, look, you know, I like Trump and he was being punched from every side in this debate, hit him here and then they kept showing his exasperation when he’s getting hit.

But overall, it showed the very fact that there was a big guy and there was all these people piling on, and in that sense, he stood his own.

CLIFT: I agree. He had his moments. He reached out to Carson on one side and Jeb on the other. Plus the fact he’s going after the hedge fund guys, which I like and people of my ilk really, really like.

BUCHANAN: We all love that, Eleanor.

CLIFT: But in terms of -- right, in terms of Fiorina, she’s now going to get scrutiny.


CLIFT: So far, she’s been brilliant at turning really a leaden business career into spun gold, that and a losing Senate race not much preparation to become president. So, she’s going to be examined and Hewlett-Packard didn’t follow the sanctions against Iran. They saw lots of computer equipment to Iran, and she’s this big supporter now of tougher sanctions. So, she’s got a lot of inconsistencies she’s going to have to address.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Keeping Us Safe.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Your brother's administration gave us Barack Obama, because it was such a disaster, those last three months, that Abraham Lincoln couldn't have been elected.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know what? As it relates to my brother, there's one thing I know for sure. He kept us safe.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK, Rand Paul raises a Trump nuclear specter.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But I am worried. I'm very concerned about him -- having him in charge of the nuclear weapons, because I think his response, his -- his visceral response to attack people on their appearance -- short, tall, fat, ugly -- my goodness, that happened in junior high. Are we not way above that? Would we not all be worried to have someone like that in charge of the nuclear arsenal?



TRUMP: I never attacked him on his look, and believe me, there's plenty of subject matter right there.


TRUMP: That I can tell you.

MCLAUGHLIN: And here’s Carly Fiorina’s defense plan.

FIORINA: What I would do, immediately, is begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland, I would conduct regular, aggressive military exercises in the Baltic States.


MCLAUGHLIN: Which of the GOP candidates is best placed to keep America safe?


CLIFT: Well, Jeb Bush, in declaring that his brother kept us safe, it never helps Jeb when he invokes his brother George. And he meant he kept us safe after the 9/11 attacks, kind of glossing over that 9/11 happened on his brother’s watch.

But, you know, I think Jeb Bush does have a substantial foreign policy view. His problem is that it’s filled with people who served his father’s administration and his brother’s administration. And it’s very hard for the public I think to accept that he’s his own man.

Rand Paul, I know Pat likes him, but he’s probably a little too libertarian and dovish for the Republican electorate.

And Carly Fiorina is totally crazy the way she -- when she talks about inflating the defense budget.

BUCHANAN: There’s a clear bifurcation in the Republican Party and you can see it on the issue of, would you tear up the deal with Iran as soon as you take office? Now, you got Walker will do that, Rubio will do that, I think Carly is going to call Bibi on the phone.

And the other side, you’ve got Bush who I would call a realist, and Trump who says, "I’d take a hard look at it", and Rand who said, "I’m not going to tear that up", and Kasich who said, "I’m not going to tear that up".

John, this is the division inside the party, which has been sort of mischaracterized as interventionist versus isolationist. I would say it’s realists versus folks who want to go back into the Middle East.

ROGAN: I think to tend to think actually, obviously, people know I’m not a fan of the deal, but I actually suspect, you know, Marco Rubio, if he was to become president, would not tear up the deal. Let’s face it, if the deal is working, if Iran is complying, if there is verification, the deal will hold, because the alternative very quickly -- and, you know, anyone being honest would admit they become complicated at best.

And so, I think, you know, you do see, I think it’s going to expand on the (INAUDIBLE). And I would say on Fiorina, look, I mean, you know, I disagreed last week, but I think there is a point that some of the substance of what she’s raised, she said we will rebuild the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. But, yes, the Russians have a lot of anti-ship missiles that could sink American carriers. So, it needs a little bit more complex that calling Bibi Netanyahu.

And I think Republicans can own foreign policy, that they have to articulate.

CLIFT: And while she’s rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, she’s not going to talk to Putin. Because she’s so tough, she doesn’t have to them, he’ll just back because he’s so afraid. It’s unrealistic. She’s in the realistic --

BUCHANAN: But the politics -- I agree with you 100 percent. But the politics of the Republican Party are clearly still there, much more hawkish. They’re moving on the right way on trade, the right way on immigration, but they’re still hawkish when it comes to intervention in the Middle East.

PAGE: And that’s what’s hurting Rand Paul, like it hurt Ron Paul back in previous races here, because there’s a very strong sentiment in the Republican Party to buy more weapons, even though we already have more nuclear weapons that the world put together.


BUCHANAN: But there’s a constituency. There’s 14 guys against Rand, who was one guy, and he can’t get that back, that constituency his father had.

CLIFT: He made a lot of sense on the debate stage when it came to foreign policy.

BUCHANAN: I thought he did, too. I thought he had a good debate.

CLIFT: I agree.

PAGE: But still trapped -- well, not trapped, but it’s a problem for him at a time like now when the Republican rank and file is feeling more hawkish than usual because of what’s happening with ISIS.

CLIFT: They don’t have any solutions for anything, though. It’s just a lot of talk. Nobody wants to send, except --

ROGAN: (INAUDIBLE) – quite substantive documents on --


BUCHANAN: Trump’s going to talk --

CLIFT: Except for Lindsey Graham --

BUCHANAN: He and Putin could get on just like that.

PAGE: Yes, they’ll be pals. They’ll be pals. That’s what I said.


MCLAUGHLIN: There’s a dynamic in the debate that’s quite interesting, and that is that dynamic is the dynamic of something called Bravo, which is housewives who argue with each other.

PAGE: Bravo?

MCLAUGHLIN: And the conflict is between --

PAGE: I thought it was a cable TV channel.



CLIFT: "Housewives of New Jersey"?


MCLAUGHLIN: The dynamic is they argue with each other.

ROGAN: Are you saying Jake Tapper was --

MCLAUGHLIN: That is what’s going on here. Tapper would quote one of the candidates against the prospective view of another, and engage them in a spritely conversation.


MCLAUGHLIN: And Bravo, the "Real Housewives" series, one housewife confronts all those about something, another housewife is saying about them, usually behind their back.

CLIFT: Right.

MCLAUGHLIN: The hit reality series has plenty of fireworks, and CNN deliberately copied Bravo "Real Housewives" formula. From the first question, CNN employed the Bravo technique by prefacing each question with a statement another candidate had made about the candidate being questioned.

This unusual debate format was taken directly from Bravo.


BUCHANAN: That’s exactly right. Somebody described that junior high. You go up and tell somebody, did you see what so and so said about you? And how do you respond to that?

CLIFT: When you have that many people on the debate and you have voters trying to decide what’s different, what the difference is, I think it effectively pitted against each other, and Carly Fiorina did say, a long campaign will reveal our character and our positions.

MCLAUGHLIN: All right.

CLIFT: And I think that’s starting to happen.

MCLAUGHLIN: Once around very fast. Who was the most charismatic of the candidates that you saw? Just one name.

BUCHANAN: I would say Rubio and Carly, if you’re talking about charismatic.

MCLAUGHLIN: Which of the two --

CLIFT: I would say Rubio is the most charismatic, although he really hasn’t build able to build on that much.

ROGAN: I would say Rubio for that line he had about Spanish speaking and Univision and being able to deal with people.

PAGE: Yes, here again how do you define charismatic? I think Rubio certainly has those qualities. Charismatic is a word that helps me to explain why a Dr. Carson is still there, Ben Carson, who’s a very likeable guy, but I can’t see him a president. I don’t understand why people want him to be president.

I also call it the Dr. Huxtable factor. He’s just so likeable that people think that he’d be a good president, too.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that’s all very interesting, but the answer is Fiorina was the most charismatic. She struck an artful balance between passion and deliberation.

Issue Three: Language Lessons.


TRUMP: This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My grandfather instilled in me the belief that I was blessed to live in the one society in all of human history where even I, the son of a bartender and a maid, could aspire to have anything, and be anything that I was willing to work hard to achieve.

But he taught me that in Spanish, because it was the language he was most comfortable in. And he became a conservative, even though he got his news in Spanish.

And so, I do give interviews in Spanish, and here's why -- because I believe that free enterprise and limited government is the best way to help people who are trying to achieve upward mobility.

And if they get their news in Spanish, I want them to hear that directly from me, not from a translator at Univision.


MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he’s right that you do gain ground if you can speak Spanish in today’s America?

BUCHANAN: Well, certainly, he’s from the Cuba community down there in Miami and that certainly would help you down there, John. No doubt about it.

But in the overall issue, the broad issue, when Trump talks about, I mean, you don’t have one country unless ultimately you got one language and English is the language of the United States. An overwhelming majority of Americans believe that English, even when you come in and speaking a different language, everybody should learn it, everybody should understand it. Everybody should speak it, so that we can become one nation and one people.

CLIFT: OK, when you listen to Donald Trump --

MCLAUGHLIN: But don’t you regret not being able to speak Spanish, you got those workers over there to come here from South America, cutting your grass and doing your lawn and then you pay them these unsubstantial, but acceptable fee, by your standards.

BUCHANAN: I pay their boss.


MCLAUGHLIN: Don’t you want to communicate with them in Spanish?

BUCHANAN: Well, no, they should try to communicate with me. I’m --

MCLAUGHLIN: But you can help them along.

BUCHANAN: They’re very good folks. I will say that. I agree with that. Hispanic folks, if you see them working anywhere, they’re hardworking and they’re smiling.

PAGE: That’s right.

CLIFT: Your earlier rhetoric is not going to help the Republican Party in the future of this country. If you listen to Donald Trump, listen to Marco Rubio, where is the future? It’s not with Donald Trump saying, oh, we all need to speak English. I wish I spoke another language. I actually am a daughter of immigrants, if I don’t even have their language, I should.

I think people who speak Spanish in this country bring a lot of rich experiences for us all to learn from. And in a country that’s going to be majority/minority pretty soon. Speaking Spanish is an asset and if the Republican Party doesn’t recognize that, they’re missing a big bet here in terms of how to win an election in this country.

PAGE: Well, that’s the real issue. I don’t know of anybody pushing for two languages. I don’t of anybody pushing people saying, don’t learn English.

CLIFT: Right.

PAGE: You know, speak Spanish, speak German, speak something else.

This is such an old issue in America. It’s as old as America itself. And every generation goes through this and yet we still do it.

The fact is, people come here speaking their native tongue. They learn how to get along. The next generation learns English. They become assimilated more fully. That’s the American way.

And anything we do to slow down that process is bad, and that includes trying to eliminate bilingual education in those situations where I will do some good.

MCLAUGHLIN: Here he is --

PAGE: At some places where it doesn’t work well, and so don’t do it there. But with places where it does, well, do it.

MCLAUGHLIN: Here is how Trump spun it around with regard to Bush who gives speeches in Spanish. Trump highlighted the fact that Jeb is weak on immigration, an issue of high importance to Trump’s base. He made Bush look like -- he made Bush looked like an advocate of a permanently bilingual country in which assimilation never happens.

BUCHANAN: That’s what --

ROGAN: Let me get on here. I think the issue is with Donald Trump, yes, he’s trying to appeal to that anti-immigrant community, right? But at the same time, Marco Rubio is articulating, yes, people should learn English in America. We need that because we need people included.

PAGE: And they will, they do.

ROGAN: Right, OK. But things like sanctuary cities and things, that there is an articulate-able opportunity for Marco Rubio to play distance from Trump --

PAGE: Way overblown.

ROGAN: -- but address that and secure the border.

PAGE: Sanctuary cities thing is being way overblown.

ROGAN: It’s one issue, but security the border is one thing, and saying look --

PAGE: Tom, you want to speak American, everybody can.


ROGAN: Right. But, look -- we must make sure we don’t become like Europe where there’s a lot of tension between communities.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four -- hold on.


PAGE: Look, they don’t know how to do it right in Europe. We know how to do it right. Let’s keep on doing what we’re doing.

BUCHANAN: Clarence, does Univision really want one language in America? No, that is the problem, we got huge numbers of radio, TV stations --


PAGE: There are foreign language stations. There always have been.

BUCHANAN: We got -- we’re developing into two languages. You’re right what happened before, but it doesn’t mean it’s happening now.

CLIFT: Anybody --


MCLAUGHLIN: We got to move, we got to move.

Issue Four --

CLIFT: Anybody who has two languages has an advantage. It’s not mandatory.

MCLAUGHLIN: -- Government Shutdown -- Government Shutdown Strategy. Let’s go.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But the one thing I'm not going to do, going into 2016, is shut the government down and taint our ability to win. What you're saying and what Senator Cruz is saying, I am really sick of hearing.


MCLAUGHLIN: Are Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal right or wrong to call for a government shutdown strategy, Pat?

BUCHANAN: I think what they want, John, is they want a Republican Party that stands up and fights and even goes right up to the edge of the cliff. That’s what they want. And what our friend down in South Carolina, Mr. Graham, is saying he doesn’t want to do that. This is the battle inside the Republican Party on Capitol Hill and it’s coming up again.

CLIFT: It didn’t work out too well for the Republicans the last time it happened. And if they’re stupid enough to take us over that brink and cost the country billions of dollars and disrupt people’s lives, they’re going to pay for it in the election.

So --

BUCHANAN: They’re not going to shut down the government. The Senate will shut it down by refusing to pass a continuing resolution.

CLIFT: That’s a very convenient way. You think you’re going to blame it on the Democrats.


CLIFT: We know who’s behind the push to shut down the government because they don’t want to fund Planned Parenthood.

BUCHANAN: They’re not shutting down the government.

CLIFT: We have --

BUCHANAN: They’ve never voted to shut down the government. Never.

CLIFT: That’s a technicality, Pat. You know --


CLIFT: You know who got blamed.

BUCHANAN: We know who got blamed.

CLIFT: Right, that’s right.

MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Let’s go.

Will a government shutdown this year hurt the Republican nominee in 2016?

ROGAN: It would certainly hurt the Republican nominee. But it makes sense to some Republican candidates, especially a Bobby Jindal, low in the polls, to say that because it appeals to a constituency, the Republican base.

I would say what the Republicans should do, and look at the Planned Parenthood videos. You can articulate that in the campaign and say -- listen, this is why we should have some reform here. This is why we should have reform on the tax code, entitlements, all these things, make the ideas case to people in the electorate because the perception drives reality in the presidential election year.

And you shut the government down, the perception, we very much in favor of the Democratic nominee.


MCLAUGHLIN: If a shutdown caused a massive stock market selloff and a downturn in consumer confidence going into the holiday sales season, the GOP nominee will pay the price. True or false?

PAGE: Well, an economic downturn always hurts the incumbent.

CLIFT: It hurts everybody.

PAGE: Right.

MCLAUGHLIN: Are the Democrats equally obstinate over federal funding for Planned Parenthood, just to conclude this --


BUCHANAN: The Democrats are in the tank for Planned Parenthood. They’re going to be united on this issue, and Republicans are not going to vote to shut down the government. Harry Reid and his gang will do it.

CLIFT: That was once a tank that was filled with a lot of Republicans back in the day when there were moderate Republicans, thinking Republicans, and not everybody was pandering to the right.


MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Five: Flashes of Humor.



BUSH: Eveready, it's very high energy, Donald.


TAPPER: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Humble.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a good one.


MCLAUGHLIN: Who was the most entertaining? Pat?

BUCHANAN: Trump made the show, John.

CLIFT: The Trump-Bush show will go on for months.

ROGAN: I think Jeb Bush – the Secret Service line was great.

PAGE: Trump was the reason for the big ratings and he paid off.

MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is Trump.

Issue Six: China’s 12-Mile Message.


XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT (through translator): War is the sword of Damocles that still hangs over mankind. We must learn the lessons of history and dedicated ourselves to peace.

MCLAUGHLIN: China’s President Xi Jinping says his nation wants global peace. And this week, China promised to crack down on Internet hackers who target America. But to some, China’s promises run hollow. After all, even as Mr. Jinping was proclaiming peace, his military was publicly parading its growing military reach.

On display were weapons like the DF21D, an anti-ship ballistic missile specifically designed to sink American aircraft carriers, and other missiles, that can target U.S. bases on Guam, over 1,800 miles from China.

That’s not at all. After training with Russian forces two weeks ago, five Chinese naval vessels transited through U.S. territorial waters in the Aleutian Islands. President Obama will have some tough questions when President Jinping on a state visit next week.


MCLAUGHLIN: What message is China sending, one week before President Xi’s visit to Washington? I ask you, Eleanor.

CLIFT: I think he’s firming up the president’s pivot to Asia because China is emerging as a rival superpower on the world stage. Friendly cooperation, but it’s getting more rivalrous if you will, a little more aggressive.

And I think China want something of this issue as well, this president is really cracking down on corruption and there are some 15 Chinese billionaires who have fled the country with their billions, and he would like them extradited. So, China comes to the table wanting something, the U.S. wants something and then you’ve got the whole problem of each other country spying on the other. And so, a pretty aggressive cyber hacking by the Chinese into U.S. particularly into the personnel records at the government.

BUCHANAN: John, what the Chinese are saying to the United States is look, if you want your 7 Seventh Fleet over there moving around in the East China Sea and the Taiwan Strait and the Yellow Sea, and the South China Sea, you’re going to find Chinese naval vessels moving around and all the waters which you’ve considered your own, Continental waters, which has been your private reserve ever since the British Navy.

MCLAUGHLIN: Which water?

BUCHANAN: I would say – let me see, the American waters. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean --

MCLAUGHLIN: You’re missing something --


MCLAUGHLIN: What else?

BUCHANAN: And up in the Aleutians and up in the Bering Strait.


BUCHANAN: Exactly.

ROGAN: Here’s the challenge I think that we face is that yes, the economic potential of a relationship with China even now with that difficulty is very important. We obviously want to avoid conflict as best we can. But the difficulty with what is happening at the moment, with the undercutting of American power, the Aleutian Island training is interesting because they were training with the Russians, they went through the American Aleutian Island. And so, that’s the message.

I think we should be sending a message of credibility to our allies in that part of the world, with the Philippines with Pag-Asa that the Chinese are building.


ROGAN: Vietnam is going to be arming their coast guard ships in face of the Chinese.

Those islands allow the Chinese to dominate trade routes there, which -- they could really cause us economic damage if they decide to put missile platforms on those islands. So, I would say one thing we should do --


ROGAN: -- fly F-22, fly over those island in one flight to send them a message.

CLIFT: China causes no military threat to the U.S. They may in the future, but they’re making their neighbors nervous and so the U.S. has to kind of have their back. Not so hard.


PAGE: The threat they pose is not the seas, it’s in cyberspace, because that’s where they’re really doing damage.


PAGE: It’s largely symbolic, really.

BUCHANAN: The parasails, what Tom mentioned, the parasails in the Spratlys in the South China Sea, they are turning these reefs into islets and islands and declaring it part, basically, of China and China’s territorial waters and there could be down the road real conflict if the Americans consider it --

CLIFT: Meanwhile, the great speakers on the Republican debate stage say that they shouldn’t give the Chinese president a state dinner. They should take him to McDonald’s. They shouldn’t really deal with him. It is ludicrous. This is a great world power. You have to have a respectful dialogue.

ROGAN: I would say that silly comments are ludicrous. But I would say it’s ludicrous in the moment, that there come through our territorial waters and we’re allowing them to build -- people don’t take --


BUCHANAN: What are you going to do, to stop them building on those reefs?

ROGAN: You put an F-22 over there, fly F-22, which is a symbolic gesture, but you can build an alliance --

BUCHANAN: George W. Bush got one of his planes shut down going to close to Haman Island.

ROGAN: Yes, the Chinese crashed into it. Yes.

But what’s going to happen if they do nothing. They’re going to build up that empire. I mean this --


PAGE: If we have plenty of ships to send over there to assail around, if that’s all we’re talking about or these ships don’t post a threat.


PAGE: No, these ships are in the Bering Sea, don’t post a direct threat, it’s why it’s rather mysterious why they’re coming around except to do a little muscle flexing. They got enough troubles back home. They can’t afford to escalate their military budget right now.

CLIFT: Right. You know, the U.S. military dwarfs China’s military budget and they are at the talks. They’re going to talk about increasing military to military communications, so that there are no sort of accidental altercations.

MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction, who will be the second Republican to drop form the race?

BUCHANAN: Virginia Governor Gilmore I think.

CLIFT: Bobby Jindal would be my choice.


ROGAN: Pataki.


PAGE: I’d say Pataki.

MCLAUGHLIN: Lindsey Graham.