The McLaughlin Group

Issues: CNBC GOP Debate / New House Speaker / Police and Crime

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

Taped: Friday, October 30, 2015
Broadcast: Weekend of October 30 - Nov 1, 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 or Derision.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And, you look at the questions -- "Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?" "Ben Carson, can you do math?" "John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?" "Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?" "Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?"

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Senator Ted Cruz, one of 14 GOP presidential candidates, satirizing the questions in Wednesday’s CNBC 2016 Republican presidential debate held at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

But get this: the debate lasted two hours, apparently only because of an ultimatum.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I have to hand it to Ben. We called Ben, he was with me 100 percent. We called in, we said, that’s it. We’re not doing it.

They lost a lot of money, everybody said it couldn’t be done. Everybody said it was going to be three hours, three and a half, including them, and in about two minutes, I renegotiated it down to two hours so we can get the hell out of here. Not bad.


MCLAUGHLIN: Question: what do Cruz and Trump have in common?

Pat Buchanan?

PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: They are both unapologetic individuals. They talk right back to political correctness. They like to fight. They’re outspoken. They take strong stands. They have great appeal to what John Judis wrote in "Reason Magazine", the so-called "Middle Americans radicals", which have a major movement in America over the years.

And I think the two of them, John, both of them were winners in that debate partly or almost entirely because of the tough stands they took.


ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, Trump has been courting Cruz, and Cruz has been courting Trump really from the beginning. They are like two people in a bicycle race. Trump is in the lead, and you got Cruz right there behind him, ready to take over in case Trump should fade, which everyone expects, at some point, some of his voters will be available to move to another camp. Cruz is the national recipient.

He also, he has a lot of money. He has big donors. He has a structure that he has put in place. He actually has a plan to win the presidency. I think he’s been underestimated until this debate. He even showed a flash a humor, which, you know, softens that hard line Dracula image that he’s perfected on Capitol Hill.

So, he’s the one to watch, especially if Trump does begin to fade, although there’s always the possibility Trump doesn’t fade, right, Pat?


BUCHANAN: I agree with that. I agree pretty much, Eleanor -- everything Eleanor said. I think he’s right in the slipstream of Donald Trump.

MCLAUGHLIN: Let’s talk about some facts related to this either tangentially or directly. Obama missed 64.3 percent of votes during his 2008 bid.

BUCHANAN: You’re talking about the shot at Rubio, Jeb Bush shot right now, John.

MCLAUGHLIN: While Kerry missed 89.8 percent while running for president in 2004. Graham was absent for 37 percent of votes during his short-lived campaign.

BUCHANAN: You’re talking about Rubio’s shot at Jeb Bush --

CLIFT: Right.

BUCHANAN: -- which was enormously successful, and put Jeb right on the canvas.


CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Although I don’t know of anybody whose vote has turned on attendance record of a candidate in the Senate. I don’t care --


CLIFT: Although Senator Rubio was on the Senate floor recently saying that people who work for the V.A., if they don’t do their job, they should be fired, or they should quit. And so, maybe he should take his own advice. It’s a little hypocritical.

TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW/DAILY TELEGRAPH: I think what you see there is a reflection of the fact that Jeb Bush is very, very concerned that Marco Rubio, that donors are moving towards Marco, that this initiative, if you will, is with Marco Rubio.

PAGE: Right.

ROGAN: And that Jeb Bush in the end, he did not have a good debate. He was seen as lackluster and his challenge to Rubio really did not work, and Rubio is playing off that now. And so, the Bush campaign is in crisis mode at the moment, no question.

PAGE: Jeb’s soft spots were showing there.

BUCHANAN: You know, I think Jeb Bush has got to take down Rubio soon. My guess is, you’re going to see attack ads from super PACs and things like that, because you’re exactly right, those two are in the same lane and only one of them is going to make it the finals.

CLIFT: Yes, but Bush shouldn’t be doing that personally. First of all, it’s not in his nature.

BUCHANAN: No, it’s not.

CLIFT: He looked extremely awkward doing it. The media is going to start going after Rubio, his record in Florida, his sort of absence of doing anything in the Senate, aside from not showing up for votes. So, that’s -- Jeb needs to let somebody else do that.

BUCHANAN: I don’t think the establishment is going to move -- my -- if I have to predict something -- the establishment is going to move to Rubio because he’s the one closest to them, with the best shot of winning it in the long run.


Ohio Governor John Kasich.


MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Mr. Bush wasn’t the only candidate throwing punches. Enter Ohio Governor John Kasich, criticizing Ben Carson and Donald Trump.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We’re just going to have a 10 percent tithe and that’s how we’re going to fund the government? And we’re going to just fix everything with waste, fraud, and abuse? Or that we’re just going to be great? Or we’re going to ship 10 million Americans -- or 10 million people out of this country, leaving their children here in this country and dividing families?

Folks, we’ve got to wake up.


MCLAUGHLIN: Governor Kasich tried to position himself in this debate as a voice of reason and experience, and a reformer. Will it be enough to keep him in the running?

I’ll ask you, Tom.

ROGAN: I don’t think so. Look, I think John Kasich does brings a lot to the party in terms of challenging, making points that are difficult for some people to accept. But I suspect that he’s saturated out, right? He’s trying to move into an area that Rubio and Bush to some degree have occupied and I don’t think he’s going to be able to puncture his way in.

CLIFT: Yes. He’s a high performing governor of Ohio. No Republican has won the presidency without Ohio.

ROGAN: Right.

CLIFT: He’s got a path to the number one or number two spot on the ticket. I thought --


PAGE: Yes, he’s going to elude the idea of running for vice president.

ROGAN: Right.

PAGE: That’s how everybody thinks of him right now.


PAGE: Which is too bad. I was watching Kasich and he reminded me of Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", you know? Ladies and gentlemen, one of these people has done a real --


MCLAUGHLIN: Who’s played the role?


MCLAUGHLIN: I know. Who’s played --

PAGE: Jimmy Stewart.

BUCHANAN: You want to know what the problem is, John?

MCLAUGHLIN: Can you finish the point you were making?

CLIFT: Yes. I mean, I think Kasich basically kicked the door open for criticizing of the field, and then he kind of backed away and other candidates walked through it. I thought Rubio and Cruz did better.

BUCHANAN: Trump backhanded him, but his problem is, let me tell you what Kasich’s problem is.


BUCHANAN: Very smart, capable, he’d be an excellent budget director, excellent cabinet officer, the persona is too angry, it is too hot in a McLuhanist sense for television. It is not cool. And I think that’s one of his -- he came off as too angry with these folks. Why can’t he point it out with a sense of rumor?


PAGE: -- earlier debates and nobody paid attention to him. So, he’s got -- a little bit of desperation was showing, I’m afraid.

MCLAUGHLIN: If my memory is correct and, of course, it is.

PAGE: Of course.

MCLAUGHLIN: Of course, it is. I recall that on two of the post debate collections of journalists having a drink and talking to each other in gatherings after the debate, large gatherings, the number that came up is number one was John Kasich as having -- do you remember that?

ROGAN: He’s popular because he’s a moderate. So, people like him to -- would want him to represent more of the Republican Party brand in that journalists field. But the problem is, I don’t see how he gets beyond Rubio.

CLIFT: Yes. But there’s another debate in another week. There are several more debates. There’s still time yet. It’s too early to pronounce any of these candidates dead and gone.

MCLAUGHLIN: He mentioned Rubio and therefore, we can go to Medicare and Social Security with Rubio.


MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): And here’s Marco Rubio on entitlement reform.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We’re all talking about reforms for future generations. Nothing has to change for current beneficiaries. My mother is on Medicare and Social Security. I’m against anything that’s bad for my mother.


MCLAUGHLIN: Any thoughts about that, Pat?

BUCHANAN: Yes, I think I tell you what Marco Rubio is doing, as opposed to Chris Christie, who was very, if you will, responsible. He said, we’re going to have to cut entitlement growth, do this, cost of living increases.

What Marco Rubio is saying is -- all you folks getting Social Security and Medicare, I am no threat to you.

ROGAN: Right.

BUCHANAN: He will maintain it what it is and he will look at reforms down the road, which politically is a right position to be in. Whether it’s the most responsible, Clarence, I’m not sure.

CLIFT: Right.


PAGE: Well, yes. But he is working against that image that he’s this kid who might threaten my Social Security. He’s assuring everybody, hey, I’ve got a mom. I wouldn’t hurt her, I wouldn’t hurt you, blah, blah, blah.

ROGAN: He’s saying Tom’s going to get hurt, but Clarence, Eleanor and Pat are going to be OK.

PAGE: Thank you.


ROGAN: That’s the only way you can do it.

CLIFT: Even Christie is not going to go after current recipients or anything like that.

And, you know, this was supposed to be an economic debate. I really didn’t hear much about anybody’s plans. They all trotted out these fantasies about a flat tax that’s been around for a long time.

BUCHAHAN: Exactly right. Where was the Trans Pacific Partnership, trade deficits --

CLIFT: They didn’t even come up.

BUCHANAN: -- QE3, and the Federal Reserve --



BUCHANAN: -- except for auditing the Federal Reserve, nothing.

MCLAUGHLIN: They talked about the tax code and I have it here.


PAGE: Not much.

MCLAUGHLIN: Trump and Marco Rubio and Bush and Chris Christie --

ROGAN: Fiorina.

MCLAUGHLIN: -- they had previously proposed cutting current tax rates to 8 percent to 35 percent, depending on the bracket, with various reforms, to marriage and child credits and capital gains, corporate and estate taxes.

Candidates like Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Rand Paul said they support replacing the current tax system with a simpler form of a flat tax.

BUCHANAN: They are, but nothing like that is ever going to get through. But they all got their tax plans, John. But they are running, the major issue coming up is the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.

ROGAN: That should have been --

BUCHANAN: Hillary is against it. Bernie is against it. Trump is against it.

They had a real conflict there and a great issue, they didn’t even bring it up.

CLIFT: Even their tax plans, they all highly reward top earners, when the big challenge facing the country is this income disparity. I don’t think anybody out there is screaming that they want more trickle-down economics. They -- nobody had any -- I don’t think they even said the word "middle class" very often.


PAGE: Even more important, their plans don’t work.

CLIFT: Right.

PAGE: I mean, half of them, you know, Ben Carson stood up there was told your flat tax or your tithing tax is not going to pay the bills.


PAGE: He said, oh, yes, they will. Those experts are wrong. Where’s the details on this?

ROGAN: Yes, that is right. Kasich was right to point that out. But at the same time, look, I mean, with Hillary Clinton’s plans, with the expanding state, with more spending, with this idea that the taxes can go up to the top, which Europe has proved doesn’t work. At some point, you have to tax at those lower levels.

If interest rates go up because of that pressure, then who loses out?


ROGAN: So, let’s have a math-based debate and that’s why I think Paul Ryan is good.

BUCHANAN: You’re both talking substance.

PAGE: Right. Thank you.

BUCHANAN: They got a flat tax and they’re talking flat tax because politically, that has enormous appeal to the Republican base and the entire Republican Party, supply siders and populist, get all those tax rates down. That’s why you got six flat taxers and tithe --

MCLAUGHLIN: OK, Mike Huckabee -- Mike Huckabee, he called these plans, that is the tax arrangements that I mentioned here and you’ve tried to discuss, these plans are quote, "putting lipstick on a pig", unquote.


MCLAUGHLIN: And told CNBC he would promote replacing income tax, and the end of the IRS, with a higher sales tax. What do you think of that?

ROGAN: I think it’s -- honestly, I do -- I’m happy you brought up Huckabee because this is the guy who’s selling this fake diabetes thing. I don’t -- he’s someone I think has very little credibility.

MCLAUGHLIN: Fake diabetes?

ROGAN: And also, as much, I would refer that we had a system where, you know, the tax code is massively simplified, massively made more efficient, so that it’s effective. You can have lower rates, a bit more revenue. But at the same time, you cannot just have a sales tax because that would kill poor people in America.

BUCHANAN: John, let me tell you what you can get. You could put a 20 percent tariff on all imports and get $600 billion and eliminate the corporate tax. Why didn’t somebody asked Donald Trump, look, you seem to be a protectionist, would you put on a tariff? And if he said yes, how high? Ask the others what they think of these things. Instead -- you know, instead of what they did.

CLIFT: Yes. I mean, I don’t like to criticize my colleagues in the world of journalism.

MCLAUGHLIN: Feel free, feel free.

CLIFT: No. I mean, it’s tough to come up with questions that you feel -- you don’t want to just give them a forum to present their stump speech. That’s what they’d like to do. So, you’re trying to break through.

But again, this was supposed to be an economic debate.


CLIFT: They should have drilled down on economic issues. If they did a round of everybody what they thought of the Federal Reserve, we would have heard some conspiracy theories. We might have heard some solid information.


CLIFT: There were ways to elicit information where you found out something more about these candidates than we already know.

BUCHANAN: But they asked about fantasy football.

ROGAN: Right.

BUCHANAN: Should it be regulated?

ROGAN: Right.

PAGE: Well, that’s a regulation issue, at least.


PAGE: They didn’t answer the questions that we wanted them to answer anyway.


ROGAN: Cruz was -- we actually should have had sort of center left -- we should have Eleanor and Clarence there giving some questions, because those moderators there were asking, it was non -- it showed me they’ve asked, there was an arrogance, right, that they wanted to make it a cartoon, and they don’t even care.

PAGE: The worst moment of the evening I thought was when the one woman questioned Trump and he denied that he had said what he said --

ROGAN: She didn’t have her facts.

PAGE: Where did I read that? You’re asking Trump where -- I mean, that was --


MCLAUGHLIN: The audience for the CNBC debate was how many million people?

BUCHANAN: Fourteen million.

MCLAUGHLIN: Fourteen million. Why was it so far below the first two GOP debates?


MCLAUGHLIN: How many in the first?

BUCHANAN: Twenty-five million, 26 million, FOX.

MCLAUGHLIN: Twenty-five in the first. What was the second one?

BUCHANAN: I think it was closer to 22.

MCLAUGHLIN: You’re off there, Pat. You got to get with us. Twenty-three.

BUCHANAN: You’re reading from your card, John.



MCLAUGHLIN: But this was the first of the presidential debates that had to compete with a World Series baseball game.

BUCHANAN: It’s also on a much smaller network.

MCLAUGHLIN: We’re going to the cards. Rank has its privileges, we know that.


BUCHANAN: Look, John, the one other reason it’s smaller because not, I mean, we all tune in at one time or another, MS, FOX, to CNN. We’d all don’t turn in to the NBC business channel.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: A New Speaker, A New Deal.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: About the process, I can say this, I think this process stinks.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), OUTGOING HOUSE SPEAKER: The Honorable Paul D. Ryan of the state of Wisconsin, having received a majority of the votes cast, is duly elected as speaker of the House.


RYAN: But let’s be frank, the House is broken. We’re not solving problems. We’re adding to them. Only a fully functioning House can truly represent the people, and if there were ever a time for us to step up, this would be that time.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Paul Ryan, new speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, took over on Thursday, pledging to make politics work better.

But on Wednesday, before Mr. Ryan took the speaker’s gavel, the House of Representatives passed a major bipartisan budget deal.

Here are its eight key elements:

First, government spending. It will increase by a total of $50 billion in 2016, and $30 billion in 2017. The increases will be split equally between defense and domestic programs. But an additional $31 billion will also be allocated for defense spending over two years.

Second, $168 billion in long term savings will be made by reforming the Social Security Disability Fund.

Third, a 2 percent cut in Medicare payments to some health care providers will stay.

Fourth, companies will no longer have to automatically enroll employees with health insurance.

Fifth, $8 billion will be allocated to prevent Medicare premium hikes that some beneficiaries were expecting next year.

Sixth, generic drug companies will have to pay higher rebates to state Medicare funds, if and when drug prices rise above inflation.

Seven, to generate revenue, oil will be sold from the strategic petroleum reserve.

Eight, the U.S. debt borrowing limit will be lifted until 2017.

The deal is expected to be passed by the Senate this weekend and signed into law by President Obama shortly thereafter.


MCLAUGHLIN: Is this budget deal a good deal or a bad deal? Eleanor?

CLIFT: It’s a good deal, and it couldn’t have happened if John Boehner hadn’t resigned. He basically gave up the speakership because he knew he would have been forced out if he tried to put through this budget.

House Republicans have now come to terms with an interim honeymoon that allows Boehner to leave, cleaning out the barn as he puts it. This budget will take administration to the end of Obama’s term, give the new president a year without having to worry about the debt ceiling.

It’s -- in a dysfunctional government, it’s amazing they got this done. It’s a small-bore deal in the great scheme of things. But it’s positive, both parties win.

MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it’s small bore?

ROGAN: Look, it’s a reflection of the fact that Republicans are in a position as they would concede as weakness in Congress, right, that moving towards the presidential election. There’s a positive I think to this in my generation, beginning of reforms to entitlements, we have to see that happened.

But I do have a concerned that -- there’s two things. Number one, I think it’s extraordinary neglect of his responsibility of President Obama to say, no defense spending unless I get my domestic increases. But also, if you look at the spending that we have at the moment, that percentage of GDP, it is a problem. CBO curve says that it’s going to increase again. That puts interest rates, my generation gets screwed.

BUCHANAN: John, Ryan said the process stinks. The Republicans got 247, 248 House seats and he says the House is broken. This was an orderly Republican retreat to a new line of defense maybe in 2017 or something like that.

They caved in. They’ve broken the spending caps here, and Nancy Pelosi’s got a victory. And Republicans, all they got -- Republicans didn’t want a fight, and so, they didn’t fight, they lost.

PAGE: But they couldn’t have done it if Boehner wasn’t resigning, though. That’s the thing. He had to throw his body down on the sword in order to get this through. It really holds the line.

There are some modest reforms around the edges. I mean, they were able to cut back on Medicare spending, without breaking out in hives. That’s important on Capitol Hill, because this is a third rail issue. Before you can have real reform, you’ve got to be able to deal with that.

But the House is so fractious right now, and the Senate, to a certain degree, that it’s remarkable at any kind of budget through. And in fact, they were able to hold off any more threats of debt ceiling crises over the next two years, which nowadays, suddenly, that’s saying something.

CLIFT: That -- it’s huge, you know?


PAGE: Right.

ROGAN: Look, but it is clearly, it is a victory for the Democrats. They have got more of what they wanted and --

PAGE: It’s a victory for America.


PAGE: It’s a victory for America. We’ve got a budget. We don’t have to worry about a government shutdown for two years. That’s -- everybody wins.

MCLAUGHLIN: A very prominent Republican said this about the Ryan plan, to me. He says it’s a good deal because a political stalemate over the debt ceiling now --

ROGAN: Boehner plan.

MCLAUGHLIN: -- would have rattled economic confidence at a time when third quarter growth has dropped to 1.5 percent and the markets are nervous. They’re jittery.

PAGE: Of course. And aren’t they always?

MCLAUGHLIN: Do you agree with that?

PAGE: Absolutely. I mean, one thing markets care about is stability in Washington, you know, as long we’re not on the brink of something. And we’ve been practicing brinksmanship now for a good six years now or so --

BUCHANAN: You know, the Dow has been going up. But there’s a truth in this thing.

Look, if Republicans had done the right thing, they wouldn’t have shut down the government, but they would have been blamed for it. And there’s no debt ceiling, they would have been blamed for the whole thing.

PAGE: Right.

ROGAN: But --

BUCHANAN: Not the Democratic Senate, not Obama, but the Republicans. And so, they said, we give up.

CLIFT: Let’s say one nice thing about the new speaker. I mean, Paul Ryan is a quality human being and a quality politician. It’s a new generation. So, maybe there’s some hope lies ahead for some breakthroughs, further breakthroughs with the White House.

ROGAN: A hundred percent agree with Eleanor on that, and just one final thing. The markets though also want long term confidence that we’re going to resolve our debt.

MCLAUGHLIN: That’s an excellent point.

Issue Three: The Ferguson Effect.


JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: Something has changed in a lot of places in 2015. Far more people are being killed in some of America’s cities than in any many years. In today’s YouTube world, are officers are reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime. Are officers answering 911 calls, but avoiding the informal contact that keeps bad guys from standing around, especially with guns.

I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind that has blown through law enforcement over the last year, and that wind is surely changing behavior.

MCLAUGHLIN: For the first time in decades, violent crime is on the rise in the U.S.’s top 50 cities. In Washington, D.C., murders are up 20 percent so far this year. In recent speeches to the University of Chicago Law School and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, FBI Director James Comey has warned that the spike in homicides is due to something dubbed the, quote, "Ferguson Effect", unquote.

One year ago, in August, Michael Brown was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, triggering protests, riots, and demands for widespread changes in police methods. President Barack Obama is the leading advocate for changes in law enforcement tactics and prison sentences. The result is that demoralized police officers now avoid potential confrontations, so says Director Comey, the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

President Obama disagrees. This week, Mr. Obama dismissed rising crime rates as not, quote, "statistically meaningful," unquote. But the president’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, now mayor of Chicago, a city particularly hard hit by murder rates, sides with Director Comey.

Quote, "We have allowed our police department to get fetal, and it is having a direct consequence. They have pulled back from the ability to interdict. They don’t want to be a news story themselves. They don’t want their career ended early, and it’s having an impact", unquote.


MCLAUGHLIN: What’s Rahm mean by getting fetal?

PAGE: Well, that’s disputed by the way, by the police union leader, pointing out that police are not getting fetal in the face of crime. But the --


PAGE: Well, what he means is fetal position. They’re crouching down. They’re like hiding behind their cars and not getting out and patrolling.

In fact, there is a -- the "Ferguson Effect," first of all, ought to be called the cellphone effect. The cellphone cameras have changed everything around this issue. Look at the big cases and they’ve been generated by cellphone videos.

In Chicago, the city, because of this financial situation has had to cut back considerably on police and police patrols over recent years, and that has resulted in less community policing. So, the police aren’t -- there’s not as much of an opportunity to get out and know their community, know the contacts, and that’s the really effective way to bring down crime rates. And also, one other note on this, even in Chicago and Washington, places that have had rises in their crime rates. Those rates are still lower than they were 20 years ago. So, we shouldn’t overdo this.

BUCHANAN: Clarence, look, Baltimore, there’s more people – there’re as many people murdered this year in Baltimore, as in New York City, which is 13 times as large.

PAGE: Right.

BUCHANAN: What Comey is, basically, anecdotally has to be true. These cops are watching TV, they’re watching cops who -- some of whom do excessive violence and stuff like that, others are getting into trouble. Others who think they don’t. A cop is an individual, they have to be effected by this and there’s no doubt about it.

I think Comey understands this police.


BUCHANAN: And you got the politicians aren’t the ones you look to. And Comey is exactly right.

MCLAUGHLIN: Tom Rogan --

BUCHANAN: Anecdotally you’re right. But anecdotes can’t -- you know the fact that, statistically, it’s very much disputed that there is a "Ferguson Effect".

CLIFT: Yes, there’s no statistical evidence that this is true and the anecdotes have been fueling and particularly, I mean, it’s kind of on the right in particularly, because they really want to stop the focus on the police behavior.

And the administration I don’t think is going to back off of that, Justice Department is going to back off of that. But the president was careful this last week. He spoke to an international group of sheriffs to basically express confidence and admiration in the people who do law enforcement work.


MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think President Obama is in denial? Do you think he’s in denial?

ROGAN: John --

CLIFT: He’s not in denial at all. No.

ROGAN: John, let me get in here. Look, I think the important point here is, clearly, it’s Comey you listen to rather than the politicians. It’s like if you have cancer, you listen to the oncologist, not the business manager of the hospital, because he’s the expert. Comey is a widely bipartisan and respected. Police officers have an exceptionally difficult job.

Body cameras help gathering evidence. They help stop abuse. But at the same time, there are communities that are trying to jump on this bandwagon and say, peaceful protest is the same as throwing rocks at police officers. And that has an effect and it’s serious and we should condemn it.

PAGE: Well, Comey has been hearing anecdotes from police officers, and I respect that. But the numbers aren’t there.

MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions, Pat?

BUCHANAN: Angela Merkel is on the way out.


CLIFT: Mitt Romney’s campaign idea of capping deductions for higher earners will make a comeback.


ROGAN: Now that U.S. Special Forces are in Syria, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, will be dead by the end of the year, which is great news.

MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence Page?

PAGE: Republicans are meeting with the networks and they’re going to have a debate next time that will be much more to their liking.

MCLAUGHLIN: Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, a son of Italian immigrants, will win the November 22nd presidential runoff election. His center-right coalition "Cambiemos" will bring Peronist rule in Argentina to an end after a 12-year happy stretch.

Happy Halloween! Bye-bye!