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The McLaughlin Group

Issues: China, Taiwan Leaders Meet / Syria War Talks / Michelle Obama in Qatar / Keystone Pipeline Decision

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

Taped: Friday, November 6, 2015
Broadcast: Weekend of November 6-8, 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: Meet Me in Singapore.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): At a swanky Singapore hotel named the Shangri-La, the leaders of China and Taiwan will meet this weekend for the first time in 66 years. When the two nations split, it was late 1949. Mao Tse-tung’s communists had defeated a nationalist army, forcing that army to take refuge in Taiwan.

Well, time heals all wounds. Today, China’s president, Xi Jinping, and Taiwan’s president, Ma Ying-jeou, have become friends. But even if their meeting goes well at the Shangri-La, and analysts expect it will, things could later derail.

Here’s why: Taiwan’s President Ma is popular with China, but Taiwan will hold a presidential election in January, and polls suggest the less friendly to China opposition candidate, Tsai Ing-wen, will win.

In turn, analysts fear relations between China and Taiwan may deteriorate, perhaps even leading to conflict. China has long warned it might use force if, politically, Taiwan moves too far away from mainland China, and that’s where the United States comes in, because we are committed to the defense, not of mainland China, but of Taiwan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is a new crisis brewing in the Taiwan Strait, Pat?

PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: First, we’re not committed to go to war on behalf of Taiwan. The treaty was abrogated in 1979 by Jimmy Carter when we recognized China as the country that represents both Taiwan and China.

But I will say this, John, the party that is meeting with Ma, meeting with Xi Jinping down there in Singapore, is the old Kuomintang, which -- of Chiang Kai-shek, which represents the Chinese who fled to the island in 1949 and it’s strongly Chinese. The indigenous Taiwanese basically are more supportive of this party, which wants -- it’s fearful of too close a connection to mainland China. Although economically and diplomatically and other ways, they’re getting closer and closer.

But what you’re going to get, John, is a declaration of independence by Taiwan and declaring itself a nation state, because that would mean war in the Taiwan Straits. That is the red line for mainland China.

MCLAUGHLIN: Is Xi likely to use the time between now and the January presidential election to try to intimidate Taiwan, Eleanor?

ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: I think the meeting in Singapore this weekend is highly symbolic, and it is China’s attempt to bolster the party that’s currently in control in Taiwan. That party is likely to lose in January, and the opposition party is running on a campaign to declare Taiwanese independence.

But they’ve been in power before, and they dance around this, because I think everyone recognizes they don’t really want China to make good on its threats to invade if Taiwan does declare independence. And the U.S. has a clear stake here in Taiwan not being too provocative.

So, this is a delicate dance on the part of all the parties involved. And it’s way too early to be declaring that these two parts of China are going to come to any kind of collision.

MCLAUGHLIN: Is there a risk beyond what Eleanor is talking about?

TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW/DAILY TELEGRAPH: Well, look, I disagree with Pat in the sense that I think that Jimmy Carter statement, what we actually have seen since then, especially with Clinton in ’96, with the positioning of the Seventh Fleet to really challenge China when they were pushing towards, Hey, you better vote one way, otherwise, we’re going to take military action, I think that becomes important.

I think the Chinese are going to struggle in terms of convincing the Taiwanese people to vote in a certain way, but I do think Eleanor is right in the sense that Taiwan does not want to provoke a military incident with China in which, I mean, you just look at the map, and you look at the scale, I think the outcome would be pretty clear.

At the same time, as a final point, I think the United States, we do need to take a stand, and this is why, you know, I praise the president for the Trans Pacific Partnership, but we also need to take tougher action at Spratly Islands about credibility there, with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Region.

MCLAUGHLIN: Is there a risk that Xi Jinping might think he can annex Taiwan and get away with it, as Vladimir Putin did with Crimea?

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The histories are different and the sense that Taiwan is part of China is so strong, and it’s in everybody’s benefit to at least maintain the status quo, as far as that’s concerned. But I don’t think there’s a real threat of that happening.

The main thing is that China is trying very hard to woo Taiwan, like it does other countries, with lots of economic benefits. China is already so tied in with the U.S. economy, it would be to their detriment to have hostile relations --

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Pat. Let’s just advance the point here.

PAGE: Yes?

MCLAUGHLIN: What I have here is the U.S. currently holds $98 billion in Taiwan’s foreign securities.

PAGE: That’s right. Well, and we also, what, the China has got even more than that of American debt. So, we’re all interdependent, economically. That’s --

BUCHANAN: But, John, I was in China with Richard Nixon and the Shanghai communique Henry Kissinger helped to write, he said, you know, both sides of the Taiwan Strait, the Chinese believe that Taiwan is a part of China, we do not argue with that.

So, Taiwan is not an independent nation. It is not in the United Nations. It is not recognized by anybody. It ought to be, I mean, they got 25 million people or something like that, and I do agree that if the Chinese attempted a military attack on Taiwan, the United States would move. But we have no treaty commitment now to do that, because of Jimmy Carter.

ROGAN: But we have inferred, we have given the impression.

CLIFT: Yes, and the Taiwanese government is operating on a sort of fantasy that they are the legitimate government of China and once that communist insurgency is over, they will return to Beijing. And that’s worked --

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

CLIFT: And it’s worked for 50 or 60 years, and maybe they’ll test the proposition in January, but I think everybody’s avoided a collision until now.

BUCHANAN: They will not declare independence.

CLIFT: I agree with that.

MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: if Beijing invades Taiwan, will President Obama go to Taiwan’s defense as required by the U.S. agreement, which Pat says has been cancelled? Or will he blink?

You’ve already answered the question.

BUCHANAN: Well, wait a minute, Xi Jinping would be an uttered disaster for mainland China. If they fired missiles at Taiwan or sought to invade Taiwan, all of Asia would be opposed to them, diplomatically. And I think the United States would move militarily probably in the Taiwan Straits.

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: Put the submarines in the Taiwan Straits --

CLIFT: That’s the nightmare scenario, but I don’t believe we’re going to get to that.

MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to add anything to this brouhaha?

PAGE: Only that we’re long away from the crisis phase. I mean, it’s very similar to the Monroe Doctrine in a way, that we’ve recognized that it’s within China’s sphere of influence. It’s just that we get concerned if they go too far --

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

PAGE: -- in terms of, appear to be threatening military action.

MCLAUGHLIN: Who’s Monroe?

PAGE: Oh, we --

BUCHANAN: James Monroe.

CLIFT: James Monroe.

PAGE: James Monroe, president of the United States who --

MCLAUGHLIN: Where is he in the sequence of presidents after George Washington?

BUCHANAN: Four.

PAGE: Oh, you had to ask that. I’m not a history major.

MCLAUGHLIN: Four?

PAGE: There you go. Pat always knows that.

MCLAUGHLIN: Who were three, two and one besides Washington? Three and two?

ROGAN: Adams, Jefferson --

MCLAUGHLIN: Adams?

BUCHANAN: Look, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams, Jackson.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Peace from Vienna?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: What makes it real this time, unlike any other previous meeting, every stakeholder was represented there, in terms of all of the countries who are supporting one side or another in this conflict.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Peace talks to resolve the four and a half year Syrian civil war are underway in Vienna, Austria. The urgency is clear. Most estimates suggest that at least 100,000 civilians have been killed in that war, thus far.

Mr. Assad met with Mr. Putin in Moscow not long ago to discuss the Syrian civil war and Russia’s military assistance to Assad’s regime. And get this: on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura to discuss how to initiate talks between Mr. Assad’s government and the rebels fighting his regime.

But even if hope is on the horizon, big problems remain, namely, boiling tensions between two other nations at the summit, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Thus far, the Saudi and Iranian foreign ministers have used the Vienna talks to blame each other for Syria’s problems.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What change has President Obama made in his demands regarding Syria to give momentum to these talks?

Eleanor?

CLIFT: Well, some months ago, he indicated that the U.S. would accept a temporary stay for Assad. They weren’t demanding that he’d get out immediately. And then, about 10 days ago, the president basically upped the ante with the military intervention, saying that the U.S. would be sending in Special Ops, and a couple of thousand soldiers, I believe.

I think that the idea of getting more muscle behind the military intervention in Syria on both the U.S. part and the Russian part is so that they have kind of equal leverage at the talks. And this is the first time, as Secretary Kerry pointed out, you’ve got Saudi Arabia and Iran sitting down, you’ve got an opposition leader from Syria, not a particularly credible one, but you’ve got one. So, you’ve got everybody represented. They all have different interests, but there is one common thread, they all want to defeat ISIS.

And so, I think the possibility exists that they could come out with some sort of a plan. Right now, there were no good options. It’s all bad news. You know, I think the situation needs shaking up. The human tragedy spilling out of Syria is horrific.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that’s well-stated. But take note of this, President Obama’s new position is that Assad can stay for now and possibly longer, the U.S. position that we will accept Assad’s regime, if that is the only way to end the war.

BUCHANAN: We don’t have any choice. We don’t have any choice.

MCLAUGHLIN: All right. We don’t.

Number two: Russia’s military intervention in Syria. It is now clear that Russia is determined to salvage the Assad regime and wipe out the Syrian opposition, if necessary.

Is that true or false?

ROGAN: You know, in deference, I will let go Pat first, and then I will come on.

BUCHANAN: Well, let me say, John, look, what the Russian -- Assad is not going to go, because the Russians got 4,000 troops in there. They’re doing more bombing than we are. The Iranians are behind Assad. They’ve got skin in the game in there.

We sent 50 guys into Syria. Are you kidding?

ROGAN: Yes.

BUCHANAN: Here’s what’s going to happen. The Russians and the Iranians are not committed to Assad indefinitely. What they are committed, is to basically Alawite control of that particular part of Syria, somewhere between 20 and 50 percent Assad now holds, because they want to lose their ally there. The Russians don’t want to lose their base there.

But let me tell you, John, Americans are relying on one force against ISIS, the Kurds, who will fight. There’s 25,000 of them. The problem is, as the Kurds succeed, the Turks, who are our allies, get more and more alarmed, and they say if the Kurds cross the Euphrates and going west, they will attack the Kurds.

ROGAN: Right. And here’s the thing -- I think the extensions of that. The problem we have, yes, we sent 50 people in there. That is not a symbol of American power. It is a symbol of American disinterest. The Russians know that. The Iranians know that. They hold the cards.

You see the Saudis now flipping. Adel, who is the Saudi foreign minister, the Iranians tried to kill him in D.C. in 2011. So, he has a personal grudge there. But he also has a professional grudge, in the sense the Saudis are deeply concerned about the Iranians and the Russians appropriating that conflict, killing all of the moderate rebels, or semi-moderate rebels, allowing ISIS to have one side.

I would say, the final point though as much as the Kurds are useful, they have territorial interests in the north. And so, relying on them wholly is a problem because Erdogan, who’s just obviously been reelected, goes and smashes them. So --

BUCHANAN: But you know --

ROGAN: But we will see --

(CROSSTALK)

PAGE: It is true that Turkey is concerned about the Kurds, but we’ve also -- Turkey has also loosened their position in so far as allowing us to use their bases as well, which is a positive step.

And all five are united in opposition to ISIS. That’s about the only thing that unites all sides here.

BUCHANAN: The Saudis and the Gulf Arabs were helping initially, as were the Turks, helping ISIS, allowing these people to go in there and the guys --

ROGAN: And they can keep on doing that because of Iran now.

BUCHANAN: -- who are going to win this battle are the guys who are going in and putting the troops in and doing the fighting in this war. I think the war is going to lend itself to a military --

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: All right.

CLIFT: And Putin has said, maybe he’s only giving lip service. He has said he would be amenable to Assad eventually stepping down. That he can see him as interim leader as well.

So, OK, I mean, at least they’re talking. It’s better not talking. So, I’m for diplomacy.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK. So, quickly, Eleanor, if you’re so bright, what is going on with the Russian airliner that went down over the Sinai on Saturday? Was it destroyed by a bomb?

CLIFT: I think all the indications initially were that this airline has a terrible safety record, that the plane itself had some sort of hit on its tail.

But then people are now saying they saw a flash in the sky. That could be a fuel tank. It could be a bomb. There’s an investigation.

I think the Russians really don’t want to see that this could be terrorism. Nobody has confirmed it. Maybe we’ll learn more in an investigation.

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: But U.K. and Germany have suspended flights to that part of the world.

BUCHANAN: If it was a bomb, there’s going to be real reaction from the Russians.

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: General Page?

PAGE: Yes, sir?

MCLAUGHLIN: What is your view on this?

PAGE: I agree with my colleagues here that (INAUDIBLE) --

MCLAUGHLIN: All three of them?

PAGE: -- including President Obama, is now --

MCLAUGHLIN: Am I colleague? Do I count on that?

PAGE: That’s a good technical question, John. I always view you as our supreme beloved leader.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: I know you are a bright man. Answer the question.

PAGE: No. Even President Obama said the evidence points to a bomb.

ROGAN: Yes, to a bomb.

PAGE: And one thing Putin is really worried about is terrorism in his own country and he’s had it before with the Chechens. It is a big concern with ISIS, and it would be a big embarrassment --

MCLAUGHLIN: OK, OK --

BUCHANAN: Given what he did to the Chechens, if they find out it’s a bomb --

MCLAUGHLIN: OK.

BUCHANAN: -- there’ll be retaliation with the Russians.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK. The real star of this program, issue three: Michelle in Qatar.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: When we truly start to value their minds and respect their bodies and give them the education they need to fulfill their potential, that doesn't just transform their lives, it transforms their families and their countries, too.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Speaking in Doha, the capital of Qatar, this week, First Lady Michelle Obama called for better education and better security for girls. Mrs. Obama was passionate, stating that 62 million girls around the world are not in school, and that gender gaps remain significant in both social and economic spheres. The first lady also spoke about the dangers girls face in places like Nigeria and Pakistan, where Islamic extremists have kidnapped or attacked school age girls.

But later, on a lighter note, Mrs. Obama also took comedian Conan O’Brien with her to meet with U.S. military personnel stationed in Qatar.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Michelle becoming a more activist first lady?

Eleanor, yet again, you.

(LAUGHTER)

CLIFT: I think she’s been out front on all these issues. Maybe we’re just paying more attention now. But when you go overseas and make these statements, it reminds me of when Hillary Clinton went to Beijing and said women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights, once and for all.

I mean, she’s -- Mrs. Obama is putting down her marker as a champion for education for girls around the world. I think it tells us something about what she’s going to do after she leaves the White House. And she’s not prepping a run for herself for the White House. This is kind of a pure ideological commitment.

MCLAUGHLIN: When have we heard this kind of speech-making before? Shall I tell you?

PAGE: Are you talking about besides this first lady you mean?

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

PAGE: Won’t you tell us, John?

MCLAUGHLIN: Laura Bush.

PAGE: Laura Bush, OK. It’s not --

MCLAUGHLIN: She made the education and empowerment of girls and women a priority of hers in George W. Bush’s first year in office, starting with a radio address in 2001 on the oppression of Afghan women. Laura Bush continues to be involved with her Afghan Women’s Project at the Bush Institute. She has remained active on the issue as a former first lady.

Does that impress you, Patrick?

BUCHANAN: Look, I think what she said there basically was right. She didn’t say it in Saudi Arabia. She said it in Qatar.

As for Afghanistan, John, I hate to say it, but Mr. Obama and we have pulled out of there, we’re down to 9,500 troops, Taliban are on the move, and the Lord help those girls and women, if that thing goes down to the Taliban. I’ll tell you, because all our lectures and all the rest of it, the Muslim world, by and large, does not agree on the kind of equality for women that we do here in the United States. Like it or not, they’re 1.5 billion people --

ROGAN: That’s why I think Michelle Obama making that speech was -- it was much better than she had the "bring up our girls" with the sad face. I mean, this is Michelle Obama really doing something important, standing there, clearly passionate, she’s always been passionate by that. And I give her credit for it, going to Qatar because, you know, as much as Qatar has reforms with female rights there, they also throw a lot of money at Salafists who hate women.

And the problem I would say as well is that what we have to see is Michelle Obama pointing that one side and liberals are, of course, celebrating that. They should also celebrate the fact that we are standing our ground. I would hope we would have more troops in Afghanistan --

MCLAUGHLIN: Does it?

ROGAN: -- because women’s rights is not just in the easy sense. It has to be on the ground in these places, Nigeria, against ISIL.

BUCHANAN: We’re going to send armies in to protect women’s rights all through the Muslim world?

ROGAN: No, no, no. We have soldiers who are training the capacity of the Afghans to take over. And you got to stay --

CLIFT: Actually, there are a lot of girls who are going to school in Afghanistan, and I think that society too is going to have to go through some changes. They’re not going to go back to the 12th century.

BUCHANAN: Tell it to the Taliban.

PAGE: Oh, yes.

ROGAN: But we need to be there because the place like Helmand, you know, the Kandahar in the south, that’s where --

CLIFT: Yes.

PAGE: That’s right.

MCLAUGHLIN: Do you find it a little odd when we haven’t seen that much of her right until this Qatar appearance?

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: She pops in Qatar.

PAGE: Yes, I don’t find that odd but I find it significant because, I mean, she was in a lot of places that the media don’t cover. But she also picks and chooses where she goes very carefully. She doesn’t go everywhere that the president goes here in the States, let alone overseas.

So, I think this is indicative of what Eleanor was talking about earlier. This shows how important this issue is to her, and that I think we can see her becoming more involved with it internationally after the Obama presidency is over. And the "save our girls" episode I think was kind of a turning point for her really, at that point, where we really saw her taking a high profile position on women’s rights around the planet.

ROGAN: But this is real stuff, versus hashtags.

PAGE: Yes, that was a quick hashtag thing.

CLIFT: She’s recently in Tokyo, in Japan, talking about women’s rights. Japan is a country that is struggling to bring more women in because they need them in the workforce. And so, education is what transformed her life, and she’s a very convincing, proselytizer on behalf of educating young girls and women.

ROGAN: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, let’s hear it for her.

ROGAN: I don’t see -- and there has been some criticisms. I don’t get really criticism for Michelle Obama doing this because it’s an important issue.

CLIFT: Well, I don’t know which right wing sites you’re tuned in to, but that’s the only place you’re going to find criticism.

(LAUGHTER)

PAGE: Abundantly.

CLIFT: Right.

MCLAUGHLIN: Let’s hear from Michelle, right?

PAGE: Let’s hear it for Michelle.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: Keystone Confusion.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): The long delayed highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline is back in the news. This week, in a formal request to the U.S. government, the pipeline’s owners, the TransCanada Corporation, requested that a U.S. State Department review of the pipeline be delayed.

Analysts believe TransCanada sought a delay so that Keystone XL’s future was left to a future Republican president rather than the current one.

But TransCanada’s hope did not come to fruition. The U.S. State Department rejected TransCanada’s request, and things soon became worse for the Canadian company. On Friday, President Obama rejected a permit for Keystone XL on grounds of climate change.

Unless a new president reverses Mr. Obama’s decision, the Keystone XL pipeline is now very dead.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Does this mean no more oil from Canada?

I ask you.

ROGAN: Well, I think the big -- no, we are still going to have oil, the American energy.

But I think a couple of things come from this. President Obama has always said that he’s actually open to different sources of energy -- this proves this isn’t true. That he’s waited this long, and suddenly, you know, all the delays now that he doesn’t have another election, he’s got rid of it.

And it will have it -- and also -- two other points, number one, the green energy jobs, which I’m sure my colleagues here will talk about, require massive government subsidies. And number two, there are thousands of jobs that will be lost from this that could money to American families.

CLIFT: It means no dirty tar sands oil from Canada. We get lots of other oil from Canada, and that’s not going to stop and there are lots of other pipelines. But this is a big moment for the environmental community. It’s like drawing a line between the fossil fuel world of the past, and moving into the future, and I think it really does help Obama’s and Kerry’s legacy as environmental stewards, if you will. And it’s also helped by the fact that oil is at rock bottom lows. It doesn’t make financial sense to extract that dirty oil from Canada and have it go through our --

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: The oil is going to be --

CLIFT: Tar sands oil is dirty oil and it requires a lot of water to clean it and it’s a very big processing.

MCLAUGHLIN: Dirty oil, ew!

CLIFT: Ew! Right.

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN: The new man in Canada is sort of an environmentalist as well, but the dirty tar sands oil --

MCLAUGHLIN: That’s Trudeau.

BUCHANAN: Yes, they might take it and send it to the west coast and ship it off to the Chinese. The pipeline was supposed to coming down through Nebraska, all the way to the Gulf Coast and be refined, I think, and shipped out of here in any event. But, yes, as you mentioned, we’re going to get more oil and gas.

But there’s no doubt about it, that the fact that the price is down, the fracking has slowed down, the investment has slowed down, the wells are being shut in. If you wait for that thing to go above $44 a barrel, whatever it is, go up to $75 a barrel, the stuff would all start up again --

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: It’s a huge favor, a favor for Justin Trudeau as well.

PAGE: But right now, the fact -- the fact that organized labor hasn’t made more noise --

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, organized labor are going to do quite well, thank you very much, because oil can be shipped by train.

PAGE: Right. There aren’t that many jobs from the pipeline. Exactly right.

MCLAUGHLIN: I have some statistic here. One million barrels of oil moved by train in the U.S. every single day. That’s more than 350 million barrels a year.

PAGE: So, who needs a pipeline?

MCLAUGHLIN: Who needs a pipeline?

ROGAN: I want to get on this, because liberals always talk about, you know, the jobs, jobs, jobs. But actually, there are jobs --

PAGE: Conservatives never talk about jobs --

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

ROGAN: OK, but jobs in the -- look at the jobs that this could create. Yes, it would be a limited number of thousands --

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: Oh, that was so exaggerated.

ROGAN: Wait, wait, wait. And some have, OK, but it is about 4,000 construction jobs.

CLIFT: Forty, forty jobs.

ROGAN: No, that’s not true. "Washington Post" fact checker Glenn Kessler did a good piece on it.

CLIFT: Four-o.

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: Also, about $3.2 billion spending on products that --

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor is not off the hook yet, because the opposition to Keystone XL merited -- is not merited. It’s not motivated by ideology. The opposition is ideological. And the ideology is radical environmentalism, Eleanor. You got --

CLIFT: And go for it, because now, there are lots of other targets ahead. So, if you want to call it radicalism and ideological radicalism, go right ahead. But the climate movement has been energized, and that’s a good thing for all of us and for the planet.

BUCHANAN: OK, you know what has happened? Antarctica’s ice sheet has been expanding at tens of billions of ice a year. And that’s going to be a real blow to your whole crowd, Eleanor.

CLIFT: Right, yes, yes.

PAGE: Tell the Greenland folks.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: No, the Antarctica, because the whole ice sheet, the whole climate change argument is going to be undercut by what’s happening in Antarctica. They’re finding by satellite that that gigantic ice sheet, about seven times the size of the North Pole, is expanding.

PAGE: So, that’s for the polar bears.

BUCHANAN: I’m in touch with them.

MCLAUGHLIN: Are you?

CLIFT: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MCLAUGHLIN: That’s the latest thing? A melting sheet?

BUCHANAN: No, it’s getting larger.

MCLAUGHLIN: Larger?

CLIFT: That’s -- it’s ludicrousy. Climate change is not a hoax.

MCLAUGHLIN: Prediction, Pat?

BUCHANAN: John, Barack Obama came in saying he was going to take us out of war. When he leaves office, we will be at war in Afghanistan, at war in Iraq, at war in Syria, at war in Yemen, and Libya will itself be a disaster, which is moving millions of people across the Mediterranean into Europe. Failed foreign policy.

CLIFT: My prediction is Governor Christie and Governor Bush are talking compellingly about their personal experiences with addiction on the campaign trail.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

CLIFT: Next question for them, they’re going to get a lot of pressure. How will they translate that compassion they feel from members of their family and their friends into public policy?

MCLAUGHLIN: Tom Rogan?

ROGAN: It will turn out that the Islamic State Sinai affiliate was responsible for downing the Russian airliner. The Russians will retaliate with force against groupings of people, but they will not focus too much on ISIS because they really want to push out the moderate rebels, instead of ISIS.

MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence?

PAGE: The District of Columbia lost a very important gun control case, the Heller decision, before the Supreme Court. They’re going to go at it again. I think they’re going to get to the court again. I’m not going to predict whether the court will find in their favor this time. But --

MCLAUGHLIN: What predictions are you doing? You’re not predicting the court?

PAGE: No, I predict it’s going to come -- make it to the Supreme Court again. We’re going to have --

MCLAUGHLIN: Is that your prediction?

PAGE: And not just D.C., but some others will join in.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK. I predict Christmas sales will be respectable. Holiday sales will gain by 4 percent over last year, $630 billion in purchases.

And with that good news, I guess -- is that good news?

ROGAN: It’s good news.

(LAUGHTER)

MCLAUGHLIN: Bye-bye!

END