The McLaughlin Group

Issues: FBN GOP Debate (Immigration / Minimum Wage / Bank Bailout / Tax Reform / TPP / World Leadership)

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 13, 2015
Broadcast: Weekend of November 13-15, 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: The Milwaukee Debate.


MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Hosted by the FOX Business Channel and "The Wall Street Journal", this week’s Republican presidential debate was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and focused on the economy, foreign policy and immigration reform.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: "I like Ike." Moved a million and a half illegal immigrants out of this country.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Twelve million illegal immigrants, to send them back, 500,000 a month, is just not -- not possible. And it's not embracing American values.


MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that opening, Pat?

PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: Well, I think it’s going to help Trump in the Republican Party. He talked about what Ike did. It was called Operation Wetback in those politically incorrect days. And Ike got this general, General Joseph Swing, and he went down to Texas and they moved 1 million illegal aliens back into Texas, deep into the interior. And we learned later and recently that some of it was very tough and, in parts, inhumane.

But I will tell you, politically, Trump is taking that example, which is well know, John, in the immigration community. I’ve written about it in a couple of books, and I think politically speaking, solely, it is an enormous benefit to Trump who is up by almost 50 points on who’s best equipped to deal with immigration inside the Republican Party. The question is, will it damage the Republican Party in the general election -- will the immigration issue? But there is no doubt on the primary situation, Trump had the real winner in that particular answer.

ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: At least he had the good sense not to say Operation Wetback, because that is an epithet. It was an epithet then, and it’s an epithet today.

And that operation was a humanitarian disaster. People drowned, people died of dehydration in the desert, where they were cordoned off. And President Eisenhower started in, I think, April and May of 1954. By September, it was widely seen as a disaster and it was over.

And you can’t extrapolate from that, that you can now humanely deport 11 or 12 million people, and Trump is talking about creating a deportation parole. It is ludicrous.

And you know, Jeb Bush is right on this issue. He had a stronger performance in this debate. At least he’s off the mat.

So, I think -- I look forward within the Republican Party on this. But this is going to be damaging to whoever emerges with the nomination next year.


TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW/DAILY TELEGRAPH: I think what we’re seeing here is the sharpening of the debate, right? Both Pat and Eleanor are about, you know, the opportunity for Jeb Bush to really have to stand up, because he’s running out of time. He’s on vapors right now.

But also people like Rubio I suspect, in the next debate will be gradually pushing back against Trump, because yes, as much as there is an opportunity for Donald Trump to reinforce his mantra on very tough on immigration, that basically I’m getting them out, that’s all that counts, it is very damaging to the Republican Party for obvious reasons, in the sense that you have what happened under Eisenhower there, was actually American citizens as well being withdrawn. But the idea that you can come in to people’s homes and take 11 and a half million people out, not only is it not logical, but in a moral sense, it fundamentally undercuts the notion of American society and conservatism, that the heart of the family is something important to the American psyche.

MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, please appraise this: Trump wins whenever the mainstream attack him on illegal immigration. The presence of 12 million illegal aliens is seen as proof of Washington’s incompetence, and when Jeb said that we just have to accept the failure of border control and legalize immigrants, Jeb Bush was shooting himself on the foot while attacking Trump.

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Well, there’s no doubt that he’s appealing to his base, that it’s Trump base. However, I noticed, during Bush’s responses on this program, a lot of Republicans applauded Bush and didn’t approve of Trump’s position. Now, maybe that’s because they can see Republican fortunes going down the tubes, if you get the same kind of turnout that you had back in 2012.

ROGAN: I disagree. You know --

PAGE: A lot of them plain out disagree exactly. It is an inhumane policy. It’s not a good one, historically.

BUCHANAN: Clarence, take a look at Europe. Third world immigration, mass immigration, illegal immigration into the continent of Western Europe and into the United States --

PAGE: Much worse than us.

BUCHANAN: -- these are burning, blazing issues. They are changing politics upside down in Europe.


BUCHANAN: Politically in the Republican primaries, I’m telling you, this is a winner for Trump. In the general election, I’m not talking about.

PAGE: Right.

BUCHANAN: But in the primaries, this is a winner for Donald Trump.

CLIFT: Yes, but, winning the primary and losing the general election isn’t is necessarily what the Republican Party --


BUCHANAN: You have to win the nomination first, Eleanor.

CLIFT: You know, illegal aliens, we toast that, you know, these are people who take care of our children, they work in our restaurants.

BUCHANAN: And they broke in to our country.

CLIFT: Many of them are very successful.


CLIFT: And they pick the crops. We wouldn’t have an agriculture industry without them.

BUCHANAN: The ones that pick the crops are legal.

CLIFT: American corporations have benefitted from this.

BUCHANAN: Corporations have.

CLIFT: If you’re going to fault anyone, it’s American corporations for being a magnet to these people and exploiting the situation.

BUCHANAN: What about the country -- a country has got to have borders, or it isn’t a country anymore.

CLIFT: We do.

PAGE: Well, that’s a wonderful argument but the fact is, the number never changes each year, regardless of changes in the employment or the economy. It’s always the same quota.

And most Americans realistically -- and this is why you got so many folks who have undocumented workers cutting their grass, and all of these other jobs because there is a demand for it.

MCLAUGHLIN: It’s clear that Pat favors mass deportation, and mass --

PAGE: How many other Americans do, is the question.


MCLAUGHLIN: -- and mass legalization. But some say, and I think this is a correct for your thinking, Pat, if you don’t mind my saying so -- that if illegal aliens are denied drivers licenses, banking services, and then if E-Verify employment standards are required, the majority will eventually willingly go elsewhere. You don’t have to kick them out.

BUCHANAN: But, look, there’s no question that E-Verify, going to -- simply, every employer, say, get the Social Security number, the guy doesn’t have a Social Security number because he’s not a citizen, got a green card, and they will gradually go back.

Who should be expelled? First, any felons, people going out of prisons. People arrested drunk driving and the rest of them. I agree with that.

And if you do enforce these various measures you mentioned, John, even Hillary --


CLIFT: Actually, that’s the Obama --

BUCHANAN: -- was – they’re now denying driver’s license.


CLIFT: That’s the Obama policy.

BUCHANAN: They will gradually begin to go back.

MCLAUGHLIN: They will. So the extreme measures are not really needed.

ROGAN: And I think --

BUCHANAN: But some deportations are going to be needed.


MCLAUGHLIN: We’re Christian.

BUCHANAN: Well, look, Europeans are Christians and let all those folks in, that’s the end of Europe, John.

CLIFT: No, it’s not the end of Europe.


ROGAN: Just as an addendum to this. Look, the opportunity --

MCLAUGHLIN: A what? A what?

ROGAN: An addendum.

MCLAUGHLIN: Does that anything to do with the color, you have green socks. Those are best.

ROGAN: The socks are metaphor for my wondrous excitement about being here.



ROGAN: But the opportunity for Republicans, very quickly, is that you have a candidate like Marco Rubio, Bush, whoever it is, the establishment candidate -- Pat is right, yes, it helps Trump. But all of those other people who are voting six, seven percent for different candidates I think gravitate towards another candidate who is not Trump, and that allows a Republican to say, here’s some serious proposal, right? Trump is forced from the agenda, good, secure the border, opportunity to legalization, helps the economy, helps protect American, you know, society. But it’s more moderate, practical --


BUCHANAN: It’s called amnesty.

ROGAN: It’s not --

MCLAUGHLIN: Can I talk to Clarence, about the minimum wage, but I want to set it up.

PAGE: Yes?

MCLAUGHLIN: Every time we raised the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.


BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you raise the minimum wage, you're going to make people more expensive than a machine.

TRUMP: We’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is.

JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We do have a moderate increase in the minimum wage.


CLIFT: Trump says wages are too high, which is a 30-second ad, ready to be made if he does --

PAGE: By the Democrats.

CLIFT: By the Democrats if he gets the nomination. And, you know, the $15 minimum wage is taking off around the country in various locales. And for this string of candidates to be up there, you know, spouting full statistics how you raise the minimum wage disaster --

MCLAUGHLIN: You think minimum wage is a job killer?


PAGE: No, it’s not. It’s not a job killer.


MCLAUGHLIN: Or is there room for a modest increase, as Kasich suggests?

PAGE: There’s room for a modest increase, very quickly, if we kept with inflation, the real minimum wage would be close to $18 an hour now. So, you can raise a little bit. It’s not going to affect jobs.

BUCHANAN: If you do that, and unemployment among the unskilled would be enormous.


BUCHANAN: This is another issue that splits the Republican Party from the time they’re running for the nomination and the general election. In the nomination run, if you say the minimum wage does kill jobs, it does kill some. You raise it to 15 bucks an hour, what did Wal-Mart said, you do that in D.C. and we’re not going to open our next stores?


CLIFT: Maybe then the Wal-Mart employees wouldn’t all be on government programs and food stamps. They’re not paying enough.


MCLAUGHLIN: All right, all right.

CLIFT: It’s a subsidy for the corporations, basically.

ROGAN: Very quickly, there is a problem. I seriously think, the statistics will come out, I tend to think and again, having, you know, work in the restaurant, the problem is, that the people, the lowest skilled and the new entrance definitely will suffer. The people who are on the minimum wage, there’s a utility, what is the cost equivalency for other families purchasing those goods and services.

The statistics --


CLIFT: Having worked in a restaurant doesn’t make you an authority. My parents --


ROGAN: But it gives personal perspective. It gives you personal perspective about the manager’s choices about who they’re giving shifts to and it’s --


PAGE: Let Clarence speak.

MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence’s in. Go ahead, Clarence. Go ahead.

PAGE: Thank you, John.

The fact is, I mean, at least four times in the last 30 years when minimum wage was raised and unemployment did not go up. It went down. And that’s because it depends on what the current economy is like. Sometimes, no, the real minimum wage can be higher than the federal minimum wage and that often happens.

BUCHANAN: States can raise it. There’s no doubt.

PAGE: Yes.

BUCHANAN: Some states like -- rich state like Washington, or New York. But if you go down -- I mean, I had a guy who worked for me. He’s probably had 12 employees, all African-Americans in Alabama. You raise the minimum wage by a buck an hour. That would have wiped out his profits and his business.

PAGE: Unemployment is 5 percent right now. That’s virtually full employment.

That means you’re not going to see people getting laid off.

CLIFT: They didn’t allow for any flexibility. They just come down.

BUCHANAN: States should have the options. States should have the options.

CLIFT: Fine. But the Republican mantra is basically, if you give people at the lower end in the income scale more money, it somehow is a disincentive. But people at the higher end of the income scale, give them more money and that’s a wonderful incentive. It’s totally backwards.

BUCHANAN: Look, the ones who get hit by this are black kids. Black teenagers are wiped out of the market.

ROGAN: That’s exactly right.


PAGE: That’s because the black kids don’t leave near where the jobs are. We have a way to transport them out there, which, by the way, about 20 years ago, in Boston, when they had a job shortage, or excuse me, a job surplus, they were bussing kids from the inner city out to the burbs to work in these hamburger flipping jobs and that’s what happens when you --

BUCHANAN: Probably $4 an hour.


ROGAN: There’s also another issue here when you talk about -- you know, this all comes, I think you both agree, it comes under more liberal governance model. If you combine that with other things, what is the costing for that family in a place like New York, versus a more conservative area? And I think those costs go up, you see that California, the exodus to Texas?

I don’t think it’s wonderful as it appears.

CLIFT: The federal minimum wage has gone up under Democratic and Republican presidents. I think President George W. Bush was the last president who signed an increase.

This is not just a liberal fantasy. This is what we have done throughout the years to keep up with the cost of living.


CLIFT: And now, we’re suddenly at a stone wall and it’s become an ideological issue.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, research shows that even modest hikes in the minimum wage in fewer entry jobs and/or fewer teenagers job.

PAGE: Who you’re quoting? Who you’re quoting there?

CLIFT: John, research shows that that’s not true.

ROGAN: No, it does. The consensus of --


CLIFT: So, we can meet in the parking lot afterwards and share research.

MCLAUGHLIN: I’m quoting Kasich.

PAGE: Kasich, right, right. Well, you know, it depends on where you stand, depends on where you sit. The fact is there had been numerous times where minimum wage has gone up without unemployment going up.

MCLAUGLIN: We’ll leave this to future discussion.

OK, bank exchange.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would not let the people who put their money in there all go down.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So you -- you would bail them out.

KASICH: As an executive -- no. As an executive, I would figure out how to separate those people who can afford it, versus those people, or the hard-working folks who put their money in those institutions --



MCLAUGHLIN: Does anger over the bailout still permeate the public, Tom?

ROGAN: Yes, absolutely. Of course, it does. And you can understand that in the populist sense. But the problem becomes what does a regulation do, in terms of, I would say Dodd-Frank, you look at the destruction of community banks, you look at bank charges. One of the things we talked about on a previous show which I think should be a much more consensual thing is that when there was white color crime, that person goes to prison rather than is fined.

BUCHANAN: John, let me talk to this. What happened here is all these banks, look, quite frankly, initially if we hadn’t bailed out those banks after Lehman Brothers went down that weekend, you’d had -- Merrill Lynch would have gone down, the Bank of America -- they had to intervene.


BUCHANAN: But what both these folks didn’t mention is about, you got deposit insurance now up to $250,000 for small depositors. So, they’re not going to be wiped out. At the same time, Tom’s point is well-taken.

When these banks go down, if you got to bail out the banks, that’s one thing, but the guys that made the mistakes ought to be marching off to prisons. And none of these bankers were. They made the mistakes. It wasn’t something called Bank of America that did it. It’s guys in there that did it.

CLIFT: Yes. Well, and building those cases has taken a long time. And some of those people are finally getting their due. But if a Republican gets elected, you know, they’re going to try to undo all of the reforms, and that’s just going to help the big banks.

BUCHANAN: I agree with Glass-Steagall, just separate the banks that are into savings and borrowing, and the hedge fund guys, let them do it, and let them take the risks.

ROGAN: They won’t -- the problem with that, though, they won’t give loans, right, because the investment portfolio is where they make --


PAGE: They’re not giving enough loans now.


ROGAN: No, they’re not. But I think it would get worse. I agree, but --

MCLAUGHLIN: What would you do if a bank were failing? Would you bail them out?

BUCHANAN: It depends.

CLIFT: I would bail out a bank if the whole trading systems were in danger, which is what happened in 2008 and 2009.

BUCHANAN: Yes, if you’re talking about JPMorgan Chase --

CLIFT: We’re not in that situation now.

MCLAUGHLIN: This is what Kasich says, "As an executive, no. As an executive, I would figure out how to separate those people who can afford it versus those people, the hard-working folks who put their money in those institutions."

BUCHANAN: The problem is JPMorgan Chase has a trillion in asset. A lot of those assets are loans. If these guys go down, and the other banks’ assets are wiped out, and all of a sudden, it’s a house of cards and it all goes down.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK, the tax debate.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want a government really, really small, so small you can barely see it. So I want lower taxes and much more money in the private sector.


CRUZ: There are more words in the IRS code than there are in the Bible, and not a one of them is as good.

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to go to a three page tax code. You lower every rate, you close every loophole.


MCLAUGHLIN: Republicans offered a range of options from revising the tax code to jettisoning it all together.

What’s your take on it, Clarence?

PAGE: Dream --

CLIFT: Dream on.

PAGE: Dream on, yes. I mean, it had everything to do with everything but real mathematics, is the problem.

I love Carly Fiorina’s idea of the three-page tax code, but you start telling people that means no mortgage deduction, no charity deduction, all these deductions that we’re accustomed to, there’s a reason why everyone of those is in there. I mean, each one requires a different legislative debate. But every four years, we hear the same tax debate and the same ideas come out. And I’ve heard everything except -- what was that --

BUCHANAN: Flat tax.

PAGE: A flat tax --

CLIFT: Right. Well, it’s a trickle --


PAGE: Ben Carson wants to tithe, but it’s the same thing.

MCLAUGHLIN: Here are some options. Trump’s tax plan has the most populist appeal because he along proposes substantial higher taxes for the wealthy.

CLIFT: Yes, but he also proposes doing away with the estate tax. So, what they don’t get back while they’re alive, their heirs will be sure to get.

BUCHANAN: John, you want to talk realistically, John, what the Republicans will be able to do and can do is, somewhat simplify the tax code and reduce tax rates and they can be relied upon to do that. But as for getting the code down to three pages --

ROGAN: Yes, good luck.

BUCHANAN: -- and taking the IRS and shoving it out of town --


MCLAUGHLIN: Rand Paul points a distinction between fiscal conservatism and Rubio’s pro-family refundable child tax credit as a government giveaway.

BUCHANAN: And the defense budget.

CLIFT: Well --

MCLAUGHLIN: Kasich tried to advocate a VAT, value-added tax, kryptonite to many conservative economists, as we’ve said before.

ROGAN: Pat is right. You can lower rates, you can get a bit more revenue, which I would say is important for things like defense, we big time need entitlement reform, Democrats love to talk about tax the man behind the tree --


CLIFT: They didn’t offer anything but the middle class. In fact, they barely even mention the phrase "middle class".

ROGAN: They talk about reducing regulation.

CLIFT: Well, middle class is basically at the heart of the difficulties this country is facing and the disparity between the very rich and the sort of declining middle class. They seem totally oblivious to any of that.

MCLAUGHLIN: Cruz summed it up by citing Coolidge, JFK, Coolidge was a president, Eleanor.

CLIFT: Silent Cal.

PAGE: The dynamic Coolidge administration, yes.


PAGE: Yes.

BUCHANAN: When Coolidge was president, John, the federal government used up 3 percent of GDP. It’s now closer to 21 percent.

PAGE: Memories, memories.


ROGAN: Before my time.


PAGE: Before Social Security, and Medicare and Medicaid, yes.


MCLAUGHLIN: Also, JFK, John F. Kennedy, and Reagan, as examples of dramatic growth following supply side tax plans to cut rates.

CLIFT: Well, that’s because the rates -- when Eisenhower was president, the marginal rate -- you made the big box, 90 percent of it went to the government. Kennedy’s tax cut brought it to 70 percent. Reagan took it down to the 30s --

BUCHANAN: Twenty-eight.

CLIFT: Twenty-eight. And --


BUCHANAN: Poppy took it back up.

CLIFT: -- the Treasury has never recovered, except under Bill Clinton, who had a balanced budget. Let’s remember the surplus.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK, the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership.


PAUL: You know, we might want to point out, China is not part of this deal.

MODERATOR: If the U.S. is unable to take part in this trade deal with these countries in Asia, China will take the lead.


MCLAUGHLIN: Is Trump right when he called TPP, the, quote, "worst deal ever negotiated", unquote, and warned that it will open the door for China to take more U.S. jobs.

CLIFT: No --

MCLAUGHLIN: I ask you, Clarence.

PAGE: Well, as Rand Paul pointed out, China is not in the deal. It just undercut Trump’s argument. I think I know what he was talking about. But TPP has become very symbolic in that regard, as opposed to --

CLIFT: One of the selling points for TPP is that, if the U.S. and these other nations don’t write the rules of trade in that part of the world, China will. So, it’s actually a counterpoint to China.


CLIFT: Trump has it exactly wrong.

BUCHANAN: The guys who’re going to get the jobs out of the TPP is the Philippines, Vietnam, all these low wage countries. They’re waiting to -- frankly to take some of them out of China as well. That’s -- I mean, this is not in the interest of the American workers, who have been gutted by these trade deals for 40 years.

CLIFT: Well -- yes. Yes, but --

BUCHANAN: That’s why we got no wage increases. That’s why the jobs aren’t there.

CLIFT: But you can’t put globalism back in the bottle. And this does attempt --

BUCHANAN: Trump can.


CLIFT: This does attempt -- well --

ROGAN: He can build a wall.



CLIFT: The bottle built by Trump, right?

ROGAN: Here’s the point, in the short term, yes. But in the medium to longer term, globalization, look at how much wealth it’s created around the world for everyone.

BUCHANAN: Around the world, what about America?

ROGAN: No, OK, but in the medium to long term --


ROGAN: -- those countries are going to become wealthier, aren’t they? They got to buy high technology American goods.

BUCHANAN: The Chinese are going to close their own market to America. Do you think they’re going to be as stupid as we’ve been?

ROGAN: That’s the challenge. If you can take China on, no one has at the moment.

BUCHANAN: How are you going to crack them open?

ROGAN: You look them out of the world trade --

BUCHANAN: Yes, that’s what you should have done.

ROGAN: Okay.


PAGE: Television and your clothes are going to cost twice as much. I mean, there are benefits for working class and poor people out of trade as well.


BUCHANAN: After they lose their jobs, they can get job cheaper. They’re going to get goods cheaper at Wal-Mart.

PAGE: It cuts both ways. I mean, you tell people they’re going to paying a consumer tax literally on the --


CLIFT: A lot of those jobs -- a lot of those jobs are coming back. I think GE, for example, wanted 70 percent of its jobs offshore and 70 percent of them to India, they’re now bringing them back because GE is so dependent on technology and data, and they’re now outsourcing to rural communities in this country.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK, leaders of the world.


BUSH: It is tragic that you see Iraq, and other countries, now talking to Russia. It wasn't that long ago that Russia had no influence in the region at all. And, so, the United States needs to lead across the board.

FIORINA: They must see leadership support and resolve from the United States of America --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me follow up that --

FIORINA: -- and we must have the strongest military on the face of the planet, and everyone has to know it.

PAUL: So, when you think it's going to be a good idea to have a no fly zone over Iraq, realize that means you are saying we are going to shoot down Russian planes. If you're ready for that, be ready to send your sons and daughters to another war in Iraq.


MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that exchange?

BUCHANAN: Rand Paul, I think, did best. I think he came right out of his so-called shell. He moved into a position where he’s always, really most comfortable.

But I do think, in the room, there’s no doubt about it, the hawks and the neocons, among the Republicans in that room, prevailed in terms ot the applause for Marco Rubio was really the one that made some games there. But I think Rand Paul did a great job and I hope he continues raising these questions. And frankly, Donald Trump is closer to Rand Paul than he is to any of those other folks.

CLIFT: Yes, I was going to say that. I thought Rand Paul definitely is the most sane voice on that stage, when it comes avoiding getting into the traps we’ve fallen into in recent years.

But Trump on Syria and he basically says, if Putin wants to go over and bomb them, have at it. So, I do think there’s an interesting debate on foreign policy emerging among those candidates.

MCLAUGHLIN: Rubio said, "I know that Rand," that’s Rand Paul, "is a committed isolationist. I’m not. I believe the world is a stronger and a better place when the United States is the strongest military power in the world."

PAGE: We already are.


MCLAUGHLIN: Both Rand Paul and Marco Rubio scored points among their respective supporters with this exchange.

ROGAN: Look, Pat --

MCLAUGHLIN: It was one of the most spirited exchanges of the whole debate. Do you concur?

BUCHANA: I concur. And I think they both helped themselves, both of them did, Rubio and Paul.

ROGAN: Pat is right, in the sense Rand Paul is important to the Republican Party, because you need someone who’s giving the alternate side there. I disagree with him passionately. I think I’m more on the Rubio said. But -- and you look at --

MCLAUGHLIN: So is he, so is he.

ROGAN: No, Pat is on the Rand side.


BUCHANAN: No, we are the strongest -- we are the strongest military power in the world. There’s no doubt about it and Rand agrees with that. The question is, should the United States go in, and big time, into Syria? And some of those other hawks have not indicated we really ought to do that.

CLIFT: Right. They imply we should, but they never get down to any specifics. And what Rubio wants to do is to spend all this more money on the Pentagon. But he doesn’t say how he’s going to pay for it. And that’s a road to disaster as well.

PAGE: Right, absolutely.

MCLAUGHLIN: Which one is going to carry the day?

PAGE: Well, I thought Rand Paul was very strong. One thing about in the same argument -- very similar argument to his father, but I think much more effective this time before his father --


ROGAN: And people like me would say, you look at the world --

CLIFT: But within --

ROGAN: What we’re getting from now and Rand Paul thing, I wouldn’t say that’s --


PAGE: If you look at the world, we got more weapons than all of the rest them put together. We are the biggest --

CLIFT: Yes, and it’s not weapon versus weapon. It’s -- they fight a different kind of war which we’re unprepared for.

PAGE: Right.

CLIFT: But within the Republican Party, you can never be too hard line. So, Rubio wins on points.

MCLAUGHLIN: Ted Cruz had the best quip of the debate. Quote, "If you think defending this nation is expensive, try not defending it."

PAGE: Nobody’s advocating that.

BUCHANAN: It’s a good line, John, but --


CLIFT: The cheap applause line, cheap applause line.

ROGAN: Yes, he had better applause lines than that.



MCLAUGHLIN: -- not defending it, meaning not paying for the defense of it.

PAGE: My favorite line was one Pat would appreciate -- if journalists were being undermined by competition coming across the border, then we’d turn around.


MCLAUGHLIN: OK, being conservative.


PAUL: Can you be conservative and be liberal on military spending? Can you be for unlimited military spending and say, oh, I’m going to make the country safe? No, we need a safe country. But, you know, we spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined? I want a strong national defense, but I don’t want us to be bankrupt.

RUBIO: I know that Rand is a committed isolationist. I’m not. I believe the world is a stronger and a better place when the United States is the strongest military power in the world.


MCLAUGHLIN: Any comment on that, quickly?

BUCHANAN: Best exchange of the night. And if Rand Paul had been doing this the whole campaign, he’d be higher up.


CLIFT: Well, he’d be higher up if ISIS weren’t beheading people and gaining ground. That’s what’s really has stalled his campaign.

MCLAUGHLIN: This is Veterans Day weekend, when we thank our veterans who have served the nation. Here’s Tom’s grandpa, James Rogan, a U.S. marine veteran interviewed just before the assault on Japanese occupied Okinawa in April 1945, 70 years ago.


INTERVIEWER: What would you like to say your friends back home in New York?

JAMES ROGAN: Say hello to my mother and dad, and my brothers and sisters. I can tell my mother that I met my brother Peter out here who is in the 1st Division will be going on this operation with me. And I’d like to wish my mother a very happy Mothers Day, and I hope that everything at home is OK.

INTERVIEWER: Good luck to you, Jimmy.


MCLAUGHLIN: Jimmy survived the Pacific, then becoming a career officer in the U.S. Army. He’s alive and well today, rightly giving Tom, here, on my left a scolding over his beard, and I would add to that, his green stocks.