Copyright (c) 2007 by Federal News Service, Inc., Ste. 500 1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Internet Service, please visit or call(202)347-1400

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Immigration Impasse.

The grand compromise to reform America's immigration system took what may be a fatal blow this week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled the bill from the floor. He couldn't get the 60 votes he needed and said that the Senate was finished with the bill for the time being.

But does it matter? Is there even a better solution, a better way? Presidential candidate Mitt Romney thinks so.

MITT ROMNEY (Republican presidential candidate): (From videotape.) One is to enforce the law as it exists. The law that was passed in 1986 -- (applause) -- the law passed in 1986 asked for us to secure the border and said also to put in place an employment verification system. Neither one of those was done. So let's make sure that we enforce the law as it exists.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The 1986 immigration reforms were a major breakthrough and had three components similar to today's legislation: One, improve border security; two, start a temporary worker program; three, open a path to citizenship for undocumented aliens.

Here's the 95 pages, by the way, of the bill put together by immigration experts, Republican Senator Alan Simpson and Democratic Representative Romano Mazzoli.

Question: Why not take Simpson-Mazzoli as a fresh starting point? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, Simpson-Mazzoli was not really enforced, and presidents haven't enforced it, John. But, look, what happened in this battle was the country rose up against this city. The country wants three things: Secure the border, enforce the law and no amnesty. And they rose up against this insiders' deal done at the behest of corporations, by the Bush Republicans and the Kennedy Democrats and the Chamber of Commerce and La Raza and The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, and they knocked it down, John. This is an incredible victory of the people over the city.


MS. CLIFT: I don't know that the country rose up. I think a very angry minority, represented by a handful of presidential candidates and some very noisy interest groups, and basically Pat Buchanan, who has been anti-immigration throughout your political career and been very successful with it. But this is a dereliction of duty on the part of the Congress. This was an awkward compromise, and the only justification for it is better than letting the existing situation simply fester.

I think that Democrats mostly would have voted for it because Ted Kennedy was leading the charge, but I've never seen such anger on the right. And you're right; they did succeed in pulling down the bill.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think that the Kennedy bill was a little too radical for the American people to swallow, whereas this particular measure is something that could be enforced now?

The other measure -- the new measure is a little too demanding with regard to the permanent pool of workers; and secondly, the merit- based emphasis versus continuing the movement of the families to connect with each other.

MR. BLANKLEY: What I think both Republicans and Democratic leaders should learn from this is that the public is so distrustful of the government -- Republican, Democrat, Congress, president -- enforcing the border that any legislation that does anything more than try to secure the border is not going to receive public support.

What they need to do is fix the border first, wait until there's proof of that -- one year, two years, whatever -- and then get to the employment situation.

Let me raise one interesting -- I don't know the answer to this -- I don't know what happened on Thursday night when the Democratic leadership, Harry Reid, took the vote to close down the filibuster, knowing that they were going to lose. They lost by 10 votes. They needed 60; they got 50. This wasn't a close vote. Why did they choose to kill the bill? They could have kept it open for a few more days, tried to work a few amendments. I don't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your intuition as to why they killed it?

MR. BLANKLEY: I don't know why. I'm wondering whether they ever really wanted to pass it or whether they were playing a game of embarrassing the president and trying to split the Republicans on this issue. Republicans are well split on it, as you know. I don't know the answer, but I'm dubious of the intentions of Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How have the guest worker programs fared in Europe? And is that our principal hurdle in getting legislation through, that plus amnesty?

MR. WALKER: Guest worker programs seldom work because young guest workers come over, they want to get married, they tend to bring over members of their family. Before you know where you are, as in Germany, you've got something like 4 million Turks living there and claiming citizenship.

The problem of this bill has been that you've got an irresistible force --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is the new bill.

MR. WALKER: -- the new bill. It's an irresistible force meeting an immovable object. The irresistible force is this huge concern by many Americans, and not just Republicans, that the border is out of control, immigration is out of control, the country is slipping away from its traditional moorings.

The immovable object is the 10 (million), 12 million illegal aliens, immigrants who are here. And they're immovable because this country will not put together the kind of political will for the kind of police state required to send them back.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is what -- MR. WALKER: That's the problem.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is what Mazzoli and Simpson wrote in an op- ed piece about 10 months ago in The Washington Post, 20 years after they got their bill through Congress. This bill, by the way, is law. So whatever is in the bill ought to be enforced. It's not enforced by government. It's not enforced by law enforcement agencies.

And Romney's point is, let's enforce the law. "We believe that our three-legged-stool approach is still relevant and workable if carried out vigorously. We also believe that the shortcomings of the act are not due to design failure, but rather to the failure of both Democratic and Republican administrations since 1986 to execute the law properly."

Exit question: Are they right? Have we had successive presidents who have gotten away with dereliction of duty when it comes to enforcing immigration law? Have employers not enforced it? Has law enforcement not enforced it? I ask you.

MR. BUCHANAN: Here's what happened. Look, when we ran in 1991, there were about 3 (million) or 4 million illegal aliens in the country. We said, "Secure 70 miles of the border and enforce the law against employers.

" Clinton did a poor job. Bush did a horrible job. The number of prosecutions and arrests dropped dramatically. Bush didn't care about this because he ultimately believes in a merger of the two countries.

Now, to the 12 million, now, you're right. There's two things you could do. Simply because they are here does not mean you have to put them on a path to citizenship. No amnesty, and enforce the laws, and attrition will solve the problem without a police state.

MS. CLIFT: First of all -- I'll speak up for President Bush here. I don't think he believes in merging Mexico and the United States. I mean, that's a bridge too far, and I wouldn't lay that at his doorstep. You cannot --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No annexation.

MS. CLIFT: No. You cannot seal the border. It is too long and it's too porous. To even build a fence, you'd have to use illegal labor. And --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your main point?

MS. CLIFT: -- and the corporations are -- the corporations are derelict here because we need these workers, and the country, our country, has looked the other way. The system actually has worked pretty well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On Pat's idea of -- I guess he's speaking about deportation of 12 million people.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, no, I'm not.

MR. BLANKLEY: No, he's not. Firstly --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't want any --

MS. CLIFT: He's starving them out -- attrition.

MR. BUCHANAN: You would deport the criminals, the drunk drivers --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you want to do with the law-abiding and productive -- MR. BUCHANAN: They're not law-abiding.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- undocumented aliens?

MR. BUCHANAN: Do nothing, John, about Guatemalan nannies. Enforce the law against the criminal element.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, wait a minute. There's a moral problem with that, because in recent years, perhaps not the last couple of years, but in recent years, we have winked at their coming across the border. We have de facto sanctioned it.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, of course we have.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now you want to pull the rug from underneath them.

MR. BUCHANAN: Bush has done that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's a moral component to that.

MR. BUCHANAN: Bush has done that.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, let me get in. Look, yes, to answer your question, every government we've had has not tried to enforce the law. Today, if we were able to substantially secure the border, we could manage, through assimilation and some people leaving because there aren't as many jobs available if we were enforcing the job requirements -- the 12 million, that -- the 12 million isn't the problem. The porous border is the problem.

MS. CLIFT: And the corporations would have to pay higher salaries.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, yeah.

MR. BLANKLEY: And American workers will get paid a decent living.

MS. CLIFT: And there is a racist element to this, the way you sort of slip in the Guatemalan nannies as though that's some sort of an epithet.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, because they're not a threat.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. The path to citizenship outlined in Simpson-Mazzoli is a graduated path. It's adjustable and it's accommodatable, and it's probably swallowable. Why not let that be tried first before we get into radical schemes like permanent pools of workers, which is what's in the new bill? MR. WALKER: It's a good idea, but it misses part of the point about this immigration debate, which is the curious thing about the U.S. immigration system is that you are bringing in the unskilled, the uneducated, and you are sending out people back to China, back to India, who've got their Ph.D.'s, who've done their startups in Silicon Valley.

The very kind of people you really want in this country, which is the brains, the entrepreneurs, the future, are people who are being dissuaded from coming. The people that are coming in, and the law is not even trying to stop the illegals from coming in, are, if you like, the ill-educated.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Russian Roulette.

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN (through interpreter): (From videotape.) One state, the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way -- in economics, in politics, in humanitarian -- all imposed by one state. Who would like that?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For well over three years, the relationship between the U.S. and Russia has been deteriorating. That reality loomed over this week's G-8 meeting in Germany, a standoff between Vladimir Putin and George Bush over a proposed U.S. missile intercept system in two nations, Poland and the Czech Republic, both on Russia's doorstop.

Washington says it wants the system to defend Europe against missiles -- get this -- from Iran. Putin says, in so many words, "How absurd can you get?"

PRESIDENT PUTIN (through interpreter): (From videotape.) We are told that the anti-missile defense system is designed for defending something which does not exist. Doesn't it seem funny to you? It would have been funny if it wasn't so sad.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In Russia today, the thinking of the elite class is still infused with Cold War attitudes, observers believe. So Russians still demand that the West recognize Russia's sphere of interest in the former Soviet Union and in former Soviet satellites.

On the eve of the summit, Putin threatened to target Russian missiles on Europe if George Bush went ahead with his missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Putin sees the system as upgradable with nuclear warheads.

"It's obvious that if part of the strategic nuclear potential of the U.S. is located in Europe, which, in the opinion of our military experts, represents a threat, of course we will have to get new targets in Europe."

Upon hearing this, President Bush still, on the eve of the summit, moved to cool off the developing crisis. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) And my message will be, you know, "Vladimir" -- I call him Vladimir -- "that you shouldn't fear a missile defense system. As a matter of fact, why don't you cooperate with us on a missile defense system? Why don't you participate with the United States?"

Then, at the summit, in a surprise move, on Thursday Putin offered to withdraw his objection to a shield against missiles from Iran if a Russian radar array in Azerbaijan is incorporated into the system, and a second if -- if Iran actually develops missiles capable of striking Europe.

PRESIDENT PUTIN (through interpreter): (From videotape.) And we agreed with George that our experts will start doing it as soon as possible. This will make it impossible and necessary for us to place our offensive complexes more along the borders with Europe.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Get this -- at the close of the G-8 summit, Putin added other places where the interceptor missiles could be placed: Turkey, Iraq, or at sea on platforms.

Question: What was the essence of the deadlock? Martin.

MR. WALKER: The essence of the deadlock is that the Russians reckon that they have been betrayed by the West ever since the Cold War ended. Gorbachev was solemnly promised by the first President Bush there'd be no enlargement of NATO if Germany was allowed to reunite. That promise was broken.

There was further promise that there'd be no U.S. weapons placed in any of the new enlarged NATO areas. That promise was broken. There was a promise of allowing Russia to maintain its traditional roles in places like the Caucasus. That promise was broken, in the view of the Russians.

As a result, the Russians reckon that NATO, the West, has launched this long program to punish them, to humiliate them, by promoting democratic reforms in Ukraine, in Georgia, and so on. As a result, the Russians reckon they have been cheated.

Now, the Russians have been acting very badly, rather foolishly, against their own self-interest. What the Russians want is to think that at last --

MS. CLIFT: I think --

MR. WALKER: -- they've got one success.

MS. CLIFT: I think this is about Putin looking at Bush and looking at the U.S. and seeing some weakness that he tried to exploit. I thought his performance there is about Russian domestic opinion, but it was also a wonderful ploy to take attention away from all the Democratic reforms he's shutting down and human rights and have everybody talking about what a potential threat this U.S. system is when it's no threat at all, and he knows that as well.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we were right in his backyard. You know, Poland has a border with Russia. And how would we feel --

MS. CLIFT: It's a missile shield. It's not a missile.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How would we feel -- we know from JFK's days how we felt when Cuba was --

MS. CLIFT: But that's a missile. This is a missile shield. This is defensive, that defends Russia as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He said -- in his view, he says they're readily developable to nuclear warheads.

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, can I get into this a second? MS. CLIFT: He doesn't believe that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Please, Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, what Martin says is substantially right. Eleanor is right. I don't think you can discount, however, the importance of what Putin's been doing to the succession in the presidency, domestic politics in Russia. And I --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MR. BLANKLEY: And I think you have to give Bush some surprisingly good marks for his diplomacy, both on this issue, where he restrained himself from the rhetoric and has got Putin to sidestep and back-pedal.


MR. BLANKLEY: And on the other issue of the G-8, which was the global warming, where he has got --

MS. CLIFT: Oh, don't call that diplomacy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I've got to say this about it, Tony. I don't see how he could be more wrong. What Bush did was another act of preemption. He put these missiles in. He didn't get the public opinion.

MR. BLANKLEY: He hasn't put them in yet. He hasn't put them in yet.

MS. CLIFT: They're not missiles. They're not missiles. They're a defensive shield.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're interceptable.

MR. BLANKLEY: You're buying Putin's line literally.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me finish. Let me finish, please. And he doesn't get sufficient public opinion behind him. And you know that the polls are against him in Poland. You know that the polls are against him in the Czech Republic. So every time he acts preemptively, he puts his foot in it.

MR. BUCHANAN: Putin is right for this reason. Iran does not even have an intercontinental ballistic missile. It does not have a nuclear warhead. That is 10 years down the road. Martin is exactly right. We have been in their face. We have ignored their interests. We have broken our promises. They want -- you know what they want, John?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have to get out. MR. BUCHANAN: They want a Monroe Doctrine of their own, and they ought to be entitled to it.

MS. CLIFT: It's a big fuss over nothing. The tragedy of G-8 is they didn't deal with climate change.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out. And I want to know what the temperature of our relationship is with Russia at large. If you had to say it's somewhere between 48 degrees and 80 degrees, where would you put the Fahrenheit now, Russia-U.S. relationship? Pat Buchanan, quickly.

MR. BUCHANAN: You mean 32 and 80? I would say it'd be about 48.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forty-eight. You're right on the mark.

MR. BUCHANAN: Thank you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're right on the mark. It's not exactly spring, but it's not winter either.

What do you think?

MS. CLIFT: It's much warmer than that. Putin's going to go to Kennebunkport in July and stay with the Bush family. It's got to be at least 70.


MS. CLIFT: Yes. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

MR. BLANKLEY: In the mid-50s; I mean, somewhere between 48 and 60.

MR. WALKER: Oh, it's about 48 to 55, and it goes up with global warming, because the Russians have all that gas and oil.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you and Pat are right.

Issue Three: Paris.

Paris Hilton, the hotel heiress, was set free on Thursday due to an undisclosed medical condition. Hilton served five of her 23-day jail sentence. Then the situation started to unravel.

Question: What explains the outcry over Paris Hilton's release from incarceration? Tony Blankley. MR. BLANKLEY: Well, she's gone back in, apparently, late on Friday.

Look, the public is outraged, and understandably, at the double standard of this rich heiress getting a pass when normal people who have violated their probation on a second drunk driving case have to actually spend the time in jail that the judge assigns her. There's a lot of resentment of it. I don't blame the public. And she should serve her time, and I think she probably will.


MS. CLIFT: Well, I mean, I'm having a hard time formulating an opinion about this. On the one hand, I do feel sorry for this woman, who I think is beginning to come apart. And on the other hand, I don't think that she should get all this special treatment. And certainly the media is complicit. I have never seen such wall-to-wall media coverage since the days of O.J.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Anna Nicole --

MS. CLIFT: And at least he did something which was pretty awful. But I don't know what she's done in her life. And drunk driving is a serious issue, and, you know, the sort of tabloid treatment of it is not helpful to anybody.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think that what Tony says is true. The public perceives a double standard.

But there's also, I'm afraid, a lot of vindictiveness and envy of this young woman that she got out. Frankly, after she got out three days, I thought, "Look, she kind of beat the rap and she went home. Why not cut her some slack?" People went bananas. I don't think this is the best moment of the American people, John. Look, the Democrats want to give amnesty to 12 million people and you want to lock her up.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is an exit question for you.

MS. CLIFT: It's not comparable. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Martin, should we --

MS. CLIFT: She hasn't been anybody's nanny, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should we be concerned about the impact of the Paris Hilton circus on the image of the U.S. overseas, bearing in mind that this comes after the wall-to-wall coverage of Anna Nicole Smith?

MR. WALKER: Yes, I think we should. It's one of those moments like that famous kiss that Madonna -- the lesbian kiss Madonna exchanged on TV screens that went all across the Arab world. Here is a young woman who became famous because of a pornographic video that she'd taken of herself which went out all across the Internet.

On the one hand, this is a -- we are a society that indulges in a kind of human sacrifice. There's a cannibalistic attitude towards --



MR. WALKER: -- it's a cannibalistic attitude towards celebrity. On the other hand, why do we make people famous for being famous?

MR. BLANKLEY: "Day of the Locust."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm glad you brought up cannibalism.

Issue Four: Death Takes a Holiday. DR. JACK KEVORKIAN: (From videotape.) I've got to do what the patient requires. It's not to help them die. It's to relieve them of their intolerable and unending suffering.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: After eight years in prison, Dr. Jack Kevorkian is on parole. Dr. Death says he helped more than 130 patients escape intolerable and unending pain. Kevorkian boldly dared the state of Michigan to convict him of killing one of those 130 patients. Kevorkian's goal was to beat a murder rap and pave the way for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide in the United States.

But Kevorkian was convicted and sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison. His appeals reached the U.S. Supreme Court, but the high court refused to hear the case. As for the American public, they're on his side. Larry King points out that in a recent unscientific poll, 92 percent say physician-assisted suicide should be legal in the U.S.

Question: Has Kevorkian's crusade for death with dignity been vindicated in the court of public opinion? I ask you, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, not necessarily. It has out in Oregon, John. But let me say, Kevorkian's problem is he put to death some people who were not dying, who simply had deeply depressed -- multiple sclerosis, things like that -- and who were down. And he helped put these people to death.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, intolerable and unending pain. That's what he says he liberated them from.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's a ghoul. This guy is a ghoul. And I'm sorry he's got cancer. I don't mind him being out of prison. But he deserved to be in there for what he did.

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Well, physician-assisted death is something that's needed and necessary in this country, and actually does quietly go on. And Oregon has a very sane and sensible law. Most of the groups that advocate for this, however, are distancing themselves from Jack Kevorkian, because he's not the best face to put on this. But an aging society with all sorts of technological means to sustain life, this issue is going to come to the forefront.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there a commercial angle to this obsession with keeping people alive by using the most extraordinary means --

MR. BLANKLEY: No. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- which, by the way, the Catholic Church, in its rather conservative theology, does not say any human being has to use, namely extraordinary means to stay alive?

MR. BLANKLEY: Just the opposite.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I ask you the question.

MR. BLANKLEY: Just the opposite.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't there money to be made in keeping people alive?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, there's huge money to be lost in trying to house people who are almost mentally dead in nursing homes for many years. It's the opposite. There's a huge financial motivation --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you arguing Kevorkian's case now?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yes -- I mean, not by him. He is a ghoul. He should have served his time.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why is he a ghoul?

MR. BLANKLEY: Because he was hunting -- the story is he was really looking for people and persuading them sometimes. But the process of trying to figure out how to end life with some dignity is one that I think we're moving towards.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Terri Schiavo case is a case in point, where you had the speaker -- was it the speaker or was it -- yeah, I think the speaker of the House was involved. The president was involved.

MS. CLIFT: The majority leader.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Congress was involved.

MR. BUCHANAN: Governor Bush was involved.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The governor was involved.

MR. WALKER: Bill Frist.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And then they put her on a bread and --

MR. BUCHANAN: No, they cut off her food and water, John.


MS. CLIFT: They withdrew a feeding tube. It was a medical accessory.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Kevorkian says that was an immoral act. MR. WALKER: He's probably right. There is no easy moral answer to this. We all know that. We know that some people die in horrible, agonizing, prolonged circumstances. None of us wants that to happen. My wife and I just signed --

MS. CLIFT: And it's not necessary.

MR. WALKER: -- my wife and I just signed a living will, which means that we both accept that we do not want to be kept alive. One thing that I think is really important about this, this is a country where 30 percent of every single health dollar is spent in the last three months of patients' lives.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Rudy Giuliani will pull out of the Iowa caucuses and Fred Thompson will not go into the Iowa caucuses.


MS. CLIFT: Gay rights will not be a wedge issue in the '08 campaign.


MR. BLANKLEY: The business community will approach the Democrats and Republicans on immigration and try to pass some small visa modifications to get more qualified people to come in to work in America.


MR. WALKER: Welcome to Azerbaijan, new center of the U.S. missile defense (plan ?). (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Baku? Watch for us.

I predict that if the Congress sends to the president a bill to increase funding for embryonic stem cell research, he will veto it for a third time.

Do you think that Bush finds science hard to swallow, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, he does not. He's a very principled man on the life issue -- very principled.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Rudy Giuliani is going to be the nominee of the Republican Party?

MR. BUCHANAN: He is not going to be. The one who is the front- runner right now is Governor Romney. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. BUCHANAN: Sure, because he's going to win Iowa. McCain dropped out of the straw poll. I wouldn't be surprised if he drops out of the caucuses as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think I helped him along today?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think you're pretty much driving his campaign. (Laughs.)