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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, SYNDICATED RADIO COMMENTATOR; CLARENCE PAGE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE TAPED: FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2008 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF MARCH 29-30, 2008

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Obama the Charmer.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

JOE JOHNS (CNN): The Nobel Prize-winning African-American author, Toni Morrison, famously observed about Bill Clinton, quote, "This is our first black president, blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime." Do you think Bill Clinton was our first black president? (Laughter.)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL, Democratic presidential candidate): I would have to investigate more, you know, Bill's dancing abilities -- (laughter) -- and, you know, some of his other stuff before I accurately judged whether he was, in fact, a brother. (Laughter.) (End videotaped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We know that Bill Clinton has saxophone skills. Obama's long suit may be dancing and charming.

Question: How do you account for Obama's wondrous charm? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, I don't know whether it's nature or nurture, John, but there's no doubt about it. Obama's persona, his sense of humor, his sense of laughter, that he's a very likable, charming character, is what gives him, I think, a cross-party, cross- ideological appeal, despite the fact that he's situated right over there on the left. I think it's his best quality. It's his most effective political asset, as Reagan's persona was.

And what he wants to do is preserve it and not lose it by getting into some kind of bloody battle, which they're trying to draw him into, Hillary Clinton's trying to draw him into, or get into this race-ethnic argument. He ought to stay above it, beyond it, use that sense of humor every time he's hit; frankly, turn the other cheek a little bit. I think he'll do just fine.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it's more due to the fact that he's a fresh face, Eleanor, and people are tired of politicians who are --

MS. CLIFT: Well, there are a lot of fresh faces that come to Washington that don't get, in effect, drafted for president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They remain fresh.

MS. CLIFT: Right. (Laughs.) Exactly. He has a sense of style and grace. He also has a superb intellect. And he has a biography and a resume that is very different at a time when I think Americans are really angry and disgusted with the traditional political class.

I think Bill Clinton was right when he said a vote for Obama is a roll of the dice, because we really don't know that much about him. But I think the American people are ready for a roll of the dice. Hillary Clinton, John McCain are more of the same. And I think he has come along at a time in our history where he does seem to match the moment.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you heard it said that Obama's resume is somewhat thin, and his charm goes a long way? In fact, it covers completely that hiatus.

MS. CROWLEY: That's largely true. But Barack Obama does have the gift. He's got the natural gift. They used to say this about Bill Clinton. Some people still do. Charisma can carry somebody very far. In fact, when you look back at Hollywood history, there are a lot of movies like "The Candidate" with Robert Redford, "The Distinguished Gentleman," that satirized this idea that charisma and charisma alone can carry a candidate into office.

The question is, is that charisma matched by real substance and real ideas and real ability? The most charismatic presidents of the second half of the 20th century -- JFK, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton -- they all had that natural gift. But they were able to match that gift with ideas and a policy agenda that matched the moment in the country, which is what Eleanor was talking about. I think Barack Obama may, in fact, have all of those attributes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you speak to this matter?

MR. PAGE: Well, John, people will be writing books for years about this, I think, and the Obama phenomenon. Having followed him since I first met him when he was first running for the state senate back in Illinois, I, like everybody else, was struck by what a great first impression he makes. And people don't seem to get tired of him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Obama mania is something like Beatle mania?

MR. PAGE: There's a touch of that. I mean, you know, I remember when I was, like, 10 and JFK was running for office down in southern Ohio, where I was living, and the campaigners talked about the jumpers. Who were they? Those were the young women and girls in the crowd who kept jumping up and down. You could see them out there, because they just wanted to get a glimpse of him. You see that with Obama; people talking about people fainting in his crowds and that kind of thing.

But, you know, I will say this, though. He has this tightrope that he walks, because, as in your video there, when he's smiling, when he's loose, having a good time, he's very charming, very engaging. But he really wants to be serious. He wants to be taken seriously. I sometimes wish he would smile a little more, but sometimes he seems too stoic and too removed. And this is something that those of us --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think he gets mad.

MR. PAGE: Well, like anybody, he gets mad. But he doesn't want to lose his cool. That's the Chicago thing. (Laughs.) You don't want to lose your cool.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MS. CLIFT: I think he has to prove that he's tough enough. I think there's still a question mark over that. And I also think that the charisma has been sort of the lead attribute, and sometimes people think, "Well, is there really substance to match it?" And I think he has not yet related to lunch-bucket Democrats, and he's got to do that in Pennsylvania. MR. BUCHANAN: I think he does, John. But it's also --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He does what?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think he's got to relate to them. I think he's got to get more substantive. I think he's going to have a rough time in the fall. But I do think -- remember John Lindsay when he was running back in 1965?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mayor of New York.

MR. BUCHANAN: Mayor of New York. The theme was, "He is fresh and they are tired." And frankly, that's a good description of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, with eight months to go, do you think Obama's going to get us the tired look too?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I think he's got a rough time ahead because you've got a number of weeks still left before Pennsylvania.

You've got six months to the convention, two months -- I think the Republicans are going to go to work on this guy in an uninhibited way.

MS. CLIFT: You're handing him the nomination. The tone of your remarks suggests that you think he's got the nomination.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think he's the front-runner. Unless he loses the popular vote, he wins the nomination.

MS. CROWLEY: He's got to protect his brand. That is his challenge over the next eight months, assuming he gets the nomination here. The brand is that he is affable. He is charming. He's got a good sense of humor, self-effacing sense of humor. Even when he's pushed up against the wall, when Hillary's pressing every last button, his response is very measured and tempered. He usually does it with a wry smile in his voice.

The last time we heard any fierceness in his voice was when Hillary suggested, "Oh, perhaps he might be my number two," when, in fact, he's in the number one position, so the gall of her to offer that. His response had more toughness, I think, and more steel in it than anything we've seen before, and still he delivered it with a sense of humor.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, if you look over the histories of the, what, 45 president of the United States --

MR. BUCHANAN: Forty-three.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forty-three, but some had second terms -- blah, blah, blah, blah -- (laughter) --

MS. CROWLEY: Minor technicality.

MR. PAGE: Has asterisks. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: More of this data preoccupation of Buchanan. What I want to know is, don't you find that more of them by far had far less charm, whether political charm or social charm, than Barack Obama? You take the man you worked for -- Nixon.

MR. BUCHANAN: Here's why that's true, John. We have moved into the television age. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Celebrity.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, not simply -- the television age. I mean, you take George Washington, some of those gentlemen. They could not have survived in the television age.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about Calvin Coolidge? (Laughter.) There's one for you.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's the print-type age, John. But you've got Jack Kennedy. You've got the TV age. And all the candidates now have got to have that ability to communicate in some way, work on it, look into that screen. And if they don't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, Abraham Lincoln would have been a disaster.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think a lot of those guys would have been wiped out by this.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but Nixon won in '72 because the Democrats were tarred with the Vietnam War and the party was divided over the war. So sometimes there are issues that tear a party apart. It's not all personality that can carry you to Washington.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question; we've got to get out. Is enthusiasm for Obama a fad? Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, it's a fad. The question is, can it endure through November? I don't think it can. I really think they're going to go to work on him in these next six months and the two months after that, and I think they're going to bloody him up pretty badly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you calling it a Hillary win?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I'm saying I think -- if I had to bet on a nominee, I would bet on Obama right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You go back and forth.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the polls go back and forth. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that what we have on this set, a poll- watcher? We want the Buchanan insight.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Buchanan insight is Obama probably wins.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Buchanan frankness.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: What was the question? (Laughs.) Republicans are going to -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it a fad? Is it a fad?

MS. CLIFT: Republicans are going to work on him. I think he can handle it. And if you compare it to Beatle mania, the Beatles did pretty well. They're still gold records and they're still in our consciousness. So I think he endures.

MS. CROWLEY: Pat and Eleanor are right that Republicans are going to jump on him, and now the press is on to him. So he's going to get the screws put to him by the press, who feel some embarrassment that they haven't put the screws to him earlier.

But I don't think it's a fad. I think it is sustainable because of the character and the charisma that we've been talking about, and also the sense of liberal guilt or white guilt, whatever you want to label it. People don't want to ascribe anything negative to him. They want him to remain this perfect package.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you hear it said that Obama is always grasping for the next rung in the ladder?

MR. PAGE: Well, who isn't? (Laughs.) I mean, Hillary Clinton is not without ambition herself.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But these are stepping stones. Even the Senate was a stepping stone.

MR. PAGE: Well, there's one thing -- well, you know, to get to the presidency, it's what you do. He either gets criticized for that or for not having enough experience. You can't have it both ways.

But, you know, this is not a fad except, you know, every campaign the candidate goes through, image make-overs and image changes, some that the candidate makes himself or herself and some that are imposed upon them.

One thing I notice in the polling, Texas and Ohio, for example, it was asked which candidate attacked the other unfairly? And most thought -- more thought Hillary Clinton attacked Obama unfairly than thought Obama did, and yet Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in both states. And you could see, reading the statistics, that Obama pays more of a price when he is perceived as attacking than Hillary Clinton, where we have different expectations. And so that's the kind of thing that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wraps a big powder puff around his knuckles when he administers the punch.

MR. PAGE: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But his punches are pretty punchy. MR. PAGE: It's better if his surrogates make the punches than if he does. That's a tough thing for him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think that it's a fad and I think it's a resilient fad, and he is resilient. The question, is he sufficiently resilient to ride it all the way through another eight months?

MR. BUCHANAN: And what's the answer?

MS. CLIFT: What's the definition of a fad?

MR. BUCHANAN: What's the answer, John?

MS. CLIFT: Is it six months? One year?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer remains to be seen.

Issue Two: Darth Nader Strikes Again.

RALPH NADER (independent presidential candidate): (From videotape.) I have decided to run for president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is Nader's fifth run for president, and he says it's with cause. The American people today are steeped in pessimism, even cynicism.

MR. NADER: (From videotape.) Twenty-four percent of the American people are satisfied with the state of the country. That's about the lowest ranking ever. Sixty-one percent think both major parties are failing. Eighty percent would consider voting for an independent this year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here's what Ralph hopes to accomplish: First, get more independent candidates up for election.

MR. NADER: (From videotape.) Third parties and independent candidates -- a diverse, multiple-choice, multiple-party democracy, the way they have in Western Europe and Canada.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Nader says historically it was the small, independent parties who have turned our nation around on its most critical issues, like slavery.

MR. NADER: (From videotape.) To recognize historically the great issues have come in our history against slavery, women rights to vote, and worker and farmer, progressives, through little parties that never won any national election.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Nader wants to get more people to vote. Over one-third of eligible U.S. voters failed to vote in '04.

MR. NADER: (From videotape.) Open the doorways to try to get better ballot access.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Nader says that the White House and the Congress should not be controlled by two parties alone.

MR. NADER: (From videotape.) All of us who think that the country needs an infusion of freedom, democracy, choice, dissent, should just sit on the sidelines and watch the two parties own all the voters?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to get into some of those substantive points he raised. But first of all, if Nader is serious about building a third party, why doesn't he run for an office he might win, like a seat in the Congress, Eleanor? MS. CLIFT: Well, you name -- what would that seat be? I think he lives in the District of Columbia. I don't think there's an available seat that he could run for. I don't think that avenue is open to him.

Look, I have a lot of respect for what Ralph Nader did in the past, in the distant past, and I think he makes a good case here about things that are wrong with our system. But the practical impact of his candidacy is to damage the chances of a Democrat. And I think Tom Toles, the cartoonist for The Washington Post, captured it well when he showed an aging Ralph Nader and the caption saying, "Unsafe At Any Speed." (Laughter.) He may have slowed down, but he's still a dangerous political commodity if you want progressives to win in this country.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, I'm in agreement with Ralph Nader in this sense. Ralph Nader is exactly right. This system -- we have a duopoly here. There's huge numbers of Americans utterly unrepresented. And in the Republican Party it is the conservatives who don't like NAFTA, who want the borders secured, and don't like intervention, and we're utterly unrepresented by McCain. And the two parties work back and forth trading power.

So I wish him well, John. And, look, the progressives -- not only the progressives, but also Norman Thomas ran six times. Eventually his entire platform became the Democratic Party platform. So I think the outsiders, some of these fellows, I think they perform a real service in the country, giving voice to folks who don't have one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Nader is right on the money when he says a diverse, multiple-choice, multiple-party democracy, the way they have in Western Europe and Canada, is what we need to have in the United States? It's beyond the choice between two parties and two people.

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah, but the system is built against that. I mean, if Michael Bloomberg, who would have been the obvious choice for a third-party run this time around, thought that he couldn't win -- and he was only polling 6 percent in the states that mattered -- and he chose not to run with unlimited resources, how in the world is an outside guy like Ralph Nader going to have --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wants the system to change. Is the system ever going to change?

MS. CROWLEY: The system is not going to change, not any time soon. And Ralph Nader -- you know, it's sort of like fish and overnight guests. After the third day they start to stink.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the system lousy? MS. CROWLEY: And you could see -- well, you could see that the Democrats are annoyed by this and the Republicans are saying, "Bring it on." But the reality is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the system lousy?

MR. BUCHANAN: It is. But you can change it, John.

MR. PAGE: You must think the founders were not brilliant in deciding not to have a parliamentary system, because if we had done that, then we'd be like Canada or Israel or Britain or whatever. But America -- the American tradition just stands against that. Americans really like simplicity.

MR. BUCHANAN: There's not enough choice.

MR. PAGE: You know what? Americans like simplicity in that regard. They seem to -- because it does slow things down.

(Cross-talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: What you need -- the third party doesn't work; we tried that. What you need is a revolution inside a party, like the Goldwater revolution, and to take the party over and overthrow an establishment. Frankly, when one party gets wiped out, very often it's a good thing.

MS. CLIFT: We're waiting for the Buchanan brigades to come back here. But, look, the down side --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible) -- Buchanan.

MS. CLIFT: The down side of all the choice of all these parties is these countries have great difficulty forming coalitions. So that's not perfect either.

MS. CROWLEY: And the reality is, in America the only way you get the birth of a real third party is to have some cataclysmic social or political or cultural thing happening in the country that gives rise to it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see that coming?

MS. CROWLEY: No.

MR. PAGE: I think that was happening -- as soon as I saw Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader on the same podium at anti-globalism marches, I knew the world was shifting. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Nader denies that he was a spoiler in 2000.

MR. NADER: (From videotape.) Not George Bush, not the Democrats in Congress, not the voters, who voted for George Bush, but there were Democrats in Florida, 250,000 of them. You know, I wish you'd have Al Gore on this program and ask him, "Why did you not become president in 2000?" And I think what he's going to tell you is he thought he did win Florida but it was taken from him before, during and after the election from Tallahassee.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Nader ran for president in 2000, challenging fellow Democrat Al Gore. Did he drain votes away from Gore that cost Gore the presidency? I ask you, Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, he did. He ran a significant enough race and drew enough voters because there was this pull for a real message that Nader was representing. And he did, in fact, cost Gore the election when you look at the state-by-state results, including in the state of Florida.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Could he be a spoiler for Hillary?

MS. CROWLEY: Not this time around, no.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think --

MS. CROWLEY: He's overstayed his welcome. He's the skunk at the garden party.

MR. BUCHANAN: He will run stronger if Hillary is not in the race.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what if Hillary gets the nomination --

MR. BUCHANAN: He will run stronger then.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and those who voted for Obama are angry that she got the nomination and they say, "Forget about you, Hillary. I'm going to go with Nader." You don't think that hurts her?

MS. CROWLEY: No, I don't think it's going to be a significant enough effect by Ralph Nader to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It doesn't have to be -- it could be a rejection of the nominee.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, I think you're right. I think you're right. If Hillary is the nominee, the African-Americans, the young, the liberals, are going to be very disillusioned.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think a lot of them will stay home, but some of them will vote for Nader. And given that fact, that would be a close election.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Could it work the other way?

MR. BUCHANAN: He could sink her.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Could Obama be the spoiler?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I think Obama's strong where Nader is strong, and I think he will eclipse Nader.

MR. PAGE: There are a lot of blacks who are still mad at Nader.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, suppose those who want Hillary to get the nomination are mad and they vote for Nader. Then he doesn't get Hillary's vote. MS. CLIFT: If Hillary has --

MR. BUCHANAN: They'll vote McCain.

MS. CLIFT: If Hillary --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They'll vote for McCain.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McCain's the winner.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: If Hillary has the nomination, she will win, but very narrowly. She's polarizing. She can't afford to lose a couple of hundred thousand votes anywhere. And I think Nader --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So Nader could do real damage?

MS. CLIFT: Nader poses a danger -- unsafe at any speech, exactly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: On a balance scale, is it a good thing or a bad thing to have Nader in the running this year, Pat Buchanan?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a good thing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: It's negative -- thwarting the will of the people.

MR. BUCHANAN: Thwarting the will of the people? How?

MR. PAGE: I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Draining votes away and costing the majority candidate --

MR. BUCHANAN: People voluntarily vote for him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got quite a little kibitz going on here.

(Cross-talk.)

MR. PAGE: No, I think Nader should run, and so should Ron Paul. In fact, somebody ought to see what Ross Perot is doing these days.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think it's wonderful that he's running. Issue Three: Speak English Or Go Away.

For over 200 years, America has thrived on diversity -- a rich amalgam of different races, cultures, languages, religions. Immigrants are the bedrock of this amalgam; multilingual immigrants speaking Russian, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, Celtic, Chinese, Danish, Norwegian, Eskimo, and, of course, English.

Thanks to immigrants, we have become the wealthiest nation on earth and the most powerful. So why not leave things the way they are? We now have two bills, one in the Senate and its twin in the House, that, if enacted, would create an official single language for our multilingual population. That language is English.

Neither of the Democratic presidential candidates likes that idea. Senator Obama opposes it passionately.

SEN. OBAMA: (From videotape.) This is the kind of question that is designed precisely to divide us. You know, you're right; everybody is going to learn to speak English if they live in this country. The issue is not whether or not future generations of immigrants are going to learn English. The question is, how can we come up with both a legal, sensible immigration policy?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Senator Clinton also says that English ought not be made the official language of the U.S. She does so for the same reasons that Obama does, and on additional grounds.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY, Democratic presidential candidate): (From videotape.) The problem is that if it becomes official instead of recognized as national -- which indeed it is; it is our national language -- if it becomes official, that means in a place like New York City, you can't print ballots in any other language. That means you can't have government pay for translators in hospitals, so when somebody comes in with some sort of emergency, there's nobody there to help translate what their problem is for the doctor.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Be that as it may, English as an official language has many defenders; notably, Yale Law Professor and author Amy Chua. "A common language is critical to cohesion and national identity in an ethnically diverse society. Americans of all backgrounds should be encouraged to speak more languages. I've forced my own daughters to learn Mandarin, minus the threat of chopsticks. But offering Spanish-language public education to Spanish-speaking children is the wrong kind of indulgence. 'Native language education' should be overhauled and more stringent English proficiency requirements for citizenship should be set up."

Is it divisive, as Obama says, for English to be declared an official language? MR. PAGE: I think it is if you don't define how you're going to enforce it and in what areas. Then you get into those complications Hillary Clinton was referring to, like ballots, emergency admissions, et cetera.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, are you against it or for it?

MR. PAGE: Well, you know, English is our official language. Let's face it. Just day to day --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's common -- (inaudible).

MR. PAGE: Wait a minute. There's more people trying to learn English in this country than trying to learn another language, which is a problem -- (inaudible) -- should be learning other languages. And that's fine, what Chua said. You can do that without declaring this to be the official language.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She almost says it should be a condition for immigration --

MR. PAGE: You could do that without making it the official language.

MR. BUCHANAN: It should be a condition for citizenship. John, we're going to have 130 million Hispanics here by the middle of the century. If we don't have one national language, an official language, you will have two countries.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will English remain -- will it remain as a common language, or will it be displaced --

MR. BUCHANAN: If we don't enforce it, it will not.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, do you think it will be displaced, or will we continue to have English?

MS. CLIFT: No, no -- common language. In learning English, every immigrant who comes here in search of a better economic life knows they have to learn English and get by in English.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they're not compelled to do so.

MS. CLIFT: The language -- they are if they take a citizenship test.

MR. PAGE: If they want to get a job. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, if they want to get a job.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They also --

MS. CLIFT: The language is not in danger.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They also colonize. Immigrants colonize. The Irish did it. They stay among themselves. They keep repeating their language.

MS. CLIFT: But you got out in public after a while, John. (Laughs.) I mean, I think -- no problem.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's basically English we were speaking, but --

MR. BUCHANAN: Not if you've got 130 million of them.

MR. PAGE: All the kids were --

MS. CROWLEY: Please note that we are not doing this show in Spanish. This has been a huge hole in this busted-up immigration approach that we have in this country. We should say, "Look, if you want to come to America, we're happy to have you on two conditions: One, you do it legally, and two, you assimilate." And part of that assimilation is learning English and being required to speak the language as the official language.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I like it, but I'd like --

MR. PAGE: Well, what you find --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But you must learn English.

Quickly.

MS. CLIFT: How are you going to enforce it, Monica? Are you going to go out and --

(Cross-talk.)

MR. PAGE: What you find with Latinos, as with previous waves of immigrants, is the parents may speak another language but the kids are all learning English. Sometimes the kids are serving as translators in the house. Over time, the problem Pat points out is self- correcting.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I agree with Walter Cronkite. We need English as an official language.

Issue Four: GOP Exodus.

The future for Republicans in the House of Representatives does not look good; first, the retirements. Twenty-five Republicans are quitting -- 25 vacancies, many popular incumbents gone, to be replaced by many rookies: Cubin, Davis, Doolittle, Everett, Ferguson, Hobson, Hunter, Hulshof, LaHood, Lewis, McCrery, Pearce, Peterson, Pickering, Pryce, Ramstad, Regula, Renzi, Saxton, Shadegg, Tancredo, Weldon, Walsh, Weller, Wilson.

You got those memorized, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, I do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What was missing?

MR. BUCHANAN: McAllister, Murphy, Gonzales and Brown. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Knock it off, will you? (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: There are four missing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The question is, why are so many veteran Republican legislators running for the door? Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: Because it's no fun being in the minority, and they don't see any opportunity to take back the majority in the near- future. So they're leaving. It's all those fresh faces who came to Washington and decided they've grown stale and they're going to go out and make money.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, leaving like rats running down -- (inaudible) --

MS. CLIFT: Well, and whatever --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- to get to the dock? The ship is sinking?

MS. CLIFT: Whoever takes the White House --

MS. CROWLEY: Like a sinking ship.

MS. CLIFT: -- the Democrats increase their majorities in the House and the Senate. There could be a new floor in the House of 180 out of 435. And the Democrats are probably looking at 55, 56, 57 even 58 seats in the Senate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction: Who wins the nomination?

MR. BUCHANAN: Obama, probably.

MS. CLIFT: John McCain. (Laughter.) (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, you're treacherous.

MS. CROWLEY: Very clever.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MS. CROWLEY: Barack Obama.

MR. PAGE: Obama's got the momentum.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hillary.

Bye-bye.



END.
e here about things that are wrong with our system. But the practical impact of his candidacy is to damage the chances of a Democrat. And I think Tom Toles, the cartoonist for The Washington Post, captured it well when he showed an aging Ralph Nader and the caption saying, "Unsafe At Any Speed." (Laughter.) He may have slowed down, but he's still a dangerous political commodity if you want progressives to win in this country.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, I'm in agreement with Ralph Nader in this sense. Ralph Nader is exactly right. This system -- we have a duopoly here. There's huge numbers of Americans utterly unrepresented. And in the Republican Party it is the conservatives who don't like NAFTA, who want the borders secured, and don't like intervention, and we're utterly unrepresented by McCain. And the two parties work back and forth trading power.

So I wish him well, John. And, look, the progressives -- not only the progressives, but also Norman Thomas ran six times. Eventually his entire platform became the Democratic Party platform. So I think the outsiders, some of these fellows, I think they perform a real service in the country, giving voice to folks who don't have one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Nader is right on the money when he says a diverse, multiple-choice, multiple-party democracy, the way they have in Western Europe and Canada, is what we need to have in the United States? It's beyond the choice between two parties and two people.

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah, but the system is built against that. I mean, if Michael Bloomberg, who would have been the obvious choice for a third-party run this time around, thought that he couldn't win -- and he was only polling 6 percent in the states that mattered -- and he chose not to run with unlimited resources, how in the world is an outside guy like Ralph Nader going to have --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wants the system to change. Is the system ever going to change?

MS. CROWLEY: The system is not going to change, not any time soon. And Ralph Nader -- you know, it's sort of like fish and overnight guests. After the third day they start to stink.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the system lousy? MS. CROWLEY: And you could see -- well, you could see that the Democrats are annoyed by this and the Republicans are saying, "Bring it on." But the reality is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the system lousy?

MR. BUCHANAN: It is. But you can change it, John.

MR. PAGE: You must think the founders were not brilliant in deciding not to have a parliamentary system, because if we had done that, then we'd be like Canada or Israel or Britain or whatever. But America -- the American tradition just stands against that. Americans really like simplicity.

MR. BUCHANAN: There's not enough choice.

MR. PAGE: You know what? Americans like simplicity in that regard. They seem to -- because it does slow things down.

(Cross-talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: What you need -- the third party doesn't work; we tried that. What you need is a revolution inside a party, like the Goldwater revolution, and to take the party over and overthrow an establishment. Frankly, when one party gets wiped out, very often it's a good thing.

MS. CLIFT: We're waiting for the Buchanan brigades to come back here. But, look, the down side --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible) -- Buchanan.

MS. CLIFT: The down side of all the choice of all these parties is these countries have great difficulty forming coalitions. So that's not perfect either.

MS. CROWLEY: And the reality is, in America the only way you get the birth of a real third party is to have some cataclysmic social or political or cultural thing happening in the country that gives rise to it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see that coming?

MS. CROWLEY: No.

MR. PAGE: I think that was happening -- as soon as I saw Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader on the same podium at anti-globalism marches, I knew the world was shifting. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Nader denies that he was a spoiler in 2000.

MR. NADER: (From videotape.) Not George Bush, not the Democrats in Congress, not the voters, who voted for George Bush, but there were Democrats in Florida, 250,000 of them. You know, I wish you'd have Al Gore on this program and ask him, "Why did you not become president in 2000?" And I think what he's going to tell you is he thought he did win Florida but it was taken from him before, during and after the election from Tallahassee.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Nader ran for president in 2000, challenging fellow Democrat Al Gore. Did he drain votes away from Gore that cost Gore the presidency? I ask you, Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, he did. He ran a significant enough race and drew enough voters because there was this pull for a real message that Nader was representing. And he did, in fact, cost Gore the election when you look at the state-by-state results, including in the state of Florida.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Could he be a spoiler for Hillary?

MS. CROWLEY: Not this time around, no.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think --

MS. CROWLEY: He's overstayed his welcome. He's the skunk at the garden party.

MR. BUCHANAN: He will run stronger if Hillary is not in the race.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what if Hillary gets the nomination --

MR. BUCHANAN: He will run stronger then.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and those who voted for Obama are angry that she got the nomination and they say, "Forget about you, Hillary. I'm going to go with Nader." You don't think that hurts her?

MS. CROWLEY: No, I don't think it's going to be a significant enough effect by Ralph Nader to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It doesn't have to be -- it could be a rejection of the nominee.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, I think you're right. I think you're right. If Hillary is the nominee, the African-Americans, the young, the liberals, are going to be very disillusioned.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think a lot of them will stay home, but some of them will vote for Nader. And given that fact, that would be a close election.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Could it work the other way?

MR. BUCHANAN: He could sink her.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Could Obama be the spoiler?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I think Obama's strong where Nader is strong, and I think he will eclipse Nader.

MR. PAGE: There are a lot of blacks who are still mad at Nader.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, suppose those who want Hillary to get the nomination are mad and they vote for Nader. Then he doesn't get Hillary's vote. MS. CLIFT: If Hillary has --

MR. BUCHANAN: They'll vote McCain.

MS. CLIFT: If Hillary --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They'll vote for McCain.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McCain's the winner.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: If Hillary has the nomination, she will win, but very narrowly. She's polarizing. She can't afford to lose a couple of hundred thousand votes anywhere. And I think Nader --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So Nader could do real damage?

MS. CLIFT: Nader poses a danger -- unsafe at any speech, exactly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: On a balance scale, is it a good thing or a bad thing to have Nader in the running this year, Pat Buchanan?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a good thing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: It's negative -- thwarting the will of the people.

MR. BUCHANAN: Thwarting the will of the people? How?

MR. PAGE: I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Draining votes away and costing the majority candidate --

MR. BUCHANAN: People voluntarily vote for him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got quite a little kibitz going on here.

(Cross-talk.)

MR. PAGE: No, I think Nader should run, and so should Ron Paul. In fact, somebody ought to see what Ross Perot is doing these days.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think it's wonderful that he's running. Issue Three: Speak English Or Go Away.

For over 200 years, America has thrived on diversity -- a rich amalgam of different races, cultures, languages, religions. Immigrants are the bedrock of this amalgam; multilingual immigrants speaking Russian, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, Celtic, Chinese, Danish, Norwegian, Eskimo, and, of course, English.

Thanks to immigrants, we have become the wealthiest nation on earth and the most powerful. So why not leave things the way they are? We now have two bills, one in the Senate and its twin in the House, that, if enacted, would create an official single language for our multilingual population. That language is English.

Neither of the Democratic presidential candidates likes that idea. Senator Obama opposes it passionately.

SEN. OBAMA: (From videotape.) This is the kind of question that is designed precisely to divide us. You know, you're right; everybody is going to learn to speak English if they live in this country. The issue is not whether or not future generations of immigrants are going to learn English. The question is, how can we come up with both a legal, sensible immigration policy?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Senator Clinton also says that English ought not be made the official language of the U.S. She does so for the same reasons that Obama does, and on additional grounds.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY, Democratic presidential candidate): (From videotape.) The problem is that if it becomes official instead of recognized as national -- which indeed it is; it is our national language -- if it becomes official, that means in a place like New York City, you can't print ballots in any other language. That means you can't have government pay for translators in hospitals, so when somebody comes in with some sort of emergency, there's nobody there to help translate what their problem is for the doctor.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Be that as it may, English as an official language has many defenders; notably, Yale Law Professor and author Amy Chua. "A common language is critical to cohesion and national identity in an ethnically diverse society. Americans of all backgrounds should be encouraged to speak more languages. I've forced my own daughters to learn Mandarin, minus the threat of chopsticks. But offering Spanish-language public education to Spanish-speaking children is the wrong kind of indulgence. 'Native language education' should be overhauled and more stringent English proficiency requirements for citizenship should be set up."

Is it divisive, as Obama says, for English to be declared an official language? MR. PAGE: I think it is if you don't define how you're going to enforce it and in what areas. Then you get into those complications Hillary Clinton was referring to, like ballots, emergency admissions, et cetera.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, are you against it or for it?

MR. PAGE: Well, you know, English is our official language. Let's face it. Just day to day --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's common -- (inaudible).

MR. PAGE: Wait a minute. There's more people trying to learn English in this country than trying to learn another language, which is a problem -- (inaudible) -- should be learning other languages. And that's fine, what Chua said. You can do that without declaring this to be the official language.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She almost says it should be a condition for immigration --

MR. PAGE: You could do that without making it the official language.

MR. BUCHANAN: It should be a condition for citizenship. John, we're going to have 130 million Hispanics here by the middle of the century. If we don't have one national language, an official language, you will have two countries.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will English remain -- will it remain as a common language, or will it be displaced --

MR. BUCHANAN: If we don't enforce it, it will not.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, do you think it will be displaced, or will we continue to have English?

MS. CLIFT: No, no -- common language. In learning English, every immigrant who comes here in search of a better economic life knows they have to learn English and get by in English.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they're not compelled to do so.

MS. CLIFT: The language -- they are if they take a citizenship test.

MR. PAGE: If they want to get a job. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, if they want to get a job.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They also --

MS. CLIFT: The language is not in danger.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They also colonize. Immigrants colonize. The Irish did it. They stay among themselves. They keep repeating their language.

MS. CLIFT: But you got out in public after a while, John. (Laughs.) I mean, I think -- no problem.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's basically English we were speaking, but --

MR. BUCHANAN: Not if you've got 130 million of them.

MR. PAGE: All the kids were --

MS. CROWLEY: Please note that we are not doing this show in Spanish. This has been a huge hole in this busted-up immigration approach that we have in this country. We should say, "Look, if you want to come to America, we're happy to have you on two conditions: One, you do it legally, and two, you assimilate." And part of that assimilation is learning English and being required to speak the language as the official language.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I like it, but I'd like --

MR. PAGE: Well, what you find --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But you must learn English.

Quickly.

MS. CLIFT: How are you going to enforce it, Monica? Are you going to go out and --

(Cross-talk.)

MR. PAGE: What you find with Latinos, as with previous waves of immigrants, is the parents may speak another language but the kids are all learning English. Sometimes the kids are serving as translators in the house. Over time, the problem Pat points out is self- correcting.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I agree with Walter Cronkite. We need English as an official language.

Issue Four: GOP Exodus.

The future for Republicans in the House of Representatives does not look good; first, the retirements. Twenty-five Republicans are quitting -- 25 vacancies, many popular incumbents gone, to be replaced by many rookies: Cubin, Davis, Doolittle, Everett, Ferguson, Hobson, Hunter, Hulshof, LaHood, Lewis, McCrery, Pearce, Peterson, Pickering, Pryce, Ramstad, Regula, Renzi, Saxton, Shadegg, Tancredo, Weldon, Walsh, Weller, Wilson.

You got those memorized, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, I do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What was missing?

MR. BUCHANAN: McAllister, Murphy, Gonzales and Brown. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Knock it off, will you? (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: There are four missing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The question is, why are so many veteran Republican legislators running for the door? Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: Because it's no fun being in the minority, and they don't see any opportunity to take back the majority in the near- future. So they're leaving. It's all those fresh faces who came to Washington and decided they've grown stale and they're going to go out and make money.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, leaving like rats running down -- (inaudible) --

MS. CLIFT: Well, and whatever --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- to get to the dock? The ship is sinking?

MS. CLIFT: Whoever takes the White House --

MS. CROWLEY: Like a sinking ship.

MS. CLIFT: -- the Democrats increase their majorities in the House and the Senate. There could be a new floor in the House of 180 out of 435. And the Democrats are probably looking at 55, 56, 57 even 58 seats in the Senate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction: Who wins the nomination?

MR. BUCHANAN: Obama, probably.

MS. CLIFT: John McCain. (Laughter.) (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, you're treacherous.

MS. CROWLEY: Very clever.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MS. CROWLEY: Barack Obama.

MR. PAGE: Obama's got the momentum.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hillary.

Bye-bye.



END.