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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, WASHINGTON TIMES; CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE TAPED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2010 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JANUARY 16-17, 2010

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Haiti's Hell.

HAITIAN PRESIDENT RENE PREVAL: (From videotape.) I'm very sad, because a lot of people died. A lot of people are suffering. I'm very sad, because my country is in great difficulty.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Haitian President Rene Preval says that he cannot even go home. The presidential residence was destroyed. Haiti this week was the victim of a 7.3 Richter Scale -- that's maximum severity -- earthquake that leveled most of Haiti's capital, Port-au- Prince. Haiti's Parliament, the government ministries, hospitals, schools, hotels, homes were demolished. The death toll is expected to reach 100,000, and over 3 million stand in need of emergency relief -- a third of the population. The country is reeling.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On Thursday, President Obama promised help that would include both the Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy. Also, 5,550 infantry soldiers and Marines will be sent. President Obama addressed the Haitian people themselves on Thursday.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) To the people of Haiti, we say clearly and with conviction, you will not be forsaken. You will not be forgotten. In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you. I'm also announcing an immediate investment of $100 million to support our relief efforts.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The death toll is undergoing constant revision. It is now 50,000 and as low as 10,000.

Question: In addition to humanitarian reasons, does the U.S. have a strategic interest in rebuilding Haiti? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, I don't think we can rebuild Haiti. Look, what happened here is this earthquake happened at the worst possible place it could in the hemisphere, almost in the world, in Port-au- Prince, a town of 2 million people, where the building construction standards are very, very low and these houses have pancaked on the people and the buildings have. And they're in their tombs, quite frankly, a lot of them. And unfortunately, a lot of them who could be saved here in America will not be saved there.

But let me say this, John. I'm glad the president, quite frankly, put in the 82nd Airborne and the U.S. Marine Corps, because this brings out the best in people, a lot of folks going down there, and it brings out the worst in a lot of people. And as the battle for food and water and things like that break out, I think you're going to go to martial law. But I do think eventually, John, they ought to do this -- or they will do this. They'll have a hemispheric force in there while the rebuilding goes on, and that will be after the Airborne and the Marines are pulled out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A strategic interest in rebuilding Haiti. Do we have one, beyond the humanitarian --

MS. CLIFT: They are --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- need, of course.

MS. CLIFT: They are very close to our shores. We have significant Haitian populations in Florida, New York, Washington, D.C. I suppose you could say there's an electoral component here, if you will. But I agree with Pat. I think this does bring out the best in people. And at a time of such heightened partisanship here in Washington, it's really wonderful to see the whole world flocking to help, Cuba saying that American planes can use the air space, and the fund-raising effort, using text messages, raising millions of dollars.

And I think, in terms of rebuilding Haiti, there is an opportunity here to rebuild it with the same promises that were made after New Orleans. And New Orleans has made some progress with their school system, but you've got President Clinton leading an investment effort which began before this happened. And you have, for the first time in a long time, a government there that's not defined by corruption. So there's some opportunity here in the wake of this very horrible tragedy.

MS. CROWLEY: Well, from the time the United States became a global power -- and I'm thinking back to the Monroe Doctrine about the United States and our sphere of influence in the Western Hemisphere -- you were asking about strategic interest in rebuilding Haiti. I do think that there is interest on the part of the United States strategically to engage Haiti and make sure that this epic human catastrophe resolves itself. And this is going to take a very long time.

But, look, the United States was the first one to announce humanitarian help. We're always the biggest contributor when natural disasters, these big catastrophes, happen in the world. No other country on the face of the earth in the history of the world does more to help people in situations like this than the United States of America. We always deliver. The question is how best to do this.

And when you look back since 1992, since the Clintons were in office, what you have seen is a dedication of $3 billion from the United States going into Haiti. It is still incredibly poor, despite all of this effort on the part of the United States and other nations. In fact, Haiti has the greatest number of non-governmental organizations, NGOs, aid groups, per capita than any other nation in the world.

So the question is, where has that $3 billion gone? Where has all of this aid money gone? And if we're going to take on this rebuilding, if we're going to take on this trying to reinstitute some order in Haiti, it's got to be with some sort of guarantee that we can help build a stable government there that is not going to be corrupt and siphon off all of the good will and all of the resources that we're willing to pour in.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know that we occupied Haiti for a period of almost 20 years, from 1915 to what --

MR. BUCHANAN: '34.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- '34.

MR. BUCHANAN: '34. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also Bill Clinton sent in 20,000 troops into Haiti.

MR. PAGE: That's right, back in the '90s.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So we have to be careful that it's from a variety of different national-security reasons about Haiti for the sake of Haitian people, lest they be victimized further by, say, Chavez or Castro.

MR. PAGE: Well, that's a good point, and also drug trafficking, et cetera. I'm not going to say al Qaeda is going to move in, but we have seen all around the planet that unstable governments lead to anarchy and a breeding ground for crime and subversion. But just right down on the ground, a country as close to us geographically as Haiti -- and it is the poorest country in this hemisphere -- they've got 9 million people, 2 million in Port-au-Prince, which is the heart of where the earthquake hit. This is a catastrophe that comes right at a time when, ironically, Haiti was beginning to recover --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

MR. PAGE: -- from the wave of political unrest you talked about in the '90s, as well as in '08 they had four hurricanes and storms. They had a smaller earthquake. They have had one plague after another. But the Haitian people are remarkably resilient. I've been down there twice in the last six years, and their enterprise is just unsinkable.

At the same time, there's about 50,000 Haitians in the U.S. who are undocumented for one reason or another, either in process or illegal, who right now Obama's holding back on awarding them temporary status to be able to legally work. But just in general, the Haitian diaspora provides one-fourth of their GDP in Haiti, one-fourth of their $7 billion-a-year economy. And I think other countries have given that status, and Haitians should be given at least that temporary status so they're able to help their economy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you remember the series of dictators that have lived there? The Duvaliers --

MR. PAGE: I wasn't around for all of them, John, but -- (laughs) -- I'm well aware of them. MR. BUCHANAN: Papa Doc and Baby Doc.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Papa Doc, Baby Doc.

MR. PAGE: Papa Doc and Baby Doc I remember well, yeah. (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: And Aristide. Aristide fled Haiti with $900 million. This is the kind of epic corruption that Haiti has --

MR. PAGE: He seemed to flee --

MS. CROWLEY: -- suffered under.

MR. PAGE: -- with some help from the Bush administration there, so -- (laughs) --

MR. BUCHANAN: He was a good Catholic priest, John, Father Aristide was.

MR. PAGE: But he was also very popular, and --

MS. CROWLEY: And rich now too.

MR. PAGE: -- the people were not happy when --

MR. BUCHANAN: He wants to come back.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: On a probability scale, zero to infinity, what's the probability that Haiti in 10 years will house one of the top three most strategic U.S. military bases? Zero to infinity.

MR. BUCHANAN: Zero.

MS. CLIFT: Three. (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: Ten.

MR. PAGE: I'd say zero. It's too small, really. It wouldn't be practical. The Dominican Republic next door would be more likely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, I think it's very likely.

MS. CROWLEY: We have Guantanamo Bay too.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think it's very likely.

MR. PAGE: Yeah, we've already got Gitmo.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'll give it a 10 on a 10 scale. Are you reducing infinity to a 10? MS. CROWLEY: Well, you said infinity. I was saying 10 on a scale from zero to infinity.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ten meaning minuscule? Minuscule?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, we have Guantanamo Bay.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Massachusetts In Play.

SCOTT BROWN (Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Massachusetts): (From videotape.) This race affects everybody in the country, not only obviously here in Massachusetts, but everybody. As the 41st senator, I can stop what's happening in Washington.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Scott Brown is the Republican candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts. His name will be on the ballot as part of a special election next week to fill that open Senate seat left by deceased Democrat Ted Kennedy, who served for 46 years in the U.S. Senate.

The Democratic nominee to replace Teddy is Martha Coakley. Coakley is the attorney general for the state of Massachusetts.

MASSACHUSETTS ATTORNEY GENERAL MARTHA COAKLEY (Democratic U.S. Senate candidate): (From videotape.) We're working hard to win. We've never paid attention to polls during this race, either in the primary or in the general.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Maybe you should, Martha. According to polls, your race is very tight. And Democrats are afraid of losing the seat. If Brown pulls off an upset, he will be the first Republican senator to represent Massachusetts in more than 30 years.

But the stakes are even higher than that. If Brown wins, the Democrats will lose their U.S. Senate 60-seat majority, making it no longer filibuster-proof. Then Republicans could block the Democrats and President Obama's centerpiece legislation, the health-insurance- reform bill on which Obama's second term, if he goes for it, depends.

Question: Is it smart that President Obama changed his plans and will rush to Massachusetts to campaign for the Democratic candidate, Martha Coakley? Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Yes. The Democrats do need to pull out all the stops. Scott Brown is a very attractive, very glib, very smooth candidate, and he's got all the energy of the Tea Party movement behind him. And the Democrats got complacent. They figured it's Kennedy's seat. And Brown says, "It's not Kennedy's seat; it's the people's seat," which is a good response.

And there was a little bit of the overconfidence that you saw also when it was speculated that Caroline Kennedy would fill the seat in New York. And people don't like this sense that the seat is kind of passed on. And so the Democrats can just be grateful that the polls came out showing him closing 10 days before the race, because they have time now to mobilize the Democratic machinery.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they've got to get out the vote. That's why he's going, probably.

MR. BUCHANAN: Here's the problem, John. Brown was -- as of Friday, Brown was four points ahead.

He's got the energy and the fire and the passion and the Tea Party thing. The Democratic army is three times as large as the Republican army. The problem is that Democratic army, it has never been in combat for 20 years because it walks to victory. That's what Obama is doing. They've got to rally that Democratic base and get them out.

If I had to bet last week, I would have bet on Coakley. I would say it's even money now. This guy is surging. He could win this thing. John, that would be an earthquake in American politics.

MS. CROWLEY: His statement during the debate that Eleanor referenced, where he said, "It's not the Kennedy seat; it's not the Democrats' seat; it's the people's seat," in that one fell swoop he really took a swat at liberalism and elite entitlement. And I think that really resonated. And I think Obama may be making a mistake by going up there, because, remember, he campaigned last year for Jon Corzine in New Jersey and also the Democratic candidate in Virginia, and both of those races were lost to the Republicans. And the key issue in Massachusetts right now is health-care reform.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MS. CROWLEY: It is increasingly --

MR. BUCHANAN: Do you know who asked that question?

MS. CROWLEY: -- unpopular.

MR. BUCHANAN: Do you know who asked that question?

MS. CROWLEY: And if Obama goes up there, I think it could boomerang against the Democrats.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clinton is going up there next week. Who's going to get out more of the vote, Clinton or Obama?

MR. PAGE: Is that the contest here? (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) Right. Nice choice.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, gee whiz. I mean, I thought you were asking who's going to win the election here. This is what really counts. But, no, I think there is a risk for Obama going up, because, once again, he's got to lay his reputation on the line, so to speak. But he has no choice, because that's 60 votes.

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly. He's got to go.

MR. PAGE: That's what's at stake here. And health care is his primary domestic issue.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. PAGE: He's got to go up there and pitch for it as hard as he can.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- you know who asked the question was our friend -- the one who asked the question about it when he came back with "the people's seat" was our friend David Gergen. He was up there --

MS. CLIFT: He was the moderator.

MR. BUCHANAN: He was the moderator of the debate and came in. But I agree with Eleanor and I agree with Clarence. He has got to go. Look, if he loses this seat, it's going to be, you know, Katie bar the door, and all that's at stake. And so I think he goes, puts it on the line.

MS. CROWLEY: But it will be such a huge embarrassment for him, because when you look at the polls --

MR. BUCHANAN: Either way.

MS. CROWLEY: -- even in the state of Massachusetts, which has Romneycare -- this is a version of Obamacare -- most of the people in Massachusetts are already insured by the state plan. They want no part of this, because it's going to be a net cost to the voters and the taxpayers --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If Obama doesn't go --

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and she doesn't win, Obama will take the rap.

MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So, therefore, Obama has to go.

Exit question: If Republican Brown wins, will the Senate majority, Democratic majority, seat the new Republican member right away, as is the custom, or will the Democratic majority first schedule the vote on health care? Do you understand the question? MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. They will try to schedule it right away, and I'll tell you what they'll do. They'll go back to Olympia Snowe, I think, and they'll go with the public option and the trigger. Whatever she wants, they'll try to bring her aboard. And if they don't get her aboard, it goes down, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, quickly.

MS. CLIFT: And our friend Joe Lieberman will suddenly love the public option. Look, they will count the absentee ballots one by one, by hand. (Laughter.) And they'll take their time to seat him. It will take six months, like they did with Senator Franken, which was the Republican Congress. But there is precedent for dragging your feet.

MS. CROWLEY: Well, I'll tell you something. If they do that, they're running a huge risk --

MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.

MS. CROWLEY: -- because if it's a brownout and Scott Brown wins and they do not seat him right away, it's going to be yet another perception of subversion of democracy here, and in 2010, in November, the Democrats will lose even more seats.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the audience --

MR. PAGE: Well, they could do what's called the Roland Burris ploy, which is keep him out in the rain while they count the votes inside. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The audience understands that the present replacement for Ted Kennedy is Paul, what, Kirby?

MR. BUCHANAN: Kirk.

MS. CLIFT: Kirk. Paul Kirk.

MR. PAGE: Paul Kirk.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And Paul Kirk, of course, is a renowned Democrat. He's going to vote the right way.

MS. CLIFT: Former party chairman.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So they're sure of him. That's the point on what they may do.

MR. BUCHANAN: They can't play games with -- if Brown wins -- she's right -- and they hold him up, it'll be horrible for the Democratic Party.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but legitimately -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't think the Democrats can get away with it. I think they're going to have to seat him -- seat her or him right away.

Issue Three: Reid Rage.

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID (D-NV): (From videotape.) I've apologized to everyone that is in the sound of my voice that I could have used a better choice of words.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was opprobrium for and apologies by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this week. Reid came under fire for comments he made while Barack Obama was running for president a year and a half ago, comments that were just published in a book profiling the race, titled "Game Change."

Reid told the authors that Obama had a real chance to win because he was, quote, "light-skinned, with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one," unquote. Democrat Reid apologized last Monday, but it did little to stave off criticism, notably Republican criticism. The GOP demanded that Reid step down from his leadership post.

MICHAEL STEELE (Republican National Committee chairman): (From videotape.) Whether he steps down today or I retire him in November, either way, he will not be the leader in 2011.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Precisely what was Reid's offense, Clarence?

MR. PAGE: He was a Democrat. I mean, all the complaints here are coming from the Republican side, number one. Number two, Harry Reid was complimenting Barack Obama. Barack Obama was not offended. This is closer to the Joe Biden "articulate" gaffe than it is to the Trent Lott/Strom Thurmond gaffe, which is what Republicans have been trying to make it into. And Harry Reid's offense, if anything, was that he used a term that, in today's political etiquette, is not viewed as timely, showing he's out of touch with current vernacular.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Reid was showing any bigotry towards black Americans?

MR. PAGE: Obviously not. I mean, does anybody say he is, besides Michael Steele? (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: He said --

MR. PAGE: I mean, Michael Steele said the word Negro was racist. He ought to take that up with the United Negro College Fund and the Conference of Negro Women.

MS. CLIFT: He said this -- MS. CROWLEY: The criticism is that what he meant by those comments is that Barack Obama was electable because he was not too black, right, that he was more Carlton Banks than Suge Knight.

MR. PAGE: And he's the first person to say that.

MS. CROWLEY: And I think that's -- but I think that's --

MR. PAGE: Didn't we discuss that last program? (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: -- an insult to blacks --

MR. PAGE: Didn't we discuss that on this program?

MS. CROWLEY: -- and an insult to all Americans.

MR. PAGE: No, it's an insult to voters, if anything. You're saying voters --

MS. CROWLEY: And you know that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let her finish.

MR. PAGE: -- some voters vote by color.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will you let her finish?

MS. CROWLEY: Clarence, I think it's an insult to black Americans. I think it's an insult to all Americans, that that's the only way --

MR. PAGE: I'm so hurt. I'm so hurt, Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: -- that he could get elected.

MR. PAGE: No, Monica, you ought to be offended, because he's saying that some white voters vote by color.

MS. CROWLEY: But you also know -- Clarence, look --

MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John --

MR. PAGE: Some black voters do too, by the way.

MS. CROWLEY: You have to acknowledge the double standard; that if Mitch McConnell or Sarah Palin had made this comment, that would be the end of their career.

MR. PAGE: Let them make it. Let's find it.

MR. BUCHANAN: John -- MR. PAGE: I mean, I think we ought to have more candidates talk.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The ultimate Reid shield is Barack Obama himself.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) For him to have used some inartful language in trying to praise me, and for people to try to make hay out of that, makes absolutely no sense. There was nothing mean-spirited in what he had to say, and he's always been on the right side of the issues.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Black conservative Shelby Steele says that statements like this from Mr. Obama are meant to seduce whites. "Obama basically is a bargainer and appeals to whites by communicating to them that he will not see them as racists," unquote.

Others say that President Obama simply prefers to avoid battles that are racially charged. Quote: "He's not somebody who pours gasoline on racial controversy. I think he understands that he's the one who gets burned when that happens," unquote.

Not quite true. Mr. Obama did step into a racially charged fray last year -- the arrest of the black conservative professor Skip Gates by the Cambridge police.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) The Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Was it a political imperative for President Obama to pull Reid back from the brink? Patrick.

MS. CLIFT: Uh --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Or Eleanor.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: Yes, it was. But it did not cause Obama any heartburn, because Reid made those comments in the context of trying to get Obama to run for president as early as 2006. He was assessing him as a candidate, and he thought his attributes, which are now being portrayed as negative in the way he recited them, but he saw them as attributes and believed that Obama could win in a way that Hillary Clinton, as a white woman, couldn't.

MR. BUCHANAN: Mitch McConnell would have been hanged if he had said this, John. But clearly what Reid --

MR. PAGE: As a compliment to Obama? That would be a miracle.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs. )

MR. BUCHANAN: What Reid is saying is Barack Obama is a crossover candidate as an African-American the way Jesse Jackson is not. He's dead right, just like Jack Kennedy was a crossover Catholic and Al Smith was not.

MR. PAGE: This is a sin to say the truth in Washington, right?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want five seconds to summarize this, to try to untangle it, or retangle it, or what?

MR. PAGE: Four hundred years of history in five seconds, John. (Laughter.) I'll try to give it a shot. (Laughs.) No, I think this is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think it's much ado about nothing --

MR. PAGE: I think this is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in the case of Reid?

MR. PAGE: You know, I was serious when I said, you know, if anybody ought to feel insulted, it's white voters out there, who should be shocked, shocked, at the notion --

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, if Obama is not insulted --

MR. PAGE: -- that anybody votes by color. But it does happen.

MR. BUCHANAN: If Obama's not insulted, why should we be?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: Paul's Letter to the Americans.

REP. RON PAUL (R-TX): (From videotape.) The important thing is we change the ideas in this country that we have sound money, balanced budget, live within our means, take care of ourselves and protect civil liberties.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ron Paul is the 74-year-old congressman from Texas's 14th district that abuts the Gulf of Mexico. He's a former flight surgeon in the Air Force, a libertarian by ideology and a Republican by designation. Congressman Paul gained conspicuous public notice for his two presidential runs. He warned against interventionism and internationalism, and he urged fiscal restraint, arguing against the evils of big deficits and big debt.

Paul is now back in vogue, probably due to the U.S. record deficit of -- get this -- $1.4 trillion and a record debt of nearly $13 trillion and a $1 trillion health-care plan that a majority of Americans are against. Paul's exhortations to rein in debt are now GOP talking points.

Paul is also credited for spurring America's newest political movement, tea parties. The Tea Party movement is not only alive; it's thriving. Tea Party is now polling ahead of the GOP. Senator Lindsey Graham is wrought up about Paul's impact on the Republicans. "You have these Ron Paul guys show up and try to take over the party. They are not reflective of the Republican Party. I hope this serves as a wakeup call to Republicans."

Here's how Paul responds to the Graham rap.

REP. PAUL: (From videotape.) You know, the Republican Party isn't exactly the top party in the country right now. But I think Lindsey is giving me way too much credit.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What does Senator Graham mean when he says, quote, "Ron Paul guys are trying to take over the Republican Party"? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: Well, there's some fratricide going on within the Republican Party, because you have the far right running against the right in primaries. And the fear is, on the part of Lindsey Graham, is that the far right wins and can't then win statewide.

You've got some Tea Party candidates who are popular, like Marco Rubio in Florida. But in Illinois, you've got the candidate that really has a shot to win, Ron Kirk, being nibbled to death by the tea parties. And so the Tea Party movement could end up being a big boon for Republicans, but could blow up in their face as well.

MS. CROWLEY: Well, the Tea Party movement is centered on one main issue, and that is government spending. It's big government spending. It's the deficit. It's the debt. And those are the issues that Congressman Paul has been talking about for a very long time. It's exploding.

The Tea Party movement -- the message is not just to the Democrats with big spending; it's also to big-spending Republicans. And God bless Senator Graham, but I have to tell you, he represents the past. He represents Republicans that went along with a lot of Democrats, entitlement spending and all of the rest of it. That's why Republicans lost in '06 and '08. And what the Tea Party movement is doing, if the Republicans are smart enough to pay attention to the message, is smaller government, limited government, bring spending under control, and lower the tax burden.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who galvanized the tea parties?

MR. PAGE: Well, that's a good question about galvanization, because Ron Paul was one of them, but there are a number of people around the country --

MS. CLIFT: Dick Armey.

MR. PAGE: -- with different tea parties. Yeah, Dick Armey was certainly one who, with his organization, has helped to fund buses and all this, bring people out. But you've got a lot of tea parties around the country. This is, what, followers without real leaders. You don't have --

MS. CROWLEY: It's grassroots.

MR. PAGE: They've got figureheads. Yeah, this is a true grassroots movement. They've got figureheads, Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin, who they like, but nobody has really taken real leadership here or real organization.

What's happening here, though, we don't know how big the Tea Party movement is. We do know they've got a loud voice and that they are working right now at the precinct level --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. PAGE: -- in the Republican Party. They're trying to work their way up. But if they really become a significant force, I think we're going to start to see Democrats begin to listen to them, which hasn't happened yet.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, you saw the Tea Party group basically in action twice in the last two or three years. One was for the anti- immigration-reform thing, where they really took down the Kennedy- McCain-Bush immigration reform by a grassroots movement.

The second was after the nomination of Sarah Palin, this enormous surge to McCain, huge crowds coming out when he couldn't get a couple of hundred people before then. It's an ad hoc -- it's a very broad- based movement. I think it's even broader than simply economics. But what Paul is --

MR. PAGE: Don't forget the Buchanan brigades --

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, Buchanan brigades and Perotistas --

MR. PAGE: -- some of your old supporters here. MR. BUCHANAN: -- in '92 and the early '90s were the exact same things. This could be very important in the primaries. Now, Paul, Ron Paul, will do better. He's not going to be nominated, but he will do better than he did before if he runs again because he'll get some of those folks. But right now, quite frankly, the one candidate who can get them better than anybody else is Ms. Sarah Palin.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who wins Massachusetts, Brown or Democrat Coakley?

MR. BUCHANAN: Brown wins. The revolution is on.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Coakley. The revolution is cut short. (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: I don't think so. Brown has 65 percent of independent votes. He wins.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Brown wins. The revolution is on for this year, but it'll be short-lived.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Brown wins.

On Monday, remember to salute the great Martin Luther King, as we do now.

Bye-bye.

END.

MS. CROWLEY: -- even in the state of Massachusetts, which has Romneycare -- this is a version of Obamacare -- most of the people in Massachusetts are already insured by the state plan. They want no part of this, because it's going to be a net cost to the voters and the taxpayers --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If Obama doesn't go --

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and she doesn't win, Obama will take the rap.

MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So, therefore, Obama has to go.

Exit question: If Republican Brown wins, will the Senate majority, Democratic majority, seat the new Republican member right away, as is the custom, or will the Democratic majority first schedule the vote on health care? Do you understand the question? MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. They will try to schedule it right away, and I'll tell you what they'll do. They'll go back to Olympia Snowe, I think, and they'll go with the public option and the trigger. Whatever she wants, they'll try to bring her aboard. And if they don't get her aboard, it goes down, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, quickly.

MS. CLIFT: And our friend Joe Lieberman will suddenly love the public option. Look, they will count the absentee ballots one by one, by hand. (Laughter.) And they'll take their time to seat him. It will take six months, like they did with Senator Franken, which was the Republican Congress. But there is precedent for dragging your feet.

MS. CROWLEY: Well, I'll tell you something. If they do that, they're running a huge risk --

MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.

MS. CROWLEY: -- because if it's a brownout and Scott Brown wins and they do not seat him right away, it's going to be yet another perception of subversion of democracy here, and in 2010, in November, the Democrats will lose even more seats.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the audience --

MR. PAGE: Well, they could do what's called the Roland Burris ploy, which is keep him out in the rain while they count the votes inside. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The audience understands that the present replacement for Ted Kennedy is Paul, what, Kirby?

MR. BUCHANAN: Kirk.

MS. CLIFT: Kirk. Paul Kirk.

MR. PAGE: Paul Kirk.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And Paul Kirk, of course, is a renowned Democrat. He's going to vote the right way.

MS. CLIFT: Former party chairman.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So they're sure of him. That's the point on what they may do.

MR. BUCHANAN: They can't play games with -- if Brown wins -- she's right -- and they hold him up, it'll be horrible for the Democratic Party.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but legitimately -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't think the Democrats can get away with it. I think they're going to have to seat him -- seat her or him right away.

Issue Three: Reid Rage.

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID (D-NV): (From videotape.) I've apologized to everyone that is in the sound of my voice that I could have used a better choice of words.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was opprobrium for and apologies by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this week. Reid came under fire for comments he made while Barack Obama was running for president a year and a half ago, comments that were just published in a book profiling the race, titled "Game Change."

Reid told the authors that Obama had a real chance to win because he was, quote, "light-skinned, with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one," unquote. Democrat Reid apologized last Monday, but it did little to stave off criticism, notably Republican criticism. The GOP demanded that Reid step down from his leadership post.

MICHAEL STEELE (Republican National Committee chairman): (From videotape.) Whether he steps down today or I retire him in November, either way, he will not be the leader in 2011.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Precisely what was Reid's offense, Clarence?

MR. PAGE: He was a Democrat. I mean, all the complaints here are coming from the Republican side, number one. Number two, Harry Reid was complimenting Barack Obama. Barack Obama was not offended. This is closer to the Joe Biden "articulate" gaffe than it is to the Trent Lott/Strom Thurmond gaffe, which is what Republicans have been trying to make it into. And Harry Reid's offense, if anything, was that he used a term that, in today's political etiquette, is not viewed as timely, showing he's out of touch with current vernacular.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Reid was showing any bigotry towards black Americans?

MR. PAGE: Obviously not. I mean, does anybody say he is, besides Michael Steele? (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: He said --

MR. PAGE: I mean, Michael Steele said the word Negro was racist. He ought to take that up with the United Negro College Fund and the Conference of Negro Women.

MS. CLIFT: He said this -- MS. CROWLEY: The criticism is that what he meant by those comments is that Barack Obama was electable because he was not too black, right, that he was more Carlton Banks than Suge Knight.

MR. PAGE: And he's the first person to say that.

MS. CROWLEY: And I think that's -- but I think that's --

MR. PAGE: Didn't we discuss that last program? (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: -- an insult to blacks --

MR. PAGE: Didn't we discuss that on this program?

MS. CROWLEY: -- and an insult to all Americans.

MR. PAGE: No, it's an insult to voters, if anything. You're saying voters --

MS. CROWLEY: And you know that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let her finish.

MR. PAGE: -- some voters vote by color.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will you let her finish?

MS. CROWLEY: Clarence, I think it's an insult to black Americans. I think it's an insult to all Americans, that that's the only way --

MR. PAGE: I'm so hurt. I'm so hurt, Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: -- that he could get elected.

MR. PAGE: No, Monica, you ought to be offended, because he's saying that some white voters vote by color.

MS. CROWLEY: But you also know -- Clarence, look --

MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John --

MR. PAGE: Some black voters do too, by the way.

MS. CROWLEY: You have to acknowledge the double standard; that if Mitch McConnell or Sarah Palin had made this comment, that would be the end of their career.

MR. PAGE: Let them make it. Let's find it.

MR. BUCHANAN: John -- MR. PAGE: I mean, I think we ought to have more candidates talk.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The ultimate Reid shield is Barack Obama himself.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) For him to have used some inartful language in trying to praise me, and for people to try to make hay out of that, makes absolutely no sense. There was nothing mean-spirited in what he had to say, and he's always been on the right side of the issues.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Black conservative Shelby Steele says that statements like this from Mr. Obama are meant to seduce whites. "Obama basically is a bargainer and appeals to whites by communicating to them that he will not see them as racists," unquote.

Others say that President Obama simply prefers to avoid battles that are racially charged. Quote: "He's not somebody who pours gasoline on racial controversy. I think he understands that he's the one who gets burned when that happens," unquote.

Not quite true. Mr. Obama did step into a racially charged fray last year -- the arrest of the black conservative professor Skip Gates by the Cambridge police.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) The Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Was it a political imperative for President Obama to pull Reid back from the brink? Patrick.

MS. CLIFT: Uh --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Or Eleanor.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: Yes, it was. But it did not cause Obama any heartburn, because Reid made those comments in the context of trying to get Obama to run for president as early as 2006. He was assessing him as a candidate, and he thought his attributes, which are now being portrayed as negative in the way he recited them, but he saw them as attributes and believed that Obama could win in a way that Hillary Clinton, as a white woman, couldn't.

MR. BUCHANAN: Mitch McConnell would have been hanged if he had said this, John. But clearly what Reid --

MR. PAGE: As a compliment to Obama? That would be a miracle.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs. )

MR. BUCHANAN: What Reid is saying is Barack Obama is a crossover candidate as an African-American the way Jesse Jackson is not. He's dead right, just like Jack Kennedy was a crossover Catholic and Al Smith was not.

MR. PAGE: This is a sin to say the truth in Washington, right?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want five seconds to summarize this, to try to untangle it, or retangle it, or what?

MR. PAGE: Four hundred years of history in five seconds, John. (Laughter.) I'll try to give it a shot. (Laughs.) No, I think this is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think it's much ado about nothing --

MR. PAGE: I think this is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in the case of Reid?

MR. PAGE: You know, I was serious when I said, you know, if anybody ought to feel insulted, it's white voters out there, who should be shocked, shocked, at the notion --

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, if Obama is not insulted --

MR. PAGE: -- that anybody votes by color. But it does happen.

MR. BUCHANAN: If Obama's not insulted, why should we be?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: Paul's Letter to the Americans.

REP. RON PAUL (R-TX): (From videotape.) The important thing is we change the ideas in this country that we have sound money, balanced budget, live within our means, take care of ourselves and protect civil liberties.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ron Paul is the 74-year-old congressman from Texas's 14th district that abuts the Gulf of Mexico. He's a former flight surgeon in the Air Force, a libertarian by ideology and a Republican by designation. Congressman Paul gained conspicuous public notice for his two presidential runs. He warned against interventionism and internationalism, and he urged fiscal restraint, arguing against the evils of big deficits and big debt.

Paul is now back in vogue, probably due to the U.S. record deficit of -- get this -- $1.4 trillion and a record debt of nearly $13 trillion and a $1 trillion health-care plan that a majority of Americans are against. Paul's exhortations to rein in debt are now GOP talking points.

Paul is also credited for spurring America's newest political movement, tea parties. The Tea Party movement is not only alive; it's thriving. Tea Party is now polling ahead of the GOP. Senator Lindsey Graham is wrought up about Paul's impact on the Republicans. "You have these Ron Paul guys show up and try to take over the party. They are not reflective of the Republican Party. I hope this serves as a wakeup call to Republicans."

Here's how Paul responds to the Graham rap.

REP. PAUL: (From videotape.) You know, the Republican Party isn't exactly the top party in the country right now. But I think Lindsey is giving me way too much credit.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What does Senator Graham mean when he says, quote, "Ron Paul guys are trying to take over the Republican Party"? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: Well, there's some fratricide going on within the Republican Party, because you have the far right running against the right in primaries. And the fear is, on the part of Lindsey Graham, is that the far right wins and can't then win statewide.

You've got some Tea Party candidates who are popular, like Marco Rubio in Florida. But in Illinois, you've got the candidate that really has a shot to win, Ron Kirk, being nibbled to death by the tea parties. And so the Tea Party movement could end up being a big boon for Republicans, but could blow up in their face as well.

MS. CROWLEY: Well, the Tea Party movement is centered on one main issue, and that is government spending. It's big government spending. It's the deficit. It's the debt. And those are the issues that Congressman Paul has been talking about for a very long time. It's exploding.

The Tea Party movement -- the message is not just to the Democrats with big spending; it's also to big-spending Republicans. And God bless Senator Graham, but I have to tell you, he represents the past. He represents Republicans that went along with a lot of Democrats, entitlement spending and all of the rest of it. That's why Republicans lost in '06 and '08. And what the Tea Party movement is doing, if the Republicans are smart enough to pay attention to the message, is smaller government, limited government, bring spending under control, and lower the tax burden.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who galvanized the tea parties?

MR. PAGE: Well, that's a good question about galvanization, because Ron Paul was one of them, but there are a number of people around the country --

MS. CLIFT: Dick Armey.

MR. PAGE: -- with different tea parties. Yeah, Dick Armey was certainly one who, with his organization, has helped to fund buses and all this, bring people out. But you've got a lot of tea parties around the country. This is, what, followers without real leaders. You don't have --

MS. CROWLEY: It's grassroots.

MR. PAGE: They've got figureheads. Yeah, this is a true grassroots movement. They've got figureheads, Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin, who they like, but nobody has really taken real leadership here or real organization.

What's happening here, though, we don't know how big the Tea Party movement is. We do know they've got a loud voice and that they are working right now at the precinct level --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. PAGE: -- in the Republican Party. They're trying to work their way up. But if they really become a significant force, I think we're going to start to see Democrats begin to listen to them, which hasn't happened yet.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, you saw the Tea Party group basically in action twice in the last two or three years. One was for the anti- immigration-reform thing, where they really took down the Kennedy- McCain-Bush immigration reform by a grassroots movement.

The second was after the nomination of Sarah Palin, this enormous surge to McCain, huge crowds coming out when he couldn't get a couple of hundred people before then. It's an ad hoc -- it's a very broad- based movement. I think it's even broader than simply economics. But what Paul is --

MR. PAGE: Don't forget the Buchanan brigades --

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, Buchanan brigades and Perotistas --

MR. PAGE: -- some of your old supporters here. MR. BUCHANAN: -- in '92 and the early '90s were the exact same things. This could be very important in the primaries. Now, Paul, Ron Paul, will do better. He's not going to be nominated, but he will do better than he did before if he runs again because he'll get some of those folks. But right now, quite frankly, the one candidate who can get them better than anybody else is Ms. Sarah Palin.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who wins Massachusetts, Brown or Democrat Coakley?

MR. BUCHANAN: Brown wins. The revolution is on.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Coakley. The revolution is cut short. (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: I don't think so. Brown has 65 percent of independent votes. He wins.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Brown wins. The revolution is on for this year, but it'll be short-lived.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Brown wins.

On Monday, remember to salute the great Martin Luther King, as we do now.

Bye-bye.

END.