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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, WASHINGTON TIMES; JONATHAN CAPEHART, WASHINGTON POST TAPED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 22, 2010 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JANUARY 23-24, 2010

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: The Anti-Obama?

SENATOR-ELECT SCOTT BROWN (R-MA): (From videotape.) I'm Scott Brown. I'm from Wrentham, and I drive a truck. I am nobody's senator except yours.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Scott Philip Brown pulled off one of the greatest upsets of American political history this week. The 50-year- old Republican Brown defeated Democratic Senate candidate, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. Brown will enter the U.S. Senate as the 41st Republican. That ends the Democrats' filibuster-proof 60-seat super-majority. Here's the Massachusetts Republican senator, Scott Brown, on the issues.

Terrorism.

SENATOR-ELECT BROWN: (From videotape.) In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them and not lawyers to defend them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fiscal responsibility.

SENATOR-ELECT BROWN: (From videotape.) No more hiding costs, concealing taxes, collaborating with the special interests and leaving more trillions in debt for our children to pay.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Obamacare.

SEN.-ELECT BROWN: (From videotape.) It will raise taxes. It will hurt Medicare. It will destroy jobs and run our nation deeper into debt.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Universal health care.

SEN.-ELECT BROWN: (From videotape.) I think it's important for everyone to get some form of health care. So to offer a basic plan for everybody, I think, is important.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: New-breed Republican.

SEN.-ELECT BROWN: (From videotape.) Maybe there's a new breed of Republican coming to Washington. Maybe people will finally look at somebody who's not beholden to the special interests or to the party and who will look to just to solve problems.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Should this be gloat time for Republicans, Pat Buchanan?

MR. BUCHANAN: It should be, in a way, rejoice time, Tom, because -- excuse me -- John, because what this guy did is he said, "I'll go to Washington and I'll put a stake right through Obamacare." He shot up in one month 37 points. And 36 hours after he won that election, Nancy Pelosi said, "Health care can't get through the House," and Obama gave up on it.

You've got a populist conservative movement which is like a rocket. If the Republican Party can attach it to itself, it can pick up a plethora of seats in the House and Senate this fall. Obama, a very good politician, recognized it, John. That's why on Thursday he is out pounding the banks and putting a pitchfork in Goldman Sachs.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What percentage of Massachusetts voters are Republican? MR. BUCHANAN: They're 17 of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleven percent, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Seventeen percent -- no, it's 17 percent; Democratic registration, three to one. Independents outnumber them both, however, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The figure I have is 11 percent of the Republicans voted for Scott Brown.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I don't know --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And independents were 51 percent, and 33 percent were Democrats. The Republicans did not put him in.

MR. BUCHANAN: In -- look, in -- of course the Republicans didn't put him in. The independents are more than --

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, why are they gloating?

MR. BUCHANAN: Because Democrats and independents voted for a guy on the Republican line, and the Republican brand is not an impediment to being elected to the Senate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Well, what Pat said that's key is if the Republican Party can attach themselves to the sentiments that Scott Brown has channeled.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That others haven't.

MS. CLIFT: Right, exactly. Scott Brown voted for health care, Romneycare, Romney-Kennedycare in Massachusetts. And his message was that Massachusetts had acted responsibly and had expanded health care, and why should they go for national health care when they would have to subsidize other states for the less responsible leaders in the rest of the country? It was basically, "We've got ours; we don't want to share."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you embarrassed that 33 percent of the Democrats voted for him?

MS. CLIFT: No. I mean, I can see what went wrong in this election, and that is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would you have voted for him?

MS. CLIFT: (Laughter.) I don't live in Massachusetts. I would not have voted for him, because I think he's a hypocrite. I mean, I think he's going to end up being -- MS. CROWLEY: Oh, come on.

MS. CLIFT: -- a traditional Republican vote in the Senate. This is no Joe Lieberman on the other side. He called himself an independent for his --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you heard what his positions are.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And the independents voted for him.

MS. CLIFT: Well, are any of those positions opposite from the Republican Party? I don't think so.

MS. CROWLEY: Look, when you talked about the breakdown in Massachusetts, it is stunning that now, as Massachusetts goes, so goes the nation. Who would have thought that, that Massachusetts is now a swing state? He ran a very canny campaign.

But what he tapped into was outrage on the national level, at what Obama and the congressional Democrats have done.

And this explains why the 33 percent of Democrats voted for him, because when you're talking about mainstream Democrats -- Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton Democrats -- these are not Barack Obama Democrats. What mainstream Democrats are looking at here is a president and a Congress taking their party, along with the country, off the cliff. And that's why you've got responsible Democrats saying, "You've got to throw the brakes on this."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Democrats pulled out their big gun, Barack Obama, to save Coakley, and it didn't work. Is this an embarrassment for Barack Obama?

MR. CAPEHART: Well, sure, it's an embarrassment to Barack Obama. This is the third time he's gone to campaign for a candidate in trouble --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, two governors.

MR. CAPEHART: Two governors and now a Senate candidate. But you know what? This is gloat time for the Republicans only in that they were able to take a seat that the Democrats had for 46 years in the late Senator Ted Kennedy. But where they still have a problem, they don't have a platform. They don't have issues that they're actually for. Tapping into populist anger --

MR. BUCHANAN: But Jonathan --

MR. CAPEHART: -- is all about what you're against. And so if the Republicans --

MR. BUCHANAN: Jonathan, you are wrong. You are wrong, Jonathan.

MR. CAPEHART: Pat, if the Republican Party wants to be more --

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me cede your point. Let me cede your point. You're right. The Republicans don't have any agenda they're united on. But for 2010, you don't need it. You can run against the Democrats, against Obama, and that is a winning thing. You know what? The white vote -- MR. CAPEHART: It's a winning thing, but it's not --

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me just say, John, you know how that swung around? Look, the African-American vote still goes as solidly for the Democrats -- Virginia, New Jersey and Mass -- as it did --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What percentage of the Massachusetts vote is black?

MR. BUCHANAN: Here's the thing. Seventy-nine percent in the general election was white, but this time it was probably 85 to 90. And it's moving massively.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but what percentage of Massachusetts voters are black?

MR. BUCHANAN: Eight percent, 8 or 9 --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Five-point-three percent.

MS. CLIFT: Well, they stayed home. Young people stayed home. And the responsible Democrats that Monica referred to, I believe three out of 10 of those think that health care is not strong enough.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right --

MS. CLIFT: Barack Obama's problem is that he looks like, to the people who supported him, like he joined the government instead of leading the government. So he has now gotten the message that he's got to show a little muscle and toughness here. And don't dance on the grave of health care just yet. (Laughter.) There are legislative ways of getting that through.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, let's hear a little bit --

MS. CLIFT: It is not --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's give a little bit more exposure to Brown. Here's the Brown background: Married; wife, Gail; two daughter, Arianna and Ayla -- "American Idol" contestant and semifinalist; Tufts, B.A.; Boston College Law School, J.D.; town of Wrentham, Mass., assessor, '92 to '95; town of Wrentham, selectman, '95 to '98; state representative, three terms, '98 to '04; state senator, three terms, '04 to '09; Massachusetts National Guard, 30 years and currently.

Question: Does Brown's political trajectory remind you of any other successful politician who ran as an underdog? I ask you.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes. You know who he reminds me of? Barack Obama. Barack Obama spent a good deal of time in the state legislature, a couple of years as state senator, just like Scott Brown, and then went on to the U.S. Senate. Scott Brown is heading to the U.S. Senate. If Scott Brown chooses to run for president in 2012, nobody on that side of the panel is going to say he's not prepared or doesn't have --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does Scott Brown also have any executive experience?

MS. CROWLEY: You know, not that I know of. I'm not sure about that. That I don't know. In the private sector, that I don't know. But he is Army National Guard.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he's got more political experience going in than Obama had going in to seek the presidency?

MS. CROWLEY: About the same. It's about roughly the same.

MS. CLIFT: The Republicans are starved for somebody they can put up as a national candidate. Move over, Sarah Palin. There's now somebody else who can plug into the pop culture.

Look, he's handled his victory quite gracefully, except for putting his two daughters up on the auction block -- (laughs) -- saying they're available. That was a major embarrassing moment.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, come, come, come.

MR. BUCHANAN: Come on.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Come, come.

MR. BUCHANAN: Come on. It was a gaffe. It's a gaffe.

MS. CLIFT: That was a gag? That was a gag?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, it was a gaffe?

MR. BUCHANAN: Okay, he may have used the wrong word. Everybody laughed, for heaven's sake.

MS. CLIFT: He basically said --

MR. CAPEHART: It wasn't a wrong word. He said it and then got -- he said, "Oh, I'm sorry. She's not available. But this one is."

MR. BUCHANAN: But he said --

MR. CAPEHART: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: -- they're single. They're single is what he's saying, for heaven's sakes.

MR. CAPEHART: Using your victory party as a --

MS. CLIFT: It's not a frat party on TV. MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's talking about a conjugal state. You know, they're -- and then he said the youngest one, who is 19, is not available.

MS. CROWLEY: Wait a minute. Harry Reid --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If we had the picture, we'd put it up there.

MS. CROWLEY: Harry Reid is talking about no Negro dialect, and you're worried about him talking about his daughters? Come on.

MR. CAPEHART: Wait a minute. I wasn't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Maybe he can dig up that videotape of the two girls.

Okay, Mr. President, a question to you, sir: Was the victory of Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown a rejection of you and what you stand for?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry and they're frustrated, not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is President Obama in denial about the reason for Brown's triumph?

MR. CAPEHART: No, I don't think so.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's the same wave?

MR. CAPEHART: It is the same wave, because the American people are angry. In 2006 --

MS. CROWLEY: Come on.

MR. CAPEHART: Wait a minute. In 2006 they sent Congress back from Republicans to Democrats.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, you editorialize for the --

MR. CAPEHART: In 2008, they elected Barack Obama. They're not satisfied with what he's done --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You --

MR. CAPEHART: -- in the year he's had as president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You editorialize --

MR. CAPEHART: And now they've voted in Scott Brown. But, remember, it's just Scott Brown.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You editorialize for The Washington Post. I've seen The Washington Post say in editorials, "All politics is local." People are expanding the radius of this far beyond its proper limits. Don't you think this is a Massachusetts vote?

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MS. CROWLEY: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You saw the way -- this is not -- MR. BUCHANAN: Obama got in --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- a big national declaration.

I want to hear from you. If all politics is local --

MR. CAPEHART: No, wait a minute --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- factors, Massachusetts factors --

MR. CAPEHART: Well, as Eleanor said, yes, all politics is local until it becomes nationalized. You had former President Bill Clinton. You had President Barack Obama. You had lots of people on the Republican --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They were --

MR. CAPEHART: -- and the Democratic side going into Massachusetts --

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me explain here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Let him finish.

Go ahead.

MR. CAPEHART: I'm done.

MR. BUCHANAN: He did finish. Obama rode a populist wave, left populist wave -- anti-war, anti-Republican, anti-big business. This guy -- John, this was nationalized by the tea-party town hall, which organized all over the country. They got guys in there, organizers, money.

MR. CAPEHART: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: It was enormous. It was nationalized.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Hold on, Eleanor.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a different populist right-wing movement.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MS. CROWLEY: Okay. When Obama says, "I'm riding the same wave," first of all, he's referring back to the Bush administration, which he never neglects to do. But remember, in 2008 Obama got elected on the wings of hope and change, not anger and frustration. And if he's saying that the American people are frustrated by the slow pace of reform, what you saw in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia -- MS. CLIFT: Right, there's populist --

MS. CROWLEY: -- was to throw the brakes on their reforms.

MS. CLIFT: There's populist --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Eleanor. I want to get you in on this.

Okay, the Brown stimulus package.

(Picture is shown of Senator-elect Brown in Cosmopolitan Magazine.)

(Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Much is being made of this 1982 Cosmo Magazine centerfold winner. So should a politician be embarrassed to have a little skin in his or her youth? I ask you.

MS. CLIFT: We're way beyond the point of embarrassment in politics today. And frankly, I think, for the Republicans, this added to his appeal. And you're going to see lots of stories about how, if a woman had posed, she couldn't have survived it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, yeah.

MS. CLIFT: But, look, I mean, he's an appealing character.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, this --

MS. CLIFT: I'm not going to take that away from him at all. Let's see what he does, and let's see if he is a true independent, if he dares to cross the aisle. I doubt it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did this blast a hole through the typical Republican image of the buttoned-down collar --

MR. BUCHANAN: You got it, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and the prep outfits?

MR. BUCHANAN: We are going to have to work on his social- conservative credentials. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MS. CROWLEY: Eleanor is absolutely right. This helped him in Massachusetts, especially when you look at the woman vote, because a lot of women said, "I want to look at that for six years," okay? He's a hunk. And you are absolutely right. It sort of sexes up the Republican image. And God bless him.

MS. CLIFT: And poor John McCain -- MR. CAPEHART: And not just women.

MS. CLIFT: -- who wanted to put Joe Lieberman on the ticket with him, and he couldn't because Lieberman is pro-choice.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: This guy's pro-choice. I haven't noticed an outcry from your side of the aisle. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of the beefcake?

MS. CROWLEY: We want more beefcake. (Laughs.)

MR. CAPEHART: Look, the picture is actually quite attractive. Why it's digitalized like that is beyond me, because --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MR. CAPEHART: -- giblets aren't showing in the photo.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exactly.

MR. BUCHANAN: Jonathan, it didn't do anything for me. (Laughs.

)

MR. CAPEHART: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's very unfair to the candidate, because we are obliged as a network to fuzz when there is nothing to fuzz. He is not naked in that photo.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, look, it's a clown stunt.

MS. CLIFT: I think he is naked in the photo.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, it's a clown stunt?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a young guy doing a dumb thing. And I think you do give him a pass --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He did it for money, Pat. That's not dumb.

MR. BUCHANAN: Okay.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Stick to your principles.

MR. BUCHANAN: Why don't you do it for money? You've been interested in money for a long time. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did it pay off?

Exit question: On a rising-star trajectory, zero to 10, rate Scott Brown as a rising star. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think he's -- right now, in the Republican firmament, he's a nine. Only Palin may be ahead of him. He's a sensation out there as a fund-raiser and all the rest of it. He's got a great future if he handles himself right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, I believe so.

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: He's a pop-culture phenomenon.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give him a rating.

MS. CLIFT: We don't yet know how he's going to perform as a senator. I give him a seven.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seven on a trajectory --

MS. CLIFT: Sure -- of 25. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ten.

MS. CROWLEY: I give him a nine. The very fact that a Republican could be a king-slayer, slaying the Kennedy machine, slaying the Democratic machine in deep blue, in the state of Massachusetts, instantly catapults him to the top ranks of the Republicans.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He would never have won if we were not in a recession.

MS. CROWLEY: Maybe, or if the Democrats had run a better candidate. I mean, there are a million what-ifs.

MR. CAPEHART: But that's the beauty of luck.

MS. CROWLEY: But the national environment cannot be overlooked here. You've got a revolt going on. He tapped into it. He drives a pickup truck, which Obama made a huge mistake making fun of --

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MS. CROWLEY: -- in that because it made the Democrats look elitist.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of my proposition, he would not have won were we not in a recession?

MR. CAPEHART: I think you're right. And I would say that he -- but still, still, I would say, on your scale, he's a nine. And he's a nine because, as Eleanor said, the Republican Party is starved for stars.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Aftershocks in Haiti.

Haiti suffered its worst earthquake in 200 years last week, a severe 7.3 Richter Scale shock. And this week more aftershocks hit the island. They measured 6.1, 4.9 and 4.8 on the Richter. Defense Secretary Robert Gates stepped up the U.S. military effort. At least one port-clearing ship with cranes was moved in to get Haiti's port functioning. And President Obama himself appointed two former presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, to oversee the total U.S. rescue effort.

Clinton and Bush both made it clear what Haiti needs most; namely, cash.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (From videotape.) Now, right now all we need from people -- if you can't be part of a medical team or a search-and-rescue team, we just need cash.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) I know a lot of people want to send blankets or water. Just send your cash.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama last week pledged funding to aid the Haitian people, $100 million. And the rest of the international community promised $1 billion in aid. The Haiti death figure is expected to reach over 200,000.

Now, throw back to 1998, 12 years ago. Hurricane Mitch hit Central America. Nine thousand people were killed, less than one- twentieth the putative death toll in Haiti. Yet the international community, including the United States, gave $6.3 billion to help Mitch victims.

Question: Before the earthquake this year, Haiti received $700 million in aid per year on a per capita basis. Haiti was one of the world's largest foreign-aid recipients. What is Haiti's track record in handling foreign aid? Do I have a volunteer? You write editorials, as I said before.

MR. CAPEHART: I write editorials. This is a question we haven't explored. But clearly, given the death toll and given the horrific images we've seen out of Haiti, the money isn't well-spent. I mean, Haiti still is -- remains the poorest country in the Caribbean and in the Western Hemisphere. The money is going in, but it's not being put to effective use, it seems.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've heard of The Wall Street Journal, right?

MR. CAPEHART: Yeah, I've heard of it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, I'm not comparing The Wall Street Journal and its massive circulation with The Washington Post. However, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal on January the 19th, this week, he said that Haiti received $701 million in foreign aid in 2007.

On a per capita basis, Haiti was one of the world's largest recipients of foreign aid before the earthquake. Haiti has a total mismatch between levels of foreign aid and government capacity to absorb it. If the government can't absorb it, where's it going, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a failed state, and a lot of it's being stolen. The good father who fled to South Africa took some of it. John, look, this place -- we ought to get all the food and blankets, frankly, and shelter and security you can, and we ought to get those people back on their feet, get the missionaries in there and the aid workers. But I don't think we ought to shovel ten billion dollars --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Andres Oppenheimer --

MR. BUCHANAN: -- into Haiti.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Andres Oppenheimer writes this in his column in the Miami Herald this week: "Haiti will need a global version of the 1948-1952 U.S. Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Western Europe after World War II, and it will have to be launched right away. You and I know that pretty soon the Haiti story will fade from the headlines, replaced by the next celebrity tragedy or international political crisis. If not done now, it won't happen." True or false?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, the difference, though, between the Marshall Plan and what's happening now in Haiti is that the countries of Western Europe after World War II, they had institutions that survived the war. They had a political class. They had some sort of operational society, culture, going. Haiti doesn't have any of those institutions that can support a huge influx of money, a la the Marshall Plan.

Remember, since 1992, when Bill Clinton was president, the United States has pumped $3 billion into Haiti. Most of that was siphoned off by incredibly corrupt leaders. You had Baby and Papa Doc Duvalier.

You had Aristide, who made off with $900 million when he fled the country. The question now is, I mean, if you're talking about --

MS. CLIFT: Without reciting --

MS. CROWLEY: -- (inaudible) -- there is no structure to take it.

MS. CLIFT: Without reciting the whole sorry history, President Clinton is now the U.S. envoy to Haiti. He has said that there has to be more coordination, under the auspices of the U.N., to try to coordinate all this aid. They're just trying to recover from this massive earthquake, which has destroyed --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MS. CLIFT: -- the capital and destroyed their government. So let's cut them a little slack here for a while.

MR. BUCHANAN: We are not going to borrow $6 billion from China and send it to Haiti.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That may be true. But China's giving $1 billion.

MR. BUCHANAN: We'd have to borrow it. We're in debt.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But their donation --

MR. BUCHANAN: We're in debt. We'd have to borrow it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: However, they may be making it up in other ways. I don't want to be unfair to China. However, do you want to say anything about Sachs calling for -- Jeffrey Sachs up in Harvard wants a $15 billion five-year program -- $15 billion.

MR. CAPEHART: Okay, $15 billion over five years, but to do what, exactly? And as Monica rightly points out, Haiti doesn't have --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think -- MR. CAPEHART: -- has neither the capacity nor the institutions --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you saying --

MR. CAPEHART: -- to handle that kind of money.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Aren't you saying that the $100 million is pretty paltry and measly, considering our status with our budget of, what, $2 trillion this year?

MS. CLIFT: No, it seems to me the sums of aid that have gone into Haiti make the world look good. The Red Cross raised $27 million just with text messages. So I don't think we should make the center of our complaint right now the lack of money and assistance going in.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I disagree with you.

Issue Three: Table D'Hote or A La Carte?

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): (From videotape.) We need the American people to stay engaged in this fight, because if the American people stay engaged, we can stop this bill.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "This bill" is President Obama's health- insurance-reform bill. It's dead if the 2,000-page bill, with a price tag of $1 trillion, is presented as is, whole and entire. The win by Republican Scott Brown of the U.S. Senate seat held for 46 years by deceased Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy will deprive Democrats of their filibuster-proof 60-seat super-majority they need to pass the Obama health bill in its current state.

So Democrats are now taking a new course. They will no longer try to pass the health-care bill whole hog, as it is. Take pieces of the Senate and House bills, debate the imperfections out of them, then vote on them one by one over a period of time.

REP. WILLIAM DELAHUNT (D-MA): (From videotape.) I think what we're going to have to do is do it on an incremental basis. There are aspects in both bills that have broad support. And I think that we would get a good policy out of a series of bills that were brought up over the next several months.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama this week hinted at a willingness to take the incremental route.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is this like sewing together pieces of a corpse? You'll end up with a Frankenstein. Jonathan. MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You got the picture?

MR. CAPEHART: Oh, clearly, vividly. And, yes, it could be a Frankenstein if it doesn't work. But clearly Congress has no option, I think, than to get something done. You do not spend almost an entire year debating a bill or an issue back and forth only to say, "Ah, because somebody got elected in Massachusetts, we're not going to do anything." Congress must do something.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, but --

MS. CLIFT: It's very appealing to think you can just take out all the popular parts. But if you do that, if you didn't get a vote for the individual mandate, you couldn't get the insurance companies to keep down their costs and you can't abolish the pre-existing condition. So it all hangs together.

I think the more likely route is that they send it through a legislative maneuver called reconciliation in the Senate, which only requires 50 votes, really, because Biden can be the 51st vote if necessary, so that you can keep the pieces together --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean --

MS. CLIFT: -- and amend the parts that the House Democrats can't swallow --

MS. CROWLEY: But you know what?

MS. CLIFT: -- which is the Cadillac tax and Ben Nelson's cornhuskers deal, which --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you don't have to worry about seating the incumbent senator from Massachusetts.

MS. CLIFT: No, he would be seated, but you wouldn't need his vote because --

(Cross talk.)

MS. CLIFT: -- it would be a budget maneuver.

MS. CROWLEY: And from what we're hearing is that the Democrats this very weekend are talking about going that route, reconciliation. But I have to tell you, if they go that route and they jam this thing down the American people's throats with 51 votes, November is going to make Massachusetts look like a walk in the park.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me reinforce that. Hold on --

MS. CLIFT: George W. Bush passed tax cuts through reconciliation -- MS. CROWLEY: And the tax cuts worked --

MS. CLIFT: -- and a lot of other things.

MS. CROWLEY: -- (inaudible) -- the economy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me move it on to -- okay, Republicans shut out.

MINORITY LEADER BOEHNER: (From videotape.) We've offered to work with the president all year. We've been shut out, shut out and shut out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Leader Boehner, what is your advice to President Obama for his State of the Union address next week?

MINORITY LEADER BOEHNER: (From videotape.) If I were the president, I'd come before the American people and say, "Listen, I've heard you loud and clear. I'm going to make a renewed effort to keep my campaign promises, to work in a more bipartisan way on things that we can come together on to help improve our economy and get people back to work."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that advice, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I think if he's going to go that route, you've got the problem that Hillary -- I mean, excuse me -- Eleanor mentioned, which is, look, you take pre-existing condition.

The insurance companies' got to take the guy, regardless of pre- existing condition. Therefore, the insurance companies lose money. They raise rates. What do you do then? You've got to have somewhere to take care of that, so you force kids in there; they buy insurance. You're back into the same problem, John.

MS. CROWLEY: And don't forget --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, the advice is disingenuous, because the Republicans have no intention of supporting anything Barack Obama does. They've been invested in his failure from the day he took office.

MS. CROWLEY: Don't forget, it's not just --

MR. CAPEHART: It's not like they haven't been asked.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You saw the way Boehner worked with Teddy Kennedy in Massachusetts. They were also personal friends.

MS. CROWLEY: Right. And don't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They also put on a banquet for the underprivileged children of Washington, D.C.

MS. CROWLEY: And John --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why -- in other words, is she wrong in her presupposition?

MS. CROWLEY: Don't forget that it's not just Republicans who oppose this. You've got a lot of Blue Dog Democrats watching what went down in Massachusetts, saying, "Hey, the American people don't want this. I don't want to risk losing my seat. Forget it."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction: Rahm Emanuel, the president's chief of staff, will be gone by December 31st this year. Yes or no?

MR. BUCHANAN: Maybe sooner. MS. CLIFT: Yeah. They need a shakeup now, and Rahm wants out.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, and replaced by Valerie Jarrett.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jonathan.

MR. CAPEHART: Yes. And that's very interesting, Monica.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes -- replaced by Tom Daschle. (Laughter.)

Bye-bye.



END.

ollar --

MR. BUCHANAN: You got it, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and the prep outfits?

MR. BUCHANAN: We are going to have to work on his social- conservative credentials. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MS. CROWLEY: Eleanor is absolutely right. This helped him in Massachusetts, especially when you look at the woman vote, because a lot of women said, "I want to look at that for six years," okay? He's a hunk. And you are absolutely right. It sort of sexes up the Republican image. And God bless him.

MS. CLIFT: And poor John McCain -- MR. CAPEHART: And not just women.

MS. CLIFT: -- who wanted to put Joe Lieberman on the ticket with him, and he couldn't because Lieberman is pro-choice.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: This guy's pro-choice. I haven't noticed an outcry from your side of the aisle. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of the beefcake?

MS. CROWLEY: We want more beefcake. (Laughs.)

MR. CAPEHART: Look, the picture is actually quite attractive. Why it's digitalized like that is beyond me, because --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MR. CAPEHART: -- giblets aren't showing in the photo.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exactly.

MR. BUCHANAN: Jonathan, it didn't do anything for me. (Laughs.

)

MR. CAPEHART: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's very unfair to the candidate, because we are obliged as a network to fuzz when there is nothing to fuzz. He is not naked in that photo.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, look, it's a clown stunt.

MS. CLIFT: I think he is naked in the photo.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, it's a clown stunt?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a young guy doing a dumb thing. And I think you do give him a pass --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He did it for money, Pat. That's not dumb.

MR. BUCHANAN: Okay.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Stick to your principles.

MR. BUCHANAN: Why don't you do it for money? You've been interested in money for a long time. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did it pay off?

Exit question: On a rising-star trajectory, zero to 10, rate Scott Brown as a rising star. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think he's -- right now, in the Republican firmament, he's a nine. Only Palin may be ahead of him. He's a sensation out there as a fund-raiser and all the rest of it. He's got a great future if he handles himself right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, I believe so.

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: He's a pop-culture phenomenon.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give him a rating.

MS. CLIFT: We don't yet know how he's going to perform as a senator. I give him a seven.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seven on a trajectory --

MS. CLIFT: Sure -- of 25. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ten.

MS. CROWLEY: I give him a nine. The very fact that a Republican could be a king-slayer, slaying the Kennedy machine, slaying the Democratic machine in deep blue, in the state of Massachusetts, instantly catapults him to the top ranks of the Republicans.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He would never have won if we were not in a recession.

MS. CROWLEY: Maybe, or if the Democrats had run a better candidate. I mean, there are a million what-ifs.

MR. CAPEHART: But that's the beauty of luck.

MS. CROWLEY: But the national environment cannot be overlooked here. You've got a revolt going on. He tapped into it. He drives a pickup truck, which Obama made a huge mistake making fun of --

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MS. CROWLEY: -- in that because it made the Democrats look elitist.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of my proposition, he would not have won were we not in a recession?

MR. CAPEHART: I think you're right. And I would say that he -- but still, still, I would say, on your scale, he's a nine. And he's a nine because, as Eleanor said, the Republican Party is starved for stars.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Aftershocks in Haiti.

Haiti suffered its worst earthquake in 200 years last week, a severe 7.3 Richter Scale shock. And this week more aftershocks hit the island. They measured 6.1, 4.9 and 4.8 on the Richter. Defense Secretary Robert Gates stepped up the U.S. military effort. At least one port-clearing ship with cranes was moved in to get Haiti's port functioning. And President Obama himself appointed two former presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, to oversee the total U.S. rescue effort.

Clinton and Bush both made it clear what Haiti needs most; namely, cash.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (From videotape.) Now, right now all we need from people -- if you can't be part of a medical team or a search-and-rescue team, we just need cash.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) I know a lot of people want to send blankets or water. Just send your cash.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama last week pledged funding to aid the Haitian people, $100 million. And the rest of the international community promised $1 billion in aid. The Haiti death figure is expected to reach over 200,000.

Now, throw back to 1998, 12 years ago. Hurricane Mitch hit Central America. Nine thousand people were killed, less than one- twentieth the putative death toll in Haiti. Yet the international community, including the United States, gave $6.3 billion to help Mitch victims.

Question: Before the earthquake this year, Haiti received $700 million in aid per year on a per capita basis. Haiti was one of the world's largest foreign-aid recipients. What is Haiti's track record in handling foreign aid? Do I have a volunteer? You write editorials, as I said before.

MR. CAPEHART: I write editorials. This is a question we haven't explored. But clearly, given the death toll and given the horrific images we've seen out of Haiti, the money isn't well-spent. I mean, Haiti still is -- remains the poorest country in the Caribbean and in the Western Hemisphere. The money is going in, but it's not being put to effective use, it seems.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've heard of The Wall Street Journal, right?

MR. CAPEHART: Yeah, I've heard of it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, I'm not comparing The Wall Street Journal and its massive circulation with The Washington Post. However, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal on January the 19th, this week, he said that Haiti received $701 million in foreign aid in 2007.

On a per capita basis, Haiti was one of the world's largest recipients of foreign aid before the earthquake. Haiti has a total mismatch between levels of foreign aid and government capacity to absorb it. If the government can't absorb it, where's it going, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a failed state, and a lot of it's being stolen. The good father who fled to South Africa took some of it. John, look, this place -- we ought to get all the food and blankets, frankly, and shelter and security you can, and we ought to get those people back on their feet, get the missionaries in there and the aid workers. But I don't think we ought to shovel ten billion dollars --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Andres Oppenheimer --

MR. BUCHANAN: -- into Haiti.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Andres Oppenheimer writes this in his column in the Miami Herald this week: "Haiti will need a global version of the 1948-1952 U.S. Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Western Europe after World War II, and it will have to be launched right away. You and I know that pretty soon the Haiti story will fade from the headlines, replaced by the next celebrity tragedy or international political crisis. If not done now, it won't happen." True or false?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, the difference, though, between the Marshall Plan and what's happening now in Haiti is that the countries of Western Europe after World War II, they had institutions that survived the war. They had a political class. They had some sort of operational society, culture, going. Haiti doesn't have any of those institutions that can support a huge influx of money, a la the Marshall Plan.

Remember, since 1992, when Bill Clinton was president, the United States has pumped $3 billion into Haiti. Most of that was siphoned off by incredibly corrupt leaders. You had Baby and Papa Doc Duvalier.

You had Aristide, who made off with $900 million when he fled the country. The question now is, I mean, if you're talking about --

MS. CLIFT: Without reciting --

MS. CROWLEY: -- (inaudible) -- there is no structure to take it.

MS. CLIFT: Without reciting the whole sorry history, President Clinton is now the U.S. envoy to Haiti. He has said that there has to be more coordination, under the auspices of the U.N., to try to coordinate all this aid. They're just trying to recover from this massive earthquake, which has destroyed --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MS. CLIFT: -- the capital and destroyed their government. So let's cut them a little slack here for a while.

MR. BUCHANAN: We are not going to borrow $6 billion from China and send it to Haiti.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That may be true. But China's giving $1 billion.

MR. BUCHANAN: We'd have to borrow it. We're in debt.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But their donation --

MR. BUCHANAN: We're in debt. We'd have to borrow it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: However, they may be making it up in other ways. I don't want to be unfair to China. However, do you want to say anything about Sachs calling for -- Jeffrey Sachs up in Harvard wants a $15 billion five-year program -- $15 billion.

MR. CAPEHART: Okay, $15 billion over five years, but to do what, exactly? And as Monica rightly points out, Haiti doesn't have --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think -- MR. CAPEHART: -- has neither the capacity nor the institutions --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you saying --

MR. CAPEHART: -- to handle that kind of money.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Aren't you saying that the $100 million is pretty paltry and measly, considering our status with our budget of, what, $2 trillion this year?

MS. CLIFT: No, it seems to me the sums of aid that have gone into Haiti make the world look good. The Red Cross raised $27 million just with text messages. So I don't think we should make the center of our complaint right now the lack of money and assistance going in.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I disagree with you.

Issue Three: Table D'Hote or A La Carte?

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): (From videotape.) We need the American people to stay engaged in this fight, because if the American people stay engaged, we can stop this bill.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "This bill" is President Obama's health- insurance-reform bill. It's dead if the 2,000-page bill, with a price tag of $1 trillion, is presented as is, whole and entire. The win by Republican Scott Brown of the U.S. Senate seat held for 46 years by deceased Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy will deprive Democrats of their filibuster-proof 60-seat super-majority they need to pass the Obama health bill in its current state.

So Democrats are now taking a new course. They will no longer try to pass the health-care bill whole hog, as it is. Take pieces of the Senate and House bills, debate the imperfections out of them, then vote on them one by one over a period of time.

REP. WILLIAM DELAHUNT (D-MA): (From videotape.) I think what we're going to have to do is do it on an incremental basis. There are aspects in both bills that have broad support. And I think that we would get a good policy out of a series of bills that were brought up over the next several months.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama this week hinted at a willingness to take the incremental route.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is this like sewing together pieces of a corpse? You'll end up with a Frankenstein. Jonathan. MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You got the picture?

MR. CAPEHART: Oh, clearly, vividly. And, yes, it could be a Frankenstein if it doesn't work. But clearly Congress has no option, I think, than to get something done. You do not spend almost an entire year debating a bill or an issue back and forth only to say, "Ah, because somebody got elected in Massachusetts, we're not going to do anything." Congress must do something.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, but --

MS. CLIFT: It's very appealing to think you can just take out all the popular parts. But if you do that, if you didn't get a vote for the individual mandate, you couldn't get the insurance companies to keep down their costs and you can't abolish the pre-existing condition. So it all hangs together.

I think the more likely route is that they send it through a legislative maneuver called reconciliation in the Senate, which only requires 50 votes, really, because Biden can be the 51st vote if necessary, so that you can keep the pieces together --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean --

MS. CLIFT: -- and amend the parts that the House Democrats can't swallow --

MS. CROWLEY: But you know what?

MS. CLIFT: -- which is the Cadillac tax and Ben Nelson's cornhuskers deal, which --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you don't have to worry about seating the incumbent senator from Massachusetts.

MS. CLIFT: No, he would be seated, but you wouldn't need his vote because --

(Cross talk.)

MS. CLIFT: -- it would be a budget maneuver.

MS. CROWLEY: And from what we're hearing is that the Democrats this very weekend are talking about going that route, reconciliation. But I have to tell you, if they go that route and they jam this thing down the American people's throats with 51 votes, November is going to make Massachusetts look like a walk in the park.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me reinforce that. Hold on --

MS. CLIFT: George W. Bush passed tax cuts through reconciliation -- MS. CROWLEY: And the tax cuts worked --

MS. CLIFT: -- and a lot of other things.

MS. CROWLEY: -- (inaudible) -- the economy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me move it on to -- okay, Republicans shut out.

MINORITY LEADER BOEHNER: (From videotape.) We've offered to work with the president all year. We've been shut out, shut out and shut out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Leader Boehner, what is your advice to President Obama for his State of the Union address next week?

MINORITY LEADER BOEHNER: (From videotape.) If I were the president, I'd come before the American people and say, "Listen, I've heard you loud and clear. I'm going to make a renewed effort to keep my campaign promises, to work in a more bipartisan way on things that we can come together on to help improve our economy and get people back to work."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that advice, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I think if he's going to go that route, you've got the problem that Hillary -- I mean, excuse me -- Eleanor mentioned, which is, look, you take pre-existing condition.

The insurance companies' got to take the guy, regardless of pre- existing condition. Therefore, the insurance companies lose money. They raise rates. What do you do then? You've got to have somewhere to take care of that, so you force kids in there; they buy insurance. You're back into the same problem, John.

MS. CROWLEY: And don't forget --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, the advice is disingenuous, because the Republicans have no intention of supporting anything Barack Obama does. They've been invested in his failure from the day he took office.

MS. CROWLEY: Don't forget, it's not just --

MR. CAPEHART: It's not like they haven't been asked.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You saw the way Boehner worked with Teddy Kennedy in Massachusetts. They were also personal friends.

MS. CROWLEY: Right. And don't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They also put on a banquet for the underprivileged children of Washington, D.C.

MS. CROWLEY: And John --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why -- in other words, is she wrong in her presupposition?

MS. CROWLEY: Don't forget that it's not just Republicans who oppose this. You've got a lot of Blue Dog Democrats watching what went down in Massachusetts, saying, "Hey, the American people don't want this. I don't want to risk losing my seat. Forget it."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction: Rahm Emanuel, the president's chief of staff, will be gone by December 31st this year. Yes or no?

MR. BUCHANAN: Maybe sooner. MS. CLIFT: Yeah. They need a shakeup now, and Rahm wants out.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, and replaced by Valerie Jarrett.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jonathan.

MR. CAPEHART: Yes. And that's very interesting, Monica.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes -- replaced by Tom Daschle. (Laughter.)

Bye-bye.



END.

ollar --

MR. BUCHANAN: You got it, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and the prep outfits?

MR. BUCHANAN: We are going to have to work on his social- conservative credentials. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MS. CROWLEY: Eleanor is absolutely right. This helped him in Massachusetts, especially when you look at the woman vote, because a lot of women said, "I want to look at that for six years," okay? He's a hunk. And you are absolutely right. It sort of sexes up the Republican image. And God bless him.

MS. CLIFT: And poor John McCain -- MR. CAPEHART: And not just women.

MS. CLIFT: -- who wanted to put Joe Lieberman on the ticket with him, and he couldn't because Lieberman is pro-choice.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: This guy's pro-choice. I haven't noticed an outcry from your side of the aisle. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of the beefcake?

MS. CROWLEY: We want more beefcake. (Laughs.)

MR. CAPEHART: Look, the picture is actually quite attractive. Why it's digitalized like that is beyond me, because --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MR. CAPEHART: -- giblets aren't showing in the photo.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exactly.

MR. BUCHANAN: Jonathan, it didn't do anything for me. (Laughs.

)

MR. CAPEHART: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's very unfair to the candidate, because we are obliged as a network to fuzz when there is nothing to fuzz. He is not naked in that photo.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, look, it's a clown stunt.

MS. CLIFT: I think he is naked in the photo.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, it's a clown stunt?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a young guy doing a dumb thing. And I think you do give him a pass --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He did it for money, Pat. That's not dumb.

MR. BUCHANAN: Okay.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Stick to your principles.

MR. BUCHANAN: Why don't you do it for money? You've been interested in money for a long time. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did it pay off?

Exit question: On a rising-star trajectory, zero to 10, rate Scott Brown as a rising star. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think he's -- right now, in the Republican firmament, he's a nine. Only Palin may be ahead of him. He's a sensation out there as a fund-raiser and all the rest of it. He's got a great future if he handles himself right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, I believe so.

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: He's a pop-culture phenomenon.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give him a rating.

MS. CLIFT: We don't yet know how he's going to perform as a senator. I give him a seven.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seven on a trajectory --

MS. CLIFT: Sure -- of 25. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ten.

MS. CROWLEY: I give him a nine. The very fact that a Republican could be a king-slayer, slaying the Kennedy machine, slaying the Democratic machine in deep blue, in the state of Massachusetts, instantly catapults him to the top ranks of the Republicans.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He would never have won if we were not in a recession.

MS. CROWLEY: Maybe, or if the Democrats had run a better candidate. I mean, there are a million what-ifs.

MR. CAPEHART: But that's the beauty of luck.

MS. CROWLEY: But the national environment cannot be overlooked here. You've got a revolt going on. He tapped into it. He drives a pickup truck, which Obama made a huge mistake making fun of --

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MS. CROWLEY: -- in that because it made the Democrats look elitist.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of my proposition, he would not have won were we not in a recession?

MR. CAPEHART: I think you're right. And I would say that he -- but still, still, I would say, on your scale, he's a nine. And he's a nine because, as Eleanor said, the Republican Party is starved for stars.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Aftershocks in Haiti.

Haiti suffered its worst earthquake in 200 years last week, a severe 7.3 Richter Scale shock. And this week more aftershocks hit the island. They measured 6.1, 4.9 and 4.8 on the Richter. Defense Secretary Robert Gates stepped up the U.S. military effort. At least one port-clearing ship with cranes was moved in to get Haiti's port functioning. And President Obama himself appointed two former presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, to oversee the total U.S. rescue effort.

Clinton and Bush both made it clear what Haiti needs most; namely, cash.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (From videotape.) Now, right now all we need from people -- if you can't be part of a medical team or a search-and-rescue team, we just need cash.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) I know a lot of people want to send blankets or water. Just send your cash.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama last week pledged funding to aid the Haitian people, $100 million. And the rest of the international community promised $1 billion in aid. The Haiti death figure is expected to reach over 200,000.

Now, throw back to 1998, 12 years ago. Hurricane Mitch hit Central America. Nine thousand people were killed, less than one- twentieth the putative death toll in Haiti. Yet the international community, including the United States, gave $6.3 billion to help Mitch victims.

Question: Before the earthquake this year, Haiti received $700 million in aid per year on a per capita basis. Haiti was one of the world's largest foreign-aid recipients. What is Haiti's track record in handling foreign aid? Do I have a volunteer? You write editorials, as I said before.

MR. CAPEHART: I write editorials. This is a question we haven't explored. But clearly, given the death toll and given the horrific images we've seen out of Haiti, the money isn't well-spent. I mean, Haiti still is -- remains the poorest country in the Caribbean and in the Western Hemisphere. The money is going in, but it's not being put to effective use, it seems.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've heard of The Wall Street Journal, right?

MR. CAPEHART: Yeah, I've heard of it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, I'm not comparing The Wall Street Journal and its massive circulation with The Washington Post. However, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal on January the 19th, this week, he said that Haiti received $701 million in foreign aid in 2007.

On a per capita basis, Haiti was one of the world's largest recipients of foreign aid before the earthquake. Haiti has a total mismatch between levels of foreign aid and government capacity to absorb it. If the government can't absorb it, where's it going, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a failed state, and a lot of it's being stolen. The good father who fled to South Africa took some of it. John, look, this place -- we ought to get all the food and blankets, frankly, and shelter and security you can, and we ought to get those people back on their feet, get the missionaries in there and the aid workers. But I don't think we ought to shovel ten billion dollars --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Andres Oppenheimer --

MR. BUCHANAN: -- into Haiti.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Andres Oppenheimer writes this in his column in the Miami Herald this week: "Haiti will need a global version of the 1948-1952 U.S. Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Western Europe after World War II, and it will have to be launched right away. You and I know that pretty soon the Haiti story will fade from the headlines, replaced by the next celebrity tragedy or international political crisis. If not done now, it won't happen." True or false?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, the difference, though, between the Marshall Plan and what's happening now in Haiti is that the countries of Western Europe after World War II, they had institutions that survived the war. They had a political class. They had some sort of operational society, culture, going. Haiti doesn't have any of those institutions that can support a huge influx of money, a la the Marshall Plan.

Remember, since 1992, when Bill Clinton was president, the United States has pumped $3 billion into Haiti. Most of that was siphoned off by incredibly corrupt leaders. You had Baby and Papa Doc Duvalier.

You had Aristide, who made off with $900 million when he fled the country. The question now is, I mean, if you're talking about --

MS. CLIFT: Without reciting --

MS. CROWLEY: -- (inaudible) -- there is no structure to take it.

MS. CLIFT: Without reciting the whole sorry history, President Clinton is now the U.S. envoy to Haiti. He has said that there has to be more coordination, under the auspices of the U.N., to try to coordinate all this aid. They're just trying to recover from this massive earthquake, which has destroyed --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MS. CLIFT: -- the capital and destroyed their government. So let's cut them a little slack here for a while.

MR. BUCHANAN: We are not going to borrow $6 billion from China and send it to Haiti.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That may be true. But China's giving $1 billion.

MR. BUCHANAN: We'd have to borrow it. We're in debt.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But their donation --

MR. BUCHANAN: We're in debt. We'd have to borrow it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: However, they may be making it up in other ways. I don't want to be unfair to China. However, do you want to say anything about Sachs calling for -- Jeffrey Sachs up in Harvard wants a $15 billion five-year program -- $15 billion.

MR. CAPEHART: Okay, $15 billion over five years, but to do what, exactly? And as Monica rightly points out, Haiti doesn't have --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think -- MR. CAPEHART: -- has neither the capacity nor the institutions --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you saying --

MR. CAPEHART: -- to handle that kind of money.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Aren't you saying that the $100 million is pretty paltry and measly, considering our status with our budget of, what, $2 trillion this year?

MS. CLIFT: No, it seems to me the sums of aid that have gone into Haiti make the world look good. The Red Cross raised $27 million just with text messages. So I don't think we should make the center of our complaint right now the lack of money and assistance going in.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I disagree with you.

Issue Three: Table D'Hote or A La Carte?

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): (From videotape.) We need the American people to stay engaged in this fight, because if the American people stay engaged, we can stop this bill.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "This bill" is President Obama's health- insurance-reform bill. It's dead if the 2,000-page bill, with a price tag of $1 trillion, is presented as is, whole and entire. The win by Republican Scott Brown of the U.S. Senate seat held for 46 years by deceased Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy will deprive Democrats of their filibuster-proof 60-seat super-majority they need to pass the Obama health bill in its current state.

So Democrats are now taking a new course. They will no longer try to pass the health-care bill whole hog, as it is. Take pieces of the Senate and House bills, debate the imperfections out of them, then vote on them one by one over a period of time.

REP. WILLIAM DELAHUNT (D-MA): (From videotape.) I think what we're going to have to do is do it on an incremental basis. There are aspects in both bills that have broad support. And I think that we would get a good policy out of a series of bills that were brought up over the next several months.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama this week hinted at a willingness to take the incremental route.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is this like sewing together pieces of a corpse? You'll end up with a Frankenstein. Jonathan. MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You got the picture?

MR. CAPEHART: Oh, clearly, vividly. And, yes, it could be a Frankenstein if it doesn't work. But clearly Congress has no option, I think, than to get something done. You do not spend almost an entire year debating a bill or an issue back and forth only to say, "Ah, because somebody got elected in Massachusetts, we're not going to do anything." Congress must do something.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, but --

MS. CLIFT: It's very appealing to think you can just take out all the popular parts. But if you do that, if you didn't get a vote for the individual mandate, you couldn't get the insurance companies to keep down their costs and you can't abolish the pre-existing condition. So it all hangs together.

I think the more likely route is that they send it through a legislative maneuver called reconciliation in the Senate, which only requires 50 votes, really, because Biden can be the 51st vote if necessary, so that you can keep the pieces together --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean --

MS. CLIFT: -- and amend the parts that the House Democrats can't swallow --

MS. CROWLEY: But you know what?

MS. CLIFT: -- which is the Cadillac tax and Ben Nelson's cornhuskers deal, which --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you don't have to worry about seating the incumbent senator from Massachusetts.

MS. CLIFT: No, he would be seated, but you wouldn't need his vote because --

(Cross talk.)

MS. CLIFT: -- it would be a budget maneuver.

MS. CROWLEY: And from what we're hearing is that the Democrats this very weekend are talking about going that route, reconciliation. But I have to tell you, if they go that route and they jam this thing down the American people's throats with 51 votes, November is going to make Massachusetts look like a walk in the park.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me reinforce that. Hold on --

MS. CLIFT: George W. Bush passed tax cuts through reconciliation -- MS. CROWLEY: And the tax cuts worked --

MS. CLIFT: -- and a lot of other things.

MS. CROWLEY: -- (inaudible) -- the economy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me move it on to -- okay, Republicans shut out.

MINORITY LEADER BOEHNER: (From videotape.) We've offered to work with the president all year. We've been shut out, shut out and shut out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Leader Boehner, what is your advice to President Obama for his State of the Union address next week?

MINORITY LEADER BOEHNER: (From videotape.) If I were the president, I'd come before the American people and say, "Listen, I've heard you loud and clear. I'm going to make a renewed effort to keep my campaign promises, to work in a more bipartisan way on things that we can come together on to help improve our economy and get people back to work."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that advice, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I think if he's going to go that route, you've got the problem that Hillary -- I mean, excuse me -- Eleanor mentioned, which is, look, you take pre-existing condition.

The insurance companies' got to take the guy, regardless of pre- existing condition. Therefore, the insurance companies lose money. They raise rates. What do you do then? You've got to have somewhere to take care of that, so you force kids in there; they buy insurance. You're back into the same problem, John.

MS. CROWLEY: And don't forget --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, the advice is disingenuous, because the Republicans have no intention of supporting anything Barack Obama does. They've been invested in his failure from the day he took office.

MS. CROWLEY: Don't forget, it's not just --

MR. CAPEHART: It's not like they haven't been asked.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You saw the way Boehner worked with Teddy Kennedy in Massachusetts. They were also personal friends.

MS. CROWLEY: Right. And don't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They also put on a banquet for the underprivileged children of Washington, D.C.

MS. CROWLEY: And John --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why -- in other words, is she wrong in her presupposition?

MS. CROWLEY: Don't forget that it's not just Republicans who oppose this. You've got a lot of Blue Dog Democrats watching what went down in Massachusetts, saying, "Hey, the American people don't want this. I don't want to risk losing my seat. Forget it."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction: Rahm Emanuel, the president's chief of staff, will be gone by December 31st this year. Yes or no?

MR. BUCHANAN: Maybe sooner. MS. CLIFT: Yeah. They need a shakeup now, and Rahm wants out.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, and replaced by Valerie Jarrett.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jonathan.

MR. CAPEHART: Yes. And that's very interesting, Monica.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes -- replaced by Tom Daschle. (Laughter.)

Bye-bye.



END.

ollar --

MR. BUCHANAN: You got it, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and the prep outfits?

MR. BUCHANAN: We are going to have to work on his social- conservative credentials. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MS. CROWLEY: Eleanor is absolutely right. This helped him in Massachusetts, especially when you look at the woman vote, because a lot of women said, "I want to look at that for six years," okay? He's a hunk. And you are absolutely right. It sort of sexes up the Republican image. And God bless him.

MS. CLIFT: And poor John McCain -- MR. CAPEHART: And not just women.

MS. CLIFT: -- who wanted to put Joe Lieberman on the ticket with him, and he couldn't because Lieberman is pro-choice.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: This guy's pro-choice. I haven't noticed an outcry from your side of the aisle. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of the beefcake?

MS. CROWLEY: We want more beefcake. (Laughs.)

MR. CAPEHART: Look, the picture is actually quite attractive. Why it's digitalized like that is beyond me, because --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MR. CAPEHART: -- giblets aren't showing in the photo.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exactly.

MR. BUCHANAN: Jonathan, it didn't do anything for me. (Laughs.

)

MR. CAPEHART: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's very unfair to the candidate, because we are obliged as a network to fuzz when there is nothing to fuzz. He is not naked in that photo.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, look, it's a clown stunt.

MS. CLIFT: I think he is naked in the photo.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, it's a clown stunt?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a young guy doing a dumb thing. And I think you do give him a pass --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He did it for money, Pat. That's not dumb.

MR. BUCHANAN: Okay.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Stick to your principles.

MR. BUCHANAN: Why don't you do it for money? You've been interested in money for a long time. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did it pay off?

Exit question: On a rising-star trajectory, zero to 10, rate Scott Brown as a rising star. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think he's -- right now, in the Republican firmament, he's a nine. Only Palin may be ahead of him. He's a sensation out there as a fund-raiser and all the rest of it. He's got a great future if he handles himself right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, I believe so.

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: He's a pop-culture phenomenon.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give him a rating.

MS. CLIFT: We don't yet know how he's going to perform as a senator. I give him a seven.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seven on a trajectory --

MS. CLIFT: Sure -- of 25. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ten.

MS. CROWLEY: I give him a nine. The very fact that a Republican could be a king-slayer, slaying the Kennedy machine, slaying the Democratic machine in deep blue, in the state of Massachusetts, instantly catapults him to the top ranks of the Republicans.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He would never have won if we were not in a recession.

MS. CROWLEY: Maybe, or if the Democrats had run a better candidate. I mean, there are a million what-ifs.

MR. CAPEHART: But that's the beauty of luck.

MS. CROWLEY: But the national environment cannot be overlooked here. You've got a revolt going on. He tapped into it. He drives a pickup truck, which Obama made a huge mistake making fun of --

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MS. CROWLEY: -- in that because it made the Democrats look elitist.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of my proposition, he would not have won were we not in a recession?

MR. CAPEHART: I think you're right. And I would say that he -- but still, still, I would say, on your scale, he's a nine. And he's a nine because, as Eleanor said, the Republican Party is starved for stars.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Aftershocks in Haiti.

Haiti suffered its worst earthquake in 200 years last week, a severe 7.3 Richter Scale shock. And this week more aftershocks hit the island. They measured 6.1, 4.9 and 4.8 on the Richter. Defense Secretary Robert Gates stepped up the U.S. military effort. At least one port-clearing ship with cranes was moved in to get Haiti's port functioning. And President Obama himself appointed two former presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, to oversee the total U.S. rescue effort.

Clinton and Bush both made it clear what Haiti needs most; namely, cash.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (From videotape.) Now, right now all we need from people -- if you can't be part of a medical team or a search-and-rescue team, we just need cash.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) I know a lot of people want to send blankets or water. Just send your cash.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama last week pledged funding to aid the Haitian people, $100 million. And the rest of the international community promised $1 billion in aid. The Haiti death figure is expected to reach over 200,000.

Now, throw back to 1998, 12 years ago. Hurricane Mitch hit Central America. Nine thousand people were killed, less than one- twentieth the putative death toll in Haiti. Yet the international community, including the United States, gave $6.3 billion to help Mitch victims.

Question: Before the earthquake this year, Haiti received $700 million in aid per year on a per capita basis. Haiti was one of the world's largest foreign-aid recipients. What is Haiti's track record in handling foreign aid? Do I have a volunteer? You write editorials, as I said before.

MR. CAPEHART: I write editorials. This is a question we haven't explored. But clearly, given the death toll and given the horrific images we've seen out of Haiti, the money isn't well-spent. I mean, Haiti still is -- remains the poorest country in the Caribbean and in the Western Hemisphere. The money is going in, but it's not being put to effective use, it seems.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've heard of The Wall Street Journal, right?

MR. CAPEHART: Yeah, I've heard of it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, I'm not comparing The Wall Street Journal and its massive circulation with The Washington Post. However, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal on January the 19th, this week, he said that Haiti received $701 million in foreign aid in 2007.

On a per capita basis, Haiti was one of the world's largest recipients of foreign aid before the earthquake. Haiti has a total mismatch between levels of foreign aid and government capacity to absorb it. If the government can't absorb it, where's it going, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a failed state, and a lot of it's being stolen. The good father who fled to South Africa took some of it. John, look, this place -- we ought to get all the food and blankets, frankly, and shelter and security you can, and we ought to get those people back on their feet, get the missionaries in there and the aid workers. But I don't think we ought to shovel ten billion dollars --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Andres Oppenheimer --

MR. BUCHANAN: -- into Haiti.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Andres Oppenheimer writes this in his column in the Miami Herald this week: "Haiti will need a global version of the 1948-1952 U.S. Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Western Europe after World War II, and it will have to be launched right away. You and I know that pretty soon the Haiti story will fade from the headlines, replaced by the next celebrity tragedy or international political crisis. If not done now, it won't happen." True or false?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, the difference, though, between the Marshall Plan and what's happening now in Haiti is that the countries of Western Europe after World War II, they had institutions that survived the war. They had a political class. They had some sort of operational society, culture, going. Haiti doesn't have any of those institutions that can support a huge influx of money, a la the Marshall Plan.

Remember, since 1992, when Bill Clinton was president, the United States has pumped $3 billion into Haiti. Most of that was siphoned off by incredibly corrupt leaders. You had Baby and Papa Doc Duvalier.

You had Aristide, who made off with $900 million when he fled the country. The question now is, I mean, if you're talking about --

MS. CLIFT: Without reciting --

MS. CROWLEY: -- (inaudible) -- there is no structure to take it.

MS. CLIFT: Without reciting the whole sorry history, President Clinton is now the U.S. envoy to Haiti. He has said that there has to be more coordination, under the auspices of the U.N., to try to coordinate all this aid. They're just trying to recover from this massive earthquake, which has destroyed --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MS. CLIFT: -- the capital and destroyed their government. So let's cut them a little slack here for a while.

MR. BUCHANAN: We are not going to borrow $6 billion from China and send it to Haiti.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That may be true. But China's giving $1 billion.

MR. BUCHANAN: We'd have to borrow it. We're in debt.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But their donation --

MR. BUCHANAN: We're in debt. We'd have to borrow it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: However, they may be making it up in other ways. I don't want to be unfair to China. However, do you want to say anything about Sachs calling for -- Jeffrey Sachs up in Harvard wants a $15 billion five-year program -- $15 billion.

MR. CAPEHART: Okay, $15 billion over five years, but to do what, exactly? And as Monica rightly points out, Haiti doesn't have --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think -- MR. CAPEHART: -- has neither the capacity nor the institutions --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you saying --

MR. CAPEHART: -- to handle that kind of money.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Aren't you saying that the $100 million is pretty paltry and measly, considering our status with our budget of, what, $2 trillion this year?

MS. CLIFT: No, it seems to me the sums of aid that have gone into Haiti make the world look good. The Red Cross raised $27 million just with text messages. So I don't think we should make the center of our complaint right now the lack of money and assistance going in.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I disagree with you.

Issue Three: Table D'Hote or A La Carte?

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): (From videotape.) We need the American people to stay engaged in this fight, because if the American people stay engaged, we can stop this bill.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "This bill" is President Obama's health- insurance-reform bill. It's dead if the 2,000-page bill, with a price tag of $1 trillion, is presented as is, whole and entire. The win by Republican Scott Brown of the U.S. Senate seat held for 46 years by deceased Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy will deprive Democrats of their filibuster-proof 60-seat super-majority they need to pass the Obama health bill in its current state.

So Democrats are now taking a new course. They will no longer try to pass the health-care bill whole hog, as it is. Take pieces of the Senate and House bills, debate the imperfections out of them, then vote on them one by one over a period of time.

REP. WILLIAM DELAHUNT (D-MA): (From videotape.) I think what we're going to have to do is do it on an incremental basis. There are aspects in both bills that have broad support. And I think that we would get a good policy out of a series of bills that were brought up over the next several months.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama this week hinted at a willingness to take the incremental route.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is this like sewing together pieces of a corpse? You'll end up with a Frankenstein. Jonathan. MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You got the picture?

MR. CAPEHART: Oh, clearly, vividly. And, yes, it could be a Frankenstein if it doesn't work. But clearly Congress has no option, I think, than to get something done. You do not spend almost an entire year debating a bill or an issue back and forth only to say, "Ah, because somebody got elected in Massachusetts, we're not going to do anything." Congress must do something.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, but --

MS. CLIFT: It's very appealing to think you can just take out all the popular parts. But if you do that, if you didn't get a vote for the individual mandate, you couldn't get the insurance companies to keep down their costs and you can't abolish the pre-existing condition. So it all hangs together.

I think the more likely route is that they send it through a legislative maneuver called reconciliation in the Senate, which only requires 50 votes, really, because Biden can be the 51st vote if necessary, so that you can keep the pieces together --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean --

MS. CLIFT: -- and amend the parts that the House Democrats can't swallow --

MS. CROWLEY: But you know what?

MS. CLIFT: -- which is the Cadillac tax and Ben Nelson's cornhuskers deal, which --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you don't have to worry about seating the incumbent senator from Massachusetts.

MS. CLIFT: No, he would be seated, but you wouldn't need his vote because --

(Cross talk.)

MS. CLIFT: -- it would be a budget maneuver.

MS. CROWLEY: And from what we're hearing is that the Democrats this very weekend are talking about going that route, reconciliation. But I have to tell you, if they go that route and they jam this thing down the American people's throats with 51 votes, November is going to make Massachusetts look like a walk in the park.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me reinforce that. Hold on --

MS. CLIFT: George W. Bush passed tax cuts through reconciliation -- MS. CROWLEY: And the tax cuts worked --

MS. CLIFT: -- and a lot of other things.

MS. CROWLEY: -- (inaudible) -- the economy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me move it on to -- okay, Republicans shut out.

MINORITY LEADER BOEHNER: (From videotape.) We've offered to work with the president all year. We've been shut out, shut out and shut out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Leader Boehner, what is your advice to President Obama for his State of the Union address next week?

MINORITY LEADER BOEHNER: (From videotape.) If I were the president, I'd come before the American people and say, "Listen, I've heard you loud and clear. I'm going to make a renewed effort to keep my campaign promises, to work in a more bipartisan way on things that we can come together on to help improve our economy and get people back to work."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that advice, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I think if he's going to go that route, you've got the problem that Hillary -- I mean, excuse me -- Eleanor mentioned, which is, look, you take pre-existing condition.

The insurance companies' got to take the guy, regardless of pre- existing condition. Therefore, the insurance companies lose money. They raise rates. What do you do then? You've got to have somewhere to take care of that, so you force kids in there; they buy insurance. You're back into the same problem, John.

MS. CROWLEY: And don't forget --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, the advice is disingenuous, because the Republicans have no intention of supporting anything Barack Obama does. They've been invested in his failure from the day he took office.

MS. CROWLEY: Don't forget, it's not just --

MR. CAPEHART: It's not like they haven't been asked.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You saw the way Boehner worked with Teddy Kennedy in Massachusetts. They were also personal friends.

MS. CROWLEY: Right. And don't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They also put on a banquet for the underprivileged children of Washington, D.C.

MS. CROWLEY: And John --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why -- in other words, is she wrong in her presupposition?

MS. CROWLEY: Don't forget that it's not just Republicans who oppose this. You've got a lot of Blue Dog Democrats watching what went down in Massachusetts, saying, "Hey, the American people don't want this. I don't want to risk losing my seat. Forget it."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction: Rahm Emanuel, the president's chief of staff, will be gone by December 31st this year. Yes or no?

MR. BUCHANAN: Maybe sooner. MS. CLIFT: Yeah. They need a shakeup now, and Rahm wants out.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, and replaced by Valerie Jarrett.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jonathan.

MR. CAPEHART: Yes. And that's very interesting, Monica.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes -- replaced by Tom Daschle. (Laughter.)

Bye-bye.



END.