THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANELISTS: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, WASHINGTON TIMES; CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE TAPED: FRIDAY, JUNE 18, 2010
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Swift and fair.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) This $20 billion will provide substantial assurance that the claims people and businesses have will be honored.
TONY HAYWARD (CEO, British Petroleum): (From videotape.) We are announcing today, as you heard from the president, a $20 billion commitment to make sure that all appropriate claims are handled swiftly and fairly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Narration.) BP will pay up and pay up big. BP has agreed to fund all legitimate claims from the Gulf oil spill. The set-aside is $20 billion paid into an escrow account, drawn down at a rate of $5 billion a year. That $5 billion a year will pay claims for economic damages of Gulf Coast locals and for the cleanup itself. The fund will be administered by Kenneth Feinberg. Feinberg oversaw the 9/11 victims' fund and other comparable payouts. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is this a fair and swift plan, Pat Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think it was a great day for Barack Obama. I think the $20 billion is a tremendous amount of money. I think it will go a long way to repairing the damage to the Gulf and those businesses. I think it's a good plan. It helped the president, because he did not have a good night the night before with his speech which was widely panned.
Where I do disagree, John, is this. This money, this 20 billion (dollars), Mr. Feinberg I'm sure is a brilliant man and all the rest of it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who is he?
MR. BUCHANAN: He's the fellow who did the 9/11 payout to the victims of 9/11, but --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's Obama's czar.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's Obama's czar who's going to handle the payouts at the federal level. I don't think that's where it ought to be. I think the county executives on all the Gulf counties as well as the governors of those four states, they should appoint the individuals who deal with the problems of how the money should be spent and who should get it, because they are, a, responsive and, be, responsible to the voters.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I'm sure they're going to have a voice, and Mr. Feinberg will speak with them. But the president did the right thing. In the old days, we used to call that jawboning when President Kennedy brought the steel industry in line. He encouraged BP to set this money aside. And he's having a third party oversee it. So I think you hear some chatter from the right saying this tramples on property rights. But I think the president, this is probably the first good week that he's had, because I think people are seeing that there is some way that government here can be helpful.
But whatever he does is going to fall short until the hole in the bottom of the ocean finally gets plugged.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: Well, look, BP took total responsibility for this, as they should. They should pay for restitution, as they say that they should.
The problem, I think, with this escrow account is that it goes around the rule of law. The Constitution does not say that the president of the United States ought to be invested with this kind of power of forcing a private company, a foreign-owned company to set aside this kind of money for restitution for the damages that have been inflicted by a blowing-up oil well.
But what we do have to take care of that are the courts. And I think a lot of people are very worried that this sets a dangerous precedent. That if we have other industrial kinds of accidents, if we have corporate scoundrels and corporate scandals that blow up and capture the nation's imagination like this has, that you're going to have the automatic default situation where you're going to have an escrow account, politicians demanding it and then the escrow account could be politicized because it will be controlled by politicians or their designees.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It is said the president anticipated this problem that has been identified by Monica, and he alluded to the problem -- alluded to the problem -- because BP came forward with the idea. And he had laid the groundwork for that, but he did not demand it. Therefore, it fell short of what you're talking about.
MS. CROWLEY: Well, but, John, the gun wasn't on the table, per se, but the president made it very clear that that's the road that he wanted the company to take.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you think that's coercion?
MS. CROWLEY: The company had no choice. I'm just saying that it could set a very dangerous precedent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you agree with that, the company had no choice?
MR. PAGE: No. The company had plenty of choice. BP comes out a winner with this, too, by the way. Twenty billion dollars -- last year, BP made 17 billion (dollars), more than, what, Apple and Microsoft put together. They are --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And this is going to be a draw down over four years. MR. PAGE: They're avoiding a lot of legal fees that Exxon had to go through with the Exxon Valdez for 21 years of litigating these --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, this is small drawer change, right?
MR. PAGE: Well, you know, for the -- (inaudible) -- company, yeah. They're also bypassing the dividends for their investors so --
MR. BUCHANAN: But John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think it should have been more?
MR. PAGE: Well, they don't -- this is a good figure for right now. I think eventually more will be paid off.
MS. CLIFT: But the president --
MR. PAGE: But $20 billion isn't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think --
MS. CLIFT: But the president made clear that this is floor and not a ceiling, and that people can also go to the courts. But the Tea Party crowd and the people who are sympathetic with them are hiding behind the Constitution here, saying this is about private property --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean you're talking about Monica?
Let Eleanor in.
MS. CLIFT: You mentioned the Constitution. And last week, Dick Armey, who advises the Tea Party people, was basically saying that this is about property rights, and if you have a problem, you call your lawyer. I don't think the American people want to hear, let's call in more lawyers. And BP's stock -- (Cross talk.)
Excuse me. BP's stock went up! This is a good deal. This is a good deal for BP.
MR. BUCHANAN: There is an aspect of shakedown here. During that steel thing, Robert Kennedy wiretapped the steel executives, shouldn't have done it. They brought in the attorney general of the United States --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish.
MR. BUCHANAN: They brought in the attorney general of the United States, who is investigating Mr. Hayward and the chairman for criminal activity, sat him right next to the president of the United States, staring across at BP, saying, are you guys going to come up with 20 billion (dollars)? That, to me --
MR. PAGE: Look, everybody calls it the Chicago shakedown.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean the president said that?
MR. BUCHANAN: The president, yeah. They talked about the deal --
MR. PAGE: Is that a direct quote?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And Eric Holder sitting at the table.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's sitting there staring at the guy, and he could indict him!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you think that was veiled -- that's a veiled threat?
MR. BUCHANAN: That's like having Luca Brasi sitting across, saying, I'm going to owe you an offer you can't refuse.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have to move on.
MS. CLIFT: Take that to the voters and see how popular that's going to be.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm going to let you in first on this question, Clarence. Texas Republican Congressman Joe Barton shocked the panel this week by saying that BP deserved an apology. REP. JOE BARTON (R-TX): (From videotape.) I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case, a $20 billion shakedown.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Later in the day, Barton somewhat backpedaled.
REP. BARTON: (From videotape.) If anything I've said this morning has been misconstrued in an opposite effect, I want to apologize for that misconstrue.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A misconstrue means that it's the problem of the listener. (Laughter.) They've misconstrued it. So it was not too much of a withdrawal of his basic statement.
MR. PAGE: We just didn't hear him right, right?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What explains the backstory? What did he hear during that interim?
MR. PAGE: Well, he got taken to the woodshed by the Republicans in the House.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?
MR. PAGE: Because this was kind of like that guy Green on the English soccer team, who fumbled the ball right into the net for the United States side. I mean, here they had Obama, if you will, on the defensive after that speech the previous night. And now, here comes Joe Barton, the voice of oil and coal up on Capitol Hill, who comes in apologizing.
And it wasn't enough to raise the charge that Pat just raised, which is bogus about extortion.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was the principle of shutting down Barton through a semi-apology, or was that because if the enemy is destroying himself, you do nothing to intervene? In other words, the debacle in the Gulf is a big negative for the Democrats, stay away from it --
MR. BUCHANAN: Get out of the way!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- let the machine do the duty. Is it a big liability coming into the election at the end of this year?
MR. PAGE: Of course, it's a liability. And Republicans have made it a -- have brought confusion to their own side, because they can't figure out whether to stand with big oil or with the small people as --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So they just shut up, they shut up. MR. PAGE: Well, they should, you might say. But in this case, they're making all these charges against Obama and this fund. Which what's the purpose of this fund? To help victims of the spill?
MS. CLIFT: Right, right.
MR. PAGE: And they're calling it extortion.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, is this going to wind up as a major negative for the Democrats in the upcoming election?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, it is. Yes, it is, John. Look, it's been eight weeks. The president of the United States -- look, BP is totally responsible, but the government of the United States has handled this appallingly. He is the chief executive. Obama has been asleep at the switch.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Late to the action.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's been slow. And the whole country is depressed about this thing, understandably, and the government has failed, as well as BP.
MS. CLIFT: The Democrats are going to lose seats. How many seats they lose is more a function of the economy really than it is of BP. And what you see on Capitol Hill is the hard-right position that was just espoused by the two panelists over here. (Laughter.) John Boehner --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean these two?
MS. CLIFT: Yes. (Laughs.) John Boehner and Eric Cantor, who are no shrinking violets when it comes to Republican ideology, they wrestled your friend, Mr. Barton, to the ground and told him that he would no longer be ranking member on that committee if he didn't retract his words. That is a poison position to hold for the American people --
MS. CROWLEY: Look, Barton's statement --
MS. CLIFT: -- sticking up for BP and bashing the president --
(Cross talk.) MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think BP is corrupt? You think it's corrupt?
MS. CLIFT: I didn't say they're corrupt. They made a lot of errors about this, and they need to pay. And their stock went up.
MS. CROWLEY: Can I please address Barton's statement? He made a politically stupid statement when he was expressing sympathy for a company that is singlehandedly destroying one of the world's most magnificent and valuable estuaries, the Gulf Coast. That was incredibly dumb.
But his statement about the shakedown, stands. This attorney general and this president have been on the record now for weeks threatening criminal prosecution. BP had no choice. Should they pay? Of course they should pay! But this should be done according to the rule of the law and the Constitution.
MR. PAGE: That's a prosecutor, right? That's a prosecutor against Holder --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Hold on. I'm going to come back to you, Clarence, but I want to get this in.
Okay, Tony awards.
MR. HAYWARD: (From videotape.) The explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon and the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico never should have happened, and I'm deeply sorry that it did.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This week, Tony Hayward appeared before Congress to take questions on the Gulf oil spill. Here's more of what he said.
MR. HAYWARD: (From videotape.) I had no prior knowledge -- I'm not stonewalling -- I'm afraid I can't recall.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Members of Congress were frustrated and grew sarcastic.
(Begin videotaped segment.)
REP. CLIFF STEARNS (R-FL): Is today Thursday? Yes or no?
MR. HAYWARD: It is Thursday.
(End videotaped segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hayward was contrite.
MR. HAYWARD: (From videotape.) I'm devastated by the accident, absolutely devastated.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But he was cautious. MR. HAYWARD: (From videotape.) There is no evidence of reckless behavior.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here's California Democratic chairman Henry Waxman with his gloss on the appearance.
REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D-CA): (From videotape.) I'm just amazed at this testimony. Mr. Hayward, you're not taking responsibility, you're kicking the can down the road and acting as if you have nothing to do with this company and nothing to do with the decisions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Hayward taking responsibility or is he shirking responsibility, as Waxman claims? Monica. Let me go to Clarence -- hold on.
MS. CROWLEY: Well, the company -- okay, all right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead, Clarence.
MR. PAGE: He's trying to be lawyerly with his responses, which is what a CEO does, trying to protect his pocket position with shareholders. But it was not the kind of candid responses that the panel was looking for. And I think that's why he now has his life back, if you will, by not having to answer questions like that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he has to be discharged from BP, by BP?
MR. PAGE: You know, I don't see any reason to discharge him at this point. BP's had a --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But if you were counseling BP, would you tell them to dump Hayward?
MR. PAGE: I don't think that's going to solve their problem.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was Hayward carefully selected to have that job in the beginning, even though he seems to be, to some extent, kind of a shrinking violet?
MR. BUCHANAN: He's not a shrinking violet.
MR. PAGE: He's a geologist. He was a geologist hunting for oil.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, let Monica answer.
MS. CROWLEY: BP has since sidelined Tony Hayward. He will retain his CEO title, but he's not going to be the public face of this crisis going forward. I do think, you know, when you saw him this week that the Congress barbecued him -- they should have barbecued him -- (laughter) -- he and his company are completely responsible for this. But the non-answers that he gave were entirely appropriate because, as we said, the attorney general, the Justice Department, they are holding over his head and BP's head the threat of criminal prosecution, which may be entirely appropriate, but he can't go on the record now, putting all this money aside, with the threat of prosecution. He cannot go on the record.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think, despite your criticism, there was something edifying about Hayward?
MS. CLIFT: He's made blunder after blunder. First, he said the ocean is big, the spill is small. Then he said he wanted to get his life back. So he's been a bad public relations face.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, your burlesquing a little bit on his words.
MR. BUCHANAN: He took it like a man, John.
MS. CLIFT: No, that's what he said. That's what he said.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Those are not his exact words.
MS. CLIFT: No, those are very close to his exact words.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, come, come, he's a Brit.
MS. CLIFT: You know, I want my life back, was one of -- a direct quote.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he speaks proper English. He's a Brit!
MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John, let me -- he took it like a man. I will say this. He's trying to avoid two things. One is, he doesn't want to make a statement which automatically increases the liability of his company by saying it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right!
MR. BUCHANAN: Secondly, he wants to avoid perjury, because they're sitting up there, did you say this, did you know? He says, I can't recall, I can't recall.
I will say this, I mean, from a P.R. standpoint it was awful. But he did take his beating like a man. He was contrite. He read his message, and he sat there. That was a -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: His (intervening ?) principle is, don't make news, correct?
Well, he had to avoid -- first and foremost was, do not commit news. Do not commit news.
MS. CLIFT: Right, exactly. He was coached and rehearsed to offer an apology which came 57 or 58 days too late.
MS. CROWLEY: No, no, no, no, no. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: And he didn't want to get into trouble. And there's a long history now --
MS. CROWLEY: That's wrong.
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me, please.
MS. CROWLEY: Your facts are wrong.
MS. CLIFT: There's a long history now of the way these hearings unfold. We've seen the tobacco executives, we've seen Goldman Sachs and company. And they never say anything, and then there's a frustration. But there's a certain fear, I think, that we demand as a society, we want to see the perpetrators roast a little bit.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do think that the oil spill was an accident. You do think that.
MS. CLIFT: No, I don't. I think they -- well, Henry Waxman has a trail of e-mails which show that they were behind schedule, they were cutting corners.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There was criminal negligence. There was criminal negligence.
MS. CLIFT: I think there's very likely that would be proven.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MS. CROWLEY: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Who won the week? And now we'll -- (inaudible) -- on you. Who won the week?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think Obama did have his best day in eight weeks.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he win the week?
MR. BUCHANAN: I don't think it was overall -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who won the week? Who won the week?
MR. BUCHANAN: Nobody won.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Nobody won the week! Somebody's got to win the week. (Laughter.) Come on, Pat. Get in the game, will you?
MR. BUCHANAN: It wasn't Joe Barton.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was not Joe Barton. (Laughter.)
MR. PAGE: Ask this side of the panel.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes or no?
MS. CLIFT: He could give Obama a day, but not a week! (Laughter.) I'll give him the week!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There you go.
MS. CROWLEY: Nobody won the week. And the difference between the tobacco execs and Goldman Sachs and BP is that those other executives never apologized. BP has been apologizing for weeks now. The apology just did not come at this late moment, unlike Obama --
But they have apologized relentlessly since the beginning of this crisis, and they are taking fiscal and economic and environmental responsibility.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who won the week?
MR. PAGE: Obama started off the week weak, but he ended up strong. And I think this -- what's going to be more memorable? His speech this week or that $20 billion fund? I think that's what's going to win the week for him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He won the week. First of all, he solved the problem that she raised with regard to what his limitations are as president.
Secondly, he got a deal.
MR. PAGE: He got a deal.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And the situation has moved off dead center.
Issue two: Access denied.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Narration.) For 75 since the court was built, judges and the public have entered the court's great hall by walking up the marble steps, through its corinthian columns, under the pedement-inscribed "equal justice under law." But no more can Chief Justice John Roberts or anyone enter through the massive sculptured bronze doors, each weighing over 12,000 pounds. The reason? National security, a terrorist attack.
Now all visitors enter through a side door with its screening facility.
The main entrance functions only as an exit. Two sitting Supreme Court justices, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, oppose the change. In a statement, Justice Breyer writes that, "all other Supreme Courts in the world, even Israel's, have open main entrances enabling access, not only to the structure, but to equal justice under law."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is there a better way to secure the doors of the court? Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I think it's a tragedy for the majesty of the Supreme Court and what it stands for. And they're keeping the Capitol steps open, so it's kind of confusing to me that they can keep those steps open and not the court.
I understand that Justice Roberts opposed the closing, initially, and when he met with the security people was brought around to feel that it was needed. Because of the way the court is constructed, anybody who gets admitted, once you're up those steps, you're effectively in the court and you're not screened until you're there. And so that is the threat, and I understand it, and I accept it, and I don't like it.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, they're turning this city of mine that I grew up in into a big fortress. Why? Because of the threat of terrorism. Why are we threatened by terrorism? Because we are not a republic, we have become an empire, we are all over the world, fighting with people, shooting people, and they're coming over here to kill us. Until you get rid of the empire, we're not going to be a republic again and have the country we had.
MS. CROWLEY: That's not why we're a target of terrorism. We're a target of terrorism because we're a democracy. It's the ideals for which we stand. And we have radical fundamental Islamic terrorists who have targeted us --
MR. BUCHANAN: Who don't like democracy.
MR. CROWLEY: -- since 9/11 before we were in Iraq, before we were in Afghanistan. I think since 9/11, we certainly have tried to walk this very fine line between our security and our freedom. New York City, the city I live in, we have this kind of fortress-like kind of situation. It is unpleasant. But you know what? In the end, I think people do value their security. We do live in a new world.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think we're carrying too far the security, the securitization --
MR. PAGE: Hey, I was upset when they closed off Pennsylvania Avenue --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. PAGE: -- right there in front of the White House. I agree with Justice Breyer. I don't understand why you cannot secure the courts and leave the door open, as they do in Israel. I think they are a model, if anybody is, of people who've learned how to live with constant terror attacks, much more severe than ours. And I don't see why we can't work this out.
All they need to do is widen the perimeter. They can put security out 100 yards, say, from the front of the building. That way that would keep the steps and the doorway clear.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: Trial by firing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Narration.) Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed in Utah this week. Gardner committed two murders some 25 years ago; one admitted to, the other not admitted, not denied, but convicted of. Gardner was executed by firing squad in accordance with his preference. It took place in an execution chamber 20 by 24 feet inside the Utah state prison. Gardner was bound to a chair, a black hood was placed over his head, a circular piece of white cloth was pinned over his heart to mark the target. Five unidentified sharpshooters stood behind a brick wall 25 feet away from the convict. They positioned their 30 caliber rifles, each loaded with a single round, except for one. At the given signal, the marksmen fired. It was the first U.S. death penalty carried out by firing squad in 14 years.
In 2004, Utah banned the option in favor of lethal injection. Inmates sentenced to death before 2004, like Gardner, retained the firing squad option. Of the nine men left on Utah's death row, three have chosen to die by firing squad, and Gardner is the third person to be executed by that method in Utah since 1976 when the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Why did Gardner choose to be executed by a firing squad? I ask you, Clarence.
MR. PAGE: I'm not sure. But Gardner -- in particular, Gary Gilmore came from a Mormon tradition that wanted the blood involved for religious reasons.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who was Gilmore? MR. PAGE: Gary Gilmore was the first to be executed after the death penalty was reinstated back in the '70s. And it was a very dramatic moment. But this is something that some people do believe that they're going to get a quicker trip to heaven if they die by the bullet.
MS. CROWLEY: Gardner's two crimes, two murders for which he was given the death penalty, were committed by the gun. And he said the court, he said to the judge, I've lived my life by the gun, I would prefer to die by the gun. And so he chose the firing squad.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, he was also -- let me tell you something. The firing squad traditionally has been a death by honor as opposed to hanging. Hanging is a disgrace, but a death by firing squad is an honor. Gary Gilmore himself, I mean, he was a very tough guy, it was a macho thing. You what he said, John, when they called him and said, we're going to have to get this over with, and you're going to have to go down, and you're going to be shot? He said, let's do it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There are five sharpshooters. How do they know whether or not their gun carried the bullet that killed him?
MS. CROWLEY: They don't.
MR. BUCHANAN: There was an empty chamber.
MS. CLIFT: But they're in a very small chamber, so they can't miss. I think this is a question of honor. And also, death by injection has come under criticism that it's cruel and inhumane. And the Supreme Court recently gave the go-ahead to the single injection. But it's how we end the lives of animals. And I would assume that if you're a person that you think that there is a better way to do it. I mean, I can't get in the mind of a criminal, but I think that's what he wanted.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it an embarrassment to Utah?
MR. BUCHANAN: No.
MS. CROWLEY: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think it's barbaric?
MS. CROWLEY: No. There are how many states, 35 out of the 50 states have capital punishment.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Capital punishment. But the only one that has a firing squad is Utah. MS. CROWLEY: And in fact, Gardner said this was a matter of personal preference. He realized he was going to get the death penalty applied to him. He didn't want to embarrass the state. He didn't want to draw publicity to it. That was his own personal preference.
And what was interesting is, he had three appeals go up to the U.S. Supreme Court. And it was Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is a left-wing liberal judge, who denied all three appeals.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MS. CROWLEY: Interesting.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She favored capital punishment?
MR. BUCHANAN: No. She just probably said the appeal wasn't justified under the law.
MS. CROWLEY: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On the basis of it being a legitimate appeal.
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not a legitimate -- a proper appeal.
MR. BUCHANAN: In other words, she decided this in a strict constructionist way, which is the right thing to do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you have any doubts that killing by the state should be illegal, it is immoral except in cases of national self- defense?
MS. CLIFT: I'm for all -- I agree with all of that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do?
MS. CLIFT: But I think this comes in waves. And right now, this country is not about to overturn the death penalty. We did go through a period under a different court --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why not now?
MS. CLIFT: Because we have right-wing justices basically controlling the courts.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we also have terrorism.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, it's not that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And terrorism feeds it.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, you cannot impose -- you said it was immoral. You believe that, maybe Eleanor does, others believe it. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I didn't say it. I said, is it?
MR. BUCHANAN: Who decides it? Who decides it? People decide in a democratic republic --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why should a state have that kind of authority except in legitimate cases of self-defense?
MR. BUCHANAN: Because it has it under the Constitution. We had the death penalty --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think it's counterproductive with their objectives, because it degrades life?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't. Look, Waco is not Wernersville, John. And these folks have a right to do this if they believe in it, you believe in it, vote that way.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It is not to be decided on that basis of locality.
MR. BUCHANAN: It is. That's how it's decided today under the Constitution.
MS. CLIFT: And there's a lot of hypocrisy around the issue, people who --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What does that mean?
MS. CLIFT: Well, people who will not take the life of a fetus, won't think twice about --
MR. BUCHANAN: The fetus didn't kill anybody!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's good for the fetus is also good for the human!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will the six-month moratorium on drilling underwater be lifted before the six months is up?
MR. BUCHANAN: It will. Bobby Jindal beats Obama.
MS. CLIFT: It will because it affects the livelihood of the Gulf.
MS. CROWLEY: Yes because it was a huge Obama policy bungle. It will be reversed.
MR. PAGE: Yes because Obama wants to bring peace in the land. (Laughter.) MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes for all these reasons. Bye-bye!