THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, WASHINGTON TIMES; BILL PRESS, SYNDICATED RADIO TALK SHOW HOST TAPED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2010 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 6-7, 2010
Copyright (c) 2010 by Federal News Service, Inc., Ste. 500 1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Internet Service, please visit http://www.fednews.com or call(202)347-1400
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Speaker in Waiting.
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): (From videotape.) I'm here to tell you tonight that our new majority will be prepared to do things differently. It starts with cutting spending instead of increasing it -- (cheers, applause) -- reducing the size of size of government instead of increasing it -- (cheers, applause) -- and reforming the way Congress works and giving the government back to the American people. (Cheers, applause.) And for all those families who were asking, "Where are the jobs?" it means ending the uncertainty in our economy and helping small businesses get back to work.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thanks to Tuesday's Republican sweep, John Boehner is the soon-to-be Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, succeeding Democrat Nancy Pelosi. In January two months from now, Speaker Boehner starts his 21st year serving Ohio's 8th district, including parts of Cincinnati and Dayton, in the U.S. House of Representatives. Speaker Boehner has been Republican House minority leader for four years, since 2007. This Tuesday Congressman Boehner won re-election, 66 percent to his opponent's 30 percent.
The speaker to be is 61 years old, was born in Ohio, second of 12 children. Congressman Boehner holds a business degree, is married with two daughters and is Catholic. Speaker-to-be Boehner served in the Ohio house of representatives for six years. He was four years president of a small packing firm. That made him a millionaire.
His politics are conservative. On the premier conservative rating system, the ACU, American Conservative Union, out of a perfect 100 conservative rating, Boehner scores 92. On the premier liberal rating system, ADA, Americans for Democratic Action, the speaker to be gets a liberal zero.
Question: Does Boehner have the right stuff to lead the GOP, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: You saw that ADA rating. Of course he does, John. (Laughter.)
Look, John Boehner is a moderate conservative but he's a conservative guy. He owes his speakership to the tea-party folks. He basically agrees with them. His convictions are the same. His political interests dictate getting along with them, bringing them in and leading.
Does he have the skills? I think so. He came through the Newt Gingrich purge, John. And so I think what you've got is he's got much more in common with the tea-party conservatives and the conservatives of the House far more than he does with Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, who's going to be the leader on the other side. So I think we're headed for gridlock.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Barack Obama, when he was in the Senate, do you know what his ADA rating was?
MR. BUCHANAN: He had the most liberal voting record and --
MS. CROWLEY: One hundred.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What was it?
MR. BUCHANAN: It was 100, and --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: One hundred.
MS. CROWLEY: Right. MR. BUCHANAN: He was more liberal than Bernie Sanders, who is a socialist.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, do you want to respond to the --
MS. CLIFT: Horror of horrors -- so liberal.
MS. CROWLEY: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: One hundred. Kennedy the same year got an 86.
MS. CLIFT: He did win an election with the largest majority the Democrats have seen in some time. And he's going to be your president, too, for the next two years.
John Boehner is the perfect person to head that caucus in these times, because he's basically old wine in a new tea kettle. He's not a strong ideologue. He's the anti-Gingrich. And he basically has the challenge of melding all these fiery new members with the corporatist members who are there. It's going to be a difficult task. And the pledge to repeal Obamacare, to me, I think that's as perilous as the impeachment effort of Clinton was when the Republicans were in charge the last time.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do you think he'll get along with Obama?
MS. CLIFT: I think they'll get along modestly fine. I don't see them having big --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: One was 100 and the other was zero.
MS. CLIFT: Let me answer the question.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The perfect conservative with the perfect liberal.
MS. CLIFT: I don't see them having big deep discussions about policy, but I think they know how to cut deals. And they'll operate a lot through surrogates on both sides.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you recall when Obama was hanging out the name of Boehner on some of his appeals, and Boehner was unknown --
MR. BUCHANAN: Boehner --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- about two months ago?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look, he tried to demonize Boehner as his opponent, which was very foolish. Not one in a thousand people in the country knew who Boehner was then.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Boehner's yin side -- yin as in yin and yang. REP. BOEHNER: (From videotape.) We can celebrate when we have a government that has earned the trust of the people that it serves, when we have a government that honors the Constitution and stands up for the values that have made America America -- (cheers, applause) -- things like economic freedom, individual liberty and personal responsibility.
Listen, I hold these values dear because I've lived them. I've spent my whole life chasing the American dream. (Cheers, applause.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Boehner's emotional extroversion helpful or hurtful?
MS. CROWLEY: I thought that was a very powerful moment by John Boehner. Remember during the primaries when Hillary Clinton choked up in New Hampshire? She was a hero for showing an emotional and human side. John Boehner has lived the American dream. He came from nothing -- Midwest guy, 11 brothers and sisters, and he's rising to being third in line for the American presidency. That is quite a story. If that's his first impression to most of the American people, I think it was a very good one.
Here is where his power lies, and this is why, strategically, for the Republicans to control the House and not the Senate is very important, because the Republicans, led by John Boehner, they're going to be the engine for real change coming up.
All of these bills are going to be coming out of the House on Obamacare, on tax cuts, on cutting spending. They are going to be presented to the Senate. The Democrats in the Senate will either sit on it or try to kill it. If it makes it to the president's desk -- if any of these bills make it to Obama's desk, he will kill it.
What they will be able to do very effectively, John, is turn the tables on the Democrats and make them the party of no.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You wrote the book on this. The book was titled "Train Wreck," right?
MR. PRESS: (Laughs.) Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now you've got it.
MR. PRESS: And we just saw the engineer of the trains that's going to wreck. Look, real --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean Boehner. MR. PRESS: Boehner. Real speakers don't cry. Okay, I thought that was an embarrassing, shameful moment. What was he crying about? He worked at his father's tavern? I worked at my father's gas station. BFD. I don't care about it.
MS. CROWLEY: Real men cry. Real men cry. (Laughs.) And this was a very emotional moment for him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, don't you think that's another antidote to Obama's cool and somewhat indifferent demeanor?
MR. PRESS: Well, I don't want to see Obama cry either. But I want to come back to Monica's point about -- Boehner's going to discover the same thing that Nancy Pelosi did. Sure, they can get things done in the House, and they're going to be dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate.
MS. CROWLEY: And whose fault is that going to be?
MR. PRESS: Two years from now, the American people --
MS. CROWLEY: It's going to be the Democrats' fault.
MR. PRESS: -- are going to hit the clicker and say, "Where are the jobs? Where's the progress on this? Where's the progress on that? You didn't get anything done. Zip."
MR. BUCHANAN: John, Bill's got a point.
MS. CLIFT: He's already changed his language talking about cutting spending. I didn't hear anything about cutting the deficit. That's going to be a lot harder. He's going to adjust to reality, because --
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MS. CLIFT: -- he's going to have a very hard time fulfilling the pledge --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, also --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, Bill's got a point.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If he wants to cut taxes, he's going to have a bigger problem with the deficit --
MR. BUCHANAN: Right. John, Bill's got --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- the current-accounts deficit and the public debt, which is now about $13 trillion, is it not? MR. BUCHANAN: John, Bill's got a good point. Bill's got a good point. The country, if they gave Obama -- if they gave Obama a mandate -- I'm not sure they did -- in 2008, there's a new mandate that's been given. The country said, "We don't want to go over here. We want to go over there." How do you compromise when one part of the country wants to go east and the other wants to go west?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, let's get into --
MR. BUCHANAN: Deadlock.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's get into that. Let's get into that. Tuesday's election, Republicans gained 60-plus seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, the largest House victory in 62 years, since 1948. Republicans now hold 239 seats, up from 178. Democrats won 186 seats, and ballots are still being counted in 10 more races that could flip to either party.
The GOP lost in '68 (sic).
MR. BUCHANAN: They lost in '48. They won a huge -- 80th Congress -- Richard Nixon in it, Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, 1946.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, let's correct that record.
In the Senate, Republicans gained five seats. Democrats maintained their majority, but their seats have shrunk from 59 to 53. Republicans hold 46 seats. As we go to press, Alaska remains in play. It will probably go Republican, so it'll be 47.
Question: Who were some of the big winners in this election cycle? Bill Press.
MR. PRESS: John Boehner, Harry Reid and Jerry Brown.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the other races?
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. PRESS: Well, if you want some more, I mean, I can tell you. I think Barbara Boxer's a big winner. People had written her off -- written her off. You know, you've got to say that Marco Rubio in Florida was a big winner.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Whitman did herself in in California rather it being a clear victory for Brown?
MR. PRESS: Well, no. Jerry Brown really showed that he's a survivor. He's very smart. He's run the table now for elective offices.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But didn't that maid business -- MR. PRESS: But he was helped by the fact that Meg Whitman spent so much money and was on television so long every day with such a heavy buy that people just got sick and tired of Meg Whitman.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what about the story of the hiring of the immigrant?
MR. PRESS: That hurt her a lot.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think that hurt her a lot.
MR. PRESS: Jerry Brown got 64 percent of the Latino vote. Harry Reid got 68 percent of the Latino vote.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Right. That video of that maid that she hired --
MS. CLIFT: I think the Republicans --
MR. PRESS: And the way she handled it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: -- in addition to picking up a lot of seats and sweeping statehouses and all of that, they did finally usher in a new generation of leaders. And you do see some diversity there -- three female governors; a Cuban-American, Marco Rubio. I think John Kasich is more old wine in a new tea kettle --
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MS. CLIFT: -- governor of Ohio. And I think these are people who are going to shape the party for the future.
MS. CROWLEY: The big winner was the tea-party movement, which is no longer a movement, but it's actually mainstream America.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you have the numbers of the ones she endorsed and the ones that made it?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, some tea-party candidates did lose, but a good number of them did win -- Pat Toomey, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, Marco Rubio, in big Senate races. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What, about 50 winners and 30 losers, something like that?
MS. CROWLEY: Some of them did lose; Sharron Angle. But remember that the Republican Party's comeback is due in large part to the tea- party movement because they re-energized the conservative base. And I would also say this, that the tea-party movement now is going to have a huge impact on the Republicans coming into the Congress. And what happened as a direct result of the tea party's strength was that the Republicans were able to reverse the map of 2006 and 2008, reverse all of the Democratic gains in the South, the Midwest and the Mountain West, which is going to make 2012 much more difficult for --
MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean the tea party has to clear the appointees?
MR. BUCHANAN: No. John, the tea party --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The chairmen?
MS. CROWLEY: That's not what I'm saying. But the Democrats thought that they had gained permanent footholds in these regions of the country.
MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John --
MS. CROWLEY: That is no longer true. The tea party has reversed that.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, the Republican Party --
MR. PRESS: I don't buy that.
MS. CLIFT: I don't buy that.
MR. BUCHANAN: The Republican Party was moribund --
MS. CROWLEY: Absolutely true.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- dead, written off, no future as of 2008. It came surging back to a historic victory, and the tea party is the single greatest reason.
MR. PRESS: And now the tea party is going to destroy the Republican Party and split it right down the middle.
MR. BUCHANAN: After they destroy yours. (Laughs.)
MR. PRESS: And there's going to be civil war, and it's going to be fun to watch. MS. CROWLEY: The tea party saved --
MS. CLIFT: The tea party actually thinks --
MS. CROWLEY: -- the Republican Party.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, hold on. What?
MS. CROWLEY: The tea party got elected on a whole bunch of promises and buzz words. And translating that into reality, they're going to run into the same obstacles that President Obama did trying to change the culture of Washington.
MR. BUCHANAN: They're going to run into each other, and there's going to be deadlock.
MS. CLIFT: And they will push the party so far to the right --
MR. BUCHANAN: And the country will decide in 2012.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to make a point quickly?
MS. CROWLEY: My point to Bill's point is that the tea party actually saved the Republican Party, and they would not have had nearly these kinds of gains without the tea party.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When --
MR. PRESS: You watch, when John Boehner tries to compromise with Obama and the tea parties go nuts, and Boehner will cave in.
MS. CROWLEY: The tea party is not a radical movement. We're talking about constitutionally limited government. That's hardly radical.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The tea party rules.
Issue Two: The shellacking.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) I'm not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like I did last night. You know, I'm sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons. The relationship that I've had with the American people is one that built slowly, peaked at this incredible high, and then, during the course of the last two years, has gotten rockier and tougher. And, you know, it's going to, I'm sure, have some more ups and downs during the course of me being in this office.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is President Obama contrite enough to compromise with the incoming Republican House majority? Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: He is going to look for common ground. I think that's in his DNA. But he also has to show fortitude in holding his ground. And I think a lot of people on his side feel that he didn't stand up to the Republicans. Now the Republicans are more visible.
And if they say no to more infrastructure spending or a payroll tax holiday or whatever the White House comes up with to try to rejuvenate this economy, if they say no, the spotlight will be on them.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, John, I think that --
MS. CLIFT: So I think common ground is fine, but confrontation is what we're going to see.
MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John, let me agree with Eleanor.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me turn to our guest --
MR. BUCHANAN: Let me agree with Eleanor.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me turn to our guest, Bill Press.
MS. CLIFT: Let him agree.
MR. BUCHANAN: Let me agree with Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Let him agree.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You want to agree?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. What he should say is -- he should be willing to compromise. But he's going to say, "We've got principles, convictions and beliefs that tend to disagree with yours. You've got half the government. We've got the other half. We're going to find common ground there."
MS. CLIFT: They don't have half.
MR. BUCHANAN: "But we're going to have to fight on certain things." If he doesn't say that, he's not a leader.
MR. PRESS: All right, as a guest, let me just say my fear is, as a liberal, that he's too willing to compromise and he's too eager to compromise. He wasted too much time talking to Republicans in the first two years, and he's just going to get stabbed in the back if he tries it again. I think he ought to forget them and just move on with his own agenda. MS. CROWLEY: The question --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the jobs issue? How is he going to handle that?
MR. PRESS: Well, look, 150,000 -- 151,000 jobs. Jobs are slowly coming back. I think he ought to push for a second stimulus bill, because the first stimulus --
MR. BUCHANAN: It'll be killed in the House -- killed in the House, Bill.
MR. PRESS: What's that?
MR. BUCHANAN: It'll be killed in the House.
MR. PRESS: Well, at least he pushes for it. Again, as Eleanor says, push, fight for what's right.
MS. CROWLEY: The question --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Katie Couric asked him, "What's the story on jobs?" And he says, "No, no." She says, "Why aren't you concentrating on jobs rather than health care?" And he said, "No," he said, "I did jobs last year. I'm going to do health care this year."
MS. CROWLEY: Well, look, this gets to answering your question. The question this week was, did Obama get it? Did he get the message that the voters this week were trying to tell him? I think he gets it. I just think he rejects it. For one whole year, the American people were screaming for jobs and to improve the economy. He blew that whole first year on Obamacare, which --
MR. PRESS: The first thing he did was --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me advance this a little bit.
MS. CROWLEY: Excuse me -- which was an entitlement that nobody wanted and that we cannot afford. There is nothing --
MR. PRESS: The stimulus was the first --
MS. CROWLEY: John, let me just finish my point.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me ask you this. There are 15 million people who are out of work. Do they have the power, 15 million people, to radicalize the nation?
MS. CROWLEY: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you understand me? MS. CROWLEY: Look, you have a chronically high --
MS. CLIFT: We're not like the French.
MS. CROWLEY: Excuse me.
MS. CLIFT: We're not like the French. We don't --
MS. CROWLEY: Excuse me.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.
MS. CROWLEY: Excuse me. You have a very chronically high unemployment rate. You have a president who looked like, right after the trillion-dollar stimulus, he checked out on the jobs issue. When you talk about compromise, there is nothing in this man's character or political temperament --
MR. PRESS: Three-point-two million jobs --
MS. CROWLEY: -- to suggest moderation.
MR. PRESS: -- created by the stimulus. You can't ignore it. You may want to ignore it. It's -- he has created more jobs --
MS. CROWLEY: He blew a trillion dollars to no effect.
MR. PRESS: My turn. He's created more jobs in 20 months than George Bush did in eight years. Deal with it.
MS. CROWLEY: No, that's not true. That's not true.
MS. CLIFT: That's true.
MS. CROWLEY: That's not true.
MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, Bill --
MS. CLIFT: And where are the jobs coming from? Health care is a growing industry, and so he has reformed that. And the truth is --
MR. BUCHANAN: Unfortunately, Eleanor --
MS. CLIFT: -- there are limited things --
MR. BUCHANAN: Unfortunately, the country --
MS. CLIFT: -- a president can do --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- the country decided on Tuesday --
MS. CLIFT: -- especially when -- MR. BUCHANAN: -- they don't agree with you.
MS. CROWLEY: Right, right.
MR. BUCHANAN: They don't agree with you.
MS. CLIFT: A smaller electorate than '08; that is, a lot of older people. A lot of the younger people didn't show up. It'll be a different electorate in '08 (sic/means '12).
MR. BUCHANAN: I know it will.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --
MR. PRESS: We still haven't said it, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: Let's get it on.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: On a political comeback scale of zero to 10, zero meaning Jimmy Carter, no comeback whatever, 10 meaning Bill Clinton, the comeback kid, rate Obama's odds of pulling off a comeback by 2012, when he's up for a second term, if he decides to run? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: I would bet he'd be -- I'd give him six out of 10 that he would win the presidential election in 2012.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? Because of who's going to oppose him?
MR. BUCHANAN: Because I look at the country. I look at the demography. I look at even deep behind some of these polls, the young people and Hispanics and --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You can't -- also you can't beat somebody with nobody. Who's out there?
MR. PRESS: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's out there? MR. BUCHANAN: You've got --
MS. CROWLEY: There are plenty of Republican candidates.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly. What do you rate him at?
MS. CLIFT: I give him A+. And I'll also point out that Jimmy Carter did not have a good -- had a good midterm election. So he didn't have a comeback. He was a long, slow slide.
MR. PRESS: I give him a 10, because there's nobody out there who can beat him.
MR. BUCHANAN: A 10?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, wait a minute. Wait a minute.
MR. BUCHANAN: You want to bet on that? (Laughs.)
MS. CROWLEY: Yeah, let's -- I don't think you want to put money on that.
MS. CLIFT: I gave him A+.
MS. CROWLEY: I give him a three out of 10, because there's nothing in this man's political temperament or character to suggest moderation. Even this weekend he sat with "60 Minutes" and he still believes that he's got a communications problem, a salesmanship problem --
MS. CLIFT: He does.
MS. CROWLEY: -- and not a policy problem. This week was a thundering rebuke of his big-government policies.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is -- the answer is five.
Issue Three: Governors Rule.
OHIO GOVERNOR-ELECT JOHN KASICH (R): (From videotape.) Folks, we took a step forward tonight to putting Ohioans back to work. We took a step forward to shrinking government and making it work better.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Ohio Republican governor-elect is John Kasich. Repeat: A Republican. And this week he unseated the Democratic incumbent, Ted Strickland, the four-year Ohio governor and 20-year congressman. This is one of 11 governorships that the Republicans picked up from Democrats, bringing the tally to 29 governorships for the Republicans.
Governors are powerful. They are powerful because state legislatures are granted the power by the U.S. Constitution to carve state districts, and this is known as redistricting. What's the connection between redistricting and governors?
MR. BUCHANAN: It's quite powerful, John. In most states -- not California anymore, where they've taken it away from the legislature -- if you get both houses of the legislature and the governorship, you can draw all the districts up where you take -- for example, take all the Democrats, put about 90 percent Democrats in this district, 90 percent in that, and you get all the other districts with yourself at 60 percent. That's the way Tom DeLay --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- turned Texas around. And they're going to turn Texas around again.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Constitution says the population of a congressional district is based upon the decennial census, correct?
MS. CROWLEY: Right.
MR. PRESS: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So it's a population component that determines --
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, that's going to give --
MR. PRESS: No, not --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, where do you get into drawing lines from that?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, no, you get -- four new districts are going into Texas, for example.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they have to follow the population, do they not?
MR. PRESS: John, John --
MS. CLIFT: That's gerrymandering.
MR. PRESS: -- you're confusing two things. Number one, the number of people in the district is determined by the population. The shape of the district is determined by the politicians who drew the line.
MR. BUCHANAN: The line. MR. PRESS: I have to tell you a quick story. I was in a redistricting thing in California when I was working the legislature. The chair of the committee came in, asked my senator, "Do you like this?" He said, "I don't like that little area" -- took a pencil out, erased the line, and redrew the line. It's gerrymandering.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But are they still governed by the total population?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, that just tells you --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they could just design it around the population that they want.
MR. BUCHANAN: That tells you --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they also put it next to, say, a city like Cincinnati and include that. Can they move it into that?
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.
MR. PRESS: They can do anything they want. That's the evil of it and the power of it. And, by the way, the Republicans -- Pat is right -- after these elections -- they elected 680 Republican state legislators around the country.
MS. CROWLEY: That's right, which is huge.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the veto power of the governor?
MS. CROWLEY: In terms of what, redistricting --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Redistricting.
MS. CROWLEY: -- reapportionment?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Redistricting.
MS. CROWLEY: Well, the governors --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Reapportionment.
MS. CROWLEY: The governors have tremendous influence in how these districts are being drawn. That's why, when the GOP scored governorships in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida, this is major, not to mention South Carolina, which is also going to be gaining a seat. MR. BUCHANAN: Texas.
MS. CROWLEY: So this is a tremendous impact going into 2012 and actually beyond. And Bill is absolutely right. Six hundred and eighty legislative seats went to Republicans this year. That is historic. We have never seen that kind of a shift.
MS. CLIFT: Right. If you're going to lose big, this was the year not to do it, because the Democrats have now enshrined the Republican gains for the next decade.
MR. PRESS: But you know what the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear what she said?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.
MS. CROWLEY: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear that?
MR. BUCHANAN: John, John, red states picked up seven congressmen and blue states lost seven.
MR. PRESS: The longest-lasting impact of this election are going to be in the redistricting in the state legislatures.
MS. CLIFT: And the biggest problem --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I understand that. But the governors also have power with their respective party chairmen --
MR. BUCHANAN: They can veto it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- within their states. And they can express which one -- which candidate is more agreeable to them.
MR. PRESS: They can endorse, but they can't change the district they run in.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They can endorse privately; pick up the phone. "Hey, Harry, I understand you want to (think of ?) so and so, a friend of mine."
MR. PRESS: Sure.
MS. CLIFT: The problem that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "And I know that means a lot to you, Harry."
MS. CLIFT: The problem that progressives have is that they congregate on the two coasts and the various big cities. And all of the other rest of the country gets represented by the Republicans. MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MS. CLIFT: And there are many more districts that are now Republican --
MR. BUCHANAN: But John, let me give you an example.
MS. CLIFT: -- and states that are Republican.
MR. BUCHANAN: Republicans will take --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her --
MS. CLIFT: So progressives, we have to disperse. (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: All right. Republicans, for example, take -- let's take an African-American community. They will put the whole community into one district, and the two or three districts around it will have no African-Americans, and Republicans will take those and the Democrats will take those.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: Barack Obama will be challenged in the presidential primaries of 2012 by an antiwar candidate by the name of Russ Feingold.
MS. CLIFT: Russ Feingold has said repeatedly that he's not going to do that, Pat. I hate to disillusion you.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, Howard Dean has said he's not going to do it. That's not what I hear.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I think -- well, okay. Well, I don't -- I'm sure he's confiding to people on the right, because it would be a gift, definitely, to Republicans.
I do think that the new Congress, the new publicly empowered Congress, will consider infrastructure spending and aid to the states, because they now control a lot of the governorships. And you have -- the whole Midwest is decimated by job loss. And Democrats have a vested interest, clearly. There's five Democratic senators all representing Midwest states who are up in 2012. The country needs it. Both political parties need it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did Feingold lose?
MS. CLIFT: Feingold was overtaken by a Republican who'd never run for office before who had a wonderful white chalkboard, and on it he wrote the number of lawyers in the Congress -- in the Senate -- 57. The number of businessmen was zero. He said, "They need a businessman." And that resounded in Wisconsin. MR. PRESS: Can I offer something there too? I think Feingold lost because he wouldn't take PAC money. You can't be too pure in this business.
MS. CLIFT: That's a good point.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Money. He needed more money.
MR. PRESS: He needed more money and refused to take PAC money or corporate money. And there he is.
MS. CROWLEY: I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you noticed that Feingold was also out of town on one of President Obama's visits.
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You remember that?
MR. BUCHANAN: Because --
MS. CROWLEY: Right, because he --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- the president was not popular --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think President Obama did him in?
MR. BUCHANAN: -- in the votes he needed to win.
MR. PRESS: No, no. But then he showed up at the University of Wisconsin with Obama too. So he wasn't running away from him. But, I mean, I just think he was almost too pure for his own good. And I love him. I love him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that in many races that the Democrats were not comfortable with President Obama being in their district?
MR. BUCHANAN: Of course.
MS. CROWLEY: Yes.
MR. PRESS: He did not go where he wasn't wanted. They were very careful about that. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know that. I know that. Was he a liability to candidates for the Democratic Congress?
MR. PRESS: Yeah, because he didn't go -- that's my point. He didn't become a liability. He didn't allow himself to become a liability.
So shall I give my prediction?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MR. PRESS: Another winner I forgot to mention in this time -- Christine O'Donnell. And I'll tell you why -- because by the end of the month, she's going to have a contract with Fox News.
MS. CLIFT: Right. (Laughs.)
MR. PRESS: That's my prediction.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There may be another angle to that.
MS. CROWLEY: I just want to pick up on Pat's point. I agree with him. I think Russ Feingold is going to launch a primary challenge to Barack Obama in 2012. At the very end of his concession speech on Tuesday he said, "Onward to 2012." I also think that opens up an opportunity for somebody else to challenge President Obama; namely, Hillary Clinton.
But my prediction is that Democrat Senator from Nebraska Ben Nelson is up for re-election in 2012. He will switch parties and become a Republican, because if he doesn't, he's toast.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's gone.
MS. CROWLEY: He's done.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's this about Hillary?
MS. CLIFT: Party switchers don't do that.
MR. PRESS: No.
MS. CROWLEY: Hillary --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hillary what?
MS. CROWLEY: Hillary Clinton will -- oh, I get two predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MS. CROWLEY: Hillary Clinton, if somebody else enters the primary race against the sitting president, she will also enter. MR. BUCHANAN: Nope.
MR. PRESS: No way.
MR. BUCHANAN: No way.
MR. PRESS: No way.
MS. CROWLEY: She is going to do it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I can't improve on any of that lore.