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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, WASHINGTON TIMES; MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT TAPED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2010 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 13-14, 2010

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Tax Blues.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) Congress has some unfinished business on the issue of taxes. The tax reductions you passed are set to expire. Unless you act, Americans face a tax increase. What Congress has given, the Congress should not take away. For the sake of job growth, the tax cuts you've passed should be permanent.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, sir, we are about a month away from what analysts say will be one of the largest tax hikes in U.S. history. The two major tax-cutting bills presented by President George W. Bush and passed by a Republican Congress in 2001 and 2003 are both set to sunset or expire on December 31. If Congress does not vote to reinstate the Bush tax cuts, they will be cut.

All taxpayers have something at stake. Here's the extent of the loss.

Item: The marriage penalty returns; expanded tax credits, like the child tax credit, which went from $500 to $1,000, that vanishes. And what comes back is the estate tax or the death tax.

Item: High-income households will no longer receive the full value of their deduction. That loss will cost them up to $21 billion.

Item: Capital-gains tax rates, dividend tax rates and income-tax rates all increase at every income level. The existing 10 percent bracket will go away, and the lowest new bracket will be 15 percent. The existing 25 percent bracket will be replaced by the new 28 percent bracket. The existing 28 percent bracket will be replaced by the new 31 percent bracket. The existing 33 percent bracket will be replaced by the new 36 percent bracket. And the existing 35 percent bracket will be replaced by the new 39.6 percent bracket.

Question: Should George W. Bush's tax cuts from almost a decade ago be left where they are, left in place? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: If they're not, the economy will go into cardiac arrest, John. But here's what's going to happen. Obama and the Democrats, I think, have realized the Republicans have won the battle for extension of all the tax cuts for two more years, till 2013. Where Democrats are going to try to come back, I think, is say, "Okay, we go along with that, but after 2013, only the middle-class tax cuts are extended or only tax cuts for those under a million dollars."

And the issue here is it's a game of chicken, John. Which of these two parties is prepared to let these taxes go vaulting upward January 1 and to take us to the edge of the cliff, and which one is going to blink first?

I think -- and this is a guess -- I think the Republicans are going to win this battle, and Mort's tax rates --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You want to --

MR. BUCHANAN: -- remain where they were. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to try this during the lame-duck session?

MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, you've got to do it during the lame duck.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? Why?

MR. BUCHANAN: Because they don't -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Republicans are not in there.

MR. BUCHANAN: They don't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Republicans don't have possession of the House.

MR. BUCHANAN: They go up on January 1.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So what? The Republicans are not in possession of the House. That's when they can really fight it.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, Obama --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They take over in January. You wait till January --

MR. BUCHANAN: The Congress -- the Congress has Democratic control, and it will go for Obama's programs, the Republicans, and --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean before January.

MR. BUCHANAN: Of course. This is when it's going to be decided.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can't Boehner prevent that, the minority leader?

MR. BUCHANAN: Now he doesn't have the horses in the House. He doesn't have them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He has sympathetic Democrats that don't like the Obama plan.

MR. BUCHANAN: They're dead. They're Blue Dogs, and they're all dead.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Well, they're not dead. They're alive in the lame- duck session.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They've got two months.

MS. CLIFT: And theoretically, there are the votes to give the president what he wants, which is permanent extension of the tax cuts for the middle class and to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Unless the Democrats cop out.

MS. CLIFT: -- and to sunset the tax cuts for the high end. The problem is that Obama and the Democrats do not have 60 votes in the Senate. They've got some Democrats in the Senate who are not going to go along with that. So I think the best that they can hope for is to extend temporarily -- kick the can down the road for a year or give it to the middle class, which everybody seems to agree should be done, and bifurcate the decision and kick the can down the road one year for the upper income. That would be the rational economic decision.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.

MS. CLIFT: But we're into Republican theology here, and tax cuts is the mantra.

MS. CROWLEY: Well, it's not --

MS. CLIFT: And so they'll fight to the death.

MS. CROWLEY: It's not a myth. It's not theology. When President Bush signed both waves of tax cuts, in 2001 and 2005, the result was 53 consecutive months of job creation and economic growth. They were proven to have worked.

And let's be very clear about what we're talking about. I think a lot of Americans are confused, in all this conversation, that they will be getting a tax cut if the Congress and the president act. That is not true. They were originally tax cuts, but what we're talking about is keeping the tax rates status quo, which you have to do, because the alternative is the Obama tax increases if they do not act.

In this kind of recession, you have to give Americans and small businesses, most of whom fall into that top rate -- they create 70 percent of all the new jobs in this country -- you have to let them retain as much of their money as possible if you want to get this recovery really going and you want to get job creation going.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you want it right away.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes. They should have done it before the election, but the Democrats got themselves locked into this box where now they have to do something before the end of the year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do most economists agree that there should not be any taxation during a period of recession?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It all depends who is being taxed. It all depends whose ox is being gored. The problem with all of what was said and the problem with your presentation, if I may say so, is that the vast bulk of these tax benefits go to the top 2 percent of the economy, of the people who earn money. These are the people, in my judgment, who have to make a contribution to the deficit problems that we are looking forward to. You're talking about $700 billion over the next decade that is going to be lost if this tax bill, in a sense, is allowed to be rejuvenated. So somebody's got to start paying more tax.

MS. CROWLEY: Well --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And wait a minute. Let me just finish, okay? Because if you don't do that, you'll never get the middle class to pay additional taxes. And somehow or other, we're going to have to do something on the tax side. And if you do anything with this bill, okay, you ought to find some way at least to sunset some of the ridiculous tax benefits that go to everybody. We've got to do something to deal with the fiscal problem. This is not just a short- term problem. It's a huge long-term problem.

MS. CLIFT: And there is a compromise --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And if we give this up, we'll never have a chance to do that again for --

MS. CLIFT: There is a compromise. You could raise the definition of the 2 percent up to a million dollars and just tax people who are really super millionaires.

And I want to counter what Monica said. The eight years of the Bush presidency was the weakest job growth we have seen in some time. It ended up negative job growth in this country. You cannot say that these tax cuts got the economy going. And if that's true, why did we have the recession if all these tax cuts are so miraculous?

MS. CROWLEY: I was talking about the immediate period after the -- the 53 consecutive months after these tax cuts were put in place, you did have this incredible engine of growth. That's not talking about the last period of the presidency that had the fiscal crisis, but the --

MS. CLIFT: Clinton had eight years of economic growth, 20 million jobs --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, we've got to get out. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go.

MS. CROWLEY: I just want to address what Mort said. I think there's a misconception that when you talk about the top earners, we're talking about Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. I think most Americans say that when you look at job creation and at small businesses that file under the individual forms and fall into that category, that's what most Americans are concerned about. When you talk about levying higher taxes on the rich, that's a form of class warfare. It doesn't work in the United States, because most people aspire to be the rich, and they don't like levying those kinds of heavy taxes on the job creators. Nobody ever got a job from a poor man. A lot of people got a job --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --

MS. CLIFT: They also aspire to lower the deficit. If you cut taxes --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Should Congress move to keep the Bush tax cuts in place, in full or in part, by taxing the rich? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: If they keep them in place in full, they are not raising taxes on the rich. I think that is what is going to happen. I think it could be continued, all the tax cuts, for two years. That would kick the issue right into the election of 2012, which is where it ought to be, Eleanor. And then you all can come after the rich folks.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your answer, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: I'm not after the rich folks. I'm with all those tea-party people who want to lower the deficit. How can you say that's your priority and then want to spend $700 billion on the top 2 percent in this country, who are doing just fine? It makes no sense.

MS. CROWLEY: This whole question gets to the size and scope of government. This federal government and government at every level does not have a revenue problem. They have a spending problem. And remember the original impetus to the tea party? TEA stands for taxed enough already. You try to increase taxes, whether on the middle class or small businesses, and there is going to be political hell to pay.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I am definitely not against the rich people. I just want to make that clear.

MS. CROWLEY: Right. (Laughs.)

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I am very strongly in favor of fiscal sanity in this country --

MS. CLIFT: Absolutely.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- because sooner or later it's going to explode on us, okay? And this is one step that should never be allowed to be -- allowed to expire. It's one opportunity to do that. And unless you have the people who are doing better paying a higher portion -- as Eleanor said, it was Bill Clinton who introduced these tax increases in the first place, and everybody said, "It's going to ruin the economy." Bull. It changed the whole fiscal side of the economy and enabled the economy to grow at a more rapid rate. So I don't agree that it's going to affect the poor rich people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the provision of $200,000 --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Two hundred fifty thousand.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two hundred (thousand) single --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. I mean, I absolutely --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and $250,000 family.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: If that's what it takes to get this thing through, I'm in favor of it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you're okay with that?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I am in favor of it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm with you, Mort. Soak the rich.

Issue Two: Will India join the club?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) Indeed, the just and sustainable international order that America seeks includes a United Nations that is efficient, effective, credible and legitimate. And that is why I can say today, in the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed United Nations Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and now maybe India are the, quote-unquote, "permanent" members of the United Nations permanent Security Council, the U.N.'s most prestigious and powerful body. Each of the five existing permanent members, perhaps soon to be six, has veto power that allows them to block any resolution considered by the 15-member council.

President Obama's backing of India for permanent status on the Security Council means also that the U.S. wants India as an ally. An alliance with India can be construed as a check on the economic activity of China. President Obama's support for India might sour relations, however, with Pakistan, with whom India has fought three separate wars over the past 63 years and with whom we have engaged as a U.S. ally in fighting terrorism in Southwest Asia. Question: Will President Obama's initiative towards getting India a seat on the permanent Security Council add up to a plus or a minus for the United States? Monica Crowley.

MS. CROWLEY: This is a huge plus, not because India is going to get a permanent seat on the Security Council any time soon. Remember, Japan is still first in line. Bill Clinton encouraged a permanent seat for Japan when he was president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So did Obama, right?

MS. CROWLEY: And President Bush made it official U.S. policy. And Japan is still waiting. But here's why it was so symbolically important. Obama's trip this week to India and Indonesia was the first long-term strategically important thing that he has done. He has taken a look at the entire region, and what he's doing is shoring up India to serve as a counterweight against the increasing economic and military power of China. He's also putting the Pakistanis on notice, because Pakistan is playing a dangerous game between us and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

So he's playing a very sophisticated long-term strategic game on behalf of the United States, and it is going to accrue to our benefit. India is the biggest democracy in the world. It's a natural ally of the United States. And I say well done, President Obama.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MS. CROWLEY: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to put that in writing?

MS. CROWLEY: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will you have it notarized?

MS. CROWLEY: You got it on tape, John. (Laughs.) You got it on tape.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to add to this?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I agree with that. I think India is such a critical country for us. And there are a few other people who are not happy about this; the Pakistanis and the Chinese, amongst others. But absolutely, we have got to find some way to recognize them. And they are a democracy. And they are, by and large, a very good ally of the United States on many levels.

MS. CLIFT: The trip and the recommendation for the U.N. is important symbolically, but it's not going to happen --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right. MS. CLIFT: -- because China, in any event, would veto it.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Will veto it. And I think it unsettles the Pakistanis. But our duplicitous relationship with Pakistan is succeeded only by their duplicity towards us. So I think this a balancing act on the part of this presidency.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We give Pakistan about $8 billion a year.

MS. CLIFT: Oh, I know.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hillary goes over there a few months ago with another half a billion.

MS. CLIFT: I know. But we're worried about Afghanistan, and it's not quite certain that Pakistan --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We're also worried about Pakistan.

MS. CLIFT: -- is as worried about it.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Pakistan has 120 nuclear weapons. The last thing in the world we want is to have an overthrow of that government, which is very unstable.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me offer a dissent, if I might. I mean, the U.N. -- the Brazilians want in. The Japanese want in. The Indians want in. I don't think any of them get in. If all of them get in, you've got total paralysis in the Security Council, making the U.N. even more worthless.

As for getting in bed with the Indians against the Chinese, we are not in the business of containing China. These countries have their problems with the Chinese, which are not our problems. Whether it's the South China Sea, East China Sea or China's occupation of parts of India, those are their problems. And frankly, you antagonize the Paks and that is a serious, serious adversary, because they're already paranoid and anti-American.

MS. CLIFT: The theory is that you could exert some influence on India and try to get India and Pakistan to work together, which is --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's go. Let's go. Let's go. The group gives Obama an A. I think that's uniform.

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, I do.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't go along with that.

MS. CLIFT: I do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you give him?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think it was a good trip. I'll give him --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You gave him an A.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, I did --

MR. BUCHANAN: I'll give him a B.

MS. CROWLEY: -- because it --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You give him a B.

MR. BUCHANAN: On the trip.

MS. CROWLEY: -- it shows --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm not talking about the trip. I'm talking about India.

MS. CROWLEY: It shows real --

MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, on that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also I'm very much behind his idea of multilateralism within foreign policy.

MR. BUCHANAN: I've been very big on multilateralism. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Multilateral diplomacy. MR. BUCHANAN: There's always --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Multilateral foreign policy.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, look, if you have to go in and defend your national interest, you go unilaterally, multilaterally if possible. But you go.

MS. CLIFT: Pat doesn't want anybody to dip their toes in foreign water, basically. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, no, foreign wars. We've had enough of them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Hiroshima.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) We must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st century. As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it. We can start it. So today I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In April 2009, Barack Obama delivered these words in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. He called for a world free of nuclear power, an address that was widely reported to have helped him win the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

This weekend Mr. Obama was in Yokohama, Japan at the annual conference of Asian-Pacific leaders. Four hundred miles away, in Hiroshima, Japan, the 11th world summit of Nobel peace laureates met to celebrate 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo of China, who is in jail for dissident writing.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. President Harry S. Truman authorized the U.S. to bomb these two Japanese cities in the last days of World War II. On August 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped a nuclear bomb in Hiroshima, killing an estimated 140,000 people. The second atomic bomb detonated at Nagasaki, three days later, killing an average of 80,000. Japan surrendered on August the 14th.

In September, five Nobel peace laureates, including former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Walesa of Poland and the dalai lama, wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to join them as a Nobel prize recipient himself and to give the opening address at the Hiroshima summit this weekend.

Mr. Obama responded through a letter written by a U.S. official, who expressed thanks and praised the meeting's efforts to abolish nuclear weapons, but declined the invitation; offered no reason for rejecting. So the five Nobel laureates were in Hiroshima and Nobel laureate was in Yokohama, all at the same time. Question: Did President Obama owe Hiroshima a visit? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: I think it would have been nice. But frankly, if the president had done this, we wouldn't be sitting here talking about what a great trip he just had to India. Monica and Pat would be saying, "Enough with the apology tour." So I think that this is not an invitation that has been headlined, and I don't think there were any expectations of this president, who's been gone for 10 days. It's time for him to come home.

MS. CROWLEY: This is a historical wasp's nest that he did not want to poke. Remember, he sent the U.S. ambassador to Japan to the memorial in August on the actual date, the anniversary of the dropping of the bomb. So there was no need for him to go there, because, look, you don't want to suggest moral equivalence in the role of the United States in World War II and imperial Japan in World War II. The dropping of those nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought an end to the war. It was a last resort. Truman didn't want to do it. But at the risk of having a full ground invasion of Japan to end that war, it was the right moral decision.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, that proposition --

MR. BUCHANAN: Correction, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. That proposition has been attacked widely.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, I understand.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, correction.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you know that the wisdom of the historian is that the emperor was on the verge of collapse anyway, and there would have been --

MS. CROWLEY: I think that's revisionist history.

MR. BUCHANAN: But a correction's in order --

MS. CROWLEY: He collapsed because we dropped two nuclear weapons on him.

MR. BUCHANAN: Correction's in order. Harry Truman didn't do it reluctantly. He said, "I didn't give it a second thought." And quite frankly, I don't think the bombs on those cities was morally justified. I think if you had to use it, they should have used it at the end of Tokyo Bay.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think it's a stain on American honor. MR. BUCHANAN: You know, yeah, I don't want to sit in -- I shouldn't sit in judgment --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think there was a conspiracy of silence afterwards?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't believe that. I do believe it is a very serious moral issue. If you believe terrorism is the killing of innocent people for killing political reasons, we killed 200,000 people to get the emperor to break and say, "I surrender.

"

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I mean, to go back to that, I can't validate whatever the theory is. All I've read, frankly, indicates that, in fact, it was an attempt to avoid having to have a ground invasion.

MS. CROWLEY: Right.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: There are various different interpretations of the willingness of Japan to fight to the very end. And I sure as hell would not have wanted to have a lot of American soldiers die.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Nevertheless, it is a terrible thing to have to witness and to be a part of. But I just do not think here -- I mean, here we are sitting in a situation where Iran is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons and threatening to destabilize a whole region. What are we doing about it? So there are real complicated issues here that involve a level of weaponry that nobody is comfortable with.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What level of complications does not exist, that these people who were killed were civilians?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, without question, but --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're civilians.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I understand that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You can't bomb civilians during a war.

MR. BUCHANAN: But they did.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a national law.

Issue Four: JFK and Obama at Odds? FORMER PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: (From videotape.) Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of the nation.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States, in his 1961 inaugural address, promised a foreign policy that would be rooted in, quote-unquote, "the success of liberty," not only at home, but worldwide.

Fifty years later, in a post-Cold War world, the United States has a different foreign policy and a different military policy. Here are the words of our current president on the core nature of our foreign policy. Quote: "Once we get beyond matters of self-defense, though, I'm convinced that it will almost always be in our strategic interest to act multilaterally rather than unilaterally when we use force around the world, acting multilaterally, doing what George H.W. Bush and his team did in the first Gulf War, engaging in the hard diplomatic work of obtaining most of the world's support for our actions and making sure our actions served to further recognize international norms," closed quote.

Question: How do you appraise the multilateral policy of President Obama? I ask you, Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I mean, I support it, without question. It's always helpful, wherever you can, to have a whole group of allies with you on many, many levels -- politically and morally and otherwise. But there are times when it's just not available. John Kennedy was really directing his comments to the Soviet Union at that point. They were our principal enemy. And nobody could ever imagine that they were going to have any moral restraints. So it's a very different kind of time.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president is traveling a lot abroad. He's making acquaintances, friends perhaps, in some of these leaders. He's treating them almost beyond the level of diplomacy. It becomes a relationship. Is that good for multilateral foreign policy?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. I think the personal dimension of international relations is really understated and undervalued and underappreciated. It's very important. But there's another part of it, okay? If there's one thing that the world looks to the United States for, it is leadership. And sometimes that leadership requires, really demands, the use of force. And they do not think that this president is tough enough, particularly in the regions of the Middle East, from one end to the other.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you share that view?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think, with respect to Iran, we're going to find out just what we are prepared to do and what we aren't prepared to do. And I don't know what the best answer is. All I can say is that there is an accumulative view in that part of the world that Obama's just not providing the strong enough leadership that they look for.

MS. CLIFT: Well, I think the message here was maybe for the neocons here at home and to Israel, trying to push us into a military confrontation with Iran, that this president is not going to go it alone --

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: -- that he would take the message from the rest of the world, principally our allies, that this is not a good idea. And I think that's what he was trying to say.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is what he writes in "The Audacity of Hope." Quote: "It may be preferable to have the support of our allies in military campaigns, but our immediate safety cannot be held hostage to the desire for international consensus. So we have to go it alone, and the American people stand ready to pay any price and bear any burden to protect our country.

"I would also argue that we have the right to take unilateral military action to eliminate," quote-unquote; that is, italicized word -- "imminent threat to our society so long as an imminent threat is understood to be a nation, a group, an individual that is actively preparing to strike U.S. targets or allies with which the United States has mutual defense agreements and has or will have the means to do so in the immediate future." And al Qaeda falls into that category, he says.

MR. BUCHANAN: Al Qaeda does.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, what do you think of that?

MR. BUCHANAN: I agree with that but --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's hardline, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Iran does not fall into that category. It doesn't threaten us now. It never has. Do you think they're going to attack the United States?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think it could be regarded perhaps, if circumstances adjust to an imminent threat.

Out of time. Bye-bye.

END.