The McLaughlin Group Host: John McLaughlin Panel: Pat Buchanan, MSNBC; Eleanor Clift, Newsweek; Rich Lowry, National Review; Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune Taped: Friday, December 23, 2011 Broadcast: Weekend of December 24-25, 2011

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ANNOUNCER: It's the 30th annual McLaughlin Group year-end awards, 2011, part one. Here's the master of ceremonies, John McLaughlin.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Biggest winner of 2011. Pat.

PAT BUCHANAN: Mohammed, year of the prophet, John. Islam has emerged as the most powerful force in the world today.

ELEANOR CLIFT: I'll give a positive nod to the Arab youth protesters, but I'll give the award to the Occupy Wall Street crowd, which has really changed the political agenda and put the concerns of the 99 percent on the national scene. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rich.

RICH LOWRY: I give it to the Navy SEALs who dispatched Osama bin Laden with a lethal efficiency and did us all proud.


CLARENCE PAGE: I will give it to Newt Gingrich, John, if that surprises you, because I think he went from loser to winner most effectively this year. I'm not going to say what's going to happen next year. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rich, the envelope, please. Thank you very much.

How am I doing, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Let's hear it from Carnac the Magnificent, J. Carson reincarnated.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Johnny Carson. Remember him?

MR. BUCHANAN: Mmm hmm. (Affirmative response.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here's Carnac. The biggest winner of 2011, as Pat pointed out, the Arab street, long dismissed as an impotent, if not mythical, political force. 2011 was the year when the Arab street rose en masse, from Tunisia to Egypt, from Yemen to Libya. The Arab street brought to life the Arab spring. So the Arab street, the biggest winner of 2011.

OK, biggest loser, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Penn State and Joe Paterno, sadly.


MS. CLIFT: Republican brand. The president is vulnerable. They can't get their act together.


MR. LOWRY: Jon Corzine, who's become a symbol of everything that's wrong with the political and the financial elite.


MR. LOWRY: Well, it's one thing to lose $1.2 billion in the markets. It's another thing to lose it in the sense that you don't know where it went.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How can you possibly trace that volume of money? MR. LOWRY: How can you possibly lose that volume of money? (Laughter.)

MR. PAGE: Wouldn't you love to be able to?


MR. LOWRY: Yeah, spare change.

MR. PAGE: Yeah, right. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Corzine's a nice guy, though. Do you know him at all?

MR. LOWRY: Well, he's trashed New Jersey and then trashed his firm.

MR. PAGE: So many losers this year, John. I gave a tie to Anthony Weiner and the News of the World newspaper.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The biggest loser of 2011, the early Obama economic team: Geithner, Goolsbee, Bernstein, Romer, Summers. They will all be associated with a plan that led to 9 percent unemployment, to anemic economic growth, and to $4.4 trillion added to the national debt. The biggest losers of 2011.

The best politician. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I'm going to give it to Chris Christie, John. He stayed out of the presidential race, wisely. He's a Republican who cut the budget, at the same time retained his popularity. I think he did the right thing all year.


MS. CLIFT: Best politician: Hillary Clinton, who's no longer seen as a politician, has won the hearts of everybody around the world. And even in this country, conservative men like Hillary Clinton.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think she's presidential material?

MS. CLIFT: She's presidential material. Whether she'll run, I don't know.


MR. LOWRY: Hands down, Paul Ryan. He swung his caucus around a brave and bold budget, changed the national conversation. And unlike many of his critics, he's civil, responsible and honest.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence. MR. PAGE: I have a surprise, John: Congressman Allen West, who came in as a tea party favorite and has proved to be, over time, an independent thinker, believe it or not, who has -- who outraged other tea partiers by supporting raising the debt ceiling and other independent thoughts. I think he's a rising talent.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What does he do for a living?

MR. PAGE: He's a congressman. Well, he's a former Army colonel, an Iraq war veteran, and he --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: From Florida.

MR. PAGE: From Florida, Democrat -- I'm sorry -- Republican from Florida, and caused quite a ruckus against the Democratic Party chairman.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Best politician of 2011, as noted here, New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie. Republican backers urged him to make a run for the presidency. Christie said no, I am duty- bound to New Jerseyans, who elected me governor. It's hard for a politician, as you know, Pat, to put ego aside. Best politician. After all, you were, in a sense, a politician.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You ran for the presidency, what, two or three times?

MR. BUCHANAN: Very successfully. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, and you -- what was the name of that party you headed up?

MR. BUCHANAN: It was the Reform Party. We can't find it, John. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that's --

MR. LOWRY: (Inaudible.) MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Destroy the party.

MR. BUCHANAN: In the canal. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Next category: Worst politician.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the future president of France. What were you thinking of? (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're not staying with the news. He was set up, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I don't care. (Laughs.) I don't care whether he was or not.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear my --

MR. BUCHANAN: He ain't going to be president of France.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was framed.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Stick with the news.

MR. PAGE: Is this a scoop, John?

MS. CLIFT: There was enough guilt there that he was easy to frame, I'm afraid. (Laughs.)

I give a joint award to the Republican governors of Wisconsin -- Scott Walker -- Ohio -- John Kasich -- Rick Scott, Florida. They all blew enormous leads by overreaching and pushing a far-right agenda.


MR. LOWRY: Worst politician was Hosni Mubarak, whose corruption and tone-deafness rule, John, created the predicate for that revolution and overturning the entire order of the Middle East.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we knew that. We became aware of that when we saw where he put the billions of dollars and that that had accumulated. But up until then --

MR. LOWRY: If he had invested them with Corzine, Egypt would have been even worse off. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Were you taking me seriously on my defense of --

MR. LOWRY: I am.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Hosni? Not a defense -- MR. LOWRY: It depends on what basis.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, he had a lot of money and he was salting it away, and I don't like that about him. But he was our ally, wasn't he?

MR. LOWRY: He was, but he lost his people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There you go.

MR. LOWRY: That's a bad politician.

MR. PAGE: Worst politician, John, Silvio Berlusconi -- Berlusconi. I mean, how can you beat the guy who -- he bought his way into office, didn't know when it was time to leave. But we're going to miss him because he's so much fun to comment about --


MR. PAGE: -- and to say his name. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Worst politician of 2011, Barack Obama. He wants to create jobs and put forward a jobs bill priced at $450 billion, Pat. Many Democrats in the House and the Senate face tough races in 2012. They won't vote for the $450 billion bill. Many won't even be seen with him. If a president cannot inspire support and cannot instill fear, that makes him the worst politician -- politician, not human being.

OK, Pat, most defining political moment.

MR. BUCHANAN: The fall of Hosni Mubarak, the beginning of the Arab spring. And I think it's the rise of Islam across the Arab world.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you (believing ?) that more than it's worth, this Arab spring?

MR. BUCHANAN: No. I think you have been, but I have not. (Laughter.)


MS. CLIFT: I say the debt-ceiling debacle, which drove the approval of Congress down to single digits and really has alienated this country with regard to looking at Washington, thinking Washington can get anything done.


MR. LOWRY: It was when President Obama rejected his own Bowles- Simpson debt commission, showing that he's going to play the role of a cowardly demagogue -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. LOWRY: -- on the federal budget.


MR. PAGE: I think the Arab spring was the most defining moment, or bunch of moments, leading to similar uprisings around the planet, like Occupy Wall Street. It was a year of protests.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The most defining political moment, the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from Iraq. The withdrawal will bring to an end nearly nine years of war at a cost of $1 trillion and nearly 4,500 U.S. lives. It may be remembered as the worst foreign policy decision in U.S. history, the war in Iraq.

OK, turncoat of the year, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Rich Lowry -- as Rich --

MR. LOWRY: Wait a minute. I'm the turncoat of the year? (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: No, no, no. Rich Lowry proposed Paul Ryan as a real hero, and I agree with that. And Newt -- as soon as he proposed his budget, Newt turned around and stabbed him in the back for right- wing social engineering; the back stab of the year. Turncoat of the year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Newt would like to forget all that?

MR. BUCHANAN: He certainly would.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it's going to live to damage him more?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's going to live for a while, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor -- certainly in the Republican ranks.

MS. CLIFT: The thing is, Newt was correct in his assessment of the Ryan budget. And speaking the truth in Washington always gets you in trouble.

My turncoat is Speaker John Boehner, who walked away from the grand bargain with President Obama.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rich. MR. LOWRY: Turncoats of the year were all the Newt Gingrich aides who left him when he was down and betrayed their royalty, not for -- (inaudible) -- but for Rick Perry.


MR. PAGE: My turncoat is Mitt Romney for turning against "Romneycare," his own plan that he wants to try run away from as fast as he can.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me see if I can enlarge the circle here, OK? Turncoat of the year: Great Britain. In 2007, British Prime Minister Tony Blair went to Libya and he met with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. That meeting restored Gadhafi's international standing. But when Gadhafi's people turned on Gadhafi, Britain followed suit and kissed him off. Turncoat of the year.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Americans did the same thing. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Share the blame.

OK. Most boring, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Collective award: The supercommittee, John. (Laughter.) Goodbye. Good luck.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not only that, but they were ineffectual.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What happened to that? Why did that happen?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's gone. We don't even know who was on it, John.


MS. CLIFT: I could probably name who was on it, and I could tell you what went wrong. But I agree that most Americans don't share that obsession.

My most boring is Rick Santorum, who really does nothing but complain that he's not getting enough air time in the Republican debates.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By the way, did you see the automatic mechanism that took over, absent a supercommittee vote? You saw that. That all materialized.

MS. CLIFT: The absence of a supercommittee --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The absence of a vote, that automatic -- MS. CLIFT: Oh, the sequester. John, we don't want to get into the sequester. (Laughs.)

MR. LOWRY: This is a holiday show, John.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) A holiday show, right.

MR. LOWRY: The most boring -- the most boring politician --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you ever seen any legislation devised that way?

MR. LOWRY: Oh, the whole thing was a disaster.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you know, you have an automatic mechanism take over if the supercommittee can't reach a vote.

MR. PAGE: Let's not be boring, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, who put that together?

MS. CLIFT: Congress did.

MR. LOWRY: It was borne out of desperation. They just wanted to get out of the debt limit, and this was the mechanism to do it. And it was convoluted and made no sense.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was it Obama's idea to do it that way?

MR. LOWRY: Can I tell you the most boring politician of the year?

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. LOWRY: Barack Obama. We all -- we were told how invigorating and inspiring he was, and we learned this year he's all too pedestrian.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

MR. PAGE: Well, Eleanor and I are thinking on the same lines there with Rick Santorum, so I will up it with Buddy Roemer, who keeps complaining about not being included in the debates. And he's getting about as much traction as Rick Santorum.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Most boring: Green energy -- solar, wind, retrofitting, hybrid cars, hydroelectric. Who cares? We all know that big oil rules and will continue to rule. Most boring. But that doesn't mean green is not good. You got that distinction, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's boring.

MR. LOWRY: Just boring. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, most charismatic.

MR. BUCHANAN: Will and Kate and Prince Harry. I think that one great thing this year was that wedding, and I thought they were all as charismatic as they could be.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you've always favored monarchy.

MR. BUCHANAN: I've been right with the British monarchy all my life, John. (Laughs.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you a monarchist? Is that the secret of your --

MR. BUCHANAN: No, but I have grown into an old empire man. (Laughs.)


MS. CLIFT: Most charismatic is the fruit seller in Tunisia, who sparked the Arab spring.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, he --

MS. CLIFT: He --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- consumed himself in flames.

MS. CLIFT: -- immolated himself, right. But his -- what he did and his protest inspired a remaking of the Middle East. We don't know the outcome yet, but I think a small "d" Democratic uprising is to be applauded.


MR. LOWRY: Chris Christie. Every town hall meeting is a YouTube sensation waiting to happen. He's the most brash, effective and fat politician in America, which is refreshing.

MR. PAGE: And brash. (Laughs.)


MR. PAGE: John, hold on to your hat. I think it's Herman Cain was the most charismatic politician of the year, and he was -- his problem was he was too charismatic in the wrong kind of way in some ways. But nevertheless --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What does that mean? MR. PAGE: Well, nevertheless -- (laughter) -- judge for yourself, John. (Laughter.) But, I mean, here's a guy; he became front runner and was really riding high --


MR. PAGE: -- without a campaign staff when -- (inaudible) -- the campaign developed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm surprised this has eluded the others on this set. The most charismatic, of course, is George Clooney. Mr. Clooney has also used his likability to bring awareness to the humanitarian crisis in Sudan. And Clooney's charms with women; I think that speaks for themselves. They also continue to make him an inspiration to males everywhere. Wouldn't you say, Pat?

OK, bummest rap, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The rich are not paying their fair share of taxes. Quack, quack, Eleanor. (Laughs.)


MS. CLIFT: Bummest rap: President Obama hates business --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: -- and everything else said about President Obama on this show. (Laughs.)


MR. LOWRY: Bummest rap was that the Bush-Cheney terror policies were scandalous and criminal when they've become the basis of Obama's policy.


MR. PAGE: The bummest rap is that, quote, the first round of stimulus created zero jobs. You've heard it before. You'll hear it again. And PolitiFact and the Congressional Budget Office says no; 1 (million) to 3 million.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bummest rap: Women are the weaker sex. Women may still make less than men for the same work, but that pay gap is now at a record low today. And today women make up a majority of U.S. college graduates. And over the past 30 years, women have started twice as many businesses. I am woman.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) Right.

MR. PAGE: Hear me roar. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They ought to be singing that. Hear me roar.

OK, best comeback, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I've got to give it to Newt. After the Tiffany's and the Greek islands and the loss of his New Hampshire staff, he comes back to be the front runner.


MS. CLIFT: Gabby Giffords, who came back to Congress to cast the vote on the debt-ceiling debate after her tragic shooting in January.


MS. CLIFT: Terrific grit.

MR. LOWRY: The best comebacks are all the late-game dramatics forged by Tim Tebow, the single most exciting figure in American sports right now.


MR. PAGE: Amazing, Eleanor and I thinking alike again.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: Gabby Giffords, most definitely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Best comeback: American fiscal responsibility. Americans this year paid down their credit-card and mortgage debt; very fiscally responsible. Then that energized American consumers to go out and shop this holiday season, a record Black Friday. Best comeback.

OK, most stagnant thinker, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Barack Obama. I mean, John, this soak-the-rich stuff, the same old stuff. The old Obama of 2008 is gone.


MS. CLIFT: Don't take it so personally, Pat. (Laughter.)

Stagnant thinker: Grover Norquist, who crafted his no new taxes in the heyday of the `80s. It needs updating.


MR. LOWRY: Thomas Friedman, who harped so much on his envy for Chinese-style centralized planning that it's lost its ability to shock. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Orly Taitz and the rest of what's left of the birther movement. They're still hanging in out there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Most stagnant thinkers: The Israelis and the Palestinians, negotiating for Middle East peace; another year of ups and downs, hits and misses, comings and goings, talks and near-talks, highs and lows, and, in the end, no solution to the 70-year-old conflict. Most stagnant thinkers.

OK, enough already award, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Warren Buffett. My secretary pays a higher tax rate than I do. (Laughs.) Cut it out, Warren. Pay the woman some more money. (Laughs.)


MS. CLIFT: Go, Warren, go.

Enough, already: The Republican debates and the Kardashians. And maybe they can all get together on a stage. (Laughs.)


MR. LOWRY: Joe Biden. His bombast and self-glorification are occasionally amusing but always tiresome.


MR. PAGE: Another tie: Donald Trump and Sarah Palin. Need I say more?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Enough, already. Enough whining about political partisanship. America is in crisis. The nation's future is in political play. Consensus is essential. We will not be able to chart a clear direction without it. It may take one or two more election cycles for that consensus to build. Until then, the times call for enriching exchanges of views, and that means argument, rational argument; (just ?) show enough of whining and over-argumentation.

OK, worst lie, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Worst lie? I just don't know where that money went, said Jon Corzine. (Laughs.)


MS. CLIFT: I'm just a historian, said Newt Gingrich. (Laughter.) MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rich.

MR. LOWRY: Worst lie, courtesy of Occupy Wall Street and then President Obama, the idea that some people are poor in this country because some people are rich.


MR. PAGE: I've never done anything improper with anyone in my life; Herman Cain. (Laughter.) Even if that were true, it sounds like a lie. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Worst lie: Ex-Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner. First he attempted to blame his underwear photo on unnamed political enemies. Secondly, Weiner maintained his innocence on CNN, claiming that he did not send the picture to a female college student. Later Weiner recanted and resigned from office in disgrace. Oddly, Weiner's political career is not over. What do you think of that, Pat?

Capitalist of the year.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Chinese. They're eating our lunch.


MS. CLIFT: Newt Gingrich. He ate our lunch. (Laughter.)


MR. LOWRY: Peter Thiel, extremely successful investor our in Silicon Valley and an original thinker, who is pointing out the ways in which a four-year B.A., that whole model, doesn't make sense anymore.

MR. BUCHANAN: And a major contributor to National Review. (Laughter.)


MR. LOWRY: (Laughs.) I wish.

MR. PAGE: Pat's friend Warren Buffett, who is not only talking good common sense about inequality, but also is buying his hometown newspaper to keep it in business. I love the man.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Capitalist of the year: Arianna Huffington. Her eponymous online publication, the Huffington Post, was acquired by AOL, yielding Arianna a cool $350 million payday. Capitalist of the year.

OK, best photo op, Pat. MR. BUCHANAN: A photograph from the European summit last week, John, where Nicolas Sarkozy refused to shake the hand of David Cameron and moved right by him. (Laughs.)


MS. CLIFT: The photo taken in the Situation Room when President Obama and the national security team waited for 38 minutes to watch the mission to capture and kill Osama bin Laden unfold. Hillary Clinton is like this and the president is staring. They all looked quite terrified, because things could have gone awry.


MR. LOWRY: The royal wedding, clearly the most picturesque event of the year. Both Kate Middleton and her sister looked amazing.


MR. PAGE: To me, the best photo op was of Osama bin Laden sitting wrapped in a blanket watching TV with a remote control in utter loneliness the last days of his life.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The best photo op: Vice President Joe Biden sound asleep while President Obama was unveiling his plan to cut the nation's $15 trillion debt. The best photo op.

Honorable mention, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I'm going to borrow from Rich. I take SEAL Team 6. I think they did a magnificent job; great training for those guys, risked their lives, went in and did the job they were trained to do for their country. And, quite frankly, I'm going to give -- I'm going to give Barack Obama credit for an assist there, Eleanor. (Laughter.)

MR. LOWRY: An honorable mention on the honorable mention.

MR. PAGE: It's the holiday spirit. (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: A mere assist as the commander in chief.

OK, I like Ms. Merkel, who is really carrying the problems of the Eurozone on her shoulders, and we are very much reliant on her. And then I would also like to mention the SEAL 6 team and all the soldiers who are serving all of us so admirably around the world. They get way too little credit.


MR. LOWRY: The Muslim Brotherhood and their ilk, who are the big -- as Pat pointed out earlier, the big short-term winners from the Arab spring. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: The class -- new class of political market capitalists -- Herman Cain, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and everybody else who uses politics as a springboard to business and profits rather than the other way around.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Honorable mention: Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times. This year the Times hired its first woman to run the paper. On her watch, the Times now boasts more than 300,000 paying digital customers. Abramson may perfect the model that could save newspapers in the Internet age.

Pat, do you have any comments on the forgoing?

MR. BUCHANAN: I'm just stunned by your decision, John. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Well, I must say, this is the new --

MR. LOWRY: We hope she does. We all hope she does.

MS. CLIFT: -- the new feminist John. Some of your categories have left me with my mouth agape.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you know Jill. You see how she's now got these classic photos on page one of the Times.

MS. CLIFT: I think she's great. And it's an historic moment to be named the top editor of the Gray Lady.

MR. LOWRY: And to get John's honorable mention on McLaughlin Group.

MS. CLIFT: That's right, definitely.

MR. PAGE: Right. I know Jill, and she's quite brilliant. And I think it was a great move on the Times' part. And I salute their decision as a sister newspaper. They can't be the world's greatest newspaper like the Chicago Tribune, but they're trying.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, as an old print head myself from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat days and a guy who subscribes to six newspapers a day and gets two for free, I do hope these print newspapers survive, because I'm not a guy that really loves going into the Internet and reading that. I like having that thing on the kitchen table with the coffee and everything. So I hope Jill Abramson's New York Times survives and prospers.

MS. CLIFT: And let's hear it for magazines too. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think enough of ink journalism that you would permit, contrary to your habitual frame of mind --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- government grants to keep newspapers --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in existence?

MR. BUCHANAN: Private enterprise should keep them alive so that we can attack them. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Suppose private enterprise is not behind the newspaper sufficiently.

MR. LOWRY: John, competition here --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would you think of -- but could you think of a way of framing a government grant, and at the same time --

MR. BUCHANAN: You're headed down --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- without sacrificing the editorial independence of a newspaper?

MR. BUCHANAN: You're headed down the road to Solyndra, John. Don't go there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't go there?

MR. LOWRY: Competition is so important. You have the Murdoch empire and The Wall Street Journal going head to head with The New York Times, and they're in a competition to figure out who can make this new business model work. It's a fantastic thing.

MS. CLIFT: But you've got to keep the media alive, because what else would Republican candidates do, because they love to attack the media.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, here it is -- person of the year. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Recep Erdogan of Turkey, who is the most powerful leader of Turkey since Ataturk. He's brought his country up in the entire Middle East. He's sort of turning his back on Europe. People accuse him of neo-Ottomanism. But I think he's been the most effective leader of the year. The Turks have got a very fast economic growth. They've got high inflation. But Turkey is a real force in the world, one of the real BRIC countries.


MS. CLIFT: I give it to Steve Jobs, who died earlier this year. But in his death, he will have continued influence over our society, more influence than any of the politicians alive today who we've discussed in this program. He was a truly original thinker and a person who has left us with a life that we could only have dreamed of.


MR. LOWRY: Angela Merkel, who is in the center of a vast historical mistake over in Europe, which is namely an attempt to create an undemocratic, basically, European superstate.


MR. PAGE: Well, Eleanor chose my first choice, Steve Jobs. And I agree, he's had more of an impact on this year and future years than other big names. My second choice was Angela Merkel. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Right. Exactly.

MR. PAGE: So you and I think alike, too, Rich. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, Clarence, go with Erdogan for your third choice.

MR. LOWRY: Yeah. (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: My third choice.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We get one person of the year, Clarence.

Person of the year is Republican Congressman Paul Ryan. And that's echoing a thought here earlier. He critically examined the Internal Revenue Service's tax code and how it affects individuals and corporate America. Ryan offered a plan for how to revise the monstrous current U.S. tax code.

Next week join us for the McLaughlin Group 2011 awards, part two.

Merry Christmas and bye-bye.