The McLaughlin Group Host: John McLaughlin Panel: Pat Buchanan, MSNBC; Eleanor Clift, Newsweek: Michelle Bernard, Bernard Center; Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune Taped: Friday, January 13, 2012 Broadcast: Weekend of January 14-15, 2012
Copyright (c) 2012 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
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Finer in Carolina.
FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY (R): (From videotape.) And with regards to South Carolina, last time I came in fourth. So, you know, our team recognizes this is going to be a challenge.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Republican presidential front runner Mitt Romney is in South Carolina, fighting to win South Carolina's Republican primary coming up on January 21st. That's a Saturday, about one week from now.
Four years ago, in that 2008 South Carolina presidential primary, the momentum was against him and he came in fourth. This year he appears to have the big mo. Why? One, organization. Romney's ground campaign is mighty and motivated by a likely big win. Two, cash. Romney has in cash $19 million to use for advertisements, more than any other competitor. Three, endorsements, key South Carolina politicians; notably, the governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley.
Romney is now 18 points ahead of his closest competitor, Rick Santorum, who, by the way, narrowly lost to Romney in the Iowa caucus. Now, in South Carolina, a week away, Romney is polling at 37 percent, Santorum 19 percent.
Romney is 19 points ahead of the third-place candidate, Newt Gingrich. Gingrich, by the way, had been beating Romney in South Carolina before his political collapse. Today in South Carolina, Romney is 37 percent, Gingrich 18 percent. Gingrich hints that Romney has enough momentum and money to win the South Carolina primary and the Republican nomination.
FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA): (From videotape.) He has so much money that, if he also has the advantage of momentum, it's going to be very hard to stop him. If Romney can win South Carolina, he's probably going to be the nominee. I mean, this is his big test.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Last week Mitt Romney made Republican presidential primary history. He is the first of any Republican non- incumbent to win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Can he now afford to relax? Can he rest on his laurels? Pat Buchanan.
PAT BUCHANAN: No, he can't, John. But he's got some advantages you didn't mention. One is the perception on the part of a lot of people that he's inevitable. Secondly, his advantage is the entire conservative side of the argument has been fragmented in Iowa between five or six people; between four or five people up in New Hampshire. That vote has been splintered and divided and enabled Mitt to break out.
Now he's in South Carolina. He's ahead in some polls -- all the polls in South Carolina. Some of them are close. But he can afford even to lose South Carolina now because he's got this momentum. As you mentioned, he's got organization. He's got money. He's headed for Florida, where he's way ahead. And no one else has the ability to go the distance.
One final point: All the people who might beat him have been wounded or cut or bleeding or damaged in one way or another.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The bigger polls have a wider margin for Romney being ahead of his -- the next in line.
ELEANOR CLIFT: Yeah, but you've got Gingrich and Perry attacking Romney. They've backed off a little because the party elders and the talk show showmen in the party have basically leaned on them not to wound Romney any further. But you've got them with all of this negative advertising there. That's likely to damage Romney somewhat. But it also damages the perpetrators, Gingrich and Perry.
And so there's an opening here for Santorum, Rick Santorum. And there are a lot of evangelicals in South Carolina. Social issues are big. They seem to be resistant to the charges about Bain Capital. But they are going to be responsive, I think, to the flip flopping on abortion and other social issues.
But even if Santorum comes in second, or even if he wins -- I agree with Pat -- so what, because he's not going to be able to compete in Florida when you're looking at that $19 million you showcased for Romney. So Romney looks like he's got it sewed up. But the voters often deliver a surprise, so you hate to say absolute, but he sure looks like the likely nominee.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: South Carolina voted Republican in every presidential race since 1960 except what, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: Jimmy Carter --
MS. CLIFT: Jimmy Carter.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- carried South Carolina in `76.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jimmy Carter defeated Republican Gerald Ford.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, but Ronald Reagan got South Carolina back and got 10 of the 11 southern states from Carter, losing only Georgia. Right, Clarence?
CLARENCE PAGE: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So South Carolina --
MR. PAGE: South Carolina, Pat. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- is solidly Republican.
Michelle, what are your insights?
MICHELLE BERNARD: Well, one of the things I think is going to be a very interesting test for South Carolina is what happens in terms of the political rhetoric and the political tone that we're going to see in advertising next week. Sixty percent of likely voters in South Carolina coming up next weekend are Protestant evangelical. And if you go and you take a look at interviews that are being held of likely voters, there are still a lot of voters in South Carolina that are saying I don't understand this Mormonism. I've been raised to believe that Mormonism is a cult.
And so you're seeing we're going to have two Mormons running in South Carolina. We've got two Catholics. And I guess it's a sign of progress, one might say; Catholics are actually picking up in the polls in South Carolina, which is something we haven't seen typically.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, Mitt Romney has been accused -- and this might be his Achilles heel -- of, quote-unquote, "vulture capitalism," meaning to feed on the carcasses of dead companies, at Bain Capital. That's the name of his firm he was with.
Romney was defended by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Here she is.
SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR NIKKI HALEY (R): (From videotape.) But we have a real problem when we have Republicans talking like Democrats against the free market. We believe in the free market.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Republicans Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry are attacking Romney's business career also. Are they doing the Democrats' work for them, Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Well, actually, it's Clarence's turn, but -- (laughter) --
MR. PAGE: Thank you, Eleanor. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: But I'll snatch a little bit of it.
Yeah, because this is one of the main arguments against Romney, that he's not really the job creator that he pretends to be. And, look, there's a place for venture capital firms and private equity firms in the economy. But for Romney to come out and suggest that the sole purpose of this was to create jobs, when it's really to create wealth and to create wealth for the investors, I think he is vulnerable. And I'm sure Clarence will agree.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. PAGE: That was his mistake to go and jump on the job creator bandwagon when that is not the job of venture companies. Their job, like any other corporation, is to make a profit. And he should just ride with that, which he's learning how to do now, and just talk about the jobs that they helped to create. And he's fudging on how many jobs got destroyed in the meantime. MS. BERNARD: Don't you think it -- I think it helps him, though, when he can bring examples of -- for example, like what they did with Staples. And, quite frankly, something in the defense of Republicans is when they talk about government supporting industries like Solyndra and what we've seen happen with Solyndra. That actually hurts the White House.
MR. BUCHANAN: This is a killer, though, John, not in the primaries. You've got the Chamber of Commerce, all these people coming out. But the very fact of their tremendous reaction, near hysteria on the part of Republicans -- you get the white working class, which has moved away from Obama.
These are former Democrats, Reagan Democrats, and a lot of these guys know there are different kinds of companies. Some of them are company towns that take care of their people. Some of them head for China. And some of them are predatory capitalists. And this has been traditional, going back to the `30s, John, you know, the malefactors of great wealth and all this. And I think the Democrats can hurt Romney in the fall as one of these guys who comes in --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well --
MS. CLIFT: Romney's pretending that it's an attack on free enterprise. We all love free enterprise, but we don't like -- and I'm probably going to quote Newt Gingrich here -- we don't like it when rich people manipulate numbers to make wealth for themselves. And that's not the kind of capitalism that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Romney is saying -- let me get this in. Romney is saying that Bain Capital created 100,000 jobs.
MR. PAGE: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But those are not net jobs. He's not saying how many jobs --
MR. BUCHANAN: He says net.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- were lost.
MR. BUCHANAN: He says net is 100,000. That's right. But what they'll get is they'll take these women. They say they came to town. They shut the company down. They made a lot of money. We all lost our jobs. We never got them back; our town. And all over America, John, we've got companies that went to China, and all these folks are out of work. And you put him on the side of leveraged buyouts and all that, you know, credit default swaps and all this nonsense that people don't understand. And it's a real problem with working America.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's using the language he created 100,000 jobs, but he doesn't say how many jobs were lost. MR. PAGE: Were lost, right. And that's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In other words, it's not a net figure. It's a gross figure of how many were created.
MR. PAGE: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But how many were fired or left the company --
MR. PAGE: Which is really -- you know, it's a trap for him to get involved in the job creator question, because I don't think that's a winner for him. What's a winner is to talk about saving companies and about creative destruction without using the words creative destruction, because that's the way these guys think.
You know, hey, this is the kind of chaos of the marketplace. This is how it works. Nobody complained during the `90s, when we had a boom going on. But during the last decade, when job cuts were necessary, that's when the painful part comes in. And that's why people like Bain Capital get hired to come and do the dirty work of firing people.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to give us a gloss on creative destruction? Give us a gloss on it.
MR. PAGE: Creative destruction is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Capitalism.
MR. BUCHANAN: Schumpeter. Schumpeter.
MR. PAGE: Thank you -- the economist talking about how, in order to build, you've got to destroy. I mean, sometimes -- you know, you go through boom and bust cycles, and you come out of the bust --
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MR. PAGE: -- as best you can in order to create another boom. But in the meantime --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In order to survive and grow.
MR. PAGE: Right. Democrats want to protect you from --
MS. CLIFT: Economic Darwinism.
MR. BUCHANAN: Economic Darwinism.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There you go.
MS. BERNARD: Absolutely -- survival of the fittest.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Evolution strikes back. Issue Two: Michelle -- A Belle.
FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: (From videotape.) I am one of his biggest confidantes, but he has dozens of really smart people who surround him. And I am not an expert on most of the issues that he's dealing with on a daily basis. So I want him and he wants to be talking to the people with the best information.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A book published this week called "The Obamas" by Jodi Kantor, a New York Times reporter, alleges friction in the relationship between the first lady, Michelle Obama, and the staff of her husband; the presidential staff, of course.
The book says the tension was because Mrs. Obama was interfering with the way the president's staff wanted to do business. The book details the friction, namely with former Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, now the mayor of Chicago.
Mrs. Obama had this to say about Rahm Emanuel.
MRS. OBAMA: Now, one thing is true, that I talk very candidly to my husband about how I feel. But that's the kind of relationship we have. I wouldn't go to Rahm about something that I would talk to my husband about, right? If I didn't agree with something, I would talk to my own husband about it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Kantor book also details an alleged incident in which a French book says that Carla Bruni, the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, asked Mrs. Obama how she liked living in the White House. Mrs. Obama reportedly replied, quote, "Don't ask. It's hell. I can't stand it," unquote.
Both Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Bruni deny the first lady ever made the comment. Mrs. Obama does not like the depiction.
MRS. OBAMA: (From videotape.) I guess it's more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman and a -- you know, but that's been an image that people have tried to paint of me since, you know, the day Barack announced, that I'm some angry black woman. I mean, who can write about how I feel? Who? What third person can tell me how I feel?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is it normal or abnormal for there to be friction between the president's West Wing staff and the first lady and her East Wing staff? Michelle.
MS. BERNARD: I have absolutely no idea. But what I will tell you -- (laughs) -- MR. BUCHANAN: I can tell you. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: Pat can tell you.
MS. BERNARD: What I can tell you, though, is personal opinion. This is -- this first couple clearly -- this is a woman who loves her husband. She's fiercely protective of the presidency, of her husband, of her children, of their image. And I would suspect that there would be some friction between the East Wing and the West Wing if she thinks people are not doing their jobs properly.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, I can speak to that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MR. BUCHANAN: Let me speak to that. Look, Mrs. Reagan, quite frankly --
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- had a hand in the removal of my boss, the guy that hired me, Don Regan. I mean, she worked on it and worked on it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did he do?
MR. BUCHANAN: During Iran-contra.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was chief of staff.
MR. BUCHANAN: He was chief of staff.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Prior to that, he was secretary of the treasury.
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly. Exactly. But let me say this about Michelle Obama. She's a good mother. She's a strong woman. And I think she's been an excellent first lady. And she had trouble during the campaign, and understandably, given some of the things she said. But she's done a fine job.
MS. CLIFT: Hear, hear. And I think the problem that people have with the book, or that Mrs. Obama has with the book, is that the author pretends she gets inside her head. And I think everybody resents that.
MS. BERNARD: And she didn't interview her.
MS. CLIFT: But the friction between the East Wing and the West Wing is perfectly normal. Nancy Reagan certainly is topic A --
MR. BUCHANAN: Right. MS. CLIFT: -- and Hillary Clinton as well. And I think that Michelle Obama has had difficulties with some of the staff decisions that were made. And I think she probably handled it a lot more diplomatically than Nancy Reagan or Hillary Clinton did. But she was an unhappy, reluctant camper when she first came to Washington.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know anything about the story of when --
MS. CLIFT: And she's come around. She's all in for the re- election. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you remember when she went over to Spain and then she tracked down the king? I believe she went to Majorca to see the king. And the White House staff in the upper levels were saying she really is picking too many expensive spots to go to. They also spent, what, $50,000 a month in Martha's Vineyard.
MR. BUCHANAN: But the Majorca trip --
MR. PAGE: That's a red herring. It's a red herring.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- was a real problem.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a red -- what do you mean? It's untrue factually?
MR. PAGE: A lot of these trips -- a lot of these separate trips she had were trips she had to take because her husband was stuck here fighting the Republicans on Capitol Hill. And the fact is, if the worst you can say about Michelle Obama is that she's protective of her husband and she's trying to protect her family, that is pretty thin soup if you want to try to bring them down.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, she -- yeah.
MR. PAGE: Compared to other first ladies, as has been mentioned, she actually has been remarkably constrained, considering the professional background she had coming into --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, the conclusion really is that this book is not unflattering towards the Obamas at all.
MR. PAGE: That's right.
MS. BERNARD: No.
MR. PAGE: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's quite an upbeat book.
MS. BERNARD: No, I was going to say -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's building the book, in fact.
MR. PAGE: Well, John, it's going to be a bestseller anyway, even if she hadn't said a word.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's going to be a bigger bestseller because of her intrusion.
MR. PAGE: The gossip. No, because of the gossip, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But sometimes -- sometimes you just --
MR. PAGE: There's just so much food for gossip in there. That's going to make it a bestseller.
MS. BERNARD: Fascinating interview on CBS "This Morning" if you took a look at the two days of interviews that Michelle Obama did with Gayle King. What you see is a woman who comes out and says I want to make sure that my children live as normal a life as possible.
MR. PAGE: Right.
MS. BERNARD: And I think anyone who views that is going to view with skepticism anything negative that might take place in the book.
We have to move on.
Issue Three: Daley Lama.
WILLIAM DALEY (then-White House chief of staff): (From videotape.) Thank you very much, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President. You have honored me and my family by giving me an opportunity to serve you and to serve our nation.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What a difference a year makes. Last January, 12 months ago, President Obama hired William Daley as his new chief of staff, replacing outgoing chief of staff and current mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel. Daley is part of the Chicago political dynasty. His father was Richard J. Daley, mayor of Chicago for 21 years. His brother is Richard M. Daley, mayor of Chicago for 22 years.
The Daleys were noted for their governance, but also for their connections to the business community, bringing big national and international business into Chicago. Daley's hiring was intended to bring that dimension both to the Obama staff and to the president's image and outlook, notably in two areas -- compromise with Republicans and cooperation with Wall Street and big business. Fast forward to this week. President Obama announced on Monday that Mr. Daley had tendered his resignation. Daley is departing to spend time with his family. So says President Obama.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) My chief of staff, Bill Daley, informed me that, after spending time reflecting with his family over the holidays, he decided it was time to leave Washington and return to our beloved hometown of Chicago.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What's the real scoop on Daley's departure from the White House? I ask you. Do you want to try this, Clarence?
MR. PAGE: I'll try it, John. Thank you for --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're from Chicago.
MR. PAGE: I am from Chicago. Daley's a hometown guy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You write a column for the Chicago Trib.
MR. PAGE: I do. In my column, I compared this to that scene in "The Godfather" where Michael Corleone turns to Tom Hagen and says you've been a great friend to the family, Tom, but we need a wartime consigliere. And Bill Daley, as chief of staff, he's the consigliere. He was brought in as the peacemaker, the guy to build bridges to Wall Street and Capitol Hill; didn't work. And Obama, as you've seen, has a more punitive, populist tone now, and it just doesn't fit Daley. Besides, he always had a problem breaking into the inner circle, the inner Chicago circle and the campaign circle, the old friends of Obama. It wasn't a great fit.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did Obama bring him in if Obama right now is geared to fighting Wall Street --
MR. PAGE: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- rather than, you know --
MR. PAGE: Because he wasn't geared that way in the beginning. He only turned to that stance since autumn, since September and October.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he's going to --
MR. PAGE: Before that, he was trying to -- he was extending the palm frond of peace and it was getting slapped back. And Daley -- well, Daley had a few little flaps there too.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that she's reinforcing that position taken by her husband?
MR. PAGE: She, being Michelle Obama. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR. PAGE: Well, Michelle Obama is just one of the old Chicago friends there that was part of that circle that Daley had a hard time getting into. Michelle Obama grew up under the Daley family, you know, on the south side. She took a rather typical south side view of the Daleys. But this generation of Daleys, she's gotten along well with.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does Daley take the position that Obama is going to lose the election because he is so hard line, not against the business community, but he's so hard line on them, and some would say that he's got millionaires fighting millionaires, you know?
MR. PAGE: If he thinks that -- and I don't think he does -- but if he did, he would be going native. I mean, he was already criticized by the left wing of the party for being too close to Wall Street and K Street lobbyists and all that. But I think he's savvy enough to know Obama could --
MS. CLIFT: Daley was never a good fit. He couldn't penetrate the inner circle. He had no personal relationship with the president. He was supposed to deliver better relations with the business community.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why, because --
MS. CLIFT: For whatever reason, he failed at that. And he had no relationships on Capitol Hill.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Maybe they shut him out, Eleanor, because he was thinking you've got to build a bridge to this community, Obama.
MS. CLIFT: The bridges were built, and the Republicans burned them down. And this president basically has no other choice --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, it's --
MS. CLIFT: -- but to run a more confrontational campaign.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me let Michelle in here.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, let me just --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead.
MR. BUCHANAN: Let me just say, look, he came in with one idea. He's going to be -- they're going to build bridges to the Wall Street. They're going to work with the Republicans. That whole strategy went out the window. Bill Daley doesn't belong there. That's his job, working with these guys. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, what happened -- what happened to that strategy? Do you know?
MS. BERNARD: Well, it didn't -- I mean, frankly, it didn't work. I think one of the things, when you saw earlier in the year when the president of the United States goes to Congress and says I'd like to speak before a joint session of Congress and he is told speak on another day before a football game, there's a serious problem. Outreach to the House Republicans was not working.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have to move on.
May he rest in peace. Tony Blankley passed away last Saturday night. He was 63 years old. Tony was a regular panelist on this show for nine years. He sat in the seat to my left nearly 450 times. Tony left the show when he became executive vice president of Edelman Company, a public relations firm.
Tony was great fun to have around. He was consistently upbeat. He was informed, witty, and had a great sense of humor. He was born in London but became an American citizen, but he defended his British heritage and he lauded the role of the U.K. in the development of the planet.
(Begin videotaped segment.)
TONY BLANKLEY: It's not a coincidence that the United States, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, all of the countries that were part of the British empire --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you heard of George III?
MR. BLANKLEY: -- end up as great democracies. And I don't remember all the great democracies created by the former empires of Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain or Russia.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The French were the ones who (bought ?) Louisiana, and the Spanish were here too.
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, look at Louisiana.
(End videotaped segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You see how this brings back memories.
MR. PAGE: Oh, yeah.
MR. BUCHANAN: This is Lord Blankley of the British empire; sat right there, just a wonderful fellow. He was a good friend. He loved his family, his friends, his farm, all the animals on it. He was a conservative of the heart. And everybody liked him on all sides. And he debates as a gentleman, and that's what he was.
John, I do remember, sartorially, he dressed better --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- than anybody I've ever seen.
MS. BERNARD: Absolutely.
MR. BUCHANAN: I looked over. He had a green suit on, a green shirt, a green tie and green socks. (Laughter.)
MR. PAGE: And he rocked it, too. He rocked it.
MR. BUCHANAN: Let me tell you a story, John, that I was over -- remember, he had to drink -- he had to have three glasses a day, no solid food, and he lost about 100 pounds.
MS. BERNARD: On his liquid diet. On his liquid diet.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I wonder whether --
MR. BUCHANAN: Total liquid diet, John. Total liquid diet. So I was here. And, you know, I drink all my water, and I started drinking his. And he looked over at me and I said, my Lord, Tony, I've stolen your dinner. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Well, we debated fiercely on this show, but we were friends. And we did public service announcements together for the Washington Animal Rescue League. He had a farm with lots of animals.
MR. BUCHANAN: Twenty-two animals.
MR. PAGE: Yeah, exotic animals.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, exotic animals, but a lot of plain, ordinary mutts and cats.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: So I really appreciated that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michelle, did you know Tony?
MS. BERNARD: I did. I adored him. I had the privilege of appearing with him very frequently on MSNBC during the last election.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean an opposite point of view? MS. BERNARD: Sometimes opposite point of view, sometimes the same point of view. Bottom line was, though, he was always a gentleman in debates. The most fun I had with him, we were sitting in the green room looking at the outfits he would wear. He was always very dapper, always very gentlemanly.
But also what I loved the most about the time I got to spend with him was the way he always talked so adoringly about his wife and the work that she was doing with women who had been subjected to trauma in the Middle East during the Iraq and Afghanistan war. And he always spoke about her work with so much pride.
MR. PAGE: And he loved his kids too, all the way around. You know, what you're hearing here is about a guy who, regardless of politics, he got along with everybody. And whether you agreed with him or not, he always had an intelligent argument. And I always said the great mystery of Tony is, after all these years, why have you still got that accent, Tony? (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony was, I think, a renaissance man. He had read widely and --
MR. BUCHANAN: Steeped in history.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- steeped in history and in culture. And he was a man of honor. Tony lived by his word.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Tony's wife, Linda, and his three children. May Tony rest in peace.
MR. BUCHANAN: Ron Paul will win the second-largest number of delegates at the Republican convention, right behind Mitt Romney.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Romney's refusal so far to release his income tax returns will be linked to probable investments in the Cayman Islands and the likelihood that he paid a very small percentage of his income in taxes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michelle.
MS. BERNARD: I'm staying away from the candidates. My prediction: Next week, the 21st, marks the beginning of National School Choice Week, and I predict we will see over 5,000 people at the Lakefront Arena in Louisiana celebrating school choice and education reform all throughout the country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence. MR. PAGE: Romney will turn the Bain Capital flap to his advantage during the primary, and I predict he will be able to win the nomination. And it's going to hurt him in the general.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michelle Obama will run for the United States Senate in 2016, and she will be thereby kind of mimicking, if that's not the right word, or duplicating the career of Hillary Clinton.