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The McLaughlin Group Host: John McLaughlin Panel: Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist; Eleanor Clift, Newsweek; Rich Lowry, National Review; Gillian Tett, Financial Times Taped: Friday, May 11, 2012 Broadcast: Weekend of May 12-13, 2012

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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Obama Comes Out.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) I've always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. And I was sensitive to the fact that, for a lot of people, you know, the word marriage was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth.

But I have to tell you that over the course of several years, as I talk to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed, monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that "don't ask, don't tell" is gone because they're not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By uttering these words, President Obama has become the first sitting president to say that gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry. It's an issue that 41 states have said no to. Six states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to make it legal. Three states -- California, Washington and Maryland -- are in limbo over the issue. California legalized same-sex marriage, but it is being challenged in court.

Question: Does President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage as an option on the state level mean that it will be in the Democratic platform in November's presidential election? If that is the case and it's in the platform, what political import will it have on the presidential race, the senatorial race and the House race?

PAT BUCHANAN: Well, the congressional races, rural Democrats, conservative Democrats and others -- take Claire McCaskill; take Jon Tester in Montana; take Tim Kaine in Virginia -- will have to run away from the platform, John.

I don't know that he's going to do that. But what Barack Obama has done is put his presidency at real risk. He has instantly solved the biggest problem Mitt Romney had, which is how to energize and rally the social conservatives and the evangelicals. They are now singing "Onward, Christian Soldiers" and riding to the sound of the guns on this issue, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So Romney has them.

MR. BUCHANAN: They're really out and they're energized, John. But take a look what happened. North Carolina, Obama carried it. Sixty-one percent of the vote in a record primary turnout voted for a ban on gay marriage and civil unions.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This past week.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. You've got Iowa out there, OK. Judges imposed it on Iowa. The Iowa voters threw the judges out. You've got 30 states, John, who -- and the point of it is it's going to rally Obama's base, there's no doubt about it. The gay rights groups and militants and others are contributing money; the George Clooney crowd. But, John, again, I think he's put his presidency in peril.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

ELEANOR CLIFT: It clearly rallies both sides. And I do agree it solves Romney's difficulty in rallying social conservatives. But it's also a tonic for Democrats. In some particular states -- North Carolina, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio -- conceivably there could be a backlash. Whether it's going to be enough to cost the president those states, I don't know.

But he -- as he said, he's been evolving on this issue. He's been mocked for using that phraseology. In fact, that's what many people have done. And the difference between the caricature of gay people and our real-life experience with gay people has narrowed. And people are now comfortable with this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)

MS. CLIFT: And you can tell by Mitt Romney's reaction, which was very dignified, if you will.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. I'm glad that you brought that --

MS. CLIFT: He's not sure that this is an issue that's going to work for the Republicans anymore. He's on the wrong side of history.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah --

MS. CLIFT: The president's on the right side.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- I'm glad you brought up Romney's name, because let's get Romney's response.

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY (R, Republican presidential candidate): (From videotape.) My view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that's my own preference. I know other people have differing views. This is a very tender and sensitive topic, as are many social issues. But I have the same view that I've had since -- well, since running for office.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Romney trying to make consistency into a virtue? Rich.

RICH LOWRY: Yeah. Obama's a big flop-flopper here. And, look, he doesn't want to make a big deal of this, Mitt Romney. Let people, evangelical leaders, make a big deal of this, because generally, on culture-war issues, whoever's seen as the aggressor tends to be the loser. And it's going to be the president who's going to be seen as the aggressor on this.

And his position -- I think he didn't do this out of politics. I think he did it because it's what he believed, and he was embarrassed by the transparent charade he was engaged in, hiding what he believed. In 1996, he filled out a survey saying he favored same-sex marriage. He must have been the only person on the planet who, as the issue became more mainstream, flipped into opposition. And evolving meant that he was going to hide his support for gay marriage until after the election. He got smoked out by his vice president. He got killed by the press. He got killed by The New York Times. And out of sheer embarrassment, he finally did us the favor of telling us what he honestly believed on the issue.

MS. CLIFT: In a democracy, there's nothing wrong with taking into account public opinion.

GILLIAN TETT: He's been on a journey. He's evolved. America as a society has evolved. I mean, the degree to which American opinion has changed on this issue in the space of just 25 years is absolutely remarkable.

And let's not forget, of course, money has come pouring in. I mean, there's been quite an increase in Democratic fundraising.

MR. LOWRY: It's very popular in George Clooney's living room. It's not popular in the swing states. Almost every one of these swing states has passed one of these referendums putting in their constitution the traditional definition of marriage.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MR. LOWRY: It's going to hurt him in the swing states.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a voting issue.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Pat. Do you think it's going to be in the Democratic platform?

MS. CLIFT: Yes.

MR. BUCHANAN: He'd better not put it in there, John.

MS. CLIFT: Yes. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: If you put it in there, you will force these guys to --

MS. CLIFT: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)

MR. BUCHANAN: -- (inaudible). Obama -- the White House is saying we are not going to insist it be in the platform. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it solidify Romney's support by the evangelicals and other key constituencies?

MR. BUCHANAN: They will -- as Rich says --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Romney's support.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- they will all come out to vote against Obama and the Democrats, and therefore vote for Romney.

MS. CLIFT: The Democratic platform last time around came very close to gay marriage in every respect except using the word. And frankly, the word is symbolic. It really doesn't change anything legally.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: And the races you cite -- Tim Kaine in Virginia, for example, he will -- he's for what he calls relationship equality. He will separate himself from the president on this, which is good for him in Virginia. You can be clear about where you are on this issue. And in the Democratic Party, it's a pretty big tent --

MR. BUCHANAN: But there's a lot --

MS. CLIFT: -- where the Republicans are the ones with this litmus test.

MR. BUCHANAN: But Eleanor --

MS. CLIFT: Everybody's got to be against same-sex marriage.

MR. BUCHANAN: But here's the thing. What's going to happen is you're going to get -- a lot of these conservative Congress guys are going to be out there and people are going to say, do you support the president or your party? And they're going to say, no, I don't --

MS. CLIFT: And they're going to say no on that issue.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- support my party.

MS. CLIFT: No on that issue. But then they'll join on --

MR. LOWRY: Can I respond to the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question.

MR. LOWRY: -- idea that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out.

MR. LOWRY: OK. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Is President Obama's support of gay marriage a net plus, a net minus, or neutral in terms of impact on his reelection? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's energized his base, which is small, but he's energized a gigantic base, which is large, and he's split his party. It's, I think, going to prove the greatest mistake he made in his election year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. BUCHANAN: I do. I think it could cost him the presidency.

MS. CLIFT: I think it's a wash. I think everybody knows where they are. And Rich was right. Everybody knew that he was for this before he said it, so he has basically said what everybody realized. The election is going to be decided on the economy.

MS. TETT: Yeah --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The problem is, how do you estimate this? Because the polling suggests that the ratio is not great between those who approve --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a voting issue, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a voting issue. My point is that when a poll is being taken, people will appear to be more liberal on a question --

MR. LOWRY: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- because it makes them sound tolerant.

MR. LOWRY: Absolutely right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But when they go in -- for example, in North Carolina, the split, the voting split, was 61 percent rejecting gay marriage versus 39 percent defending it.

MR. LOWRY: John, it's been proved --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But the polling -- the polling gave different numbers.

MR. LOWRY: It's been proven --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's the intensity issue, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead. MR. LOWRY: It's been studied. It underperforms the polling consistently, gay marriage. And I don't think it's inevitable by any means --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because people want to look tolerant.

MR. LOWRY: Correct -- so-called tolerant. And I don't think by any means gay marriage is inevitable. I think what's more likely is you get a stalemate where gay marriage is a boutique institution in blue states and is not recognized in most of the country and does not have the legitimacy, therefore, of traditional marriage.

MS. TETT: (Inaudible) -- federal system, isn't it? But at the end of the day, as Eleanor said, it's the economy, stupid. I mean, that is what's going to be dominating the election, come November. So, yes, of course, there's going to be a lot of heat and light now, but --

MR. BUCHANAN: But you're going to get --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This issue is going to wear itself out.

MS. TETT: I think -- well --

MR. BUCHANAN: No, it's going to be state by state, John. It cannot be done at the federal level unless the Supreme Court imposes it.

MR. LOWRY: Correct.

MR. BUCHANAN: And that's why Romney --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean it's going to be a continuing negative for Barack Obama.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, the Supreme Court has to impose it. Otherwise we've got a state-by-state solution.

MS. CLIFT: It will --

MR. BUCHANAN: And therefore, the Supreme Court becomes the issue.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? The constitutional question?

MR. BUCHANAN: You don't have the votes in the Congress or for a constitutional amendment.

MS. CLIFT: It will --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's got to be done by the court. MS. CLIFT: It will eventually go to the Supreme Court. And there is political risk here for the president. But there was greater political risk in pretending he really hadn't come to a conclusion, and then he would give away the major plank he has against Mitt Romney, that he doesn't take expedient positions.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're all correct.

Issue Two: Austerite? Non!

Austerity can no longer be inevitable. So was the message from France's new president, Francois Hollande, after a stunning defeat of incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy in this week's presidential runoff.

Hollande won with 52 percent of the vote. Hollande is France's first socialist president since Francois Mitterrand left office 17 years ago. Analysts say the main factor in Hollande's victory is the revolt of French voters against the austerity measures imposed by European Union finance ministers to cope with the ongoing fallout from the 2007 world economic collapse. Those measures have been dubbed "Merkozy" because of the close collaboration between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "Merkozy" is the dub.

Those austerity measures are now in doubt. France has an unemployment rate of 10 percent, and its youth unemployment rate is three times higher, 30 percent. Hollande campaigned on a promise to roll back spending cuts and increase hiring, including 60,000 more teachers, promises at odds with the Eurozone budget restraint.

Europe is in a crisis of governance. The politicians who managed to negotiate an austerity pact for Europe's citizens have been unable to manage sustained political support for those same measures. Nicolas Sarkozy, by the way, has now become the eighth -- the eighth -- European leader tossed out of office in just 12 months.

Question: What does the European crisis of governance mean for the United States? Gillian.

MS. TETT: It's a very nasty reminder of the clouds that are hanging over the global economy right now, because, frankly, Europe is a complete mess. It's very unclear whether Hollande, Francois Hollande, is actually going to be able to work well with Merkel. There isn't much agreement about how to actually tackle these problems across the Eurozone area.

There's a tremendous revolt against the establishment. Voters are completely disenchanted with governments of any sort. And that's a very nasty message to be sending right now, because it echoes the theme of our age. It's not just in Europe that voters are saying we're not sure we have the political system which is actually up to fixing the task, given the magnitude of the economic pressures. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the Eurozone in danger of not being able to cohere?

MS. TETT: You mean, is it going to fragment?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MS. TETT: There is certainly that risk, because, quite apart from France, right now what's happening in Greece is very important; what's happening in Portugal. Greece -- remember, two years ago you had 70 to 80 percent of voters (plumping ?) for centrist parties. They just last voted last weekend, and frighteningly, only 30 percent of the voters went to centrist parties. There's this real loss of faith in politics.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If the Eurozone collapses, what's the impact on the U.S. economy?

MS. TETT: Very, very nasty, because you have the financial system that's entwined. You have the banks that are exposed. You also have a lot of companies that are exporting and trading with Europe. But perhaps most important of all, you have confidence. You have yet another big blow to confidence at a time when we desperately need confidence to be actually boosted.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Spain's unemployment is 24 percent, and youth unemployment in Spain is 50 percent. Do you want to shed any light on the Eurozone and its interplay with the U.S.?

MR. LOWRY: Well, this is the irony. French voters are revolting against so-called austerity, although austerity has not been particularly severe in France. It's much more severe around the periphery. But they elect a guy who's a huge believer in the Euro. And if you don't want to be effectively governed by Germany, you have to end the Euro. And I think -- I believe we're going to see it unraveling in Greece, because --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. LOWRY: -- there's no way a society can put up with that level of economic calamity that it feels as though is being imposed from the outside.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. LOWRY: So something has to give. The whole common currency was a misbegotten project from the beginning, and we're seeing its rotten consequences.

MR. BUCHANAN: What's happening, John -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Europe, the Eurozone, that whole European Union, is anything like a prototype for this hemisphere --

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- which some people are --

MR. BUCHANAN: We've got the dollar.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait just a minute.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that blows that concept into pieces and it will never come back?

MR. LOWRY: Well, if that concept were ever seriously considered, it should be blown to pieces.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, the political --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it has been considered. It's considered even for the southern part of the hemisphere --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- for Latin America. But they've never done it.

MR. LOWRY: The other irony here, John, is basically the austerity that's being revolted against in a place like France is really a version of the so-called balanced approach that President Obama is advocating here --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Brits are staying out, aren't they?

MR. LOWRY: -- mild spending cuts and big tax increases.

MR. BUCHANAN: They're out of the Eurozone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let Pat in.

MR. BUCHANAN: All right, let me -- look, John, what is happening is the entire political system in Europe is unable to cope with the austerity being imposed upon it in Greece, in France. The government went down in Holland. You have the rise of the radical communist left and the far patriotic nationalist right. And the center will not hold in Europe.

MS. CLIFT: Oh, come on. MR. BUCHANAN: The only solution is going to be through inflation, the European Central Bank and the IMF.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: That's too much gloom and doom. I think Mr. Hollande is an interesting figure. He's routinely described as a moderate socialist.

MR. LOWRY: (Laughs.) Just like President Obama.

MS. CLIFT: He was -- fine.

MR. LOWRY: Just kidding. Just kidding, Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: In accordance with Obama, I think that -- that's pretty centrist. And he wants to let up on the gas a little bit on that austerity, and he may be able to force Merkel to do that. And I think that's a good thing. He's not going to walk away from the whole austerity package. He can't do that.

MR. BUCHANAN: Greece is two months from dropping out of the European zone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: $2 Billion Blunder.

JPMorgan Chase & Company's shocking trading loss of at least $2 billion from a failed hedging strategy was felt around the globe. By assets, J.P. Morgan is the biggest bank in the U.S. The errors are especially embarrassing since Jamie Dimon, the president, is an ongoing critic of former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Paul Volcker and his so-called Volcker rule to ban proprietary trading by big banks, which is what Chase did.

JAMIE DIMON (JPMorgan Chase president and CEO): (From audiotape.) I know it was done with the intention to hedge the tail risk for J.P. Morgan, but I'm telling you, it morphed over time. And the new strategy, which was meant to reduce the hedge overall, made it more complex, more risky, and it was unbelievably ineffective. We do believe you need to have the ability to hedge in a CIO-type position and that Volcker allows that. This trading may not violate the Volcker rule, but it violates the Dimon principle.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Will this setback strengthen the hands of the regulators in Washington? Gillian.

MS. TETT: It is going to strengthen the hand of the regulators. And it comes at a very important moment, because in the last few months you've seen a real push-back from the banks, aided by the Republicans, to try and look at watering down a lot of the financial reforms. This could not have come at a better moment as far as the regulators were concerned, because not only has Jamie Dimon been at the forefront of the push-back; he's also been deemed one of the most effective bankers out there. And the question everyone ought to ask right now is, if J.P. Morgan, which is supposed to be one of the best- run banks, doesn't actually know what's in its trading book, how on earth do we know what's going on in the rest of the banking system?

MR. BUCHANAN: Maybe you've got to go back to Glass-Steagall, John, which is separate the investment banks from the regular banks and get the regular banks out of the casino business, which is what they're in.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MS. TETT: But here's the terrible irony, because actually what happened in J.P. Morgan is that these losses were not actually in the investment bank as such; they were in a separate unit of the bank that was supposed to be a lot safer. And they put more activity into that separate union --

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, maybe they need more regulation.

MS. TETT: -- to try and get around the rules.

MS. CLIFT: It turns out Dimon is his own worst enemy if he wants to lift regulation. And this should at least tamp down some of the whining from the business community and Wall Street that, you know, there's too much regulation. It looks like this kind of behavior is still going on. And you have to wonder how widespread it is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Regulation now. Right, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Yes -- $2 billion. And it turns out that's just a small chunk of what they earned the first quarter. This is a lot of money. If they can absorb --

MR. LOWRY: But this is happening --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to ask Eleanor this question. Was Jamie Dimon a confidant of Barack Obama not too long ago?

MS. CLIFT: Jamie Dimon is one of the most respected figures in the banking field.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Still? Still?

MS. CLIFT: And that's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Even though this is a problem --

MS. CLIFT: Well, and the fact that this -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- this is a problem of governance? His guy in London was responsible for it.

MS. CLIFT: If you'd let me finish --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He didn't know what he was doing.

MS. CLIFT: It's never an excuse to say you didn't know what was going on. So he's going to have to recover from this. I imagine this is quite a blow to his ego and to his sense of the kind of company he was running.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's make clear --

MS. TETT: Big question, though --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that the bank is safe, because it had $19 billion in earnings. Right?

MS. TETT; Here's the key thing you need to know. There was about $340 billion worth of securities sitting inside this unit, OK. So $2 billion actually, within the bigger scheme of things, is not that big. The real question people should be asking, though, is what is a bank like J.P. Morgan, that's that big, doing at the moment? They've become so big. You know, they are too big to fail.

MR. LOWRY: John, this --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. This is an arcane question. I'm going to give it to you when it goes around its proper circuit.

Exit question: Will President Obama be able to capitalize politically on Dimon's $2 billion blunder? Yes or no, Pat. Quickly.

MR. BUCHANAN: Not at all.

MS. CLIFT: Yes. It makes the case for regulation. And Romney -- it undercuts Romney's call that we're overregulating the banks.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rich, you've got 20 seconds.

MR. LOWRY: He could take advantage at the margins. But the fact is, this is the post-Dodd-Frank world. It shows we have this world historical raft of new legislation, that regulation is not going to take care of this problem because the banks are bigger than ever. And if anyone had told you that in 2008, you would have thought they were crazy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gillian, rebuttal.

MS. TETT: Yes, the banks are bigger than ever. Yes, that's scary. And that's very, very important. But much of the legislation has not yet been imposed. It's actually still being drafted and actually turned into rules and actually is yet to be imposed. And that's why this is so important in terms of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you going to take an editorial position at the Financial Times?

MS. TETT: I think we certainly are.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which side are you going to be on? Regulation?

MS. TETT: We're going to be certainly on better regulation.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Better regulation.

MS. TETT: And I think (it needs to be put through ?).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right on, Gillian.

Issue Four: Obama "Forward."

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share -- (applause) -- when everyone plays by the same rules. (Applause.) And I believe America is on the way up. Thank you. God bless you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama raised the curtain on a new second-term presidential campaign slogan -- "Forward." Forget the test on other proposed slogans -- "America Built to Last," "Win the Future," "Hope and Change," or "Yes, We Can." His new motto could be dangerous, even crash and burn.

"Forward" serves to direct the mind to the future, away from the troubling data from the first term. During that term, the national debt was $10 trillion; now $15.6 trillion.

Federal spending then, $3 trillion; now, $3.8 trillion.

Government size then, 4.2 million federal workers; in 2010, 4.4 million.

The unemployment rate in January 2009, 7.8 percent; now, 8.1 percent.

The average price of regular gas then, $2.50 per gallon; now $3.71 per gallon, but dropping.

The number of Americans on food stamps then, 28.2 million in 2008; in 2011, 46.2 million.

Finally, the Obama administration's Las Vegas GSA spending scandal blowout -- $823,000. Question: What are the political merits of "Forward" as the campaign's umbrella theme? Gillian Tett.

MS. TETT: It's short. It's snappy. It's memorable. Unfortunately, though, of course, the Republicans are going to make hay about the fact that it's been the slogan used by a lot of left- wing groups in Europe, and very left-wing groups. We're talking socialists, communists, et cetera.

MS. CLIFT: Well, it's better than "Backward," which is what you're supposed to think the opposite of this is. And that's what the Romney campaign is.

I think most of these slogans are kind of useless. But I think the president is trying to get the voters in a mindset that he's begun the job, but he needs to finish it, and so we need forward momentum.

MR. LOWRY: John, I think --

MS. CLIFT: So, you know, I think it's fine.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What was FDR's, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: "Happy days are here again." (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "We are turning a corner." You don't remember that?

MR. BUCHANAN: "New Deal" was his phrase, John. That's the big thing. And it worked very well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What were the Spanish fascists? What was their cry?

MS. CLIFT: What is Romney's?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "Arriba." "Arriba" was the fascists' --

MR. LOWRY: "A Better America."

MR. BUCHANAN: General Franco?

MS. CLIFT: "A Better America."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about it?

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me say about the "Forward," John, it reminds me of the communist leader who came in and said when I came in, we were on the edge of an enormous abyss, but now we have taken a great step forward. And the -- "Forward" was a very left-wing slogan. It traditionally has been. But it's too far back, I think, to be very effective to use "Forward, comrades."

MR. LOWRY: John, I think typically --

MS. CLIFT: You're not going to scare people with that.

MR. LOWRY: -- you nailed it in your introduction. He would be love to be running a "Morning Again in America" campaign on his record.

He can't do that because the facts and conditions don't support it. So it has to be try me again and we'll have you more hope and change, because he can't run on his record.

MS. CLIFT: Well, he is running --

MR. BUCHANAN: But also, you forgot there the AAA --

MS. CLIFT: -- on his record.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hmm?

MS. CLIFT: He is running on his record, because an incumbent president cannot not run on his record.

MR. LOWRY: He's doing his utmost.

MS. CLIFT: Well, no, I disagree. You've heard it a number of times. They lost 800,000 jobs a month when he first took office. He's put in place 4.1 million jobs. We talked about Europe. They haven't matched that record in Europe.

MR. BUCHANAN: But, you know --

MS. CLIFT: It's not good enough, but --

MR. BUCHANAN: But Rich's point --

MS. CLIFT: -- we are better off than we were four years ago.

MR. BUCHANAN: OK, but Rich's point is well taken. Why are they incessantly attacking Mitt Romney, the left-wing commentators and others? It's because they can't defend the record. Our AAA rating also was lost during Barack Obama's time.

MS. CLIFT: Why does Mitt Romney incessantly attack Barack Obama? It's the campaign. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean Standard & Poor's?

Predictions. Pat. MR. BUCHANAN: Big Democratic defections from Obama's position on gay marriage.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The tea party will cost the Republicans control of the Senate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rich.

MR. LOWRY: Richard Mourdock handily wins the general election in Indiana.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gillian.

MS. TETT: Watch Ireland next for signs of voter revolt.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bashar al-Assad, president of Syria, will survive coup attempts and will maintain his presidency.

Happy Mother's Day. Bye-bye.

END.