The McLaughlin Group
Host: John McLaughlin
James Pethokoukis, CNBC;
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek;
Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner;
Paul Glastris, Washington Monthly
Taped: Friday, June 22, 2012
Broadcast: Weekend of June 23-24, 2012
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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Latino Power.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) I've met these young people all across the country. They're studying in our schools. They're playing with our children, pledging allegiance to our flag, hoping to serve our country. They are Americans. In their hearts, in their minds, they are Americans through and through in every single way but on paper. And all they want is to go to college and give back to the country they love. (Cheers, applause.) So lifting the shadow of deportation and giving them a reason to hope, that was the right thing to do. (Cheers, applause.) It was the right thing to do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The reception given to President Obama on Friday by NALEO, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, was decidedly warm. NALEO's annual conference came only one week after the president's executive order to stop the deportation from the United States of young illegal immigrants of all nationalities now living here, provided certain criteria are met.
This executive order affects the status of some 800,000 of the 11 million aliens in the U.S. It grants temporary legal status, two years, to those who come forward and register for a work permit with these additional criteria: One, be under 30; two, arrive in the U.S. before age 16; three, live in the U.S. for at least five consecutive years; four, be a high school graduate or in school or have military service; five, no criminal record.
Question: How strongly will this move by President Obama granting temporary legal status -- not citizenship -- to young Latinos, how will it resonate with Latino voters? James Pethokoukis.
JAMES PETHOKOUKIS: Well, so far it seems to be resonating pretty well. But I think the Obama White House is going to be shocked at how little staying power this ultimately has. And I think, by election day, which is what this was about -- this was about election day November -- that what's going to really influence voters is the fact that the unemployment rate among Latino Americans is officially 11 percent. It's actually closer to 13 percent. You have about 25 million households that their home is underwater. I think those are the facts that are going to end up resonating, come November.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
ELEANOR CLIFT: I think this was a master stroke on the part of the president, because he puts Romney in a box. Mitt Romney can't be for this and he can't be against it. And at the same time, the president both augments and cements his base in the Hispanic community.
Granted, unemployment is a big issue, not only with Hispanics everywhere, but there are certain issues that really affect their community. And I think the president really hit the sweet spot on this one.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.
SUSAN FERRECHIO: I would say it was less a master stroke and more a real indication of how worried Obama is about his reelection prospects, because he has lost, really, the white blue-collar vote that he really desperately needs. And so he needs to pick up somewhere else. He needs to go look at his base and figure out where he can drum up more support.
But Hispanic voters, while they are increasing at least by 2 million this year, it's predicted, it's still less than 9 percent of the vote. So he really needs to drum up more support from the rest of his base if it's going to have a big impact. And I think, again, this is a sign that he's just worried, really desperately worried, about his reelection prospects.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it 2 million voting population or population?
MS. FERRECHIO: Well, right now there's about -- there's fewer than 22 million voters who are Hispanic who are expected to vote in the 2012 election. So that's going to be about less -- well, less than 9 percent of the overall vote. So he still has to make up for that somewhere.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Paul.
PAUL GLASTRIS: It did two things. First of all, it shored up his greatest weakness with Latinos, which was enthusiasm. He's going to get a huge share of the Latino vote. The question is, will they come to the polls? He's now given them something to come to the polls for, and he's going to use it all through the campaign.
Two, as Eleanor said, it was a strategic master stroke. This was the one area where Romney might have had a shot at coming back. Senator Rubio had a plan to do almost exactly the same thing. Obama got there first. That eliminates what Romney might have offered, that he could have, given the positions he took, the harsh positions against illegal immigration that he took during the primaries.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Who is being deported, or will be?
Deportation of illegal immigrants has been on the rise since the year 2001, when 120,000 were deported. Last year's deportation number was a record setter -- 396,000 deported. The president one week ago described who was being deported.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) We focus and use discretion about whom to prosecute, focusing on criminals who endanger our communities rather than students who are earning their education. And today deportation of criminals is up 80 percent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Four hundred thousand deportations of future would-be citizens in one year, sent back to go where they came from. How does this echo the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, at the entrance to the harbor? How does she feel about it? Quote: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost, to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
Paul, do you have thoughts on that?
MR. GLASTRIS: Well, it doesn't say give me your carjackers, give me your murderers, right? These are criminals that he's getting rid of. The problem is, of that 400,000, only a small percentage are serious, hardened criminals; a lot of them people with nothing more than immigration violations. And that is a problem for the president. And a big reason why he did this other thing on deportations was because he has stirred up a lot of resentment within the Hispanic community because of this huge increase in deportations.
MS. CLIFT: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Facts aside -- Paul, stay with this -- facts aside, what do you think the zeitgeist is in America today, generally speaking, towards immigrants?
MR. GLASTRIS: I think it's been what it's always been. And I've done a lot of polling, read a lot of polls, talked to a lot of people. I think people are OK with immigrants who stay within the law, who want to be Americans. And they're furious at the idea that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do they want --
MR. GLASTRIS: -- immigrants are criminals.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do they want standards, like if you're a physician, yes --
MR. GLASTRIS: They want standards.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- if you've got a Ph.D., yes, but below that, hang around?
MR. GLASTRIS: They don't want people -- they want people to behave by the rules, and they feel taken advantage of when immigrants come here and break the law.
MS. CLIFT: And the president really cracked down on a lot of the illegal immigration because he thought that was going to be a prelude to passing immigration reform. Secure the borders, crack down, then he'll get a bill. The bill never came.
And Paul is right. He was really struggling in the Hispanic community. They did feel betrayed. But immigration in this country to Mexico has now slowed to a standstill. So this is a good time to address these issues.
And there's no resentment against these young people who were brought here. Every local newspaper has done a feature on some wonderful young person who's the valedictorian and is facing a deportation order. So the president did the right thing here. We keep talking about the politics of it. But from a humane standpoint, I think he did, you know, what America is supposed to stand for.
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: Well, what are the president's priorities? I think most people, if you -- you know, what's the most important problems facing America? Immigration would probably not be number one or number two. What would be number one or number two? Well, it'd be the economy. It would be job creation.
And the president has decided to focus recently on lots of things that really have absolutely nothing to do with those. He's focused on -- you know, earlier he had this, you know, tax increase on wealthy Americans, the Buffett rule. Then he had same-sex marriage. And now he has this.
What he could have done is come out and say, you know what, we have 8 percent unemployment. It's the highest sustained rate of unemployment since the Great Depression. You know what we could use in this country? A lot more high-skill entrepreneurial immigrants that come in here, create jobs, create the companies. That's not what he focused on --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well --
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: -- because he figured he could get the political bang for the buck for that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, immigration does correlate to work and jobs, and therefore it is still sensitive.
MS. CLIFT: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Immigrants come in and they take jobs of Americans. I'm putting this all in quotes.
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: Right, right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you understand?
MS. CLIFT: And Alabama has been really hurting because they put in this restrictive --
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: Do you think what this country lacks --
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me, please. I want to finish the --
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: -- is more low-skill immigration?
MS. CLIFT: I want to finish my thought.
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: (Inaudible.)
MS. CLIFT: Alabama put in a restrictive immigration law, and a lot of legal immigrants have left the state, along with illegals. And the crops are rotting in the fields. Businesses are canceling contracts. It's not good for the economy to have this kind of attitude.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.
MS. FERRECHIO: OK, so you can -- that's a valid point you're making, Eleanor, but anyone can argue if President Obama felt like this was such an important priority for him, why didn't he take it up legislatively when Congress was run by Democrats --
MS. CLIFT: He did.
MS. FERRECHIO: -- and when the House had a Democratic president?
MS. CLIFT: He did. He did.
MR. GLASTRIS: Well, the House --
MR. GLASTRIS: The House passed the DREAM Act, which this was a modest version of --
MS. FERRECHIO: They couldn't get it through.
MR. GLASTRIS: -- and the Senate got 55 votes for it.
MS. FERRECHIO: But they couldn't get it through, though.
MR. GLASTRIS: They couldn't get -- but Republicans filibustered it.
MS. FERRECHIO: They didn't find a compromise --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Therefore --
MR. GLASTRIS: I mean, you know, Republicans, they can't say we filibustered it and it's your fault.
MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) Right.
MS. FERRECHIO: But they had control of both branches.
MR. GLASTRIS: Well, they obviously didn't.
MS. FERRECHIO: They couldn't do it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So whose fault is it?
MS. CLIFT: They couldn't get to 60.
MR. GLASTRIS: That the DREAM Act didn't pass? It was Republicans' fault. I mean, they were the ones that voted against it.
MS. FERRECHIO: There were Democrats who voted with the Republicans.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, Romney at NALEO.
The Republican candidate also addressed the NALEO conference this week, where he spoke to the Obama immigration action.
FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY (Republican presidential candidate): (From videotape.) Some people have asked if I will let stand the president's executive order. The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president's temporary measure.
As president, I won't settle for stopgap measures. I'll work with Republicans and Democrats to build a long-term solution, and I'll prioritize measures. (Applause.) I want you to also know this. I will prioritize efforts that strengthen legal immigration and make it more transparent and easier. And I'm going to address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil and resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's NALEO?
MS. FERRECHIO: OK -- National Association of Elected -- of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
The point he's making is this. And I think actually Romney needs to make this point a little more clearly, which is that, OK, what Obama did right now is potentially unconstitutional. He really circumvented the Congress and said I'm going to just do the DREAM Act without your help.
I think what Romney's trying to say is I'll do comprehensive reform.
We'll work it through Congress legally and then get it signed into law comprehensively. And that's a better solution, because then we can enforce the borders a little bit better.
He wants to build a fence. I guess that's his way of trying to keep illegal immigrants out. He wants to address the whole problem of illegals getting into the country while dealing with the people who are already here. That's comprehensive.
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: Well, who said it was unconstitutional?
MS. CLIFT: That's all nicely said. That's all nicely said, but --
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: That's Professor Obama, I believe, that said it was unconstitutional. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: It's not.
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: The old instructor did, right?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: It's not unconstitutional. It's prosecutorial discretion. You have limited resources. You decide who you're going to go after --
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: I only go by what Professor Obama said. That's all -- he's my lead on this.
MS. CLIFT: -- and who you're going to deport. And it makes no sense to deport young people who are succeeding and who, in all respects, feel that they're Americans. So this was the appropriate thing to do.
And Romney did not answer the question whether he would overturn this.
MR. GLASTRIS: That was the weird thing. He asked himself --
MS. FERRECHIO: He said he would supersede it.
MR. GLASTRIS: -- what is the answer to the question? And then he said I'm not going to tell you the answer.
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: The question is moot. The question is moot.
MS. FERRECHIO: That's not really what he said.
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: He said will I uphold the president's policy?
MS. FERRECHIO: He said --
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: I will have a new policy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. GLASTRIS: But that doesn't answer the question.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? Because he has no --
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: Because both sides want to bypass it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's going to make no attempt to rescind the policy. He's going to build on it.
MR. GLASTRIS: But he didn't say that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know he didn't. Why should he?
MR. GLASTRIS: For a lot of Latino families -- we're talking about Latinos, right?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He doesn't want to say anything that's congratulatory.
MR. GLASTRIS: Well, of course not. But for a lot of Latino families, they don't know if the president's promise will be kept by the next administration. So they're going to go to an immigration office and say, yes, I'm here illegally, but the president promised that I could have a reprieve. But unless they know that that's going to be continued, they're going to be afraid to do that. So Romney not giving them a straight answer did not do himself any favors.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't think you can say that it was a crooked answer on Romney's part. He wants a program that's going to endure.
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: Instead of saying yes or no, he gave a far more expansive answer --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, he did.
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: -- to the question.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. How --
MR. GLASTRIS: Except he didn't answer the question.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He may be able to build on what Romney has.
MR. GLASTRIS: That is incorporated with -- (laughs) --
MS. CLIFT: If he's elected president, he will be leading a party that is largely anti-immigration. How he's going to --
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: No, I think they're anti-illegal immigration.
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: That's a talking point. They're pro- immigration. That's just wrong.
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me.
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: That's just wrong.
MS. CLIFT: How is he going to put together this wonderful program that Ted Kennedy, John McCain and George W. Bush couldn't put together? It is not as easy as he makes it sound. And the president has taken a small slice of a very deserving community and done the right thing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. And he learned in Massachusetts that he could not confront Ted Kennedy with this issue when he ran against him.
MS. CLIFT: I don't know that he worked with Ted Kennedy on immigration when he was in Massachusetts.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, he ran against him --
MS. CLIFT: Right, yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- for the Senate --
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in Massachusetts. Romney did.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Contempt of Congress.
(Begin videotaped segment.)
HOUSE OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE CLERK: Twenty- three ayes, 17 nos.
REPRESENTATIVE DARRELL ISSA (R-CA): The ayes have it.
(End videotaped segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In contempt. That's how the Republican-led House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Congressman Darrell Issa, this week ruled against Attorney General Eric Holder. AG Holder refuses to hand over documents related to the botched U.S. federal gun-running program dubbed Fast and Furious.
Hours before the vote, the president inserted himself into the fracas, citing presidential executive privilege over the documents that Issa wants. Some 1,700 big guns were purchased in the U.S. by suspected Mexican gun smugglers as the U.S. federal agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the ATF, looked on.
The guns were moved across the border to Mexico. It was a set- up, and the DOJ let it happen. The ATF hoped they could trace the weaponry to Mexico's big drug cartels. But the guns went awry, notably in the fatal shooting by a Mexican drug cartel gunman of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, a year and a half ago.
The documents Congressman Issa is demanding from Holder allegedly detail how the Obama administration misled Congress about Fast and Furious. To the White House, the documents contain privileged internal communications. So it's a standoff between the executive branch and the legislative, one that Holder called a, quote-unquote, "constitutional crisis."
Republican House Speaker John Boehner, in a statement, said, quote, "Unless the attorney general re-evaluates his choice and supplies the promised documents, the House will vote to hold him in contempt this coming week," unquote. That means the full House.
Question: Is this a political witch hunt in an election year, as some Democrats claim, or does this slap by House Republicans have merit? Susan.
MS. FERRECHIO: It does have merit, because what the Republicans want to know is what the Department of Justice knew about this botched gun-running operation. And they've been asking for months and months from the Department of Justice to give them more information, because evidence keeps coming forward through whistleblowers and through leaks that they clearly knew more than they're saying they knew. And no one is being held accountable.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what's the AG saying? He's turned over 70,000 boxes?
MS. FERRECHIO: He says he's turned over 7,600 documents. But the Republicans say a lot of it is stuff that they've already seen or it's heavily redacted. They're not getting the info that they say they rightfully are entitled to as an oversight committee in Congress.
And Congress does have a right to oversee the government and its operations. They feel like a huge mistake was made. There's been a loss of life; not just Agent Terry, but Mexicans killed by these thousands of weapons that are now in the hands of Mexicans that our agents never even bothered to track. They let them end up over there.
MS. CLIFT: This was the tactic of gun running across the border, so you can build cases and supposedly get the big drug kingpins. The tactic started during the Bush administration. It was ended by Eric Holder when they realized what a disaster --
MS. FERRECHIO: That's not --
MS. CLIFT: -- it was.
MS. FERRECHIO: It wasn't really --
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: (Inaudible) -- actually completely different.
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. And it was turned over --
MS. FERRECHIO: It was a different tactic.
MS. CLIFT: -- to the inspector general of the Justice Department, who is investigating and has access to all the documents, including the ones that the White House and Justice Department don't want to turn over to the Congress. The documents they're after are internal deliberations --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
MS. CLIFT: -- about how the administration is going to respond to the investigation -- in other words, the spin they're going to put on it -- which the Congress is framing as a cover-up.
They're dragging out all the Watergate language, hoping to smear the president and the attorney general. And what they're in danger of is overreaching, like Whitewater and impeachment. And I don't believe that Speaker Boehner wanted this. He's being pulled along by his caucus. The right has been after Fast and Furious --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
MS. CLIFT: -- for really the better part of a year. And now it's out there, and let the politics fall where they may. And I don't think the White House is upset that this is front and center, taking away from Mitt Romney and his jobs agenda.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What happens if the worst (ascends ?) on the Democrats in this issue? What's the worst that can happen?
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: That they --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That they --
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That they lied to the Congress?
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: Well, there was a 2011 letter which really gave a completely false picture of this program. And Republicans want to know exactly who knew what when about this letter, which gave a completely distorted picture of a program that was not begun during the Bush administration; a completely different plan, which was much more closely monitored, that did not result in two (hundred) or 300 Mexican citizens dead. That was a very different program.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Will a full House contempt of Congress vote be averted? Yes or no. James Pethokoukis.
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: I don't think so.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: I don't think so either. But even if there is contempt, it would be referred to the U.S. attorney, who would --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.
MS. CLIFT: -- probably sit on it, like has been done with past contempt charges.
MS. FERRECHIO: I'd say 90 percent the vote will go forward and he will be found in contempt of Congress.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Be found what?
MS. FERRECHIO: In contempt of Congress. Holder will be found in contempt of Congress this week.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Then what happens?
MS. FERRECHIO: Then, well, like Eleanor was saying, it's referred back to really the executive branch, Holder's office. And it will not go anywhere in a criminal fashion, but it may go forward in a civil fashion --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Paul.
MS. FERRECHIO: -- and end up in the courts.
MR. GLASTRIS: Yeah, I agree. I think it'll probably go forward. And my question is, what kind of political damage will there be? I think very little. It's something that Issa can hold up after shooting the budget duds and not getting anything. And it feeds the base. It's good for Republicans. But I don't think it will have any real effect.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How many people have been held in contempt of Congress?
MS. FERRECHIO: Very, very few.
MR. GLASTRIS: Very few. Very few.
MS. FERRECHIO: In fact, a lot of times it'll go through committee and never make it to the full House. The Democrats held two Obama (sic/means Bush) administration officials in contempt of Congress in 2008, Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten.
MS. CLIFT: And the Democrats got the documents they wanted.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, this sounds like it's kind of a charade --
MS. CLIFT: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- on all sides.
MS. CLIFT: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it a charade?
MS. CLIFT: It's election-year politics.
MR. GLASTRIS: Yeah, I think if you look under the dictionary under election-year stunts, you'll find a picture of Darrell Issa. I mean, there's not a lot here.
MS. FERRECHIO: And John Conyers, for that matter.
MR. GLASTRIS: There are some legitimate questions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What leads you to believe that Issa, or Issa -- (changes pronunciation) -- what makes you believe that he's capable of that? Isn't he an honorable man?
MR. GLASTRIS: Well, I suppose.
MS. CLIFT: He's the chair of a committee that has the capability of doing this. It's an election year.
MS. FERRECHIO: It has historically gone after the opposite party.
MS. CLIFT: It's an election year. Right. I mean, this is what he does. I mean, he -- and actually, Nancy Pelosi last week -- a number of people call Darrell Issa a loose cannon. She said that would be a compliment. He's actually an explosive device. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was that complimentary?
MS. CLIFT: But -- no, it was not complimentary.
MS. FERRECHIO: You have to counter that with the fact that Democrats do the same thing.
MS. CLIFT: He's creating a lot of damage for Democrats, but also for Republicans.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Rubio Tells All.
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio is often named as a possible vice presidential running mate for Mitt Romney. The senator is a Cuban-American, born in Miami, and popular with Hispanics. Previous to the U.S. Senate, Mr. Rubio served in the Florida House of Representatives for eight years.
So Senator Rubio appeals to Floridians, a crucial swing state, which Mitt Romney must win if he is to become president of the U.S. Senator Rubio, age 41, could also help Romney pull the youth vote.
Rubio wrote an autobiography, published this week, called "An American Son." Here's Rubio on immigration from his autobiography. Quote: "Many people who come here illegally are doing exactly what we would do if we lived in a country where we couldn't feed our families. If my kids went to sleep hungry every night and my country didn't give me an opportunity to feed them, there isn't a law, no matter how restrictive, that would prevent me from coming here," unquote.
Question: What's the political impact of Rubio's strong words? Paul Glastris.
MR. GLASTRIS: Well, I think it strengthens any future immigration reform. You have obviously a senator who represents Hispanics, standing up for illegal immigration, for the humanity behind illegal immigration. I don't think it necessarily helps Marco Rubio become vice president or a vice presidential candidate. Maybe it hurts his chances of becoming a vice presidential candidate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How?
MR. GLASTRIS: He's just --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Violating the law?
MR. GLASTRIS: -- walked across a hard line that a lot of Americans, not just conservative Americans, but very much the conservative base believes, which is breaking the law is breaking the law. And whether or not you might have done it, they don't deserve to stay. And so this is a very difficult issue for any Republican to transgress, and he just transgressed it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he in the running, Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: I don't think he is in the running for vice president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why do you say that?
MS. CLIFT: Well, because the Romney campaign is terrified of what you might call the Palin effect, of putting someone in that position who cannot be seen as a credible instant president. Rubio is 41 years old. In years he's old enough. But when you see him and you listen to him, he doesn't come across as somebody who could command this country, should that be the case.
But he is nonetheless an asset for Romney because he adds an important note of empathy and understanding of the immigration issue. And his position is that Romney has to do a lot to declare the Republican Party the party of legal immigration, that their anti- immigration rhetoric has led people to think they don't like immigration of any kind. And so I think Rubio is an asset, and I'm sure we're going to see more of him --
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: You're going to see a lot of Marco Rubio --
MS. CLIFT: -- on the campaign trail.
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: You're going to see a lot of Marco Rubio in the next few months.
MS. CLIFT: That's right.
MR. PETHOKOUKIS: You'll see him have a big position at the Republican Convention; Susan Martinez, the governor of New Mexico. You're going to see a lot of her. You're almost going to think they're on the ticket, you're going to see so much of them.
MS. FERRECHIO: You're going to see --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The U.S. Constitution prescribes 35 years of age as the minimum age for president. As a matter of fact, you have to be above 35.
MS. CLIFT: Well, some people --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So Marco --
MS. CLIFT: Some people project gravitas and others don't. I mean --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You need to have age to have gravitas?
MS. CLIFT: It doesn't have -- I said it doesn't have to do strictly with years. He --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that a prescription of the Constitution, a candidate --
MS. CLIFT: Romney has other choices that bolster his brand, which is I'm the fix-it guy on the economy. Romney -- Rubio offers something else, and I don't think that's what he's looking for on the ticket.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Out of time. Bye-bye.