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The McLaughlin Group
Host: John McLaughlin
Panel: Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist; Eleanor Clift, Newsweek; Tim Carney, Washington Examiner; Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune
Taped: Friday, July 13, 2012
Broadcast: Weekend of July 14-15, 2012
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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Help Me, Help You.

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY (R, Presumptive Republican presidential nominee): (From videotape.) If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him. (Applause.) You take a look.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addressed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The NAACP was founded in 1909 and is the nation's largest and oldest civil rights organization.

African-Americans are one of President Obama's most loyal voting blocs. He won 95 percent of the African-American vote in 2008. John McCain, who ran against Barack Obama in 2008, won 4 percent of the African-American vote.

So at Wednesday's event, Mr. Romney was squarely in enemy territory. But Romney gave no ground. In fact, at times he seemed to be baiting the audience.

MR. ROMNEY: (From videotape.) If our goal is jobs, we have to stop spending over a trillion dollars more than we take in every year. (Scattered applause.) And so -- and so, to do that, I'm going to eliminate every non-essential expensive program I can find. That includes "Obamacare." And I'm going to work to reform and save -- (chorus of boos).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Despite the boos, some of Romney's lines were met with applause, namely those dealing with jobs and the middle class.

MR. ROMNEY: (From videotape.) And I don't just mean for those who are middle class now. I also mean for those who've waited so long for their chance to join the middle class.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also, when Romney exited the hall, at least half the audience stood up and applauded.

Question: How much did Mitt Romney gain or lose from his speech to the NAACP? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's win-win, John. There's no way he could lose anything when Barack Obama got the black vote, 24 to 1, the last time out. So you can only gain. It shows a bit of courage going in there and speaking to that group. He spoke his message, the message he wanted to deliver. He mentioned "Obamacare." The very boos he got, that will strengthen Mitt Romney with the conservatives.

At the same time, the fact he went down there and said, look, you're part of a constituency, I'm going to be president of you as well, I think that helps him with moderate Republicans. So it's win all the way.

I think the NAACP only hurt itself by this clip they took out of them booing him. The truth is, he got a standing ovation at the end.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about that, Eleanor?

ELEANOR CLIFT: I think Romney gets street creds for going. And by using the term "Obamacare," he must have known that that would be seen as a sign of disrespect, so he did get the boos. And he did get a standing ovation. I think they treated him politely. That doesn't mean that they're going to vote for him, but he gets what he wanted out of this event. He can showcase the boos to his base, and he looks brave for going.

And I have some Democrats who were so envious of what he did. They're suggesting that President Obama address the Mormon Tabernacle Choir next. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tim.

TIM CARNEY: Well, first, I think it's -- what Eleanor said was close to the sort of conspiracy theory that got put out this last week that Obama -- that Romney went in, used the word "Obamacare" to upset the crowd so he would get booed so his -- I don't think -- I think it's ridiculous to say he was intentionally getting booed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. CARNEY: Yes. "Obamacare" is -- you look on any of the liberal websites. They're using it. The DCCC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is sending out bumper stickers saying "I heart 'Obamacare.'" I was on the Center for American Progress website yesterday. I found 50 mentions of "Obamacare" in their headline. It's not a provocative --

CLARENCE PAGE: You (went to ?) the right websites.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) Right.

MR. CARNEY: It's not a provocative term. It's not a slur. It certainly would take, I think, a lot more evidence to try to argue that he meant to get booed. And he's not playing primarily to get the black vote; again, if he gets more than the 4 percent McCain did. What you're doing in these, you're going to the suburban places, the northern Virginia --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was he --

MR. CARNEY: -- suburban Ohio, trying to get sort of the white centrist moderates to say, all right, this guy's OK; he's not a racist.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was he smart to have accepted the NAACP invitation to speak to them?

MR. CARNEY: Yes, because as much as he's getting blamed for getting booed now --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he not --

MR. CARNEY: -- he'd get blamed more if he skipped it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did Romney not want those boos and know that he was going to get them and deliberately sought them?

CLARENCE PAGE: Well, if he didn't want the boos, why'd he go on Neil Cavuto's show right afterwards and say he, quote, "expected," unquote, a negative reaction to his "Obamacare" sentiments? He knew -- he's smart enough to know what kind of reaction he was going to get and how well it would play with his base.

He knows he's not going to win African-American votes of any substantial nature by attending the event.

But, like Pat said, he scores points by showing up. He shows that he appeals to moderates and swing voters. This was a speech, John, that was delivered to the people who weren't in the room -- (laughs) -- the people who were outside the room.

MR. CARNEY: I agree.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think -- do you think that Romney won any black votes from having appeared at the NAACP?

MR. PAGE: No, and that wasn't the point, to win black votes.

MR. BUCHANAN: I disagree.

MR. PAGE: You talk about somebody running against --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you -- still answer my question. Did he get any black votes out of it, national votes?

MR. PAGE: How do I say no in a way you'll understand? (Laughs.) I mean, it's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're saying no. You think he --

MR. PAGE: That's not the point.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he lost any potential black votes because he appeared at the NAACP?

MR. PAGE: No. Again --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was a direct --

MR. PAGE: It was a fine -- as far as the black vote, but he wasn't expecting to --

MR. BUCHANAN: I disagree.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I disagree. I think he thought he was going to --

MR. PAGE: He's got to build up his base.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- get black votes for simply appearing there.

MR. PAGE: How many? How many?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Secondly, he could tell the truth.

MR. PAGE: How many was he going to get, John?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he probably picked up a few votes.

MR. PAGE: Give me a number. How many votes was he going to get?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, President Obama did not attend the NAACP convention in Houston. The convention got a pre-recorded video message from President Obama. 2009 was the last year that Mr. Obama attended the conclave. The support from black voters for Obama has been overwhelming in past years. But some blacks are now saying that he is taking the black vote for granted, and that is a mistake.

Joe Biden, by the way, picked up the slack and did address the group, saying to them, quote, "The Obama administration has boosted education, clean energy, women's rights, scientific research and affordable health care. As a result, 8 million African-Americans will get coverage."

So, on balance, despite Joe Biden's status and his rhetoric, did it do duty and cancel out any Obama no-show criticism? I ask you.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you understand all that?

MR. BUCHANAN: I do. And I'll tell you why he didn't go. Barack Obama cannot do better with the African-American vote than he's done, with 95 percent. And secondly, if you go there and you get a cheering rally, black audience, it's like Mitt Romney going before the tea party right now. You just don't do it.

I disagree with Clarence here. I think that Barack Obama is not going to get 95 percent. I think Mitt can take it maybe down to 92 (percent) or 90 (percent). Secondly, the turnout in the black community was extraordinary -- 13 percent of the turnout. And there's a little bit of feeling that they've been let down. If that goes down to 12 percent --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah.

MR. BUCHANAN: And then you've got the Philadelphia suburbs --

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- the Virginia suburbs.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, this is to you. Should Obama have gone to the NAACP?

MS. CLIFT: I think it's fine that he didn't go.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do?

MS. CLIFT: Yes. And you didn't -- because he can afford to skip this event, because they --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was a sneer, Eleanor. It was a sneer.

MS. CLIFT: No, it's not a sneer. They know he's on their side. And Romney went there and said I'm going to repeal "Obamacare," and you're not going to get any more free stuff from the government. That is like chalk on a blackboard to people who rely on government.

And then watch Joe Biden. You didn't play any of his speech. It was terrific. He has a comfort level with this audience and a lot of audiences, and you see immediately why he's on the ticket. He has a chilly boss and he warms him up. He was terrific. And this crowd knows they have friends in the White House. It's a plus-plus for Obama. And Romney did a good job too.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, in an interview --

MS. CLIFT: But it doesn't change the votes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In an interview this week, President Obama was asked, quote, "What was your biggest mistake in your first term?" This was his answer.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) The mistake of my first couple of years was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that's important. But, you know, the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Was this a heartfelt answer by President Obama, or was this a clever way of avoiding saying anything negative about the policies of his first term? You get the question?

MR. CARNEY: Yes. Barack Obama --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tim Carney.

MR. CARNEY: President Obama is the guy who, in his college interview, was asked, what's your biggest flaw? And he says my biggest flaw is not communicating enough to people around me how awesome I am. That's basically what Obama said.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)

MR. CARNEY: This is what Obama said. Right after the 2010 elections, Obama made the same answer. We see politicians do it again. I don't expect any different from any other politician.

MS. CLIFT: Well, politicians do tend to think they haven't told the story. And I think this president is right. Just look at the Affordable Care Act. Provision by provision gets into 60 (percent), 70 (percent), 80 percent of the public for it.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: They just don't like the overall plan. He never -- if you're going to change our government to the extent that act does and will, you need to explain every step along the way to the American people.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think that's right, John.

MS. CLIFT: He failed to do that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Before you --

MR. BUCHANAN: I think that's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me hear from Clarence.

MS. CLIFT: Pat's agreeing with me. Let Pat continue. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: This is -- the main problem with his Affordable Care Act is they just let it go. They passed it, and Republicans pounded it and hammered it and hammered it, until now it's a big negative. And that's what I think he had in mind. I didn't sell the program I love, and it's a great program, and I failed there. I think that's what he's saying.

MR. PAGE: Let him hear from Clarence, Pat.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think -- let me -- let Clarence hear from me, all right?

MR. PAGE: Oh, go ahead. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Obama is too -- I won't use the word sneaky, but the way he avoided getting into the content of his first term with regard to issues and all of the problems created by "Obamacare"? What does he do --

MR. PAGE: That's your interpretation, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He says the biggest problem with my first term is that I didn't inspire the people, and that's part of this job.

MS. CLIFT: That's a big failure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does he think we're really going to follow that little gambit?

MR. PAGE: John, that's your spin. I mean, Eleanor's right. Once you pass a bill this large --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Complicated?

MR. PAGE: -- this large, this sweeping --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MR. PAGE: -- and do it primarily with a one-party vote, then you've got to go out and sell it. That's what he didn't do. He just said, oh, well, this policy's wonderful enough; it'll sell itself. No, no policy sells itself.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan said years ago you've got to have crossover votes for something like this. Obama didn't have it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think --

MR. PAGE: Lacking that, he needed to tell the story of "Obamacare." The fact is, now people see, you know, provision by provision, they like it. The only part they didn't like was the mandate, the idea of paying for it, in other words, you know. Well, that's natural. You know, it should have been anticipated by the administration.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but that sinks the whole boat. It sinks the whole boat.

MR. PAGE: Well, it's not going to sink the whole boat, John. As people get more familiar with the provisions, with what it offers, it's going to become more popular. Mark my words.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, apparently he doesn't want to bring that up, because he evades doing it by taking the --

MR. PAGE: He brought it up. He took on that question directly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is the gambit he took, and I commend him on it. I commend him on both.

MR. PAGE: This is one of them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's becoming a little obvious, and he'd better start suppressing some of what he really is intending to do by, you know, developing the philosophical outlook and saying I failed to inspire people --

MS. CLIFT: Well, but --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- or the example that you quoted.

Issue Two: Romney's Choice for Running Mate?

FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR TIM PAWLENTY (R): (From videotape.) I think we should thank him for his service, but tell the president you had your chance. It's not working. It's time for a new president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Republican Tim Pawlenty, the Minnesota governor until December 2010, is on the attack. He's become a strong surrogate for the Romney campaign after trying to win the presidential nomination himself, notably in the GOP primaries last year, 2011.

Here's the special credentials Mr. Pawlenty brings to the table. One, he's got simpatico. Both Romney and Pawlenty were Republican governors of so-called blue states, hostile GOP territory, during the same time period. Romney governed Massachusetts for one term, 2003 to 2007; Pawlenty Minnesota for two terms, 2003 to 2010.

Two, he's religious. Pawlenty's an evangelical Christian, a possible draw to evangelicals not drawn to Romney's Mormon faith.

Three, he's a solid political ally. As governors, Pawlenty and Romney shared ideas; also political spouses Ann Romney and Mary Pawlenty are good friends.

Four, he's everyman. Pawlenty brings to the table what may not be Mitt Romney's strongest suit; namely, everyman appeal. Pawlenty grew up in a meat-packing town where Pawlenty's father was a truck driver.

MR. PAWLENTY: (From videotape.) My mom died when I was in 10th grade, and my dad got laid off not too long after that. And in that chapter of my hometown, when those big meat-packing plants shut down, I saw the face of unemployment. I saw it at a real young age up close and real personal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Besides Tim Pawlenty, the short list for vice presidents for Mr. Romney include Ohio Senator Rob Portman, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
Question: Will Pawlenty join Romney on the presidential ticket in November? And is there any -- is there another big player on the vice presidential stage? We'll take those questions in order. Clarence Page, I think you know of another possible vice presidential choice.

MR. PAGE: Not on this list?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MR. PAGE: Well, no, I don't. (Laughs.
) I think -- I thought you've got the list.

MS. CLIFT: Condi Rice.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Condoleezza Rice.

MR. PAGE: Oh, you're feeding me that one. OK. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm not feeding it to you.

MR. PAGE: Well, you mean because Drudge Report headlined that. I think that's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, not because of Drudge; because she's out there and she's worthy of that consideration.

MR. PAGE: I would not name her. She's being talked about, but she always is. A lot of people like her, for a lot of nice reasons. But politically she's not conservative enough, John. She also, under close examination, reminds people of Bush's foreign policy, of unpopular wars. A lot of baggage there --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What'd she do for Bush?

MR. PAGE: -- would bring her down.
Oh, she was secretary of state. She was --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bush Sr.?

MR. PAGE: -- National Security Council --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bush Sr.

MR. PAGE: Well --

MS. CLIFT: She worked with Bush Sr., too, on the National Security Council. But she became a star in the second Bush administration as secretary of state. And I must say, Sarah Palin kind of blessed her; said she's nominally pro-choice. Condi Rice is pro-choice. But if Sarah Palin is going to give her the nominally, that gives her a little pass with conservatives.

I don't think, in the end, Romney will choose her. What I know of Romney -- and it's certainly not first-hand -- is he likes to play it safe. And I think Tim Pawlenty or John (sic) Portman would be the safe picks. And the first rule of vice presidential picking is do no harm.

MR. CARNEY: Yeah, if you --

MS. CLIFT: But Condi Rice would add a lot of excitement.

MR. CARNEY: If you look at polls about, for the last year, Obama's unpopularity, he's doing better in the head-to-head polls against any Republican because of their flaws. But whenever he was running against generic Republican, he was losing. And I think Rob Portman is the number one guy who could be called generic Republican. And Tim Pawlenty is probably second place as far as --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, what about this component of Condoleezza Rice? First of all, her names mean -- her name means "with sweetness." It's an Italian combination of words. She's 51 percent African, 40 percent European, 9 percent Native American or Asian descent.

Now, does that do anything with regard to the contribution she could make, politically speaking --

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- to the campaign of Mitt Romney for president?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, you --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Condoleezza Rice, female, et cetera.

MR. BUCHANAN: I know she's female. Look, if you choose her, you will depress the Republican base.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?

MR. BUCHANAN: Social conservatives will be appalled and they will rise up against Romney. He's already got problems there. Secondly, her whole connection is with George W. Bush, whose foreign policy and war in Iraq are considered a disaster. They cost the Republican Party both houses in 2006 and the presidency in 2008. Why would you do it? What exactly does she bring?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well --

MR. BUCHANAN: What state does she bring?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, because of the Cabinet post that she held, the fact that she worked for Sandy Berger, Colin Powell --

MR. BUCHANAN: She didn't work for Sandy --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Bob Zoellick.

MR. BUCHANAN: She didn't work for Sandy Berger, did she?

MS. CLIFT: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, she was part of Sandy Berger's generation.

MR. PAGE: Oh, generation. (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: He was a Democrat.

MR. PAGE: I don't think she's that old.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: These are some quick notes that I scattered here, Pat, and I'm not an authority on her biography.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me tell you --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She worked at the Hoover Institution.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me tell you, we --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The woman is a brilliant woman.

MR. BUCHANAN: When we were with Nixon in `68, there was a point where he was way down. And then you take a risk. We said Reagan or Lindsay. But then he was tied with Humphrey, and you take the safe pick.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right --

MR. BUCHANAN: And that's what's going to happen.

MS. CLIFT: If you put --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it safe to say that everybody on this panel is pooh poohing -- except me -- is pooh poohing a possible candidacy --

MS. CLIFT: Yes.

MR. CARNEY: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- as a running mate --

MS. CLIFT: Yes.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's safe to say.

MR. PAGE: In a word, yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you, as a running mate?

MR. PAGE: Not as a running mate. She's got many great qualifications, but not for this ticket.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not for this ticket.

MR. PAGE: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you're pooh poohing.
Are you?

MR. PAGE: Not this time.

MR. CARNEY: Pooh pooh.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pooh poohing.

MR. BUCHANAN: Safe to say.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Who will be Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think -- I would guess Pawlenty or Portman now, because I think he's going to be about even, and he'll take a safe pick that can help him in a state, Ohio, and if he could pick up Minnesota. Look, if Pawlenty could deliver Minnesota, he's a pretty good pick.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I agree with that. And we're going to know in a couple of weeks, because they're going to announce it before the convention.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Come on, Eleanor. Give me your pick. Who's it going to be?

MS. CLIFT: Pawlenty or Portman; one of the two.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pawlenty.

MR. CARNEY: Jindal. I think Bobby Jindal is really the complete package. He doesn't carry a swing state --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

MR. CARNEY: Why? Because he's a conservative with a great record of two terms as the governor of Louisiana.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pawlenty's a conservative.

MR. CARNEY: Pawlenty has more mixed of a record as a governor between tax hikes, environmental policy --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he's had that gubernatorial experience. Also the two of them were friends, you know, when they were contemporaneously governors.

MR. PAGE: Well, I'd love to see Romney pick either Jindal or Rubio. I think that would be an exciting ticket. But he'll probably pick Portman, because he's well qualified and won't overshadow him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you're wrong with that one.

MR. PAGE: He won't compete with him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's going to pick Pawlenty, and Pawlenty's going to turn it around with him.

Issue Three: Chicago Under Siege.

Chicago claims the title as the third-biggest city in the United States -- population 2.7 million; size, 240 square miles. Chicago's racial makeup is as follows: White, 42 percent; black, 36 percent.

Gang wars have been ongoing on Chicago's streets for seven years, mostly in black neighborhoods in Chicago's west and south sides. An estimated 5,000 black youths have been killed during this time.

The mayor of Chicago for the last 14 months is Rahm Emanuel. Formerly Emanuel was President Barack Obama's White House chief of staff. Mayor Emanuel is now warning Chicago's gangs to stay away from Chicago's kids.

CHICAGO MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D): (From videotape.) You've got two gang bangers. One's standing next to a kid. Get away from that kid. Take your stuff to the alley. Don't touch the children of the city of Chicago. Don't get near them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Victims include children. A seven-year-old girl, Heaven Sutton, was shot while selling candy outside her house. Overall, however, crime in Chicago is down, like armed robbery, theft, et cetera. But murders are up, way up -- 38 percent from a year ago. Two hundred seventy-two homicides have been committed as of six weeks ago, a number that is higher than that of other big cities.

In Los Angeles, 147 murders have been committed this year.
In New York, 189 murders have been committed this year versus 272 in Chicago. And yet New York has triple the population of Chicago, 8.2 million people.

Most of the Chicago murders are attributed to gang members, 100,000 gang members operating recklessly in hundreds of splinter groups. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy defend their crime-fighting tactics, including special police officers assigned to problem areas, plus $4 billion to tear down vacant buildings and to close liquor stores.

Question: To what do you attribute the murderous upsurge in Chicago? Clarence Page.

MR. PAGE: Well, it's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're from Chicago. You're still writing for the Tribune.

MR. PAGE: I'm still writing for the Tribune, thank goodness. And I also -- back in the `70s I was a police reporter, John. And we had a surge then in which we were number one in the country in homicides. Sadly enough, every city kind of has its turn being the murder capital. Right now it's Chicago.

And it's a combination of things have happened. It's primarily in just a couple of wards on the south side and the west side. There have been some high-profile events -- robberies or attacks downtown, but just a couple -- but they make huge headlines.

The real tragedy is out there on the south side and the west side, where gangs, even -- you can't even blame this on crack cocaine or some other somewhat rational reason. It's really one incident of violence, maybe in hot weather or whatever, will lead to a revenge killing and then another revenge killing and another.

That kind of chain violence is what's been erupting this year, and plus Mayor Emanuel has had to cut back the number of police on the streets because of the economy and the city budget problems. And so they transferred gang specialists over to street patrol work and this kind of thing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to be --

MR. PAGE: So it's a budget constraint --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to be respectful to you and I want to be respectful to the mayor, but --

MR. PAGE: Always, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- one hears this from him, the way he responded, and yourself, and it sounds as though you're making excuses for Chicago.

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You saw the statistics, the arithmetic on New York's population --

MR. PAGE: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- city population vis-a-vis Chicago --

MR. PAGE: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and the crime rate in New York is not that of Chicago, anywhere near that.

MR. PAGE: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what's going on in Chicago? I mean, you know, isn't this a bigger problem than I'm led to believe by the way you describe it and the way the mayor describes it?

MR. PAGE: I'm telling you, it's a surge. It happens in Chicago right now. It happened in L.A. a few years ago. I mean, Washington, D.C. --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That badly? How about L.A.?

MR. PAGE: -- has its problems.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: L.A. is --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, did you see --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- a dimension like this?

MR. BUCHANAN: The bad years in Washington, D.C., you had far more killings than that, and we're about one fifth the size of Chicago. As a matter of fact, in the 1990s, the numbers were much higher in all of these cities.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, I think that before the November election, we're going to have maybe not a war with Iran, but I believe some kind of collision and some kind of confrontation. I don't think the Israelis are going to attack, but there's a lot of forces moving into the Gulf. The sanctions, I think, are hurting very badly. And I believe if you did have this collision or do have this collision, I think it will, by and large, benefit Barack Obama.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The Obama campaign is really drawing blood on Romney with the attacks on Bain and Romney's shifting stories of when exactly he left Bain, which is the company that he founded. The drumbeat for him to release his tax returns will continue. I do not see how he can get away with releasing only one year, 2010, and an estimate of 2011, saying he had not yet completed that return, when traditionally presidential candidates release a dozen years of tax returns. So Romney's in trouble.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tim.

MR. CARNEY: President Obama, despite all his talk about being outraised and outspent, is going to continue to raise more and spend more from his campaign than Romney's campaign. And the Democratic National Committee will spend more this election than the Republican National Committee. I can't predict what will happen with some of the undisclosed outside money, but as far as the campaigns and the national committees, Obama will win the spending race in the 2012 election.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Clarence?

MR. PAGE: John, I think the next fight we're going to see as far as -- the next assault by congressional Republicans against the Obama administration is going to be over welfare reform and the waivers that HHS, Health & Human Services, has given to states from the strict employment requirements.

This is a core issue with conservatives that you need to work for your benefits. And by loosening up some of these work requirements in this economy, there are Republicans in both houses who want to take a closer look at this now. And I think we're going to see a big fight result from it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, a big fight?

MR. PAGE: The kind of hearings, investigations, a lot of rhetoric in regard to the Obama administration being soft on people -- well, they won't use the word freeloaders, but that'll be the implication.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Oh, we're out of time. Bye-bye.