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The McLaughlin Group

Host: John McLaughlin

Panel:
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report;
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune

Broadcast: Weekend of December 22-23, 2012

.STX

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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ANNOUNCER: It's the 31st annual McLaughlin Group year-end awards, 2012, part one. Here's the master of ceremonies, John McLaughlin.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Biggest winner of 2012. Pat.

PAT BUCHANAN: Islamic revolution, John, captures Egypt, Gaza, Tunisia, northern Mali, and soon Syria. Revolution is at hand.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

ELEANOR CLIFT: President Obama and the values he ran on -- tax fairness, "Obamacare," and now a new and welcome urgency on gun safety and gun violence.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MORT ZUCKERMAN: Big data, which is the accumulation of personal information on vast numbers of Americans, which was brilliantly exploited by the Obama team to get out their vote and is going to be exploited by virtually every merchandiser in America.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

CLARENCE PAGE: Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager, and the rest of the team for that ground game that they pulled together, which the Romney campaign laughed at at first. They aren't laughing now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The envelope please, Mort. Thank you, Mort. What's the Carnac move? Is this it?

MR. BUCHANAN: Carnac the Magnificent. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this it? Let's see what --

MR. BUCHANAN: The envelope, please.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's see what Carnac has given us.

The biggest winner of 2012: Vladimir Putin. He overcame massive opposition protests, maneuvered through constitutional loopholes, served as president, then prime minister, and then won reelection as president again of planet earth's biggest nation, Russia. Vladimir Putin, biggest winner of 2012.

OK, biggest loser. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: General David Petraeus, CIA chief, most famous general of his generation, caught in a honey trap and gone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The NRA, National Rifle Association, which has no answer to why Americans should be allowed to buy and possess assault weapons with rounds they can shoot off and kill little children.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The 23 million Americans who remain out of work and have been out of work for a long period of time.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Sheldon Adelson, who backed eight candidates with millions of dollars, including Mitt Romney, and they all lost.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How many millions?

MR. PAGE: Total? Gee, I lost count of what the total is.

MR. BUCHANAN: Seventy-five (million dollars) or something.

MR. PAGE: Yeah.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's in the neighborhood of the 70s.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seventy-five (million dollars), $85 (million). Yeah, right. He's moving along.

MR. PAGE: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The biggest loser of 2012: Lance Armstrong, for using performance-enhancing drugs while competing on cycling tourneys. Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France titles and sponsor contracts valued between $15 (million) and $18 million -- biggest loser.

OK, best politician. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I'm going to say Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. He put through his right-to-work laws. He then won a recall. He was an inspiration for Republican governors. It's a move going all over the country. Best politician.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Best politician: Bill Clinton, who, in a single speech at the Democratic National Convention, injected energy and enthusiasm into the voters.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Herman Cain, who came out of nowhere, became the leading Republican contender, and he was the best politician. However, I have to tell you this in advance. He was also the worst politician. But I'll get to that later.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) Clarence.

MR. PAGE: And I thought I had a long shot in naming Chris Christie, because he firmed up his base in a Democratic state, and I think at a time when the Republicans now are seeing a resurgence among their moderates. And I think, in the long run, he may prove to be the big winner of the year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Well, these are all very interesting choices, but they're all domestic. The best politician of 2012 was German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She had to walk a tightrope between her German voters, who do not favor bailing out Europe, and the European Union, which badly needs German funds to function. Best politician -- Angela. You got it? You can write that down, Pat. Put it in your column.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, worst politician. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Susan Rice. (Laughs.) She was fed these phony talking points by the CIA. She went on a charm offensive. It charmed no one. And President Obama left her, John, twisting slowly, slowly the wind. She's gone. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: She'll still be our U.N. ambassador, though, Pat. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: I give worst politician to Mitt Romney, who never quite came across as human. And he lost --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So she --

MS. CLIFT: -- in part because of his personality.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's going to stay as U.N. ambassador?

MS. CLIFT: It looks like it, yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Herman Cain again, because a man who runs for the presidency who didn't think that his personal life would ultimately blow up his presidency was the worst politician of the year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does he have a job?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He was. He was running --

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know that he's --

MR. PAGE: And he has a great future in talk radio, I'm sure. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, have you got something for us?

MR. PAGE: Ah, yes. Worst politician: Clint Eastwood, although he's still a good actor.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is all very domestic. I'll throw it out on a larger scale for you. Does that help you any, Pat? Worst politician, 2012: Egypt's Mohamed Morsi. Heralded as a statesman after his role in mediating the Gaza cease-fire, then promptly plunged his country into chaos by granting himself executive absolute power, which caused a popular outcry, then tried to rush through a constitutional referendum. Worst politician.

OK, most defining political moment. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Governor Chris Christie embraces Barack Obama -- (laughs) -- in Hurricane Sandy. Bye-bye, Mitt. (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: You see it as Obama embracing Christie.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: Anyway --

MS. CLIFT: Bye-bye Mitt happened earlier than that -- the 47 percent tape that was leaked that had him stating that he didn't really have to care about 47 percent of the public. Also the decision to uphold most of "Obamacare" was another very defining political moment.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I share Eleanor's view. I think that video of Obama on that 47 percent of the American public, whom he said were happily dependent on the American government --

MS. CLIFT: Audio, right.

MR. BUCHANAN: Romney.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Did I say -- who did I say?

MS. CLIFT: You said video.

MR. PAGE: Obama.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Obama. No, definitely not Obama. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead with this.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, but, I mean, that -- I don't think Romney did this with anticipation that it might suddenly come out. But when it came out, it was the worst political moment of his career.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think so?

MR. PAGE: You can tell this was not rehearsed, because I picked the 47 percent moment too. It said so much about where the debate has gone, and I think it's kind of a turning point now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Well, I'll give you the true turning point.

MR. PAGE: Yes, sir.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Take this down, Clarence. Use it in your column.

MR. PAGE: Yes, sir.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The most defining political moment was Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's no-show at the Jersey shore after it was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. Romney left the headlines to Obama, who looked great, by the way, and acted great; and Chris Christie, creating a fatal stall in Romney's momentum, which he never recovered from. Now, that echoed something that occurred previously here, but I think it's better stated. Right?

OK, turncoat of the year.

MR. BUCHANAN: Stated at greater length, John. (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: Right. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Turncoat of the year: Chief Justice John Roberts. Great conservative hero goes south on "Obamacare," breaking the hearts of conservatives all over America.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did he do?

MR. BUCHANAN: He voted for "Obamacare," to uphold it as constitutional. And he said it was a tax, not a fee.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Well, it needs more clarification.

Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, who is resigning his Senate seat and becoming the president of the Heritage Foundation, which, in effect, is an admission that the tea party forces, where he was their mentor and benefactor, that they are a spent force in the Senate, at least.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What kind of a salary does that --

MS. CLIFT: Oh, a million plus.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: One million?

MS. CLIFT: So there was a little financial incentive.

MR. BUCHANAN: Ed Feulner gets a million bucks a year.

MS. CLIFT: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That had nothing to do with his going over there, though.

MR. PAGE: Give him a car too, right?

MS. CLIFT: Oh, I think it had something to do with it. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I would say it's the abandonment by this administration of a 30-year ally, namely Mubarak in Egypt, in such a way that it lost and undermined the confidence of the entire Arab world in the loyalty and the credibility of America as an ally.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And it put Morsi in there.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It certainly did.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: I think turncoat of the year goes to President Obama from the marijuana growers in California, because he promised he was going to back off of marijuana prosecutions in states where medicinal marijuana had been legalized. And they have continued out there in particular. And this has been a very sore point in his base.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, do you think the president ought to know what the virtues of marijuana are?

MR. PAGE: He ought to know, and he ought to know before he makes a public statement, if he's going to really --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why should he know?

MR. PAGE: -- pump it up or not. Because he's president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Anything else?

MR. PAGE: He's in charge of the policy. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Turncoat of the year: Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who owes his regime's existence and his own security to the U.S. backing, but he openly attacks his U.S. allies, accusing America of intentionally fostering corruption in Afghanistan, and worse. Turncoat of the year: Karzai.

OK, most boring. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Alan Greenspan-Joe Lieberman trophy this year, John, goes to Harry Reid -- (laughs) -- of the United States Senate. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Well, on my side of the political agenda, Mitch McConnell is a perennial winner. And in sadness, I would also include Jon Huntsman, who I think had an opening to really make an impression in the Republican primaries, and he sure didn't.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does Mitch have a problem in Kentucky?

MS. CLIFT: Well, there's a singer --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's the gal --

MS. CLIFT: -- who's got her eye on --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's the gal running against him?

MS. CLIFT: -- his seat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Ashley Judd.

MS. CLIFT: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. How is she doing?

MS. CLIFT: She hasn't announced.

MR. BUCHANAN: Pretty good by my (watch ?). (Laughs.)

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, quickly.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Clint Eastwood's unbelievable gig at the Republican Convention that put everybody to sleep and took the momentum out of that entire evening on television.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How can you improve on that, Clarence?

MS. CLIFT: I was riveted, actually. (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: I have a -- I have a tie between Clint Eastwood's chair and Donald Trump. So which way would you go? (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a tough one.

MR. PAGE: I want to tell you, it's a tough call.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I wouldn't enter those waters.

MR. PAGE: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Most boring: The Olympic opening ceremony, a showcase of all things British -- Harry Potter, James Bond --

MR. PAGE: The Beatles.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Mary Poppins. It failed in comparison to China's extravaganza. Remember that in 2008?

OK, most charismatic. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: RGIII. Redskin rookie QB burns up the NFL, may be MVP; has set this city on fire.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Marco Rubio, senator from Florida, who's articulate to the point of almost being demagogic. But he's a riveting speaker and he's got a future.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're a little afraid of him, huh, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: I'm not afraid of him. I just pointed out his attributes. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he's richly Republican. You know that.

MS. CLIFT: Right. But the Democrats have their bench too.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll see, won't we? I mean, after that, you know, the Democrats are still going to embrace you?

Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, I still think that Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic Convention was the most exciting moment of that convention; turned around the whole convention and just once again revealed the great talents of Bill Clinton.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, he did. He saved it.

Clarence.

MR. PAGE: You're showing your brilliance again, Mort --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MR. PAGE: -- because I absolutely agree. Bill Clinton did a better job of selling Barack Obama than Barack Obama did.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to add to the Clinton tribute. The most charismatic: Bill Clinton for a stellar performance at the Democratic National Convention. Clinton's 40-minute speech was critical for a second term for Barack Obama. Clinton's speech redefined the global economic crisis. He described it as a product of Republican thinking. No question, Bubba still has it. Wouldn't you say so?

MS. CLIFT: Absolutely. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: He did a good job.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, bummest rap. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Hurricane Sandy was caused by global warming. What a crock.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: I can't let that go by.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: There's a difference between weather and climate, Pat.

MR. PAGE: Thank you. Thank you.

MS. CLIFT: I'll meet you in the parking lot afterwards.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) Quickly.

MS. CLIFT: OK, bummest rap: Scapegoating Susan Rice on Benghazi.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think she brought it on herself?

MS. CLIFT: No.

MR. PAGE: Nope.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The bummest rap to my mind was the assumption or the allegation that the Supreme Court on "Obamacare" was acting out of politics and not out of their understanding of the law.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Yeah, I had Susan Rice top of my list, but I'll also add saying that Nate Silver's liberal bias proved to be mythical, because he was dead-on correct in his prediction on the election.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, the bummest rap: The rap recited by Bill Clinton to a throng of Democratic Convention delegates that the Republican Party's policies are responsible for the global economic crisis. Experts say the cause of the ongoing crisis is trade imbalances created by then-President Clinton about 20 years ago when he granted China most-favored-nation trading status and when he -- and then negotiated World Trade Organization membership for China. You got that?

MR. BUCHANAN: You're going too fast. I need to take notes, John. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'll give it to you all afterwards, Pat. Just have the check in the mail.

You're next, Pat. Fairest rap.

MR. BUCHANAN: Biker Lance Armstrong is stripped of seven Tour de France titles, deservedly so, for the doping -- secret, clandestine doping. And he didn't even deny it and he didn't fight it. He deserves to lose them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How many years did he do it?

MR. BUCHANAN: Seven years --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- in the Tour de France.

MS. CLIFT: Republican push for voter IDs. It's not about voter fraud. It's about voter suppression. Fairest rap.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The fairest rap was the criticism of the Republican managers of Romney's campaign, including his pollsters, who got it all wrong.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: The rap that the tea party pushed the Republican Party too far to the right; proved to be very fair.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The rap against Italian cruise boat captain Francesco Schettino of the Costa Concordia. He capsized his boat showboating, striking submerged rocks, and then abandoned ship. Dozens of passengers died. Fair rap.

OK, past comeback. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Best comeback. Best comeback -- I hate to say it -- it's al-Qaida. It is no longer maybe in Afghanistan, but it is in Pakistan. It is in Nigeria. It is in Libya. It is in Syria. It is in Iraq. It is in Yemen. And the whole thing has metastasized. It's a comeback.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Best comeback: Romney in the first debate, President Obama in the second debate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Gabby Giffords, who came back from a real tragedy and is now back and deserves all the commendation you can muster up.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a lovely tribute and choice.

MR. PAGE: Indeed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. Her Senate campaign was looking sad and troubled there for a while, but she stuck to it and came out the winner.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Best comeback: Republican Governor Scott Walker -- this has already been gummed up by Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- of Wisconsin. Despite a bruising recall showdown with public employees' massive union protests, plus organized labor's national money war chest lined up against him, Scott Walker won handily.

Does he have a future?

MR. BUCHANAN: He does. And you copied mine pretty well, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, most original thinker. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I'm going to give it to my magazine, the American Conservative, which is developing a non-interventionist foreign policy, which an awful lot of people are looking at and commenting favorably on; something different than the neoconservative interventionists.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you have an ownership in that magazine?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't get a dime from it, John. I'd also add the National Interest Magazine's doing the same thing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thanks for clearing that up, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: All right. Original thinker, though misguided, Senate candidate Todd Akin in Missouri, who says that if a woman is legitimately raped, the body shuts down and cannot --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, my God.

MS. CLIFT: -- conceive a pregnancy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Fed Chairman Bernanke, who literally redefined the role of the Federal Reserve Board and changed monetary policy dramatically and really helped us get out of the recession.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're right on the money, as I'll show you in a minute.

Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Original thinking: Jim Messina again, the campaign manager for Obama's campaign, who rewrote the book in a lot of ways.

MR. BUCHANAN: The source of your (inspiration ?), Clarence. (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: Number one. Well, David Axelrod's my former intern, but outside of that -- (inaudible). (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The most original thinker: Supreme Court Justice -- Chief Justice John Roberts for defining Obama's health care mandate as a tax, therefore constitutional, therefore getting the court off the hot seat. Some say that to call a fine a tax is a real leap of logic, but it's definitely original thinking.

OK, best photo-op. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Best photo-op: Paula Broadwell wins the pushup contest on the Jon Stewart show, John. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The pope tweeting with his iPad.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence -- Mort, rather.

MR. PAGE: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The picture of Obama and Christie after the hurricane hit. That was the single best photo. It changed the whole campaign.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, it was a killer photo.

Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Scott Van Duzer. Remember that name? He was the Florida pizza shop owner who gave Obama such a big hug that it took Obama off the ground. I love that picture.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm going to really elevate this conversation. The best photo-op this year was the Space Shuttle Discovery and the Shuttle Endeavor flying their final flights on top of 747 airliners. Remember that?

MR. PAGE: Oh, yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How uplifting that was.

OK. "Enough, already" award. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Georgia -- Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke griping about the fact that she's not being given free birth control pills. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was that on -- what show was that on?

MR. BUCHANAN: Rush mentioned that, but we don't want to get into that. (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: That's a --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If you're interested in that, dial in to Rush.

MS. CLIFT: I would dispute --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: I would dispute the characterization birth control pills are a part of women's health care.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly, quickly.

MS. CLIFT: The "Enough, already" -- the billions spent on attack ads, although I must admit they did their job. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The tea party blaming Romney's moderation for the reason why the Republicans lost the presidency.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excellent.

Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Debt-ceiling fights, although second prize goes to Honey Boo Boo.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "Enough, already" -- the fiscal cliff. It is not a cliff. It's a metaphor that refers to two simple acts of Congress signed by the president, spending cuts and tax hikes, that can be as easily changed as they were created. So enough, already about a cliff.

OK, capitalist of the year. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: French actor Gerard Depardieu. He flees from France to Belgium to avoid the 75 percent income tax, gives up his citizenship. And Mort, you ought to take a look at that example. Look at Belgium. (Laughter.) He fled the country.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'll get back to you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Mayor Bloomberg, who put $250,000 into the Maryland same-sex marriage campaign, which succeeded. And also he used his money to defeat a pro-gun Democrat in California -- money well spent by --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MS. CLIFT: -- the mayor of New York.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Fed Chairman Bernanke, who saved the financial system, which is at the core of capitalism.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Beautifully stated.

Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Jim DeMint for his move from the Senate over to the Heritage Foundation.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: I want to tell you, Mr. Capitalist.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean with that salary he's getting?

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. PAGE: That salary, as well as --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Capitalist of the year: Our esteemed panelist, Mort Zuckerman, for his $200 million contribution to Columbia University for their institute for the mind and the brain. Congratulations, Mort.

MS. CLIFT: Hear, hear.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Thank you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hear, hear.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, you didn't mention my contribution to Columbia, my school, my alma mater.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How much did you give them?

MR. BUCHANAN: A significant amount. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A paltry $1,000? Come on, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Significant. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Loosen it up, will you? Get it out of the sock, under the mattress, wherever it is. We know it's there, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, worst lie. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Benghazi massacre was caused by a spontaneous protest over an anti-Muslim video. Again, what a crock, Eleanor.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) Mike Huckabee and other Christian conservatives saying that the Sandy Hook massacre may have been the result of taking prayer and God out of the schools, and it's God's retribution.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, I was going to say what Pat just said. I think that the worst lie was the State Department allegation that all of this was just a street protest. And I just think that really undermined their credibility dramatically.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: That's a simplified way of --

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. PAGE: -- explaining it early on, and they said it was preliminary information. But anyway --

MS. CLIFT: Thanks, Clarence.

MR. PAGE: -- the worst lie was Karl Rove after the election saying that the Obama campaign suppressed the vote. That's not only a lie but a real laughter.

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

Worst lie award goes to -- you guessed it -- our president for claiming that oil and gas companies get more government money than green energy companies. But the Congressional Research Service, the CRS, reports that for every two cents of tax breaks oil and gas companies get, wind and solar companies get one dollar.

Honorable mention. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: For person of the year? Vladimir Putin. You were right earlier, John. He really -- it's a real comeback for him. He's been in power a long time, but he is holding on. And I think there's a lot to this guy, really. And I think he is not an enemy of the United States. And he's not the greatest geostrategic threat, as Mitt Romney said.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, trade off me at will, Pat. You can't go wrong.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, who has been working tirelessly on behalf of gun safety since winning her congressional seat after her husband was murdered and her son grievously wounded in a shooting accident -- not accident -- in a mass shooting incident on the Long Island Railway. She is now co-sponsoring a bill to limit the size of assault magazines with a Democratic congressman from Colorado. It's going to force the issue in the House.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Angela Merkel, who's basically, to this date, at least, saved the European common market. It's still hanging by a thread, but she has kept it going like nobody else could have and played the politics, as you said before, of her country brilliantly, along with the financial needs that only Germany can supply to the rest of Europe.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's in a class by herself.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: She's amazing.

MR. BUCHANAN: Cut the thread, Mort. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Well, following Mort, I would give honorable mention to a demographic group, the Hispanic voter. They really showed their voting power this year. And that's the way to get respect in America. And that's indicative of the direction that the country is going. So I think it's really an appropriate award.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are the Hispanics any more congenial or less congenial to the Republicans?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MR. PAGE: Yeah. Well, that's the thing. You know, you've got Marco Rubio. You've got others. I mean, black folks were congenial to Republicans before, and can be again if the party reaches out; Romney campaign's problem and the party in general reached out to -- well, they reached out to their base more than anybody else, and they wound up with their base. That's about the only group -- white voters, white women unmarried -- I'm sorry -- married white women, rather -- were the two groups they got a majority of. And they got a minority of about everybody else.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give me a quick prediction. Do you think our next president will be a Latino American?

MR. PAGE: I think that's like the weather and climate change. It's too soon to guess the particular election --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, you don't want to answer that question.

MR. PAGE: It's possible, but I don't think so; not the next one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK.

MR. PAGE: But coming up soon.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, I accept the fact that you don't want to answer the question.

MR. BUCHANAN: Will an Hispanic --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Honorable mention --

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible) --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, did you say no?

MR. PAGE: -- for this election, but afterward, yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think Rubio is a possibility.

MR. BUCHANAN: He could be on the ticket.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And Rubio --

MR. BUCHANAN: Rubio could be on the ticket.

MR. PAGE: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rubio does not appear -- well, if there's any stereotype, he's not the stereotype.

MR. PAGE: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rubio.

MR. PAGE: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And I think he --

MR. PAGE: Then there's Obama, right? (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Tell us --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he's very smart.

MR. BUCHANAN: Tell us about the stereotype. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Honorable mention: Hollywood director and producer Steven Spielberg, who brought Abraham Lincoln to the big screen. The drama covers the final months of President Lincoln's life as he fights for the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that outlawed slavery. The film tells, as The New Yorker describes it, a, quote-unquote, "honest tale of Abe."

OK, here it is: Person of the year. Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Mohamed Morsi of Egypt. He goes from apparatchik of the Muslim Brotherhood to president of Egypt to pharaoh. Now he's winning his constitution. He's going to be a formidable power in the Middle East for a long time to come.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He hasn't won the constitution yet.

Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The 14-year-old girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban because she was an activist in wanting girls to go to school; Malala.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How --

MS. CLIFT: She's treated in England. She's on her way to recovery. We're going to hear a lot more from her as she lives what I assume will be a good, long life.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The newly aroused Latino community, whose political involvement won the election for Obama.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.

Clarence.

MR. PAGE: After all my praise for Jim Messina, I've got to praise David Axelrod, my former Tribune colleague, with the Obama campaign.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

The person of the year is Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, steady-as-you-go Ben. He and other likeminded central bankers have kept the world from skidding into a deep depression.

To the friends and family of the Sandy Hook victims, our thoughts and our prayers and our love are with you.

Next week, tune in for the McLaughlin Group 2012 awards, part two.

Merry Christmas. Bye-bye.

(c) Federal News Service 2012