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The McLaughlin Group

Host: John McLaughlin

Panel:
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek;
Ryan Grim, Huffington Post;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report

Taped: Friday, February 8, 2013
Broadcast: Weekend of February 9-10, 2013

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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Drone On.

Drones are UAVs, unmanned aerial vehicles, aircraft that are operated remotely from nearby or from thousands of miles away, like the distance between the nation of Afghanistan and the Air Force base in the U.S. state of Nevada.
Drones come in various shapes, sizes and weight. They are used for surveillance, disablement and killing. And drones are increasingly ubiquitous. There are 64 drone bases spread across the United States alone, and the U.S. has other drone installations across the planet.

Africa is increasingly a drone base environment. A newly authorized site in the nation of Niger will become the sixth U.S. drone base in Africa, joining one in Morocco, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Uganda, and a permanent one in Djibouti.
U.S. drone attacks ordered by Commander in Chief Obama have spiked, particularly in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and, notably, Pakistan, where over 360 drone strikes over the nine years, 2004 to 2013, have killed over 3,000 people.
This data is not classified, and not even secret, but it is troubling -- so troubling that the U.N. has just decided to launch an investigation on the impact of drone strikes on thousands of civilians.

Question: Will the U.N.'s human rights council rule that drone use violates international law, do you think, Pat Buchanan?

PAT BUCHANAN: I don't think they will. If they do, John, it doesn't make any difference.

What we really ought to be concerned about these drone strikes -- they're a tremendously effective weapon. They've been killing an awful lot of enemy. They save our pilots and the rest of it. But the collateral damage -- the killing of civilians, the killing of children, the tremendous alienation they've increased all over this region -- has resulted in al-Qaida, frankly, getting a tremendous number of new recruits. Are we recruiting more enemies than we're killing?

That's the key question when you look to see how al-Qaida is no longer in just Afghanistan, but about six or seven other countries. And we're putting all those drone bases in these new countries because al-Qaida is expanding. Are we winning the war is the question, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, with drones, you don't see boots on the ground, and they're not easy to count. And the question is good. It's kind of a concealment of the other facts that go with our protection.

Eleanor.

ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, first of all, drones are here to stay. They are the 21st century modern tool of war. And in many ways, they are a blessing -- much better than bombers because they can be more effective and targeted than bomber planes just raining bombs down.

With an enemy that is harbored in various places, in countries where we are not at war with the country, it's the only way you can really get at them short of invading that country, which we did and discovered that isn't so hot.
So I would say they are a blessing. But they bring all sorts of ethical and moral concerns. And there should be some sort of judicial review. And the program that appears to be the most troubling is the one run by the CIA, and that's the one that's been targeting --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: -- Afghanistan --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ryan.

MS. CLIFT: -- and Pakistan.

RYAN GRIM: Well, the administration claims that these are only used for high-value targets who are an imminent threat. We don't know if that's true, because there's no oversight. But we do know that they've killed thousands and thousands of people.

Now, what kind of an organization has thousands and thousands and thousands of senior-level people? In fact, the research into it says that only about 2 percent of the people that were killed were senior- level members of al-Qaida. And more than a thousand civilians have died as a result of this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are your impressions, Mort?

MORT ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think it is the only possible solution we have to some of the problems we're facing. It is not a perfect solution, but I agree with what Eleanor was just saying. We don't have too many options here to go into countries where there are a lot of problems in terms of terrorists who are willing to go after the United States.

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

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's the only way we can keep them on the run. And we have been effective with it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, forget international law. What about the U.S. Constitution?

Thursday, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, CIA director nominee John Brennan answered blunt questions on the U.S.'s drone attack authority. A confidential memo detailing the Justice Department's legal reasoning for killing American citizens with drones was released this week.

JOHN BRENNAN (CIA director-designate): (From videotape.) Any American who joins al-Qaida will know full well that they have joined an organization that is at war with the United States and it has killed thousands upon thousands of individuals -- many, many of them who are Americans. So I think any American who did that should know well that they, in fact, are part of an enemy against us and that the United States will do everything possible to destroy that enemy to save American lives.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the troubling aspect of the Justice Department's reasoning concerning the use of drones against U.S. citizens?

MR. BUCHANAN: I'll tell you, John, the troubling aspect is this. Look, if an individual joins al-Qaida, he's out there planting a bomb or he's involved in an attack on Americans, look, he's fair game. He's an enemy combatant.

But what the Justice Department said is, look, high-ranking U.S. officials can pick out ranking operatives of al-Qaida who represent an imminent danger. And we killed one guy in Yemen, this al-Awlaki fellow, who was a propagandist for al-Qaida. But he was not a combatant. He was no imminent threat to the United States. He was an American citizen.

This is so loose and so nebulous. The president is basically claiming a right to execute Americans on foreign soil.

MS. CLIFT: Well, if you want to go ahead and defend --

MR. BUCHANAN: And we ought to -- hold it, Eleanor. We ought to define this --

MS. CLIFT: You've exceeded the 20-second time limit.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- a little bit closer -- a little bit closer. And I know you never have, Eleanor.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly, Eleanor. What do you want to say?

MS. CLIFT: I was saying if Pat wants to go and defend this gentleman, you're welcome to it.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's dead.

MS. CLIFT: He was involved with the planning of the Christmas bombing, which would have exploded a plane over Detroit if it had gone forward. He was involved in the bomb that was planted in Times Square. I mean, I think there was sufficient evidence there.

And because you're a U.S. citizen, you don't get to hide behind your passport when you're plotting attacks against this country on behalf of a declared enemy of this country.
Now, granted, I think there should be some judicial review, and I think that's where we're going to come out here. And because the U.N. council is looking at this, it's all the more reason that this president should get out there and -- he calls it an architecture for how to handle these attacks.

But, yes, we do need more transparency. We need more oversight. We need all of that. But basically --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: -- what's going on is a positive thing --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's hear --

MS. CLIFT: -- for U.S. security.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's hear from the veteran senior senator from Oregon, widely respected, universally respected; had this to say about drones at Thursday's Senate hearing.

SENATOR RON WYDEN (D-OR): (From videotape.) It's the idea of giving any president unfettered power to kill an American without checks and balances that's so troubling. Every American has the right to know when their government believes it's allowed to kill them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Holder is asserting, by the way, in the memo that the Supreme Court cannot stop the president from ordering drone strikes. The memo asserts that the judiciary has no jurisdiction to overturn the president's power to order drone attacks on a U.S. citizen deemed an imminent threat, because this is a unitary power vested in the executive. What do you think of that?

MR. GRIM: That's crazy. And, look, if it's true that he was involved in these particular attacks, then present your evidence in a court. Indict the fellow. At least indict him before you go out and kill him.

Two weeks after they killed the father, they killed his son, his 16-year-old son, in a completely separate strike. Nobody accused his son of being involved in any terrorist activity. He hadn't seen his father in two years. He was out looking for his father when he was killed by a drone strike, along with another boy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You remember John Yoo offered some thoughts on this to G.W. Bush. Well, they say that the people in the White House today make John Woo (sic) look like a Boy Scout compared to the authority that's given the president and the what -- the invisibility of it.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: You know, I have to say, we are facing a unique kind of threat. This is not something you can treat casually. And with all due respect, we have got to find some way to defend ourselves. This is the role of the president of the United States and the executive branch of the United States. And I do think this is absolutely appropriately within the power of the presidency --

MR. BUCHANAN: But --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- and should be that way.

MR. BUCHANAN: But Mort, let me ask you. Look, there are apparently no limits. Can we strike people in Uzbekistan? How about western China? Can we strike people, you know, anywhere in Africa? Where can he strike, and who can --

MS. CLIFT: But there are limits. There are limits.

MR. BUCHANAN: Who can he strike, and who decides?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let's --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: This is why you have a presidency, if I may say so.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, you've got a Congress too, which it has --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, we do have a Congress.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- the war power.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: But the national security of the country is basically in the hands of the presidency. And this is something --

MR. BUCHANAN: He can go where he wants and kill whom he
wants.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --

MS. CLIFT: No, there are restraints.

MR. BUCHANAN: Where are they?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, we're going to be debating --

MS. CLIFT: In the Justice Department, the Pentagon and the CIA --

MR. BUCHANAN: His deputies?

MS. CLIFT: -- and the White House.

MR. BUCHANAN: You mean his little deputies are over there telling him what he can and can't do?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is going to be an ongoing debate in this program; there's no question about it. This is a whole new world.

Exit question: The United Nations Human Rights Council is now examining drone strikes.

If some or all of anti-terrorist drone use is found to constitute war crimes and the U.N. moves the matter to the ICC, which is the U.N.'s International Criminal Court, will President Obama be able to travel overseas for the rest of his life without fearing ending up in the ICC docket?

MR. BUCHANAN: We should tell the ICC to mind its own business. But we should have the Congress of the United States and the leaders of the United States debate this issue and set rules of engagement we can all agree upon and follow.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wyden's point is well taken.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think Wyden is making a valid point.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Stop trying to sweep this under the rug.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, put it up front.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: These are valid questions, and they were debated in the hearing for the confirmation of John Brennan this week. It's how a democracy should work. Nice that we're fighting about it, but the drone program is here to stay. And I don't believe that the U.N. is going to raise questions about invading the sovereignty of other countries. But they don't have any power to stop this. And we're not going to be the only country who has drones. This is the warfare of the 21st century.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ryan, what do you think?

MR. GRIM: Well, if he does have trouble traveling, he can take -- you know, he could take advice from other past secretaries of state and other folks who decided not to go to certain countries where they might get arrested.
And I think it'll depend on the political climate over the next 20 years. If these are, you know, the weapons of the future and the world decides that this is how we want to fight war, with robots, you know, firing arbitrary death out of the sky, then he'll probably be OK. I think we'll live to regret this, though.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Robotic warfare. What do you think of that, Mort?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Listen, I don't think we'll live to regret it. I think we would regret it if we didn't do something about it and we were attacked. That we would -- then we would say where the heck were we when we could have done something about it?

This is the role, as I say, of the executive branch. It's a different kind of warfare. We've got to do something about it. You can't have all kinds of judicial processes in which all this material comes out and you end up losing whatever advantage you --

MS. CLIFT: You could have a secret court.

MR. BUCHANAN: Mort, we have a --

MS. CLIFT: You could have a secret court.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MR. BUCHANAN: We have a drone base in Saudi Arabia, OK? We just found out. Now, why did Osama bin Laden declare war on the United States? He said the Americans were on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia, in the land of Mecca and Medina. That's why he declared war.

It is insane to put a drone base right in there and antagonize 1.5 million Muslims.

MS. CLIFT: They have so many reasons --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK --

MS. CLIFT: -- to hate us. The drones are just one more.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Defense Downsize.

DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: (From videotape.) If these cuts happen, there will be a serious disruption in defense programs and a sharp decline in our military readiness.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Leon Panetta is leaving his job as secretary of defense. In an impassioned address this week, Secretary Panetta warned of the looming budget cuts the Pentagon faces due to sequestration.

Sequestration is Washington argot for automatic spending cuts that will slash the Defense Department's budget by roughly $42.7 billion this year alone. The cuts are currently scheduled to go into effect on March 1, three weeks away.

In his speech, Panetta says the Pentagon is already preparing itself for the budget ax, one of the most visible signs being the reduction from two to one the number of aircraft carriers the U.S. operates in the critical Persian Gulf.

SEC. PANETTA: (From videotape.) This is not a game. This is reality. These steps would seriously damage the fragile American economy and they would degrade our ability to respond to crisis precisely at a time of rising instability across the globe.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Can the Pentagon survive budget cuts, or are Secretary Panetta's worries on the mark? Mort Zuckerman.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I think the Pentagon can survive it. You know, they've got a gigantic budget. They have to get their funds spent in the right priorities. And it's -- a lot of people feel that we're going to have to cut some of the costs out of virtually every department of the government.

We cannot simply ignore it.

Everybody comes up with a case why we should spend money, and nobody comes up with a case why we should raise the money to do it. We've got to do something to get our budgets under control, because otherwise this whole thing is going to explode.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How does our military compare with militaries around the world?

MR. BUCHANAN: We spend more than --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have about 1 million in the active and --

MR. BUCHANAN: We've got 1.2 million active -- 1.4 (million) active duty or something.

Let me -- John, let me mention -- look, if Panetta's correct, why doesn't the president of the United States propose a different set of cuts for the same amount of money if it's going to savage the defense budget? He has not come forward with that.

Clearly this is a meat-ax approach. It's not the right approach. But frankly, it's the only way the Republicans are going to get any cuts. And there's going to be a sequestration if the president doesn't come forward with his own different cuts.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where does the --

MS. CLIFT: Why don't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where does the saved $85 billion finally end up?

MS. CLIFT: The saved -- well, they made this deal that they have to cut a certain amount of money.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Where does the money go?

MR. BUCHANAN: Fifty-fifty.

MS. CLIFT: The money supposedly is going to reduce the deficit. But the problem with the sequestration is that it is indiscriminate.

If you let Leon Panetta do those cuts and figure out where they should come from, and did it with a scalpel, that would be --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: -- that would be fine. But, you know, I think the Defense Department can handle this. The president --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: -- is not going to come up with cuts on programs that he wants if the Republicans don't say what they want. Nobody -- they want it to be the virgin birth of spending cuts. Neither side wants their fingerprints on it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ryan, you know and I know that the $85 billion goes back into the private sector.

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

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And what happens to it then?

MR. GRIM: Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Then it becomes much more lucrative than $85 billion, because it's reinvested. Where?

MR. GRIM: It doesn't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In private enterprise, correct?

MR. GRIM: It doesn't necessarily go back into the private sector. It vanishes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It vanishes.

MR. GRIM: It vanishes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How does that happen?

MR. BUCHANAN: They don't borrow.

MR. GRIM: Right. It's not --

MR. BUCHANAN: They don't borrow or spend.

MR. GRIM: It's not being borrowed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, it's being borrowed. But if it's no longer borrowed, it's unborrowed, and it's in the private sector, where it's functioning under the rules of --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.) It's sitting in the banks.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and the programmatics of sound capitalism.

Issue Three: GOP Soul Search.

HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER ERIC CANTOR (R-VA): (From videotape.) We believe very strongly, obviously, in things like fiscal discipline, in not spending money you don't have. We also believe in that because it helps people. In the same way, we've got to address the plight of so many working Americans right now and those who don't have any work and say that, yes, we've got policies that'll help you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eric Cantor, House majority leader, is the number two ranking Republican in the House, Speaker John Boehner being number one.

Majority Leader Cantor made a major appeal to his party this week; namely, Republicans revamp. Three months ago, the GOP failed to win the White House with Mitt Romney as its candidate. The party also lost seats in the Senate and in the House. One reason: The U.S. fiscal woes, debt and deficits. They were drums pounded hard by Republicans during the 2012 election.

On Tuesday, in an address at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, Majority Leader Cantor declared that while these economic issues are crucial, Republicans ought to have widened the lens beyond economics, finance, costs, et cetera.

REP. CANTOR: (From videotape.) I'd like to focus really on what lies beyond the fiscal debate. I mean, let's face it. It's gotten a lot tougher to raise a family in America. And our goal has got to be to eliminate this doubt gripping our nation's family -- families -- and to restore their hope and confidence.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Cantor cites GOP proposals that will make health care more accessible, boost charter schools, expand visas for highly skilled workers, create more jobs, flex time for workers, and medical research.

Question: Did the GOP lose the presidential election because of its stance on fiscal issues? Mort Zuckerman.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I don't think that's why they lost the election. They lost the election because they were out of touch with a large portion of the American public, particularly the minority communities, but also the people who are hurting. They didn't have any kind of program that dealt with those issues.

What he is trying to do is to move the Republican Party, if I may say so, from the hard right to the center, at least to the center- right. And I think he had a lot of issues in that speech in which he made very constructive and very progressive statements, and I think he's heading the right way if the Republicans --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- ever want to --

MS. CLIFT: If you --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- if the Republicans ever want to get back in power.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Cantor wants to focus hard on education. That's his theme.

MR. BUCHANAN: And he had a point.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a terrific theme. Would you not agree?

MR. GRIM: Education's terrific; health care, education. He checked off a lot of Democratic priorities.

MR. BUCHANAN: But he has an excellent point, John.

MS. CLIFT: If you closed your eyes --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Pat in. Let Pat in, Eleanor.

MR. BUCHANAN: Here's the -- he's got an excellent point here. The Republican Party is getting to be a green-eyeshade party -- budget, deficits, debt. It's become the tax collector for the welfare state. And that's a real problem. And it should have a whole panoply of issues.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

MR. BUCHANAN: That is -- that part I agree with Eric Cantor on.

MS. CLIFT: I was in the front row at the American Enterprise Institute listening to that speech. And if I closed my eyes and didn't know who was standing behind that podium, I would have thought it was Barack Obama. He came out for all sorts of progressive things.

But he doesn't attach any legislation to it. He's just trying to change the subject. And he has the slogan, "Making Life Work for More People." But, you know, he's a politician. He's supposed to be making government work.

MR. BUCHANAN: Government's going to make my life work? (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: He acts like a life coach.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Eleanor, if it had been Barack Obama, you would have supported everything he said.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: I supported a lot of what he said. But, you know, it's not going to go anywhere in his party.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: Immigration Reform.

REP. CANTOR: (From videotape.) It's no secret that there are more than 11 million people here illegally, many of whom have become part of the fabric of our country. They, like us, have families and dreams. While we are a nation that allows anyone to start anew, we are also a nation of laws. And that's what makes tackling the issue of immigration reform so difficult.

A good place to start is with the kids. One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. And it is time to provide an opportunity for legal residents and citizenship for those who are brought to this country as children and who know no other home. It's the right thing to do for our families, for our security, and for our economy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Majority Leader Eric Cantor now the highest-ranking Republican leader to endorse a path to legal residency for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S.?

MS. CLIFT: That's not what he said, John.

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MS. CLIFT: He just said that he sympathized with the dreamers, who are the children who were brought here by their parents through no fault of their own, and to give them some legal residency. He didn't come out for a path to citizenship. And that is the sticking point. It's hard for me to think that House Republicans would go along with that. But I do think --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MS. CLIFT: -- they're going to get some sort of immigration reform. They've got to bring some sense to this system. Pat won't be able to stand it, but it's going to happen.

MR. BUCHANAN: The highest-ranking guy -- the highest-ranking --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, before Pat does that, for your information, I was talking about an implicit endorsement. The whole context of the speech carries that implicit endorsement --

MR. BUCHANAN: But you're wrong, John. But you're wrong.

MS. CLIFT: I don't think he went that far.

MR. BUCHANAN: The highest-ranking guy -- you've got -- McCain and Lindsey Graham are already out for this; probably Jeb Bush. But the point is, this is not going to get through, amnesty and a path to citizenship, because this piece of legislation Obama's got is going to be broken up and voted on in pieces in the House committee, and the Republican House is going to kill amnesty and a path to citizenship before it gets to the floor.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but they may allow some sort of legalizing --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MS. CLIFT: -- and permanent residency of people in this country. And that would be a huge step forward.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forty percent of the respondents in a Rutgers poll blame illegal immigrants for taking U.S. jobs. Is immigration necessarily a winning issue for the GOP, do you think, Ryan?

MR. GRIM: It's a winning issue with regards to their base. But we've seen that just focusing on their base isn't going to make them a competitive national party. If you're satisfying them here, then you're alienating Latinos, who went 70-plus percent for Democrats.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it a corrosive wedge issue that simply won't go away?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, the issue won't go away unless the Republicans find a way to come to terms with it. I mean, they lost a huge portion -- the Republicans lost a huge portion of the minority communities in this last election. And they're not -- these communities are growing at a rapid rate. And if the Republicans don't come up with an effective policy, they're going to be shut out of national politics for a long time.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, this was a huge step that Cantor took, because he's a House Republican. The Senate Republicans that you mentioned, McCain and Lindsey Graham and a couple of others, it's easier for them. But the House Republicans are really united against any kind of serious immigration reform.

MR. BUCHANAN: But I'll tell you, it hasn't started yet. It's going to start building, what they call the patriot movement, patriot immigration movement. It's going to build, and it's going to make it a hellish price for any Republican to come out for amnesty. It happened in 2007. That had all the establishment support, and they took that thing down. And I think they're going to be able to do it again.

MS. CLIFT: Is it amnesty if they pay fines, they learn English, they get to --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's amnesty if they broke in --

MS. CLIFT: -- the back of a long line?

MR. BUCHANAN: -- and they say --

MS. CLIFT: And they're taking care of our children and mowing our lawns --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's amnesty if you're here illegally --

MS. CLIFT: -- and contributing to the system. It's not amnesty.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- and you say you can stay. You're legal --

MS. CLIFT: It's an acknowledgement of reality.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- and you can become a citizen.

MS. CLIFT: It's an acknowledgement of reality.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What (fights ?) the endorsement of Cantor within the America people today? They feel that these immigrants are taking their jobs. That's what's at issue, correct?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, it's not only that. It's a sovereignty issue. It's the border issue. It's the security issue. It's the jobs issues, all of these things. It's the makeup of America.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The next round of Gallup polls and major polls will show Barack Obama sinking back toward 50 percent or below.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Dream on, Pat. (Laughs.)
Republican governors John Kasich and -- I guess it's Rick Snyder in Michigan and Ohio are leading the way in accepting the Medicaid expansion plan. And opposition to Obama's health care plan will melt away.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ryan.

MR. GRIM: Maggie Hassan jumps into the New Hampshire Senate race and knocks off Kelly Ayotte.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think about that race, all of those women up there winning those races? We're going to talk about that next week.
Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The United States and the European Common Market countries are going to work out a huge common free trade zone, Europe and the United States. It'll change the world's economy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that President Obama's approval rating will break 60 percent in an upward climb by St. Patrick's Day.

Happy Valentine's Day. Bye-bye.

(C) 2013 Federal News Service

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