The McLaughlin Group
Host: John McLaughlin
Rich Lowry, National Review;
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek;
Paul Glastris, Washington Monthly;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report
Taped: Friday, May 17, 2013
Broadcast: Weekend of May 18-19, 2013
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: IRS Target Range.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) Today Secretary Lew took the first step by requesting and accepting the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS, because given the controversy surrounding this audit, it's important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward.
I've reviewed the Treasury Department watchdog's report, and the misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable. It's inexcusable. And Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has in all of our lives.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Five days after the news broke that the IRS, the Internal Revenue Service, had purposefully targeted for special scrutiny conservative groups like the tea party, President Obama announced the resignation of the head of the agency. Steven Miller, a 25-year veteran of the IRS and its acting commissioner for the past six months, will step down next month.
Earlier in the week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a criminal investigation to determine whether laws were broken in so targeting the conservative groups. The IRS admits to the criminal targeting, three years after the complaints began, and probably only because the Department of the Treasury, ordered by Congress, had investigated the matter and was on the verge of finally making public its findings.
Now Congress is back in the act, big-time. Multiple hearings are now on the docket. The first was on Friday before the House Ways & Means Committee, where the first to fall, acting Commissioner Steven Miller, was in the hot seat.
STEVEN MILLER (IRS acting commissioner): (From videotape.) First and foremost, as acting commissioner, I want to apologize on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service for the mistakes that we made and the poor service we provided. The affected organizations and the American public deserve better.
I do not believe that partisanship motivated the people who engaged in the practices described in the Treasury inspector general's report. I've reviewed the Treasury inspector general's report, and I believe its conclusions are consistent with that. I think that what happened here was that foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection. The listing described in the report, while intolerable, was a mistake and not an act of partisanship.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is there a partisan taint to this scandal? Rich Lowry.
RICH LOWRY: Yeah, almost by definition. They targeted explicitly one side for this kind of abuse and these invasive questions. I mean, the perversity of it, John, is unbelievable -- targeting groups interested in educating about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
And if these folks have the same ideology and partisan affiliation as most government workers -- they're liberal Democrats -- they're working for an administration where the guy right at the top, the president of the United States, has portrayed these tea party groups as dangerous and illegitimate from the very beginning.
And if it had been progressive groups that are being targeted and progressive groups that a year or two are complaining about this, you'd better bet it would have been exposed and stopped right away.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, progressive groups were targeted when president Bush was in the White House. The NAACP got extra scrutiny. But, you know, that's neither here nor there. The partisan taint to this has occurred after the news about it came out. And you've got Republicans trying desperately to tie it to President Obama, link the White House to somehow ordering or winking and nodding to the agency to conduct these.
And you've got Democrats at the hearing pointing out that this behavior started when there was a Bush appointee who was the commissioner, and that the inspector general, who issued the report revealing this behavior, was also a Bush appointee. He testified at this hearing. And he said in that IG's report that there is no evidence of political bias. This is a bone-headed approach to put in words in a search engine so you could zero in on these groups.
When the tea party emerged, it sure looked like a political party. And I think it's an explanation as to why they singled out that phrase and other phrases.
The real scandal here is the abuse of the 501(c)(4)s --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
MS. CLIFT: -- that claim to be social-welfare organizations. They're not supposed to be doing political activity. And it sure looks like a lot of these groups, you know, used this designation, and they -- almost half, or just under half of their behavior is political. It's a stupid way to ferret out these groups, and people are going to pay. They're going to lose their jobs. But I don't think anybody's going to jail, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Paul, did you know that about half a dozen or more Senate Democrats wrote to the IRS requesting, if not demanding, that the IRS focus on the tea party?
PAUL GLASTRIS: Well, there's a lot of abusive 501(c)(4) privileges, and -- but the taint, the taint of partisanship, comes, in a sense, from the press and Washington, which loves stories about partisanship and is bored by stories of bureaucracy.
You know, 90 percent of Washington behavior is rooted in the culture of bureaucracy. My magazine's been writing this for 43 years. The press corps -- every reporter knows that if you have a bureaucratic explanation for something, your story goes on page A-19. But if you have a political explanation, it goes on A-1.
So we're talking about things, hoping for a political explanation, and we'll be bored to tears if it turns out, as the IG himself has said, that this was a bureaucratic error, not a political error.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it's political, Mort?
MORT ZUCKERMAN: Well, I don't know if you'd use the word political, but it certainly was ideological. I mean, when you look at the number of these 501(c)(4)s that got a fast approval, OK, the names that they have are progress and progressive and everything like that. And the ones that were delayed had, like, Constitution, the Bill of Rights; never mind tea party.
One of them said to make the American family get along better and do better. I mean, anything that looked as if it came out of the more conservative ideology got delayed, and anything that did not have that, that had a more liberal ideology in its name, got accelerated. That to me is political.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the impact on the tea party of their fundraising from the accusations that have been pointed at them by Senate Democrats?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I'm sure that there is -- let me put it this way.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think their fundraising is thrown off? In other words, they become a weaker institution --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That I don't know.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- if that's what it is?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know. I don't know, because the tea party, by and large, was raising money from the group of people who were ideologically committed and politically committed. They expected and they, I think, could handle criticism from Senate Democrats. I don't think that's where the issue is.
MS. CLIFT: But you're asking --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Hold on, Eleanor. Let's get this in.
Let's hear from Republican Speaker John Boehner.
(Begin videotaped segment.)
Q: Mr. Speaker, when you say that people should go to jail, are you talking about the frontline managers who came up with this inappropriate criteria? Or are you talking about the top brass who didn't admit what happened to Congress?
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): I want to know how this happened, who was responsible for it. Somebody made a decision to do this. And I doubt that it was some low-level employees in the Cincinnati field office.
(End videotaped segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Who was Speaker Boehner referring to? Rich.
MR. LOWRY: I'm not sure he knows who he's referring to specifically, John. It's just a sign of how seriously he takes this. And there's -- he's right to have a huge element of skepticism, because what we heard initially, it was all Cincinnati; the higher-up people didn't know about it. And those assurances were false. And now we need to learn what other assurances we're being given right now are false, and we need to learn about it under oath.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, let the facts go where they may. But it does look like you had some mid-level bureaucrats who did this, and their names are going to come out. They are protected by the civil service. You only have two political appointees in the IRS. So there's really nobody to fire. There's no evidence that this is necessarily --
MR. LOWRY: But they hid it --
MS. CLIFT: -- illegal. This is inappropriate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think --
MR. LOWRY: They hid it from Congress.
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me.
MR. LOWRY: They hid it from Congress. They would not answer.
MS. CLIFT: I don't know that hiding --
MR. LOWRY: They would not -- they were asked about it and they wouldn't say. They didn't reveal it.
MS. CLIFT: I don't know that hiding something from Congress --
MR. LOWRY: They did, Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: -- is illegal either.
MR. LOWRY: Well, it might not be illegal. It is wrong.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about making false statements to Congress? How about conspiracy, depriving Americans of their civil liberties, namely the tea party?
MS. CLIFT: That's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about the Hatch Act, forbidding civil servants from engaging in political activity, for starters?
MS. CLIFT: Not when you start out with an inspector general's report saying there's no evidence of political bias, an inspector general who was appointed by President Bush. You know, you really have to stretch to find --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: To find a crime here.
MS. CLIFT: -- a political trail, to find a crime, and to find a crime that leads to the Oval Office --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you --
MS. CLIFT: -- which is what the Republicans are trying very desperately to do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think President Obama thinks differently on that issue, and that's what is of particular concern to the White House, namely that there could be criminal prosecutions?
MR. GLASTRIS: Well, Eric Holder is having a criminal investigation to see if there is a crime. But incompetence is not illegal.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Incompetence?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: This is not --
MR. GLASTRIS: Well, clearly what we had here was bureaucratic incompetence.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) Incompetence?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't see how this could be incompetence is the right word. If you want to talk about bureaucratic prejudice, I could --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I mean, ideology, yes; but incompetence -- this was not incompetence.
MS. CLIFT: You had --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: They accelerated --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: They accelerated one group --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- and they stopped another group.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, let's hear what the tea party itself says about the IRS, quote-unquote, "crimes."
LAWRENCE NORTON (Richmond Tea Party): (From videotape.) This is clearly an overreach of government. They are way outside their bounds.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Many of the tea party groups singled out operate with small budgets, but the government questionnaires were ridiculously extensive and intrusive. Lawrence Norton is the executive director of the Richmond, Virginia-based tea party. Mr. Norton says the IRS had asked his group, beginning in 2010, more than two years ago, for an estimated 500 pages of documents, including all of Norton's communications and the names of every donor.
MR. NORTON: (From videotape.) It got creepy, to be honest with you, that they were trying to really ferret out exactly who we are, who we know, and the kind of questions that you would think that maybe, you know, a secret police might ask.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is this the kind of scrutiny Senator Charles Schumer demanded from the IRS in handling tea party applications? Rich.
MR. LOWRY: Not these questions specifically. But there was a general atmosphere where these people could have felt they were being egged on to do this. And one of the defenses -- you know, aside from it was just bureaucracy -- this is their filter to do this more efficiently.
It wasn't more efficient, John. It's not efficient to ask these detailed questions, to go back round after round, and to delay them for years when you're sweeping the progressive groups right in and giving them the stamp of approval.
MS. CLIFT: Well, when you've got --
MR. LOWRY: That is not just a bureaucratic error. That is unbelievable on the face of it.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I don't know that progressive groups were swept in.
MR. LOWRY: They were.
MS. CLIFT: I think you're going to hear --
MR. LOWRY: They were.
MS. CLIFT: -- complaints on the other side of it as well.
MR. LOWRY: They got the rubber stamp.
MS. CLIFT: But you had 250 employees, evidently, dealing with 70,000 applications. They don't necessarily -- they shouldn't have the discretion to make these decisions based on these vague deadlines. How do you decide what's political and what's educational?
Frankly, a lot of this looks political to me. I think they ought to do away with this whole tax exemption, left and right. I think it's a scam. They're getting beneficial tax treatment from the federal government to conduct political activity that they're disguising as social welfare.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They wanted to be under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code based on activities such as citizen participation or voter education. So they would be exempt from certain forms of taxation. It's a serious matter, correct?
The exit question is what laws may have been broken, do you think, Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know what the laws are, but there has to be some law that must have required that they act reasonably and fairly and judiciously; that is, you give both sides the same treatment. If you are asking, are members of your family going to run for political office and you're only asking them of some people, those are the ones that you give the green light to, and the other ones you hold back. There's something wrong with that. I don't know if it's criminal, but it should be.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In comparison to the tea party, you've got Bus for Progress, a New Jersey nonprofit. They got their IRS approval for a social-welfare group and they got their tax exemption. You got another group, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, another liberal group. They got their exemption.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You got Progress Florida. They got their exemption.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So isn't it clear -- isn't there --
MS. CLIFT: All of the --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It was clear. It was clear.
MS. CLIFT: -- conservative groups --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: All the ones that say --
MS. CLIFT: -- got their exemptions too.
MS. CLIFT: They had to wait a while, but they got them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I want to hear from you.
MR. GLASTRIS: I don't know of a single conservative group --
MS. CLIFT: That's right.
MR. GLASTRIS: -- which was denied an exemption.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we had the tea party --
MR. GLASTRIS: They may have been delayed, but they were not denied.
MR. LOWRY: Some of them --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not denied, but they were kept waiting for three years.
MR. GLASTRIS: Yeah, sure.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: John, you've got to get the political implications here. Forty-nine percent of the money could have been spent on political campaigns, OK?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: So the ones that were clearly going to be on the conservative side were held up. The ones on the liberal side were approved. So it has a political dimension to it as well in terms of a lot of people gave their money to these because they were anonymous. You didn't have to know who gave the money to them. And their money, therefore, could be used in the political campaigns.
The money from the conservative side was held back, and on the liberal programs they were put forward.
MS. CLIFT: There was so much money in the last campaign, Mort, that whatever was held up here, I think, is going to make a tinkle's worth of difference.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, maybe not to you it wouldn't, but I'll tell you --
MR. LOWRY: It's a matter of constitutional free political activity.
MS. CLIFT: No. No. Let's hear --
MR. LOWRY: And some of these conservative groups have not been approved yet.
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. LOWRY: And USA Today, you know, a straight down-the-middle news organization, did an extensive analysis and found all the progressive groups were cleared almost immediately, and the conservative --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Liberals, yes; conservatives, no.
Issue Two: AP P.O.'ed?
ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: (From videotape.) Mr. Chairman, I don't know what happened there about the interaction between the AP and the Justice Department. I was recused from the case.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The AP is one of the world's largest newswire services and the nation's primary news source. Two months of AP phone records from April and May 2012, a year ago, were subpoenaed and secretly seized by the Department of Justice, including AP office phone lines, AP employee home phone lines, and AP employee cell phone lines.
The record sweep was to find out who in the government had leaked to the AP the details of a plot to blow up a U.S. airliner by an al- Qaida-affiliated group in Yemen. The plot was foiled by the CIA.
On Monday of this week, the AP blasted the feds over the probe. Quote: "There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of the Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the news-gathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP's news-gathering operations, and disclose information about AP's activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know. We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP constitutional rights to gather and report the news," unquote.
Question: Was the broad sweep of this subpoena intended solely to catch the leaker, or was it intended to cripple AP's news gathering? Paul Glastris.
MR. GLASTRIS: A hundred percent to get the leaker. That's the obsession here. Remember what started this -- a double agent who we had, or a friendly nation had, in Yemen looking at the most dangerous terrorist in the world, the one who could build bombs that could get through our security, was exposed by somebody; we don't know who. That is what's driving this.
The press, as far as I know, did really nothing wrong. Even their reporting wasn't bad. But they're getting trampled under the foot of a leak investigation, as always happens in leak investigations.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's hear from the president. Here's the president's response.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) I make no apologies, and I don't think the American people would expect me, as commander in chief, not to be concerned about information that might compromise their missions or might get them killed.
Now, the flip side of it is we also live in a democracy where a free press, free expression and the open flow of information helps hold me accountable, helps hold our government accountable, and helps our democracy function. To the extent that this case has prompted renewed interest about how do we strike that balance properly, I think that's a worthy conversation to have.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that? Were you properly lectured?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I'll tell you, I think he made sense, as far as I'm concerned. I do think that this is an unbelievable situation. They could have handled it better.
To my mind, the Justice Department was absolutely entitled to go after whatever source was that blew this guy's cover. It was an al- Qaida reference in Yemen and a very, very critical man. It was a critical piece of intelligence that we had, and somehow or other it got leaked. That is something the government has to pursue.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The AP apparently is now (bleeding?). Do you know why it's (bleeding?)? Because the contacts that they had used are now freezing. They don't want to give -- they don't want to expose themselves because of the dangers involved. Do you understand that?
MR. LOWRY: I understand that. But I also think the president made sense. And this subpoena may have been overbroad, but the principle that you're not -- it's not OK just to traffic in illegally obtained classified information is correct.
But the press's reaction, John, is so instructive. When there's the slightest potential infringement on the First Amendment, they go crazy, understandably. But they treat the NRA as if it's paranoid and nuts when it reacts the same way about the Second Amendment. And they treat the tea party the same way when it cares about all the amendments in the Constitution.
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The AP head -- the head of the AP says that it's, quote-unquote, "deeply damaging."
MS. CLIFT: Well, it has --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you believe him or don't you believe him?
MS. CLIFT: This has a chilling effect --
MR. LOWRY: I think -- I suspect it's exaggerated.
MS. CLIFT: -- which is what -- it has a chilling effect on sources, which is why journalists fight it. But, you know, the White House has their side. I think it's a legitimate side. My instinct is to side with the journalists, but I have to listen to the president on this one. And the Justice Department was operating legally within the Patriot Act. And now the White House is apparently backing a shield law for the media and Congress --
MR. GLASTRIS: And remember --
MS. CLIFT: And that's a worthy thing to have.
MR. GLASTRIS: And remember, the Republicans have been crying for this leak investigation.
MS. CLIFT: That's right, because they said the administration leaked this themselves to make the president look good during the election.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Would President Obama be equally likely to support a sweeping subpoena of his own staff and his own reelection campaign staff, with their phone records, to probe for any of their possible collusion with the IRS to intimidate his political foes?
MS. CLIFT: That's a silly ideological rant that really doesn't even deserve an answer. (Laughs.)
MR. LOWRY: I thought it was a good question, John. (Laughs.
MS. CLIFT: And the answer is no.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're sincere?
MR. LOWRY: No, I'm going to go out on a limb and say I think not as well. I'm going to agree with Eleanor that they would not support any sweeping subpoena of their own people, although the press, in some respects, is their own people.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's one of the -- that's one of the questions raised by the -- well, the AP's now -- they're saying that their sources are frozen.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I'm sure. One of the things --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We rely on the AP to give us news.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We rely on the AP to give us news. But this, it seems to me, was an absolutely legitimate pursuit on the part of the government, and I support the president's comments on this.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, no organization is going to exist solely on a leaker -- (laughs) -- from the administration.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, (fill in ?) the rest of it --
MS. CLIFT: They've got lots of other work to do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- because on Friday, May the 10th --
MS. CLIFT: They'll recover.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- at 6:14 p.m., AP broke the IRS story. On Monday, May 13th, DOJ broke the story about subpoenaing AP's phone records from the last year. This means that the chilling effect hits now, in the aftermath of the IRS story.
Issue Three: Benghazi Document Dump.
The White House this week released 100 pages' worth of documents related to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The attack on September 11 of last year resulted in the deaths of four Americans. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was among those killed.
Some members of Congress have accused the White House of intentionally changing how the attack was presented to the public by placing the blame on a protest spurred by an anti-Muslim video rather than on an intentional terrorist attack.
Emails released this Wednesday reveal that the first draft of talking points from the CIA was produced on September 14 at 2:27 p.m., three days after the attack. It said that the attack may have been, quote, "spontaneously inspired by the protests of the U.S. embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. consulate," unquote, and that, quote, "We do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qaida participated in the attack," unquote.
It also cites, quote, "at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi," unquote, and that, quote, "we cannot rule out that individuals had previously surveiled the U.S. facilities," unquote.
But the final version of the talking points, after numerous revisions, produced at 12:13 p.m. on September 15 removed all references to extremists or al-Qaida or premeditated surveillance but left in place the concept that the Benghazi attack was the result of a spontaneous demonstration.
This final draft was what was used by Ambassador Susan Rice on numerous Sunday talk shows five days following the attack. The major edits were done by the then-CIA deputy director, Mike Morell, after a meeting at the White House.
Question: Was there any foreign policy damage done by the issuing of the spurious White House talking points? Paul.
MR. GLASTRIS: None that I can think of. This was the ultimate collapse of a conspiracy theory this week. The emails showed that Susan Rice was not part of any of the talking-point debate. She did exactly what she was supposed to do. The previous Republican attacks on her have now been proven to be completely spurious.
The real scandal that happened this week was it was the leaking of fabricated quotes from these emails by Republicans to Jonathan Karl, the credulous reporter, which started a whole frenzy this week. And now we know those were fabricated. And these emails essentially support everything the White House has been saying for months.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know about any such fabrication, as alleged here by Paul Glastris?
MR. LOWRY: Well, he's -- yeah, he's referring to the Jonathan Karl report where he quoted one of these emails from someone in the White House saying the State Department is involved.
MS. CLIFT: Not someone in the White House -- oh, email. Sorry.
MR. LOWRY: Right. The email was. But -- and that line is not in the email, as a matter of fact. So you're correct about that. But the process -- what it said about the process is absolutely correct. The State Department went in here. It took out the al-Qaida references. It took out the references to the prior warnings about threats to this facility because it didn't want Congress to be on to this and concerned about it.
And then you had Susan Rice -- and this wasn't even in the talking points -- going out there and talking about the YouTube video, as the president and the secretary of state did as well, which had zero to do about it. And that videographer, who is a petty criminal, but he's in jail right now, sentenced to a year, because it was a set- up job and they made him a patsy and blamed a video that had nothing to do with a premeditated --
MS. CLIFT: What went on --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, now, did you see -- wait a minute. Hold on.
MR. LOWRY: -- terror attack in Libya.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you see the video?
MR. LOWRY: Yes. It's just a bunch of crappy clips kind of pasted together. But it had nothing to do about this.
MS. CLIFT: Well, what we learned --
MR. LOWRY: And everyone knew from the beginning that it had nothing to do with this.
MS. CLIFT: What we learned from the email trail is that this was basically a bureaucratic knife fight between the State Department and the CIA, because one of the consulate posts that was under attack was actually a CIA installation.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: The CIA didn't want to be blamed for not having intelligence about an attack and not having proper security there.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Rich.
MR. LOWRY: The immigration bill is more touch and go than it seems. And it'll be declared dead a couple of times before August, even if it passes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Republicans will use the IRS scandal to instill fear about "Obamacare" because it has to be implemented through the IRS. The White House will redouble its efforts to implement "Obamacare." And 37 votes in the House of Representatives will not repeal it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Paul.
MR. GLASTRIS: In the wake of the inevitable but unfair accusations that President Obama is not a good manager, attention will focus on Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, who is.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The economy continues to weaken, and the only force we have to countervail it is going to be the efforts of Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve Board.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'll wind up Glastris's prediction. I predict that in the upcoming Virginia gubernatorial election -- Democrat Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the DNC, versus Republican Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia attorney general -- the winner will be Cuccinelli.
(C) 2013 Federal News Service