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The McLaughlin Group

Host: John McLaughlin

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

Taped: Friday, August 16, 2013
Broadcast: Weekend of August 17-18, 2013

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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Egypt Erupts.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) America wants to be a partner in the Egyptian people's pursuit of a better future, and we are guided by our national interest in this longstanding relationship. But our partnership must also advance the principles that we believe in and that so many Egyptians have sacrificed for these last several years, no matter what party or faction they belong to.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Egyptian police and security forces launched a coordinated operation to clear the streets of Cairo of tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood protesters who were demanding the return of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi.
The exchange of gunfire left 46 Egyptian police and 525 protesters dead, and some 3,700 injured. The crackdown marked the second time President Morsi and his supporters have ignored military ultimatums. The first time, Mr. Morsi was ousted from the government by military after he refused to reconcile with secular pro-democracy protesters. This time Morsi's supporters openly declared they would rather die than abandon their protest encampment.

This bloody outcome has led President Obama to cancel annual joint U.S.-Egyptian military exercises scheduled for next month. Mr. Obama, however, did not propose suspending the $1.5 billion in U.S. aid to the interim Egyptian government or rupturing the U.S.-Egyptian partnership.

Anti-American hostility is at an all-time high in Egypt. Pro- democracy forces are still angry at President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for their initial backing for the former president, Hosni Mubarak. This was followed by Mr. Obama's swift embrace of Mohamed Morsi, whom pro-democracy forces blame for trying to hijack Egypt's democratic revolution and turn it into an Islamic republic.
The sentiment worsened after U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson, now being withdrawn, denounced the protest tactics of the anti-Morsi forces. Morsi's supporters, for their part, blamed the U.S. for secretly backing Morsi's ouster and ongoing support for Egypt's interim government.

The danger now is that the U.S. has limited leverage at a time of rising tensions in Egypt, tensions which could lead to prolonged strife between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian government.

Question: On Friday, the official death toll was at 638 people killed. Is Egypt headed the way of Algeria, meaning that the Egyptian government is now committed to a long and bloody campaign to obliterate the influence of Islamic extremists? Pat Buchanan.

PAT BUCHANAN: John, here's what happened. The Egyptian military, seeing what Morsi was doing, sort of crowding them out, deposed the president, put him in prison, locked up hundreds of leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, conducted what is a massacre after their coup d'etat; thousands injured.

The dye has been cast in Egypt. The army has crossed the Rubicon. There is no going back. The army is not going to allow the Muslim Brotherhood, in elections or not elections, back into power or they'll wind up in trays in an icebox, just like the shah's army generals did.

So what we've got is a situation, I think, like Algeria in 1991, when they canceled the elections where the Islamists were winning, and they had a bloody civil war that followed. I think what's going to happen in Egypt, though, is basically some part of the Muslim Brotherhood will stay with the nonviolence. But parts of it, I think, are going to engage in acts of terrorism against the military.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Algerian war lasted about 10 years. Do you think this is going to last 10 years?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think you're going to have a guerrilla war begin, with extreme elements of the Muslim Brotherhood killing people left and right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

ELEANOR CLIFT: The army clearly overplayed its hand. They were very popular at first. They actually came in with the backing of many Egyptians. Millions of Egyptians signed petitions wanting Morsi out. I was using the phrase people's coup.

I think we put a whole lot more confidence in General al-Sisi than apparently was deserved. He now seems to think that he can eradicate the Muslim Brotherhood through brute force. That's not going to work. Even at the height of Mubarak's 30-year reign, the Brotherhood had -- they had some seats in Parliament. He knew -- Mubarak knew that -- he treated them like they needed a steam valve, and he regulated it quite carefully.

But to try to just crush them completely is not going to work. It seems to me that unless they reinstate Morsi in some sort of power- sharing arrangement, this is going to continue. They're not just protesting in Tahrir Square. They're protesting all over the country.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The United States gives Egypt $1.5 billion a year in military and non-military aid. Do you think that aid should be suspended?

RYAN GRIM: I don't even think it's close. You know, the military is using the aid to slaughter people in the streets. That seems like a pretty clear-cut case. If we continue giving them military aid, that makes us accomplices in these atrocities.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Mort?

MORT ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think we must continue it. Egypt is the cornerstone of our support in the Muslim and Arab world. And without Egypt, we are in deep, deep trouble. Frankly, the Muslim Brotherhood was not exactly pro-American, to put it mildly. They were trying to impose an Islamic totalitarianism on that country, which is what caused a huge rejection of them by the people.

That's when the military stepped in. The Muslim Brotherhood still was trying to create all kinds of tension and violence within the society. That's what caused the army to respond.
They clearly did overplay their hand. Nevertheless --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's historically been the relationship in recent years, say, under Hosni Mubarak, with Israel?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, Mubarak was very constructive in terms of the peace process --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- in the Middle East. So he -- that was one of the cornerstones of that particular element in that part of the world. But I will tell you something. It's not just us. It's countries like Saudi Arabia. All of those countries do not want the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- would be a disaster for the --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, the army --

MS. CLIFT: Well, our friends in the region --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Pat -- go ahead. Go ahead, Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Our friends in the region, notably Israel, do not want us to cut off aid, because they're afraid that we will have absolutely no leverage there. But the leverage we have is so minimal. And when it comes to money, Egypt can get many billions more from the other Gulf countries. But I read in The New York Times --

MR. BUCHANAN: They're getting --

MS. CLIFT: -- that if we abandon Egypt, which we're not going to do, Vladimir Putin will be there --

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.

MS. CLIFT: -- two hours later.

MR. BUCHANAN: Here's what the --

MS. CLIFT: This is kind of a new manifestation of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, business --

MR. BUCHANAN: Here's what the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think business can go on as usual with this taking place?

MR. BUCHANAN: Here's what you've got to do, John, with the army. Look, the army -- there's no doubt this was a coup d'etat and a massacre, and we shouldn't deny it. However, the army keeps Hamas bottled up in Gaza. They work with the Israelis in the Sinai to stop the jihadis. They're the only force that protects the Christians there. They work with the Americans. At the same time, our influence is minimal when it comes to them holding power and keeping it.

I think, as a pragmatic matter, you've got to maintain a relationship with the military. And my guess is you've got to keep the weapons going if you're going to maintain that, because, as Eleanor said --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to add to this, Ryan?

MR. BUCHANAN: -- Putin will be in there in a minute with Russian weapons if we drop out.

MR. GRIM: If we need to give aid for geopolitical reasons, we could give other types of aid. We could help with infrastructure. We could give them windmills, whatever. The reason that we're giving them this type of aid is so that they can buy weapons, buy fighter jets, you know, from U.S. weapons makers.

Egypt doesn't need to buy more fighter jets every year. Our economy needs to sell Egypt more fighter jets. And that's really what's going on here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So this is going to be resolved by the brilliance of capitalism?

MR. GRIM: (Laughs.) Crony -- crony state-run capitalism.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: If it comes to a civil war between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian army, which side will President Obama back?

MR. BUCHANAN: The United States will stay on the side of the military, because that's where our interests lie.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're pleased with the way the president of the United States is handling this matter --

MR. BUCHANAN: I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- to date.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think the president has handled it abysmally, but he's not responsible for the Arab spring or the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why has he handled it abysmally?

MR. BUCHANAN: I don't think we should have thrown out Mubarak as quickly as we did. I think that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forget Mubarak. That's a done deal.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean the current situation.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the -- well, in this one, I don't think he could stop the military. The military said we're not going to let happen to us what happened in Iran, where all those generals wound up dead, and we're taking back our country.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did we do what we did against Mubarak?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think we got -- Obama got caught up in the Arab spring stuff and he said out he goes in three weeks, whereas we should have worked with him and we should have prepared for a transition.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The very first speech Obama gave outside the United States --

MR. BUCHANAN: Cairo.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- was in Cairo. It was about, what --

MR. BUCHANAN: 2009.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In the summertime.

MR. BUCHANAN: June.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he say anything in that speech which might have instigated, in some remote way or approximate way --

MR. BUCHANAN: What he said was --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- what is happening now?

MR. BUCHANAN: Basically he said we are friends with Islamic and Muslim peoples, and we want to see democracy and we want to see more participation. And some of them --

MS. CLIFT: Well, there's no --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. We've got an exit question here.

MS. CLIFT: Right. There's no question that, what, four or five years later, this has not turned out the way the president wanted.

He wanted to soften American relations with the Muslim countries. And now, you know, there's a firestorm.

He's caught between his rhetoric, which is about the Arab spring and democratic politics and democracy, and reality. And reality is that this has been a brutal military crackdown. He doesn't have any great options. But he's going to stay on the sidelines and let the Egyptian people sort this out themselves.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sounds like that came from the source, right?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. Well, let me just --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think she's got the true picture. She's got a line in.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We absolutely cannot afford to lose Egypt. And if the Muslim Brotherhood takes over in Egypt, the whole of the Middle East will become jeopardized. That would be total --

MS. CLIFT: Well, they already took over.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That would be -- they have not.

MS. CLIFT: They did for a while.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That would be a disaster for the United States and its interests in that part of the world.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So where do we go to prevent that from happening?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We have to -- well, we're not going to come out against the military. We're going to, as quietly as we can, try to influence --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he's not going to cut off that one and a half billion.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I don't think he will.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That would be very unwise.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And he should not. It would be a disaster for us.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to speak to this?

MR. GRIM: There's blood on our hands. You know, they are -- we are sending them weapons that they are using to kill innocent people. And that's the fact of the situation on the ground at the moment. You can maybe use this leverage to urge them to stop killing their own people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Algeria lasted over 10 years. This could go -- this could equal that.

Issue Two: No Stops on Frisk.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (New York City mayor): (From videotape.) This is a very dangerous decision made by a judge that I think just does not understand how policing works. We'll continue to do everything we can to keep this city safe. Crime can come back anytime the criminals think that they're going to get away with things.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not happy. A ruling this week by a federal judge put some brakes on the mayor's stop-and-frisk procedure. In fact, in its present form, the judge deemed stop and frisk unconstitutional.

Stop and frisk is a police tool that has soared under Mayor Bloomberg's soon-to-be 12-year reign. Stop and frisk allows police officers to stop, question, and, if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person stopped may, in fact, be armed and dangerous, the officer frisks the person, administering a pat-down.

The procedure has elicited protests and a lawsuit from people who say they are being aggressively targeted by the police because of race. Judge Shira Scheindlin agreed. Four-point-four million people have been stopped -- some frisked, some not -- between January 2004 and June 2012, eight years. Eighty-three percent were black or Hispanic. In fact, in the year 2011, more young black men were stopped than actually live in the city of New York.

In her ruling, Judge Scheindlin determined at least 200,000 of the 4.4 million stops were conducted without the required reasonable suspicion. Of the 4.4 million stopped over eight years, 90 percent -- that's 3,960,000 individuals -- were not charged with a crime.

Now, Judge Scheindlin does not want to end stop and frisk. She wants oversight, notably cameras to be worn by some police officers to record the action. She also wants an independent court officer monitoring the police department's compliance with changes to stop and frisk.

Well, New York Mayor Bloomberg doesn't want this kind of oversight. Stop and frisk saves lives, he says, including the lives of those very minorities who may have protested the policy.

MAYOR BLOOMBERG: (From videotape.) There is just no question that stop question (sic) frisk has saved countless lives. And we know that most of those lives saved, based on the statistics, have been black and Hispanic young men.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also the homicide rate in New York has dropped dramatically, from six murders per day in 1990 to one per day in 2013. Mr. Bloomberg calculated how many people would now be dead if the murder rate in New York City had not gone down.

MAYOR BLOOMBERG: (From videotape.) If murder rates over the last 11 years had been the same as the previous 11 years, more than 7,300 people who are alive today would be dead.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mayor Bloomberg vows that the city will appeal.

Question: Will Judge Scheindlin's ruling have a chilling effect on stop and frisk? Mort Zuckerman.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, for sure. There's no doubt about it. And I think it is one of the -- in my judgment, one of the more unfortunate decisions of the courts. Look, you have no idea how dangerous New York was, you know, at the turn of the century. There were 2,400 murders and a lot of violent crime. It's now down to where we have about 250, 260 murders.

That kind of drop in crime and violent crime has spread throughout the entire range of criminal activities. It's made the city the biggest -- the safest big city in the world. It's transformed the city. It's attracted tourists, attracted investment. That is all going to change. And he's right. The vast number of people who were affected by this were, in fact, blacks and Hispanics -- over 90 percent of them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Judge Scheindlin had to do research, of course, before she came to this decision. And she based her conclusion on 4.4 million stop-and-frisk searches. But she only examined 19 actual cases. The question is, how did Judge Scheindlin come to the conclusion that 200,000 of the 4.4 million stops lacked reasonable cause if she only examined 19 actual incidents?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's ridiculous. But, John, here's the thing. Eighty-three percent of the stop and frisks are black and Hispanics, but something like 96 percent of your robberies, cabbie shootings, muggings, are done by black and Hispanic folks.

Do they profile them? Yes, they profile them, and admit it. But they profile young people. Is that ageism? They profile not women but men, and they profile blacks and Hispanics, because they are responsible -- young blacks and Hispanics are responsible for 96 percent of the crime. Excuse me, but you go where the ducks are.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but racial profiling happens to be against the law. And so the judge has not thrown out this law overwhelming. She's basically saying there should be some more oversight. I don't see what the big objection is to having a small camera. If cops know they're being watched, maybe they will behave more responsibly.
I think it's pretty --

MR. BUCHANAN: Maybe crime will go up.

MS. CLIFT: I think it's pretty obvious that there's police abuse of warrantless searches. And the people who feel victimized are the overwhelming majority of the people who have been stopped, who are innocent. And they feel victimized by the police now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If the camera is on the cop and he's debating whether this is a stop-and-frisk situation, whether he should take action on the frisk, he's going to be afraid that if he doesn't turn up a weapon and if he doesn't turn up any contraband --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's going to be --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- it would be less -- he would be less likely to take the risk of conducting the search. Do you follow me?

MR. GRIM: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So it would (queer ?) the whole system.

MR. GRIM: Good. Fewer searches -- good. This is --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. GRIM: This is America. You know, you're supposed to be able to walk down the street. And if you're not doing anything criminal, then you don't get asked for your papers. This is not a police state.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what do you think of the statistic that was presented to you by the mayor of New York if there were no stop and frisk?

MR. GRIM: Let's imagine for a second that stop and frisk is responsible solely for the dramatic collapse in crime. It's been national. It's been across -- it's been across the country --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Not -- (inaudible).

MR. GRIM: -- places where they haven't -- you know, but let's accept for a fact -- let's pretend that it was stop and frisk. It's still un-American, it's still unconstitutional, and it's still racist. But I think that you can't actually make the claim that without stop and frisk, you would not have had a similar decline in --

MR. BUCHANAN: You know, let me ask you, is it racist that 90 percent of the prison and jail inmates are males and not women, and something like the African-Americans, by seven to one, are imprisoned more than white folks, whites, by --

MR. GRIM: Yes.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- three to one more than Asians?

MR. GRIM: Yes.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's absurd. You base it on who committed the crime --

MS. CLIFT: There's also an element of --

MR. BUCHANAN: -- prosecute them, convict them and lock them up.

MS. CLIFT: There's also an element of racism in the way crimes are treated --

MR. BUCHANAN: But, you know --

MS. CLIFT: -- and who has a lawyer, and lots of other --

MR. BUCHANAN: -- the first civil right is the right to be protected from --

MS. CLIFT: -- lots of other elements there. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: The first civil right is the right to be protected from domestic violence.

MR. GRIM: Why is drug use similar among all races, yet black people are in jail for drug offenses at a much higher rate?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, you know, they had the crack thing that a lot more have gone to jail than cocaine. I agree with you. If that's an inequity --

MR. GRIM: It's not just that.

MR. BUCHANAN: If that's an inequity, do away with it.

MR. GRIM: Marijuana, heroin, you name it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this a black mark on Bloomberg's record? Has she besmirched his legacy? Has she made him out to be a bigot?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I don't think so.

MS. CLIFT: No. I wouldn't go that far.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And I don't think anybody thinks that of him. And anybody who knows how he's governed the city for the last 12 years knows that that isn't the case. But what he was concerned with is that the city was coming apart at the seams because of the crime rate. You couldn't walk in Central Park. You couldn't walk in -- you could not walk in Manhattan at night in most of the areas of the city.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We know --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Everybody was terrified.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We know it's working.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's working.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have seen the statistics.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, exit question: Will Judge Scheindlin's ruling stand, or will it be overturned on appeal? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: If it goes to the Supreme Court, it'll be overturned.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So the mayor will win, so to speak.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I mean, it'll go down the road. But you might have a new mayor which says end stop and frisk.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly, Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Bloomberg and stop and frisk are not solely responsible for a thriving New York City. Remember Mayor Giuliani? I thought he --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Right.

MS. CLIFT: Let's --

MR. BUCHANAN: He was stop and frisk too. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: But not to this --

MR. GRIM: (Inaudible) -- the role of the police.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MS. CLIFT: But not to this extent. The numbers have ballooned.

MR. GRIM: It should stand. Fourth Amendment is pretty clear; no searches without reasonable cause.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I believe it will be overturned. This judge came into this case with a widely known view of all of this stuff. And I think when it gets to the higher courts, it'll be overturned.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, it already has been declared OK by higher courts, and a lot of higher courts. So I think it'll be overturned on appeal.

Issue Three: Prison Break.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: (From videotape.) It's clear, as we come together today, that too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no truly good law enforcement reason. We in the federal government can become both smarter and tougher on crime.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Attorney General Eric Holder is making what he calls common-sense changes to the U.S. criminal justice system at the federal level, not the state level. Specifically, the attorney general wants, for example, to ease drug-crime laws to slow the prison population.
Federal prisons are now at capacity -- in fact, over capacity -- 40 percent over capacity, meaning mass overcrowding. Two hundred and nineteen thousand inmates are in federal prisons, and almost half of those 219,000 federal inmates are imprisoned for drug-related offenses.

As to housing all of these inmates, Mr. Holder says it has become financially unsustainable.

ATTY GEN. HOLDER: (From videotape.) It imposes a significant economic burden, totaling $80 billion in 2010 alone. And it comes with human and moral costs that are impossible to calculate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not only are there a lot of Americans in prison; many have been in prison for a long time. The escalation in numbers is largely due to the 1980s war on drugs, when fixed sentences were adopted.

A mandatory minimum sentence means that a judge has no flexibility when imposing a prison term; for example, whether or not there are mitigating factors in an individual case.

Let's say that a first-time offender who has not committed a violent act but who possesses a certain amount of an illicit drug, marijuana or cocaine, with the intent to distribute or sell that drug, gets an automatic minimum prison sentence of 10 years, period. Such sentencing has produced an explosion of the U.S. prison population.
The attorney general wants to eliminate such sentencing.

ATTY GEN. HOLDER: (From videotape.) They now will be charged with offenses for which the accompanying sentences are better suited to their individual conduct rather than excessive prison terms more appropriate for violent criminals or drug kingpins.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: If mandatory sentencing for possessing drugs like crack cocaine and heroin ends, will the use of those drugs go up? Ryan Grim.

MR. GRIM: That assumes that the drug war is reducing drug use. But our prisons, in fact, are filled with drugs. I can't think of something that could represent a greater failure of prohibition of drugs than the fact that we can't even keep them out of our prisons.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are you basing that on?

MR. GRIM: There are tons of federal statistics that talk about drug use in prisons.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They can't keep drugs out of prisons?

MR. GRIM: Can't keep them out of prisons.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me give you a statistic. I think we had something like 600,000 people in prisons and jails in around 1980. And since then, it has more than tripled. And that is one of the primary reasons you get these chronic criminals off the streets. It's why crime has dropped in New York enormously, but it's dropped in cities all over America. And you start opening up the prisons and you'll be right back to the liberal 1970s.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to --

MS. CLIFT: We're talking about people who are jailed for long periods of time for minor drug infractions, where they really have not hurt anybody else. These are not violent crimes. They're only hurting themselves. And what Holder is opening the door to is looking at drug abuse more as a health issue and not a criminal violation.

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

MS. CLIFT: And frankly, the states are leading the way on this, because they can't afford --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: -- to keep jailing these people. It's too expensive.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Eleanor, let me confront you with this. How many crimes does the average drug addict commit? According to a RAND study, the average addict commits 11,000 crimes over a lifetime, chiefly robbery and burglary, to support his or her drug habit.

MR. BUCHANAN: Individual --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleven thousand.

MR. BUCHANAN: Each individual?

MS. CLIFT: Well, let's put them in rehab. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The average addict -- the average addict.

MR. BUCHANAN: Eleven thousand crimes?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleven thousand.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's a crime every day of his life.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There you are.

MS. CLIFT: So get them a bed --

MR. GRIM: We've got too many laws.

MS. CLIFT: -- and put them in rehab. But what we're talking about here is people with -- it's not just cocaine. It's marijuana, small amounts of marijuana, even as some states are legalizing marijuana. So lots of mixed messages are coming out. The president has admitted that he used drugs at one point.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, really? What'd he use? What'd he use?

MS. CLIFT: I don't know.

MR. GRIM: Cocaine.

MR. BUCHANAN: He used everything.

MS. CLIFT: I'm not going to go -- I'm not going to go into
detail. But, you know, I think that that's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. How do you like --

MS. CLIFT: -- proof enough that everybody who uses drugs shouldn't be in jail with these long sentences.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: George Zimmerman will not be prosecuted by the Department of Justice for an alleged hate crime.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The New York Times expose of the Clinton Foundation points in one direction. Chelsea Clinton is the new powerhouse taking over from her parents.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ryan.

MR. GRIM: Chris Christie wins the GOP nomination.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.
Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Weak growth in the economy and jobs and in retail sales means that quantitative easing will be continued and not ended.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that the giant female panda at Washington's wonderful National Zoo will be diagnosed as pregnant, and she will deliver a baby panda, a male, on or about November the 15th, thus deepening our ongoing detente with the People's Republic of China.

We say farewell this week to Jack Germond, who passed away. Jack was a reporter, columnist and author who covered 10 U.S. presidential campaigns in riveting detail, from the first primaries to election night nail-biting. Jack's command of American politics is without parallel. He was one of the McLaughlin Group's original fab four panelists, alongside Robert Novak, Pat Buchanan, and later Eleanor Clift.

Our heartfelt sympathies to his wife Alice, who, Jack used to remind us, has deeper insights into politics -- this is what he used to say -- than he. So here's a collective bye-bye from his colleagues and fans at the McLaughlin Group. Sayonara, Jack.

(C) 2013 Federal News Service

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