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The McLaughlin Group

Host: John McLaughlin

Panel:
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast;
Guy Taylor, Washington Times;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report

Taped: Friday, February 14, 2014
Broadcast: Weekend of February 15-16, 2014

Copyright © 2014 by Federal News Service, LLC, 1120 G Street NW, Suite 990, Washington, DC 20005-3801 USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, LLC. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Transcripts Database or any other FNS product, please email info@fednews.com or call 1-202-347-1400.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Old Europe Still With Us.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) Standing together and using our freedom to improve the lives of not only our citizens, but people around the world, is what makes France not only America's oldest ally, but also one of our closest allies.

FRANCOIS HOLLANDE (president of France): (From videotape, through interpreter.) France and the United States are two countries which, due to their history and their place in history, but also due to their (status ?) as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, can act on security throughout the world for freedom, democracy, the rule of law.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama hosted French President Francois Hollande this week. The two leaders stressed the vital points of the Franco-American relationship. What are they?

One, Iran. Both France and the U.S. are vigorously pushing Iran to limit its nuclear program.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) We agreed that next week's talks in Vienna will be an opportunity for Iran to show that it is serious about a comprehensive solution that assures the world that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two, Syria. President Hollande was the most vocal supporter of President Obama's early plan to strike Syria last September with aircraft carrier launch missiles to destroy the Assad regime's chemical weapons stockpiles. But Obama's threat of this military force worried the U.S. Congress and stalwart allies, including the Brits, who backed away from it. But Hollande supported the strategy.

Three, Africa. French troops are on the ground in countries like Mali and the Central African Republic, fighting Islamists and backed by U.S. intelligence and airlift support.

Four, trade ties. As part of the EU, the European Union, France is negotiating with the U.S. on an EU-U.S. transatlantic trade deal. If this deal were to come to fruition, it would establish the largest free trade zone in the world, as Jose Barroso, the president of the European Commission, tells us, calling it a, quote-unquote, "game changer."

While Monsieur Hollande was in town, he visited Monticello, home of America's most famous Francophile, the U.S.'s third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, the multitalented Thomas Jefferson. And on Tuesday night, President Hollande received le treatment royale at a state dinner in his honor.

France's president came stag to the event, as he was without his long-time partner, Valerie Trierweiler, and without his latest squeeze, French actress Julie Gayet.

Question: What is driving this rapprochement between President Hollande and Obama? Pat Buchanan.

PAT BUCHANAN: Well, both of them want to deal in foreign policy, and Obama because he's pretty much, you know, blocked here in D.C. But I will say this. Hollande is -- he's about 20 percent popularity. Unemployment is over 10 percent in France. He's really losing the battle against Germany for preeminence.

But far more than that, John, the European Union is in very serious trouble. This May they're going to have parliamentary elections for the European Union, and these populist sovereignty parties, these anti-immigrant parties -- the UKIP in England; the Front, Marine Le Pen's Front in France; the party in Holland -- they're going to have a sweeping victory and a very dramatic effect, because they want to destroy the European Union.

The whole institution is very much in shape. You've got the north-south battle between -- they're tired of bailing folks out. And in England, look what they've got. They've not only got the European independence party that wants to get out of the EU. In September, they've got a vote in Scotland where they want to get out of Great Britain.
So what's happening is tribalism, if you will, is trumping over transnationalism in the continent of Europe.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, in England they don't like the EU currency. They want their own currency. There's that angle too.

ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, the rise of the right in France and these other countries has more to do with a lack of jobs and the sluggish economy than it does with the drive to dismantle the EU. And while he was here, President Hollande visited Silicon Valley, trying to get some ideas and trying to recruit some businesses, because his 75 percent tax on the wealthy has backfired. And I think he's trying to rethink some of his economic policies. He's at 19 percent popularity, which is pretty pathetic.

But the president appreciates him. And in part the French press is portraying this visit and this elaborate state dinner as a consolation prize for not going ahead with missile strikes in Syria, because Hollande had said he would do that, and he didn't seek permission from his parliament. And then the president backed away from it and it was an embarrassing moment for the French president.
But these two leaders are clinging to each other in part because they're both going through hard times, and they need each other. And Obama appreciates the muscular approach that Holland has towards foreign policy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think this rapprochement between Hollande and Obama is partially motivated by the fact that his relationships -- our relationships with Germany are strained due to a number of reasons, including the listening on the telephone to what the head of Germany was saying?

GUY TAYLOR: Entirely possible, John. However, I think really what's happening here is not necessarily a giant rapprochement or long-term change. I think that ideologically the Obama administration is pretty close to Hollande. Hollande is a Social Democrat. Obama is a social Democrat. They both like foreign policy that has teeth to it in going after Islamists, OK. So the two have kind of come together on this.

And the timing was right for Hollande to come now, because he's trying to escape this domestic scandal where he had an affair and it's blown up in his face in France.

And coming to the United States, the French public, regardless of their own domestic political situation, Obama is pretty popular there, because if you want to make references back to old Europe and Donald Rumsfeld complaining in the post-9/11 years about how France and Germany would not support American military adventurism, Obama has ended that. Obama in the last five years got the United States out of Iraq. The French are happy about that.
So it's a safe bet for Hollande domestically to come to Washington and be seen as close to this intellectual, groundbreaking, forward-thinking American president. The extent to which it trumps Germany's relationship with the United States, I don't think so.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was Merkel annoyed, vexed, at Nuland's unfortunate adjective that she used to describe the European Union when she, Merkel, is the principal engine behind the European Union?

MORT ZUCKERMAN: Right. I think that was not well received by Merkel, to put it mildly, because she is, as you say, the leader of that whole constituency in Europe. So I don't think she was very happy about that.

I also don't think she's very happy about the Obama administration, and she has not been for quite a while, whereas Hollande, who has, shall we say, unique problems in France at this stage of the game, this was a perfect escape for him. And, as you say, the kind of public reaction that he got, both here and in Europe, and France in particular, helped him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you recall what the attitude towards France was on the outskirts of our move towards Iraq?

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We wouldn't use the word French fries, would we?

MR. BUCHANAN: It was freedom fries.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Freedom fries, right.

MR. BUCHANAN: It was contemptuous. They were called, what, some kind of surrender monkeys and all this other stuff.

MS. CLIFT: Cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

MR. BUCHANAN: Cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, to give you an idea how --

MR. BUCHANAN: It was very hostile to them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. To give you an idea of how Americans have changed, according to a Gallup poll, 34 percent of Americans viewed France favorably in 2003. Today 78 percent of Americans view France favorably.

MR. BUCHANAN: They were right on Iraq.

MR. TAYLOR: Let's also not forget that --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Hey, we're right on --

MR. TAYLOR: -- America's top diplomat in John Kerry, one of the few languages that he actually speaks fluently is French. And on the trips that he's made to Europe, he's always seen out and about speaking French. We may not see that here very much in the United States, and it doesn't play well domestically here, but the French love that, because it's -- to speak the French language to the French is a sign of respect.

And I think there's an intellectual elite in the foreign policy community in Washington that also loves that and thinks here we are, showing the French that we're as sophisticated as they are.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that complementary, by the way, to the elite in Washington, of the State Department, the striped-suit set?

MR. TAYLOR: They're the same thing.

MS. CLIFT: As a presidential candidate, Kerry was mocked for being able to speak French.

MR. TAYLOR: Domestically.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, exactly.

MR. BUCHANAN: He shouldn't have gone wind surfing.

MS. CLIFT: Well, yeah.

MR. BUCHANAN: He would have been much better off. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: And Americans had to be reminded that the French stood with us in our revolution against the British.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you see how --

MS. CLIFT: They're stalwart friends.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- how Kerry has gone east now? He's over there in several countries. Is he trying to stay away from that situation in Europe?

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible) --

MS. CLIFT: He's not trying to stay away from any situation. (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: -- Israeli-Palestinian peace. He's in Syria.
He's in Iran. He's got --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you're a big fan.

MR. BUCHANAN: No. I will say he is taking tremendous risks. He's tried to do an awful lot. There's a real potential a lot of it could blow up. But there's a possibility some of it could succeed.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He has enormous energy. It's really extraordinary. He's always had that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) -- this program you agree with him to negotiate now on the Arab-Israeli problem.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely. I would just -- I've known him forever, OK, before he ever entered politics. We were both living in the same state at that point. I supported him the first time he ran. But I will say the guy's got enormous energy. He's very smart. He's very committed. I don't know that I'm going to agree with all of his policies, but I do agree with the efforts he's putting in.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very engaging man.

Don't forget, the McLaughlin Group has its own website, and you can watch this program or earlier programs on the Web at any time, from anywhere in the world, at McLaughlin.com.

Issue Two: Death Row.

The governor of Washington State, Jay Inslee, Democrat, announced this week that he is suspending all executions in his state as long as he, Inslee, remains in office.

Currently there are nine prisoners in Washington State who are on death row. They will not go free, but they will not be executed, at least as long as Governor Inslee, a first-term governor, is in office.

In making his decision, Governor Inslee cited problems with the capital-punishment system, including inconsistency as to how it is applied. The governor pointed out that Washington State's current capital-punishment system was put in place in 1981, 32 years ago. Since then, more than one half of the state's 32 imposed death sentences have been overturned.

Governor Inslee says this. Quote: "When the ultimate decision is death, there is too much at stake to accept an imperfect system," unquote.

The governor's action does not sit well with everyone, including Jay Rodne, the ranking Republican on Washington State's House Judiciary Committee, who disagrees with the governor. Quote: "I think this is cruel to families of victims. Justice should not be basically put on hiatus," unquote.

Governor Inslee now joins other governors who in recent years have issued stays of execution on their watch, including Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon and Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado. The number of executions overall has also dropped in the U.S. by 60 percent nationwide since highs in the 1990s. Nevertheless, a majority of U.S. states, 32, do have capital punishment, as compared to 18 states where it is outlawed.

Question: If Governor Inslee feels so negatively about capital punishment, why hasn't he proposed legislation to outlaw it in Washington State? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: Because it's a lot easier to just order a reprieve than it is to go through all the mechanics of passing a law. And this notion of Republicans -- well, it was begun by a Republican governor in 2000, George Ryan in Illinois. This current wave, they're all Democratic governors. But most of them are just issuing these reprieves. And Maryland did change their law, so it can be done.

But it seems to me that people are really waking up to the fact that, one, there are too many mistakes made, and that's been documented in Washington State; two, it's incredibly expensive to have the capital punishment, because you go through years and years of appeals, and you might as well just incarcerate people, and it's a lot cheaper.

And I think there's really a moral basis to this. People are sickened by what they see as a barbaric act. And the fact that some of the medications they use haven't worked properly has really added to the public discomfort with this. So I think the trend is definitely to do away with capital punishment.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Shouldn't the only criterion be, in cases of capital punishment or the kind of punishment that's inflicted on the field of war, your own security? And it has to be free of what can be interpreted to be reprisal against the criminal.

MR. TAYLOR: It's such an interesting issue, John, because capital punishment here is politicized at this granular level, where the governor of Washington can get a bump with his liberal base by passing measures to say we won't do this. But it's not used in a political sense as if we're going to show that an execution of somebody is to deter people from using crime.

If you look around the world, the United States has done a relatively tiny number of executions compared to some of our adversaries. There were more than 300 in China in the last year. In Iran, there are some sources that say there were more than 600 executions. And these are executions that are public hangings of people from construction --

MS. CLIFT: I don't -- I don't think we look to those countries for --

MR. TAYLOR: We don't look to those countries.

MS. CLIFT: -- advice.

MR. TAYLOR: But we also -- we -- I think Eleanor made a good point about the expense of going through this appeals process, which has not been exacerbated by science and DNA testing, which shows that all these people were wrongly convicted.

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly. But you need to leave it to the individual states. I agree with Eleanor. You ought to be absolutely sure you've got the right person, John. But to your point, do you think the people that we captured after World War II, the Nazis we put on trial at Nuremburg for mass murder -- they didn't threaten us at all -- that we should not have put them to death? What is the proper punishment there?

As for deterrence, why is the godfather the safest man in the yard, in the prison? Because when he suggests he's going to impose the death penalty, there isn't any appeal and it is immediate. Of course it is a deterrent. Some cases -- look at -- Holder is going after this fellow that did the Boston Marathon bombing. What is the right punishment for a guy that blows people apart --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it's in the --

MR. BUCHANAN: -- little children.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's in the Constitution. "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted." When you take someone's life, that's --

MR. BUCHANAN: Why do you say it's cruel and unusual when they had the death penalty in every state when the Constitution was ratified?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Unusual means you're taking a person's life.

MS. CLIFT: We've evolved, Pat. We've evolved. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, that's -- I mean, look, it's --

MS. CLIFT: We've evolved.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- not altogether rare. Look, where Texas has it, other states don't want --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm attacking the premise that the state can do it in any instance.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, where do you get that, since the Constitution says --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I get it because of reverence for human life.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I mean -- well, why don't you protect
innocent human life, John?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I do protect innocent human life, because, you know --

MR. BUCHANAN: How do you punish -- how do you punish people that take innocent human life as a way of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jail them.

MS. CLIFT: You incarcerate them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Put them away.

MR. BUCHANAN: Why? And so --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Incarcerate them.

MR. BUCHANAN: And so the victims pay for this guy's room, board, medication --

MS. CLIFT: That's right.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- for the rest of his life? The victims of the crime? That's justice?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that's a curious way of putting it. The victims are not doing it alone.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a -- it's a truthful way of putting it.

MS. CLIFT: I get the feeling Pat supports capital punishment.

MR. BUCHANAN: In some cases. Look, I saw --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hang, draw and quarter them.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, I saw two guys executed in Missouri, and neither of them was guilty of murder.

But the crimes they committed, they deserved it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that --

MS. CLIFT: Well, the individual feelings about individual cases are certainly understood. And I have great sympathy with the victims of these crimes. But as a state policy, I just don't think that we're moving in the direction --

MR. BUCHANAN: I think you're --

MS. CLIFT: -- of expanding capital punishment.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think you're right about the direction, and I think it ought to be rare and you ought to be sure. But you've got to have it.

MS. CLIFT: Well, we can't be sure. That's the problem.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're putting him right down at the level of the criminal, doing that.

MR. BUCHANAN: You think that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No question about it.

MR. BUCHANAN: And you think every -- (laughs) --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) -- emulating Obama. Here's what's behind that. Political chief executives at all levels of government are likely to emulate Obama's pen-and-phone strategy of governing without the legislature or city council. They will be emboldened to stretch executive authority to its limits.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, is this --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, that's his -- that's Obama doing that. You know that.

MR. BUCHANAN: This is a guy that launches --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And the government was doing it, too, in this instance.

MR. TAYLOR: Although he said that --

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, Obama's launching drone strikes and killing people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, he is.

MR. BUCHANAN: And he's -- they're not in the field of battle, are they? Awlaki was just going along in a car.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm only analogizing one --

MR. TAYLOR: Would you have preferred, though --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- element.

MR. TAYLOR: -- that al-Awlaki had lived? Is that the argument?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I think he -- I think, in that case, I agree with Obama.

MR. TAYLOR: Even though we're not -- we didn't have a court that decided that he was guilty --

MR. BUCHANAN: Even though we didn't have a court --

MR. TAYLOR: -- and knew for sure that --

MR. BUCHANAN: I'll say this. We should know for sure.

MR. TAYLOR: (Inaudible) -- but you're also skirting around it on -- (inaudible).

(Cross talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: In wartime, you can't always be sure, because you'll be dead.

MS. CLIFT: But wartime is not what we're talking about.

MR. TAYLOR: Are we in wartime right now or not?

MR. BUCHANAN: We were in wartime in Yemen, our guys.

MR. TAYLOR: OK.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know what the --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's the war on terror.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know what the countries of the world feel about abolishing capital punishment, how many there are? A hundred and forty. You know the retentionists, those who want to keep them? Fifty-eight. So the number of countries that want to --

MR. BUCHANAN: You've got a U.N. that's going to decide what we do here in the United States?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I didn't say U.N. This is the catalogue of the countries, the number of the countries who want to abolish it.

MS. CLIFT: It's more appropriate to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Think about it some more, Pat, will you?

Issue Three: Rand's Writ.

SENATOR RAND PAUL (R-KY): (From videotape.) This, we believe, will be a historic lawsuit. We think it may well be the largest class-action lawsuit ever filed on behalf of the Bill of Rights.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Republican Senator Rand Paul served up President Obama a Valentine's Day present this week; namely, papers naming Mr. Obama and the National Security Agency, or NSA, as co-defendants in an lawsuit. The class-action lawsuit, which is being litigated by former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, seeks to expunge the phone records and metadata collected by the NSA's domestic surveillance program on some 386,026 plaintiffs.

Question: The essence of Rand Paul's lawsuit holds that the NSA searches violate the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment, notably its clause which protects against arbitrary search and seizure. And Rand Paul -- I want to know whether Rand Paul is on solid ground.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, we're going to find out. It's going to go to the courts. It's going to go to the Supreme Court, and we're going to find out. I don't want to insert myself in that particular part of it. But I will say this about this, OK. There are situations, it seems to me, where this is valid.

I mean, I think this is valid. If we are to believe people who really know about this -- they've said that we've stopped a number of major terrorist attacks against the United States as a result of the information which we gleaned from all of this, shall we say, eavesdropping. I believe --

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Excuse me. I believe that. And I think the consequences for this country, if we had had two or three more terrorist attacks, would have been disastrous. So in one sense, I think it was to protect the United States. And I support it to that extent.

MS. CLIFT: Some of his arguments make a lot of sense. But his lawsuit will never reach the Supreme Court. It's a joke. It's totally partisan.

He stepped all over whatever credibility it had. And Guy knows a lot more about it than I do.

MR. TAYLOR: Well, there have already been two cases, one involving Verizon, the other involving the ACLU, that were decided different ways. So the stage is set for this thing to go all the way to the Supreme Court. Why Rand Paul is jumping in on this, trying to create a class-action suit --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you having trouble figuring out what he wants to do?

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. TAYLOR: No. I think what it does is -- here's what I'll say about Rand Paul. He's one of --

MS. CLIFT: He's running for president.

MR. TAYLOR: He is one of the most refreshing and interesting voices in the U.S. Senate right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also tough.

MR. TAYLOR: However, a move like this to create a class-action suit exposes --

MR. BUCHANAN: He's solidifying a base.

MR. TAYLOR: It exposes him as the libertarian activist that he is.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's solidifying a fairly small base that isn't big enough --

MR. TAYLOR: He's not a political --

MR. BUCHANAN: -- to get him in the finals.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Well, let's eliminate all the flattery about him.

Issue Four: Washington's Regulation Tsunami.

It's a new year. And in Washington, that means new federal regulations. And new federal regs means battles royal featuring lawmakers, lobbyists and interested parties.
Here are the bigger regulatory fights that The Hill newspaper anticipates.

Item: "Obamacare" birth-control mandate. It's rankling religious groups and some conservatives. The Supreme Court has agreed to rule on whether contraception must be offered to workers under employer health-insurance plans.

Item: Power-plant emissions. Standards are due from the Environmental Protection Agency that will limit carbon emissions from existing power plants. The coal industry, for one, is crying foul.

Item: E-cigarettes and e-cigars; regulations on both, courtesy of the FDA, Food and Drug Administration.
Item: Cell phone calls on planes; originally banned for safety reasons, but that ban may be lifted even though the public likes the ban. Polling shows that plane passengers don't want to sit and listen to loud phone calls during the flights that they take.

Item: Water, water everywhere. The EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, wants the power to regulate small bodies of water -- ponds, streams, brooks.

Item: Smog. Standards to ease ozone levels are expected from the EPA.

Item: Restaurant menu item calorie counts. Chain restaurants and vending machines will be required to supply them -- calorie counts on items.

Item: Rear-view cameras -- not mirrors, cameras -- on cars to alert drives to movement at the rear of their vehicles when backing up so that passersby won't be hit. Such rear-view cameras may be required on all automobiles.

Item: Executive pay transparency, a rule that would compel companies to disclose the pay gap between CEOs and average workers.

Question: Will President Obama try to push his agenda through a massive expansion of federal regulations and federal oversight in 2014? Mort Zuckerman, what do you think?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, I think, without question, he's going to do this. I think that he's already stated this, that since he doesn't seem to be able to get much through Congress, that he's going to do whatever he can through executive action. It's going to create a fair amount of controversy. But we have a political system that seems to be more or less paralyzed, and I can understand why the president wants to do it.

MS. CLIFT: And one by one -- I'm for every one of those regulations that you just cited. And I suspect that there's public approval behind every one. Maybe the coal industry doesn't like the fact that coal --

MR. TAYLOR: I couldn't disagree more.

MS. CLIFT: -- emissions should be regulated.

MR. TAYLOR: Half of the things that were brought up there are absurd.

MS. CLIFT: What? Name them. Which ones?

MR. TAYLOR: And the idea that -- putting calories on vending machines, cameras behind cars. What, we can't drive cars without mirrors, like we have since the automobile --

MS. CLIFT: I'd be happy to have that mirror.

MR. TAYLOR: -- was invented?

MS. CLIFT: And I'd like to know what I'm buying. (Laughs.)

MR. TAYLOR: But should the companies that make the cars require that all cars have that? It's ridiculous.

(Cross talk.)

MR. TAYLOR: There are a couple of issues, however, just to finish, that were very important on there, such as environmental regulations on smog that -- and I think this is where Obama will use the executive powers on one or two key issues that he knows Democrats want and will support. And all the power to him on the environment, I think.

MR. BUCHANAN: But this is usurping the authority of a democratic republic. These big decisions -- that one on CO2, that's very important; XL pipeline, a lot of these things. These things should be made by legislators, and they should be held accountable, not by bureaucrats and judges whom we cannot hold accountable.

MR. TAYLOR: Hold them accountable. However, we don't have time in the legislature to address some of these things.

MR. BUCHANAN: You don't have time to do what you want to do.

MR. TAYLOR: Why? Because they need to try and overturn "Obamacare." What you see is --

MS. CLIFT: Pat, you served two presidents, and they did plenty of regulations on their side too.

MR. BUCHANAN: Nixon built the EPA.

MS. CLIFT: That's right.

MR. BUCHANAN: The second mistake he made. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Barack Obama likes this, though. He wants to have --

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, sure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- some say, the imperial presidency.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, sure. Congress is becoming increasingly weak and irrelevant to what's going on.

MS. CLIFT: He has signed fewer executive orders than any of his predecessors.

MR. BUCHANAN: What do you mean?

MS. CLIFT: I hope he makes up for it --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible) -- CO2 as a pollutant?

MS. CLIFT: -- in the next couple of years.

MR. TAYLOR: Has it become increasingly weak, or has it made itself increasingly weak?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's surrendered a lot of power, and it's had powers taken away from it.

MR. TAYLOR: Focusing on 50 attempts to overturn a health care law --

MR. BUCHANAN: The Supreme Court grabs a decision on homosexuality. It grabs a decision on abortion. It grabs a decision on racial integration. These things should be decided by legislatures.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, do you think Obama's presidency is on the ropes?

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) --

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't think it's on the ropes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't?

MS. CLIFT: -- how our court system works.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think he's in tough shape, but I think he's -- you know, he's got a very tough three years coming up. But I think there's a lot of things the president can do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: As I mentioned, a tremendous blow to the EU in these May votes for parliament in Strasbourg.

MS. CLIFT: UAW efforts to unionize a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee. The results of that vote will tell the story of the union fight in this country for decades to come.

MR. TAYLOR: Families divided on the Korean peninsula for 60 years get to reunite for the first time in the coming week.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The increasing weakness of the economy this year and the unpopularity of the president means that the Republicans will gain control of the Senate in the elections coming up.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This frigid winter of 2014 will cause public opinion to switch dramatically against climate change, those theorists who persist in saying that the planet is being heated by carbon emissions in a doomsday scenario.

Happy Valentine's Day weekend. Love is in the air.

(C) 2014 Federal News Service

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