The McLaughlin Group
Subject: ISIS, The 2016 Presidential Election
John McLaughlin, Host;
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast;
Tom Rogan, National Review/Daily Telegraph;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report
Time: 11:30 am EDT
Date: Sunday, September 7th, 2014
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Containing ISIS.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) I also leave here confident that NATO allies and partners are prepared to join in a broad international effort to combat the threat posed by ISIL. Already, allies have joined us in Iraq, where we have stopped ISIL's advances. We've equipped our Iraqi partners and helped them go on offense.
NATO has agreed to play a role in providing security and humanitarian assistance to those who are on the front lines. Key NATO allies stand ready to confront this terror threat through military intelligence and law enforcement, as well as diplomatic efforts. And Secretary Kerry will now travel to the region to continue building the broad-based coalition that will enable us to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In Newport, Wales on Friday, President Obama strategized with NATO on ongoing military operations to confront ISIS, the radical Islamic movement that has now decapitated two American journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley.
Both Americans were revenge killings, executed in reprisal for successful U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in east Iraq, notably at the crucial Mosul dam.
What's next? Syria, where ISIS is now focused on the Euphrates-Levant region. Commander in Chief Obama acknowledges that U.S. operations against ISIS to date have been limited to rolling back ISIS in Iraq. So now it's ISIS in Syria. ISIS's strength is now estimated at 20,000 fighters. This figure includes some 2,000 European citizens and - get this - several hundred American citizens recruited from poorly assimilated immigrant communities in the U.S.
Question: With NATO now on board, does President Obama have a coherent strategy for dealing with ISIS? And, if so, what is it? Pat Buchanan.
PAT BUCHANAN: It's coherent in Iraq. It's not only coherent. It's working. With the United States air power, ISIS has been defeated in four straight battles; among them, Mount Sinjar. The Mosul dam has been retrieved. The Kurds are fighting against them. The Shia brigades are fighting against them. The Iraqi army is fighting against them. And with air power, they can degrade and I think eventually defeat them.
Can the Iraqi army recapture all that territories? An open question. The real key, John, is Syria. Now, the United States, I don't believe, has the authority now to wage airstrikes in Syria. I think the president is going to come back.
But when you get right down to it, look at what's there. Turkey's got an army of 400,000 people. Syria's got hundreds of thousands under arms. Iraq's got hundreds of thousands under arms. We do have the ground troops who are not Americans, and using air power. If you work with Syria, I think you can degrade and I think you can defeat them. As for annihilating them, no.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who gives us the authority to bomb in Syria?
MR. BUCHANAN: We do not have the authority right now to bomb in -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Whose authority?
MR. BUCHANAN: He's got to go to the Congress of the United States, which my prediction -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, you do?
MR. BUCHANAN: I'm going to predict that -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he need that when he was bombing in Iraq?
MR. BUCHANAN: Iraq? No, he did not, because - no, he did not, because of the previous resolution. But in Syria, I think he's going to go to Congress and ask for authority to bomb in Syria. But the key here is are you going to get Assad's support and are you going to work with the Iranians and are you going to work with Hezbollah and the Russians if you do?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, Brits worried.
Concern is widespread that ISIS militants are expected to focus on the U.S. and Europe as targets to carry out terrorist attacks. Quote: "I am certain that after a month they will reach Europe, and after another month America." So says King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. And at the Vatican, security has been stepped up after the Italian newspaper Il Tempo reported that Pope Francis is, quote, "in the crosshairs of ISIS," unquote.
Also in Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron believes that ISIS poses an urgent threat to the U.K. He is deeply troubled by the covert movement of thousands of EU passport holders through Turkey and into Syria.
Here is what he is proposing.
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON: (From videotape.) So we will introduce specific and targeted legislation to fill this gap by providing the police with a temporary power to seize a passport at the border, during which time they'll be able to investigate the individual concerned.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's not all. Mr. Cameron's government also intends to prevent British ISIS jihadists from returning to the U.K.
PRIME MINISTER CAMERON: (From videotape.) It is abhorrent that people who declare their allegiance elsewhere are able to return to the United Kingdom and pose a threat to our national security. We're clear in principle that what we need is a targeted discretionary power to allow us to exclude British nationals from the U.K.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Are Prime Minister Cameron's extraordinary measures warranted? Eleanor Clift. And just assume - (inaudible) - that they are. What do you think of his ideas?
ELEANOR CLIFT: I think the measures he's put in place are warranted. And because ISIS is a more immediate and direct threat to Europe and to our homeland, I think he's taken appropriate action.
But I want to follow up on what Pat said. NATO - I mean, as awful as ISIS is, this is an opportunity for NATO to redefine itself and to find a mission and for President Obama to chart a course and, I think, bring renewed purpose for the rest of his presidency and to put policies in place that will leave his successor a better hand than he was dealt when he came into office.
The president will go to Congress. The Congress is lining up quite nicely. You have Senator Inhofe, who's the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, basically saying that Republicans would be supportive of an authorization of use of a position paper or resolution, whatever it's called, to go into Syria.
But if they do go into Syria - and that's by no means guaranteed at this point - you go in with the kind of coalition that George H.W. Bush assembled back in the day. And the first President Bush is the president whose foreign policy President Obama admires the most. And to put together, in effect, a Desert Storm II is what this administration is now undertaking. It's a big task.
But you cannot go bombing in Syria unless you have Jordan, you have Saudi Arabia, you have the United Arab Emirates, and maybe an invitation from Turkey, which is a member of NATO, because ISIS is threatening to Turkey as well.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)
MS. CLIFT: It's complicated.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK.
MS. CLIFT: I don't see an invitation from Syria itself. And that would be problematical. We don't want to be on the side of Assad in a holy war.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've spent a lot of time in Britain. What's the story on ISIS in Britain?
TOM ROGAN: I think Eleanor is absolutely right in the sense that there's a lot of concern on the part of the British intelligence services that these individuals will come back. We're talking about as many as 500 members of ISIS who have British citizenship or nationality.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: To return to live in Great Britain.
MR. ROGAN: Right, that they will come back and, because of what they've learned from the group in terms of operational security, they'll be able to stay under the radar. People have to remember as well that MI-5, the British domestic intelligence service, has a lot of people that they're already following. So their concern is that these people will come back and they simply won't be able to monitor them to the degree that they would need to, and that then they would commit atrocities. So there is grave concern.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Atrocities in England.
MR. ROGAN: In England, but potentially one of the great concerns in U.S. and U.K. intelligence is that you might see a replication of the 2006 transatlantic plot, where British nationals attempted to travel on American airliners to the United States and detonate those planes. So there's a dual threat from these people because of globalized travel.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think - nullify the passports of these people?
MORT ZUCKERMAN: Well, I don't know what the specific measures are, but one of the things we have to do is to find a way to keep them out of both England and, frankly, the United States. But this is the kind of threat that we are now facing, and it's going to be very serious for them.
It's going to go on for a long while, because these people are radicals and they are absolutely committed to do enormous damage to the western countries, particularly the United States and England, for example. And we are going to be in a very, very difficult time for quite a while on these issues. If you get one or two people who succeed in this thing, it'll change the whole mood in the country. And everybody understands that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, Vice President Joe Biden willing to cross the River Styx.
VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: (From videotape.) We will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice, because hell is where they will reside.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Should we take Vice President Biden's rhetoric seriously? Is this Obama administration policy? I ask you, Eleanor Clift.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I think the president, at the NATO meeting and in Estonia, basically said we will find you wherever you are. The American reach is long. We do not forget. We will pursue you. He says it in a more understated way. But I think the kind of rhetoric that the vice president is using, the American people are kind of thirsting for.
I mean, I think the president is almost too low-key in his public rhetoric. And I think the vice president kind of filled that vacuum. I think the determination of this administration is there, and I think Biden is conveying it. And the president, a little late to the game, he's conveying that resolve as well.
MR. BUCHANAN: If the determination is there, John, the bridge we've got to cross is Iran. Now, Iran has been on our side doing battle along with our troops up there in northern Iraq. Iran is the principal supporter of Assad. Hezbollah supports him. These are the fighting forces against ISIS. They're not very attractive from our standpoint. But if you're going to fight and win the war, and ISIS is the main threat, then you've got to be able to deal with them the way we dealt with Stalin in World War II when the objective was Hitler.
MS. CLIFT: Well, there are multiple civil wars going on in the Middle East, and one of them is in Islam itself, between the radicalized version and the version that ISIS represents, which is so barbaric that even the more radical Muslims of al-Qaida can't stand ISIS. And so I think the U.S. has to capitalize on that position within Islam. And I think that's what we're going to do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The bottom line - the bottom line here is Syria is complicated. It's complicated. It's not easy to say that we're going to go in there without Assad's authority, and it's not easy to say that we should go to Assad and get his authority. Do you have thoughts on that?
MR. ROGAN: I do. And in contrast to Pat, I have concerns about the Iranian political strategy in the region. I think, in terms of the ideology, (Khomeiniism ?), they will try and expand if we give them the opportunity in Lebanon. Do we have to try and have diplomatic relations? Yes.
But the real key here, I think, is actually to engage with the tribes in Deir ez-Zor, which is in eastern Syria, and Anbar, which is in Iraq, the two governates, because the tribes there subscribe to a very different ideology than ISIS. And we're already seeing disenfranchisement and fundamental dissatisfaction with what the Islamic State is doing.
MR. BUCHANAN: John - John -
MS. CLIFT: And Iran -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Pat in.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, I think we're going to - the two most powerful forces in Syria are ISIS, which controls the northern half of the country, and Assad and his army, which control the southern half. In my judgment, in the near future one or the other is going to be in Damascus. Assad is a bad man, but he does not threaten the United States. ISIS is an evil force, and I think it ought to be defeated. And if we've got to work with the Iranians and the others to crush them, I think we ought to do it.
MS. CLIFT: We've worked with Iran in the past. We worked with them in Afghanistan.
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure, we did.
MS. CLIFT: And so I don't think that's an issue. We have a common interest here, and I think that's going to be pursued. But it's a lot of tricky diplomacy.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've dealt with a lot of other bad men. If Assad is as bad as you -
MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If Assad is as bad as you say he is - did you see Charlie Rose's interview with him?
MR. BUCHANAN: If ISIS - if ISIS is as bad as we think it is, if it's the number one enemy, we put all the forces there and we deal with the problems of Iran's ambition -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you prepared to do what they're doing, demonizing Assad? Or do you think -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Demonizing? I think they're understating Assad, as far as I'm concerned.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: He's been a disaster in so many ways.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What does Bibi think of him?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know. I've never talked to him about it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You never have.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No; in a general way. I can only tell you that the Israelis understand that Assad is a total enemy of Israel. So that's -
MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What a difference -
MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm not arguing that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me. Excuse me. What a difference eight months makes.
In January, The New Yorker reported that the president was, quote, "incredibly swift," unquote, in trivializing the threat from ISIS. Here is what Mr. Obama said in response to a question about ISIS. Quote: "The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant," unquote.
Question: Has President Obama been (underestimating ?) ISIS for eight months, or will ISIS be proven to be a jayvee team? Mort Zuckerman.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me put it this way. If he had 10 sentences in his career that he'd like to withdraw, that would be one of them, OK.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Responding ?).
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. I mean, it's ridiculous to put it in those terms. He trivialized -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it was eight months ago. Who was thinking the way we are today?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: A lot of people were.
MR. ROGAN: I was.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: A lot of people were. What are you talking about?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You were.
Were you? Were you?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: A lot of people were.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Were you thinking this eight months -
MR. BUCHANAN: I was against bombing Assad last summer, and thank goodness we didn't.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So what's the point of talking about this now?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Because, in a sense, it reflects, on some levels, a misjudgment as to what was going on by the president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Weren't we all making similar - (inaudible)?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: A lot of people -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did it seem out of line when you read it?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me put it this way, if I may say so. He's the president of the United States. He's got a level of intelligence and an access to intelligence slightly better than what we have - not totally. But to make those kinds of casual statements when you're dealing with something that is so critical to the whole region of the United States - Middle East region and to the United States -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Maybe he should be talking to somebody over at the State Department. Maybe he should be talking about some of his inner circle if he's prepared to make a statement like that.
MS. CLIFT: I agree -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's being prepped on these things. Correct?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know how it works, to be honest with you.
MS. CLIFT: I agree he would like maybe to take that back. But I think what he's trying to do is to sort of slow the march to war. I mean, he lived through that whole Iraq experience and all of the sort of pushing by all quarters -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Right.
MS. CLIFT: - to go to war. Slow it down. Slow it down -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MS. CLIFT: - and be deliberative. And I think that's coming across.
MR. BUCHANAN: We don't want American troops, John.
MS. CLIFT: He got the substance right. He's got the substance right, and he's got to have a little more grandiose language.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. And God bless him for that.
MS. CLIFT: Totally -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: God bless him for that.
MS. CLIFT: Amen, John, amen. I'm in the pew with you on this one.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: President Obama began the week on the defensive about the White House's lack of a strategy against ISIS. Is he still on the defensive? Why don't you knock him again, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: I haven't knocked him at all, hardly. Look, I think he's on the - doing the right thing in Iraq, and I think he can do the right thing in Syria. But I do think we don't need American boots on the ground. And I think you're going to have to work with some unsavory characters if you're going to degrade and destroy these guys.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Right on all those scores. And that sums up the president's approach. Saying he didn't have a strategy was a statement of the obvious, the kind of thing you shouldn't say out loud. He does have a strategy now, and he's brought Europe along. And those beheadings, I think, really sobered up a lot of people.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say, Tom?
MR. ROGAN: I have to say, respectfully with Eleanor and Pat, I profoundly disagree. I think there's a problem in the sense that our strategy has been too slow. The military tensions, the intelligence community tensions, have been brewing for a long time. They've been seeing this happening since at least two years back, but especially even a year ago, last summer. And I'm happy, though, that the president now is beginning to take charge of this, and hopefully we can see a more comprehensive strategy in the coming days.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he's soliciting the information and the ideas and the strategies from the resources at his immediate vicinity? Or does Obama think that he has everything under control?
MR. ROGAN: I think that's one big issue. My concern is that he's been badly served by people in his national security team.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MR. ROGAN: I think -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what are they supposed to do?
MR. ROGAN: He has a reputation for -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bang on his door and insist on -
MR. ROGAN: Well, no. The intelligence community has a reputation for not - well, reading his intelligence brief, the presidential daily brief, but not engaging in what's called deep dives with his analysts. Speak to the people. Engage with the team you have in the broader government, not just in the White House.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you have any reason to think that Obama is being a bad boy in any of the ways we've said here?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know how - I don't describe it in terms of being a bad boy. At least from the sources that I have, there have been pressures from within the administration who have alerted him on this issue a lot earlier than he is finally responding to. And there was a kind of concern about it. Why didn't he get on top of this issue? And frankly, that is the feeling that I have. He's way late in the game to deal with it, and that is a big problem.
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let me tell you what I think. OK?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Please.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think that the foremost characteristic, virtue, requirement of a politician and all of us in every walk of life, for example, is prudence - prudence - particularly when there's so much riding on everything he says, et cetera. And I have to commend him, I think, at this point, on his prudence.
Issue Two: Mitt Versus Hillary?
MITT ROMNEY (former Republican presidential nominee and former governor of Massachusetts): (From audiotape.) Someone else has a better chance than I do. And that's what we believe, and that's why I'm not running. And, you know, circumstances can change. Let's say all the guys that were running all came together and said, hey, we've decided we can't do it; you must do it. (Laughs.) That's the one in a million we're thinking about.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney left the door open, even if it is only a one-in-a-million chance, to another run for the presidency in 2016. Romney has had a resurgence in the polls since the 2012 presidential race. In July, a CNN/ORC poll found that if the 2012 election were to be held again this summer, Romney would defeat Obama, 53 percent to 44 percent.
When it comes to Republican voters in the crucial early caucus state of Iowa, Romney leads the pack of 2016 GOP contenders. A poll released last week shows 35 percent of Iowa Republicans would back Romney in the GOP caucuses, topping his next-closest contender, Mike Huckabee.
Former Clinton strategist James Carville predicts that Romney will run. Quote: "We know he wants to be president. He's run twice. Romney would be a classic Republican nominee," unquote.
Fueling speculation about a 2016 White House bid is Romney's presence on the campaign trail, with appearances in Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Arkansas, in a schedule that includes three dozen political rallies and fundraising events over the past year.
Question: Will Mitt Romney run again for president? And if so, will - if he does, will 2016 match Romney against Hillary Clinton? Eleanor Clift.
MS. CLIFT: I don't think Romney will run unless the whole field collapses and they turn to him. And I think the possibility of that happening is the one in a million. But, you know, you could talk -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know how much he lost by?
MS. CLIFT: Five percentage points in the general election.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. Why? Because there was a hurricane that took everything off the screen for about a week. And he didn't -
MS. CLIFT: It was a hurricane of women, John. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he didn't show up with the governor of New Jersey. Remember all that?
MR. BUCHANAN: Chris Christie.
MS. CLIFT: I do. I do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And then he couldn't get back in it.
MS. CLIFT: I do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: At that time, when he was - he was going to win the election before that hurricane.
MS. CLIFT: Oh, no, he wasn't. (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm just going to say this. If you think - I'll make a small bet with you, and I'll give you a lot of odds.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you're prepared to do better than that, Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. (Laughter.) If there's going to be one person in the Republican group who is going to end up as the nominee, in my judgment, it's going to be Jeb Bush. And he will have no chance, in my judgment, against Jeb Bush.
MR. BUCHANAN: Let me disagree. Let me disagree with Mort.
MS. CLIFT: I don't think so either.
MR. BUCHANAN: There's no doubt Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Mitt Romney are in the establishment category or bracket headed for the finals. I think Mitt would come out first there. I don't see Bush as really having the drive or inner drive. And I think then you get Mitt Romney against someone like a Cruz or someone like that. And I think that would be the finals. And I think Mitt - he's got it in his heart to do this thing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why doesn't he pick a woman as his running mate?
MR. BUCHANAN: They've got to get the nomination first.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Assume he does. Who would be the best one for him to pick?
MR. BUCHANAN: Why would you pick -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about Hillary if she runs? Should she pick a man as vice president?
MR. BUCHANAN: I certainly would try that, John. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You would?
MR. BUCHANAN: I sure would.
MR. ROGAN: Let me say -
MR. BUCHANAN: Don't do redundancy, John.
MR. ROGAN: - he's very popular with - clearly Mitt Romney is very popular with the Republican base. You see that in polls like Iowa, conservative states, but also on the foreign policy issues because of Russia. A lot of that - you know, the rhetoric of the debates is coming back in Romney's favor.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR. ROGAN: And his documentary that recently came out, a documentary following him, seemed to humanize him more. So I think he would be a strong candidate. But there are a lot of candidates in the race.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Romney wakes up in the middle of the night hearing "Hail to the Chief"? Yes or no?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, he does.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He does.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He does. How do you know that?
MS. CLIFT: Pat -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Because he needs more sleep. That's why.
MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: John, the only cure for presidential fever is embalming fluid. I think he's going to run.
MS. CLIFT: Well, Pat is familiar with another politician who was washed up and made an incredible comeback. Maybe you can do a sequel with Mitt Romney.
MR. BUCHANAN: Richard Milhous Nixon -
MS. CLIFT: There's a chance - (inaudible).
MR. BUCHANAN: - redux.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: GOP Woos Women.
Whom do a majority of female voters view as, quote-unquote, "intolerant," "lacking in compassion," "stuck in the past"? Republicans. These are the findings from an internal report commissioned by Republican groups Crossroads GPS, backed by Karl Rove, and American Action Network on the question of how the GOP is regarded by women.
The data is based on eight focus groups in a poll of 800 registered female voters. In 2012, two years ago, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took a shellacking from female voters. They voted in favor of the Democratic incumbent, Barack Obama, by a 12 percent margin - 56 percent Obama to 44 percent Romney.
So the Republican National Committee vowed to erase the gender gap and woo women voters. But the gap still exists. Forty-nine percent of women view Republicans unfavorably, whereas 39 percent of women view Democrats unfavorably.
Geographically, Republicans do "especially poorly," quote-unquote, with women in the Northeast and Midwest. So how do Republicans propose to close the gender gap and even reverse it? Answer: "Pursue policy innovations that inspire women voters to give the GOP a," quote-unquote, "`fresh look.'"
But the top policy issue female focus groups respond positively to is equal pay for equal work, a Democratic initiative. In fact, on the broader question of who, quote-unquote, "looks out for the interests of women," Democrats hold the advantage.
Well, is there any good news for Republicans? Yes. Married women without a college degree routinely favor Republicans over Democrats.
Question: How can the GOP turn the tide to their favor with female voters? I ask you.
MR. ROGAN: I think the first thing that we need to see is a change in rhetoric. I mean, some of the rhetoric we have heard in previous campaigns is so obviously negative in the tone that it sends to women who potentially might vote Republican that it off-puts them immediately. But a second point is that I think Republicans need to engage with issues that female voters tend to -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Like what?
MR. ROGAN: Education reform, really taking ownership of education -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What else?
MR. ROGAN: - the future of the country. We're talking about, for example, Medicare reform, Social Security issues, things that - women tend to care more about social issues, but -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about schools? What about education?
MR. ROGAN: Education, I think we need to see going towards an opportunity culture; that regardless of where you're born, that you have a better chance in life. These are things that I think women -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think married women are more susceptible or less susceptible to Democrats - susceptible may be a bad word -
MR. ROGAN: Married women tend to vote -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do they tend to be Democratic?
MR. BUCHANAN: Married women -
MR. ROGAN: - with Republicans.
MS. CLIFT: It's about the role of government.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Democratic or Republican?
MR. BUCHANAN: Married women with children are very Republican. Where you get the real Democratic advantage is unmarried women with children who have been divorced. They depend heavily on the government for income, for housing, for education, for health care, all these things. And the Republican Party is the party that says we're going to cut government. And to them, these folks - government is what they survive on.
MS. CLIFT: So all those poor women without husbands need the government is what you're saying.
MR. BUCHANAN: I'm saying -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why - just a moment, please. Just a moment.
MS. CLIFT: It is about the role of government. And I think - I do think single women, for whatever reason - widowed, divorced, never married - and they've been through this very deep recession, and they think government has a role in caring for people. And the Republicans have made it a crusade of wanting to dismantle all these programs that benefit people. And they turn off women.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Well, what about married women who have had no college education? Who does better with them, Republicans or Democrats? Do you have thoughts on this?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, there I would argue that it's a question who does better with the economy, because these are women who will be working.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And I don't think the Democrats have a good record on the economy these days, and that's going to be one of their real problems. The economy has been very weak for the last five years. It's continuing to be weak. And, like it or not, the Democrats are going to be held responsible.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Blue-collar working women -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - especially if they're single -
MS. CLIFT: You can't beat something with nothing.
MR. BUCHANAN: Married women -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's that?
MS. CLIFT: You can't beat something with nothing. And Republicans have not offered any positive proposals.
MR. BUCHANAN: John -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. I want to hear -
MS. CLIFT: Minimum wage is huge. Raising the minimum wage is huge.
MR. BUCHANAN: John -
MS. CLIFT: Democrats support it. Republicans oppose it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Pat in.
MR. BUCHANAN: Marriage is the key. Marriage is the key.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. What's the quick fix for the Republican problem with women? Quick fix.
MR. BUCHANAN: There's no quick fix.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No quick fix?
MR. BUCHANAN: None.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction: The U.S. Congress will authorize U.S. airstrikes against Syria by October 1. Yes or no?
MR. BUCHANAN: Not by then, no.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes or no?
MS. CLIFT: No - after the election.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes or no?
MR. ROGAN: Yes.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, it will.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes or no? Answer: Yes.