THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, WASHINGTON TIMES; CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE TAPED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 11-12, 2010
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: North Star Rising?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) My job is to make sure that we have a north star out there. What is helping the American people live out their lives? You know, what is giving them more opportunity? What is growing the economy?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: North star or not, House Democrats on Thursday rejected Obama's tax compromise. They demanded that elements of the tax-break bill be rewritten. President Obama announced earlier this week that he had consented to a deal with Republican leaders to extend the Bush tax breaks of 2001 and 2003, both set to expire December 31, three weeks from now. The details of this week's deal.
Item: Extending Bush tax breaks for two years beyond December 31st, 2010. All Americans would get the breaks. The poor, the middle class and the wealthy -- repeat, the wealthy -- are included in this bill. Wealthy are defined as having an annual income of $200,000 or more for individuals and $250,000 or more for a family.
So in the deal, there is no soaking the rich, no class warfare, no means testing. Unless renewed, these tax breaks would expire in 2012, just in time for the next presidential election, November 2012.
Features. One: Unemployment-benefits break, another 13 months. This measure is not a Bush cut. It is entirely Obama's cut.
Two: Estate-tax break. Bush cut it from 55 to 45 percent. Now Republicans want to cut it from Bush's 45 percent to 35 percent, and Obama concurs.
Three: Payroll-tax cuts, 2 percent, meaning a worker who earns $50,000 a year will get the equivalent of a $1,000 raise next year. This is a new Obama-only cut.
Question: Why did the House Democrats rebel against Obama? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: Because the House Democrats have been defeated and repudiated, and they're angry. And their ideology has been trampled on. But Barack Obama is looking at the world as it is, correctly. The Republicans had won that battle in the Senate. They said, "Look, you're not raising taxes on anybody." They won two votes. And Obama says, "We're dealing with reality." And then he went into negotiations, John. And from the standpoint of the Democratic Party, he came out with half the pot and he went in with not even a small pair.
They shouldn't be castigating the guy. They shouldn't be cussing him out. They should be congratulating him because of what he got. But there's no doubt about it. The McConnell-Obama deal is going to become law, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know what the Democrats want?
MS. CLIFT: Well, the Democrats wanted him to hold to his commitment not to extend the tax cuts for people in the highest-income bracket. And he's giving the Republicans that bone, and it's a pretty meaty bone, because they would sooner walk over broken glass than surrender on that. So he traded and got a pretty good deal here. He's adapting to reality.
Peter Hart, the Democratic pollster, says Bill Clinton is a survivor. If he were on the Titanic, he'd be on the first lifeboat. And he did a lot of things to react when he lost the House and the Senate when he was president. And this president is an adapter. He is adapting to reality. And I think he's done a pretty good job.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let's develop the first part of your response a little bit more.
Okay, a win-win. Supporters of the deal argue that the bill is a win-win for the American people. One: No soak the rich. Tax cuts for all means no class warfare. Two: Jobs, jobs, jobs. Tax cuts for the wealthy means more income to invest in businesses, especially small ones, that produce jobs.
The linchpin of yes arguments is that the wealthy are the ones that drive the economy. Nearly half of the country's income, by the way, is earned by the top wealthiest 10 percent; namely, those who earn $367,000 a year and up. This top 10 percent pay the lion's share of federal taxes -- 73 percent of the nation's taxes.
Question: Obama promised in 2008 to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Why did he reverse it?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, remember that ending the Bush tax rates for the wealthy has been an article of faith for the left since Bush got them in in 2001 and 2003. This is sacrosanct to them, because this is all about wealth redistribution. It is about soaking the rich. But the reason that it backfired on them this time was because America is an aspirational society. Most of us aspire to be the rich. That's number one.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about --
MS. CROWLEY: Number two, he's bowing to both political and economic reality. We discussed the political reality here, which he would have gotten a worse deal had he waited until January, and then everybody's tax rates would have gone up and the Democrats would have gotten blamed.
But on the economic side, the economic reality is that by conceding this point to the Republicans, he is acknowledging that tax rates matter to growth and that lower tax rates generate greater growth. And that's what it's all about.
Look, this guy wants to get re-elected in 2012. He's got to have a stronger economy. How do you do that? You do it on the growth side, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I want to get back to whether or not the rich are the ones who do the investment, and the investment in properties, et cetera, create jobs, as was stated just there. But before I do that with you, Clarence, I want to get this in. "Big Drama" Obama. President Obama sees both Republicans and, to a lesser extent, Democrats as villains in this melodrama. He accuses Republicans of holding hostage middle-class tax cuts.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) I think it's tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers unless the hostage gets harmed.
In this case, the hostage was the American people. And I was not willing to see them get harmed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Republicans are incensed by this accusation.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): (From videotape.) It's okay for you to challenge a politician about how taxpayer money is spent. But this is the president of the United States. This is a job like no other job in the world. And it really was disappointing for me to hear the president come out after the deal was struck on taxes and say, "You know, these Republicans are hostage takers."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mr. Obama also criticized his own party's purist left wing, and he debunked its unwillingness to bend. He said that their all-or-nothing attitude would accomplish zilch -- no compromise, no concessions and no progress.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) Now, if that's the standard by which we are measuring success or core principles, then, let's face it, we will never get anything done. People will have the satisfaction of having a purist position and no victories for the American people.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Voting Democrats are saying that the president has turned his back on the liberal values he once built his campaign on.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (ID-VT): (From videotape.) Extend tax breaks for the middle class. Protect the unemployed. Do not drive up the national debt by giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires who don't need it and in many cases don't even want it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sanders votes Democratic and is self-identified as an independent and as a socialist.
You see how clever Obama is.
MR. PAGE: I do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's divorced himself from the extreme wing --
MR. PAGE: Right. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- of his political opposition, Democrats and Republicans. He spent more time condemning, it seems to me, the excesses of his purist Democrats than he did of the Republicans.
MR. PAGE: That's what the media picked up anyway. He had the sharper sound bites.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I looked at -- no, not the sharper sound bites, but I looked at the full text of how much time he spent on that.
MR. PAGE: Yeah. Well, let's talk about how he gave the Republicans a break. He allowed --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So this is classic triangulation, is it not?
MR. PAGE: Well, it's Obama-style triangulation, because he's given the Republicans a break by letting them whoop and holler about what a victory they have and distract everybody from the fact that they completely threw the deficit-reduction issue under the bus.
This whole package is essentially a second stimulus for Obama and the economy. He is giving Americans back a chunk of their payroll taxes, putting money back into the economy right now in a way he never could have gotten this through if he'd gone to Capitol Hill and asked for a $900 billion stimulus package.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. PAGE: But he has gotten it through, letting the Republicans crow about "Hey, we saved tax cuts for the rich."
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. It's tough love he's dealing with the Democrats. And there's probably going to be a lot of posturing, but I think they will come around. But he is not yielding on his point that the tax cuts for those upper-income people should not be there. And we're going to watch the political fight evolve over the next two years. And if the economy doesn't improve, the Republicans are going to have a very hard time defending that tax cut if they're so worried about the deficit.
MR. PAGE: But it's only an extension of the cuts. It's not a permanent tax cut.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Huh?
MR. PAGE: It's only an extension of the Bush tax cuts.
MS. CLIFT: It's not permanent, right. MR. PAGE: It's not permanent. So Obama hasn't given up that much. He's merely agreeing that maybe this isn't the best time to have a tax increase during a recession.
MS. CROWLEY: But that also has a built-in problem, because it's only a two-year extension. And what this economy needs now more than ever is certainty so that investors, small-business owners and individuals can plan --
MR. PAGE: Well, you're certain with this package. You're certain for the next two years with this package.
MS. CROWLEY: But it's not nearly enough. Those tax rates should have been made permanent.
MR. PAGE: That's better than what we had, isn't it?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, in the latest Gallup poll, Obama's approval rating stands at 46 percent. His disapproval rating stands at 46 percent. Will this showdown with the White House Democrats -- with the White House -- will the Democrats -- will this whole thing boost his approval rating?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's going to boost his chances for re- election, to be honest. I think he's moved into the middle. He's shown himself as a realist and involved in a necessary compromise. There's no change he could have made. Forty-six, 46, when you've got unemployment for 15 straight months, is it, at close to 10 percent is awfully good. And there is the possibility, I think, that this stimulus could start the economy up.
There is one grave problem here, John, and Clarence has alluded to it. Not a dime of this is paid for. It's $1 trillion added to the deficit. The bond market is frightened to death. And, quite frankly, you take a look at what's happened in Europe, California, Illinois; we are closer to a default than ever in our history.
MS. CLIFT: And I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think those statistics on the value of rich, the wealthy, investing, that that is what Obama sees, and he wants that and he needs that because of the volume of it?
MR. BUCHANAN: No. He would love to get rid of those taxes --
MS. CROWLEY: Look --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- but he wasn't able to do it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, what he needs is the wealthy, because they invest.
MS. CLIFT: No. (Cross talk.)
MR. PAGE: The wealthy like what he's done.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's got to get jobs.
MS. CLIFT: The wealthy have had their money all these years.
Where's all this great benefit we've gotten from it?
MR. PAGE: And they're going to get more now.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If they see any kind of a tax coming on the horizon, they really freeze it off.
MS. CLIFT: I don't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If they see that a relaxation gets in the air, they feel like investing.
MS. CLIFT: The money to get this economy going is going into the pockets of the working people, and this is a stimulus package by another name. And if it juices the economy, that's all to the good for everybody, including Obama's re-election campaign.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to --
MS. CROWLEY: Obama hasn't changed. He hasn't suddenly become a free-market, Milton Friedman devotee. His circumstances have changed. And what is clear --
MR. PAGE: He's not a socialist after all. How about that?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, temporarily, because --
MR. PAGE: Not temporarily. He never was.
MS. CROWLEY: -- if you notice what -- excuse me.
MR. PAGE: And --
MS. CROWLEY: Let me just --
MR. PAGE: -- he's closer to Milton Friedman than he was to Karl Marx.
MS. CROWLEY: Let me just finish.
MR. PAGE: And Republicans are enjoying that now. MS. CROWLEY: Excuse me, Clarence. What he had to say this week was that it pained him to have to do this. He'd rather eat his own (need ?). But the political and economic reality is such that he has to do it. But built into that statement was a recognition that his own economic policies have failed, and he has to try something new.
MS. CLIFT: No.
MS. CROWLEY: And when you say the rich, John, what it really is --
MS. CLIFT: That's not true.
MS. CROWLEY: -- is small businesses. He needs to juice small businesses that create and generate 70 percent of all new jobs in this country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And those small-business owners, chances are, make $200,000, $250,000 a year. That's why they have small businesses.
MS. CROWLEY: A lot of them fall into that category, yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And they're going to get into more small businesses. They're going to expand their companies. They're going to create jobs.
MS. CROWLEY: Hire people.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's his thinking. And he knows that's true.
MS. CROWLEY: And you know what? That is an acknowledgement --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is using the rich to advance his own --
MS. CROWLEY: That's an acknowledgement that his past economic policies have failed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's got to bring up -- he's got to bring down the job unemployment.
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly. Here's what --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he can do that by the rich investment.
MR. BUCHANAN: There's a real possibility this could work in a sense getting the economy moving. Let's say unemployment's gone from 8 to 7 percent when you come into 2012. What Republicans will say, "The tax cuts, Bush tax cuts work. You're going to raise them? Are you nuts?" (Laughter.)
MR. PAGE: Well, if the economy recovers, we're all going to be delighted about a lot of things. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, it's the manpower that's going to get --
MR. BUCHANAN: He'll get the credit.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But he will get the credit.
MR. BUCHANAN: He will not be able to raise taxes in 2012.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They will look at that jobs drop from 9.6 -- as it drops to 9.4, 9.2, it's heaven for him.
Exit question: On a political probability scale, zero to 10, zero meaning no likelihood whatsoever and 10 meaning metaphysical certitude, what's the likelihood that Obama will be able to keep his deal with the Republicans substantially intact?
MR. BUCHANAN: It is between an eight and a nine, and closer to a nine. And the sanctimonious ones in the House are going to get the back of Barack Obama's hand.
MS. CLIFT: I agree it's between eight and nine. But you've always got to have people at the barricades, Pat. You know that. That's where you usually are.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You give it an eight or a nine.
MS. CLIFT: I do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MS. CROWLEY: I say it's a 10, because the Republicans have no incentive to give any concessions on this. The Democrats have no leverage on this whatsoever. They can try to drive the stake in the ground, but that's as far as it's going to go. This is the deal that you're going to get.
MR. PAGE: I think it's a 10 once the Democrats get through making noise, which is understandable. They want to push back. But also their constituents are going to get a lot of benefits out of this from the payroll tax reduction to help with student loans. You can go on and on. This is a goodie package here that Democrats resist at their own peril.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think last week it was a seven and rising. I say it's an eight or -- it's an 8.5 and rising.
Issue Two: Hacktivists Unite.
WILLIAM LYNN (deputy secretary of Defense): (From videotape.) We see cyberspace at this point as basically a fifth domain of warfare. Land, sea, air and space were the first four domains. Cyberspace is a domain that the military needs to be able to operate in, needs freedom of maneuver, and it needs to be able to defend our networks.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A cyber war has broken out. Last Wednesday a group of computer hackers, so-called hacktivists, that supported WikiLeaks, mounted attacks on commercial websites belonging to credit- card companies and banks that had withdrawn services from WikiLeaks.
The attacks came just a day after Julian Assange, WikiLeaks' founder, was remanded in custody by a London court until this coming Tuesday, December 14. Assange is charged with sexual offenses in Sweden against two women.
The hit list so far includes the websites of MasterCard, Visa, Pay Pal. The companies refused to process payments to WikiLeaks. That refusal infuriated WikiLeaks and its loyalists. WikiLeaks, itself the registered nonprofit organization, says it did not launch the cyber attacks. WikiLeaks also says it will continue to release secret documents.
Question: Why were these particular targets chosen, Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Well, because they have been withholding payment for WikiLeaks. But what we've got going on here is this asymmetric warfare. You can get security to protect your site against these kinds of attacks, but it's very cheap to mount these kinds of attacks. And they went after Sarah Palin's website because she's out there saying Julian Assange is a terrorist and he should be executed.
And that's created an uproar in Australia, his home country, where the first cables are coming out there. And they reveal that the former prime minister, who's now the foreign minister, had lunch with Hillary Clinton and suggested that using force with China may be necessary. And so there's an uproar about that. And then the current prime minister is saying -- is very critical of Assange, and that's created a backlash among his countrymen.
And I think that we're seeing some of that backlash in this country too. Is he standing up for, you know, journalism and freedom, or should he be prosecuted like a common criminal? People don't know quite what to do with him or what to make of him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: You know, during World War II there was a line that we used, "Loose lips sink ships." And I think all this focus on Julian Assange, even though he is a great villain here, and I think what he did do was an act of war, an act of sabotage against the United States, that our focus on him is misplaced; that what we should be focused on is why the United States government cannot keep its secrets secret.
And after 9/11, there was this movement to take down those silos of information and allow law enforcement to talk to security forces and the CIA and the NSA and so on. And that was great in theory, and that needed to be done to a certain extent. But what happened was we went overboard and we allowed an Army private first class, who was serving in Iraq, who had a grudge against the military, whether it was about "don't ask, don't tell" or some other thing, to have access to these top-secret cables and documents. And he downloaded it on a Lady Gaga CD and was able to pass it off to WikiLeaks.
So the problem here for us is we need to look inward, not outward at Julian Assange. There will always be some Julian Assange, anti- American guy waiting for these secrets to fall into his lap. The problem for us is to be focused on the real threat --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, contrary to --
MS. CROWLEY: -- and that's dispensing information.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Contrary to what Monica's saying, I want to --
MR. PAGE: Must I be?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- I want to look into Assange's psyche. Okay with you?
MR. PAGE: Okay. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is Assange's motivation?
MR. PAGE: It's very much like those other anonymous hacktivists out there that you referred to. The only thing that's different about Assange, John, is that he's put a face on this. Believe me, there are hundreds of thousands of other either hacktivists or would-be hacktivists or supporters, if you will, including my own college-age son and a bunch of his friends, who say, "I like that Assange. He's bad-ass." Why? Because he has gone out there and launched his own revolution --
MR. BUCHANAN: What is their motivation?
MR. PAGE: -- on the Web. I mean, you know, a lot of them, they're pranksters, the same kids who were bombing votes for Bristol Palin on "Dancing with the Stars." But Monica's made the important point here. We did the right thing after 9/11 in taking down some of the walls, but we took them down too far. There are reports as many as 2 million people -- that's probably the whole armed forces -- have access to classified documents. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MR. PAGE: Now, we've got to ask why. And we've got to start being more scrupulous about how we hang on to those secrets and not start arguing about how can we censor the press.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Your son's characterization, I regard that as I think he regards that, as very complimentary.
MR. PAGE: Oh, absolutely. Yes, John, I actually --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to contribute something in about 10 seconds?
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure. What you've got is an anarchic attack on American diplomacy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Anarchy.
MR. BUCHANAN: Anarchic attack by young people, very talented, want to destroy America's position, destroy American diplomacy, and, frankly, disarm America's military.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are these sympathizers --
MS. CLIFT: It's not just America.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- are they going to increase in number, its devotees?
MS. CROWLEY: Sure.
MR. BUCHANAN: They're going to increase in number because loyalty to the United States is diminishing --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, this is very worrisome, is it not?
MR. BUCHANAN: It is indeed.
MS. CLIFT: It's not just America, though.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a matter of national security, is it not?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's going to -- basically, I think American empire, if you will, is coming down.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean all those military secrets, et cetera, will be now subject --
MR. BUCHANAN: They would -- they'll probably put them all over the world, to foreign agents. The empire is coming down, John.
MS. CLIFT: Assange is dumping secrets from governments around the world. This is not aimed at bringing down America. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.
MR. PAGE: And corporations. It's not just governments. Corporations also are being hacked.
MR. BUCHANAN: It's anarchic.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, banks could be next.
MR. PAGE: And I think it's a good thing that we know how vulnerable these secrets and these savings deposits are.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the other thing your son teaches us is that secrecy is a form of evil.
Issue Three: Joe Biden, the Right-Hand Man.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: (From videotape.) It's a great honor to be nominated vice president of the United States, and it is an honor. But it pales in comparison to the honor that I've had representing you. I am excited to be on a team -- I don't use those terms; I've never been a team. I've sort of been a one-man band.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: During the debate in Congress on tax breaks this week, the president sent his vice president to the Hill. Veep Biden was tasked with corralling the Democrats in Congress into accepting the president's deal on tax cuts. He led a meeting with Democrats that was described as, quote-unquote, "rowdy and raucous."
Mr. Obama's senior advisor, David Axelrod, has said that the president claims that appointing Joe Biden as his VP is arguably the best decision he has made since he took office. The two senators served in the Senate together for three years. And Mr. Obama now sees Mr. Biden as a godsend.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) He's pretty fearless in offering his opinions. That's exactly what I need and exactly what I want.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: (From videotape.) Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States of America, Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: How effective is Joe Biden as vice president? Monica. MS. CROWLEY: He's a big f-ing deal. (Laughter.)
Look, Joe Biden is sort of a classic gaffe machine. He says a lot of things that he probably wishes he could take back. But you know what? Most presidents, this one included, choose a vice president who can go out and basically be a political handyman -- give some tough words to the opposition, even opposition in your own party; go and do the heavy lifting in the Congress. And that's what this president has used Joe Biden for, and I think very effectively.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did the president get to know him when he was in the Senate?
MR. PAGE: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And were they pals? And does --
MR. PAGE: Well, no, but they got along. And Obama thought Joe was clean and articulate. (Laughter.) That scored a lot of points with him. But seriously --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean when he was in the Senate.
MR. PAGE: But seriously, though, John, you may recall that they got off to a kind of bumpy start in the campaign when they were both running for president. But they never really clashed with each other.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What happened? What happened? Do you remember any details?
MR. PAGE: Well, Joe Biden referred to Obama as clean and articulate and discovered that that didn't sound -- that sounded condescending to a lot of people. But again, that's Joe. People always say, "Well, that's Joe again. That's another one of his gaffes." But he is a good inside player.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it's respectability time -- the Atlantic Monthly, a nine-thousand, I believe, five-hundred-word article that really raised the glory level for Joe Biden? There's a new look into Joe Biden. There's a new look for Joe Biden. There's a new --
MR. PAGE: No, the old look at Joe Biden was he's a foreign- policy expert, a great inside player, a very likable guy. And so what if he makes gaffes here and there; it's part of his charm.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think he's effective as a vice president.
MR. PAGE: Yeah. He was the one that brokered that deal with the Republicans. And you don't see anybody throwing barbs at him, because he went over to Capitol Hill to talk to the Democrats precisely because they trust him and they know they can also yell at him, too, if they don't like something. But he'll be honest with them. MS. CLIFT: Well, he negotiated the deal with Mitch McConnell, so he worked with the Republicans to produce this deal. And secondly, he's the liberal conscience on Afghanistan. You know he's in there looking for a smaller footprint, a minimalist approach. And if this president can get in big trouble, I think that's where it is if Afghanistan blows up. And he's a mensch. He's a mensch. Everybody loves Joe Biden. And that helps, especially with a president who's sort of more remote and intellectual.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And cautious.
MS. CLIFT: Oh, I don't know that Obama's cautious. (Laughs.) He's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's very cautious.
MS. CLIFT: Well, he's done some pretty big things which have gotten him a lot of comments that he's really a socialist.
MS. CROWLEY: Trouble.
MS. CLIFT: So I don't think that's cautious.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of Biden?
MR. BUCHANAN: I like him, and I think he complements the president perfectly in terms of age, in terms of experience, and, frankly, in terms of persona. I think he's been a big help. And the fact that he's got these minor gaffes and stuff like that, I don't think it's hurt him at all. It makes him -- they're like Reagan's gaffes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see that the one who's getting the invitations to go on the road, requested by Democrats, is Biden? They're not going to Obama.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's going to be on the ticket and Hillary is not going to be on the ticket, quite frankly. And I thought there was a possibility of that. That's gone after the Assange thing. Biden's in solid for two terms.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will the United States try to have the extradition of Assange to this country for trial?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think they will eventually, yes.
MS. CLIFT: I think not, because there's no legal justification for it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes or no?
MS. CROWLEY: They will, but they won't get him. MR. PAGE: I think not. It's like the Ellsberg case all over again.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think not too.