The McLaughlin Group Host: John McLaughlin Panel: Patrick Buchanan, MSNBC; Eleanor Clift, Newsweek; Rich Lowry, National Review; Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune Taped: Friday, October 8, 2011 Broadcast: Weekend of October 9-10, 2011
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Is It Critical Mass?
BEN BERNANKE (Federal Reserve Board chairman): (From videotape.) This is unheard of. This has never happened in the postwar period in the United States. And those folks who have been out of work for six months or a year or two years, obviously they're losing the skills they had. They're losing their connections, their attachment to the labor force. This unemployment situation we have, the job situation, is really a national crisis.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: More than 14 million people in the United States do not have a job. U.S. unemployment is now a national crisis. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Bernanke sees the current U.S. unemployment crisis as widespread, enduring and unprecedented. MR. BERNANKE: (From videotape.) We've had now, you know, close to 10 percent unemployment now for, you know, a number of years. And of the people who are unemployed, about 45 percent have been unemployed for six months or more.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That 45 percentage figure adds up to roughly 6 million Americans. They have not had a job in the past six months. Mr. Bernanke also says long-term unemployed could well become the permanently unemployed. The Bernanke comments come in the middle of a nationwide protest movement called Occupy Wall Street.
These protesters are demonstrating against Wall Street and its corporations, who, the protesters believe, caused the ongoing economic unemployment crisis. Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., have all seen the Wall Street demonstrations.
President Obama's former green energy adviser, Van Jones, compares the protests to the Arab spring.
VAN JONES (Former White House special adviser on green jobs): (From videotape.) I think it's an expression of exactly the same thing. We had the Arab spring. Welcome to the American autumn. That is what is going on.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is a piece of the national crisis Ben Bernanke is talking about: The unemployment rate for September, 9.1 percent, unchanged from August. In fact, in 27 of the last 29 months, over two years, the unemployment rate has been 9 percent or higher.
Question: When will the Occupy Wall Street movement reach critical mass?
PATRICK BUCHANAN: John, I'll be honest. I'm unimpressed with the Occupy Wall Street movement for a number of reasons. One, when you and I were in the White House, we had 300,000 people one month --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is brand new, though. It's brand new.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- and 500,000 the other month. These are small. They're getting a lot of publicity.
Secondly, unlike the antiwar movement, which was directed and purposeful and had an objective, these people are all over the lot. One of them said, I don't know what we're going to do about student loans. I wondered, is his problem he didn't get one, or he doesn't want to pay it back? (Laughs.)
And so the third thing is --
CLARENCE PAGE: Or can't pay it back. MR. BUCHANAN: -- like the battle of Seattle, where I was out in Seattle at that, John, and you had a good movement there with Jim Hoffa and Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan and Perot's people, this movement is radical in the sense -- ours was destroyed by the anarchists.
And you had a number of these crazy characters blocked Brooklyn Bridge, which means middle America is going to say, what are you doing? And they're attacking cops, and that's stupid. They're identifying themselves as the radical left, and that's one reason Barack Obama should steer clear of them if he's smart. If he embraces these folks, you'd better watch what happens.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, does this remind you at all of what transpired in London a few months ago, where there was an uprising, a huge uprising?
ELEANOR CLIFT: I don't think we have to reach over to London. I don't think we have to go back to the `80s or `90s. The more recent analogy is the tea party movement, which erupted in kind of an inchoate anger, which is mostly directed at government.
These are voices, if you will, more from the populist left, if the tea party is the populist right, and they're angry at the banks and Wall Street. And I think they have a number of concerns. They have the concerns of people who are out of work. They have concerns of people who are getting pink slips and who are looking at Wall Street and seeing them taking home fat salaries while Main Street isn't doing well. And I think the political climate is perfect for the president coming out with his jobs bill, which would be paid for by a surcharge on the ultra rich.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Rich.
OK, Obama versus the new nemesis.
HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER ERIC CANTOR (R-VA): (From videotape.) The president said yesterday that people in this country are worse off than they were when he was elected. We feel the same way.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) I'd like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what exactly in this jobs bill does he not believe in.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama says that Congress has not voted on the president's American Jobs Act because the House Republican leader, Eric Cantor, is undermining it. The Obama legislation promises to spur infrastructure rehab plus aid state and local government to do more hiring, plus give employers tax credits, permitting them to bring on new workers.
Republican leader Cantor says that while he will introduce portions of Obama jobs act, the bill as a whole won't get to the House floor. Cantor's office said this, in addition. Quote: "President Obama needs to understand that his my-way-or-the- highway approach simply isn't going to work in the House or the Democratic Senate, especially in light of his abysmal record on jobs," unquote.
Question: Is Eric Cantor playing the bad cop to what we will see is John Boehner's good cop?
RICH LOWRY: No, they're on the same page on this program. They're going to oppose it, but they'll pick out pieces of it eventually and pass them. The big story, John, is you have even Senate Democrats opposing this jobs bill when it comes up early next week in the Senate. Democrats will be hard pressed to get even 50 votes for cloture on this thing.
What is astonishing is that President Obama is to the left of where he was on election day 2010, which I thought no one would have expected. You have Democrats on the verge of embracing this Occupy Wall Street movement on the misbegotten theory it's like the tea party. The tea party was a mainstream expression of political opinion compared to these folks.
Read their declaration of occupation of New York, where they say corporations are perpetuating colonialism around the world, poisoning the food supply, suppressing free speech through the military. This is a watered-down and paranoid Marxism that, Pat is right, is absolutely poison for the Democratic Party.
MR. PAGE: Richard --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Clarence. Let me --
MR. PAGE: I've got to say something, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, go ahead.
MR. PAGE: I've got to say something, John.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. PAGE: Richard, you are cherry-picking those statements out of some of the -- MR. LOWRY: No, read the declaration. I'm not saying random people.
MR. PAGE: The same way you complained about people, about critics --
MR. LOWRY: No.
MR. PAGE: -- cherry-picking the signs at tea party rallies.
MR. LOWRY: No, no, no, no, no.
MR. PAGE: This is -- actually, I agreed with you at first. But, you know, this past week, they've got the AFL-CIO. They've got organized labor now coming out on their side. This thing is growing.
MR. LOWRY: Clarence, I'm not cherry-picking.
MR. PAGE: And it is growing in much the same way the tea party grew at the beginning. I agree with Pat, though. They need to have an agenda. They need to have organization, which can come. But what we're starting to see is rage expressed on the left from the same source as on the right, but people on the right are protecting tax cuts for the rich. That's the difference between them.
MR. LOWRY: Clarence, you tell me just one thing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you tell me something about Eric Cantor and get off this argument?
MR. PAGE: It's the same argument. It's the same --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to hear about Cantor. What do you think about Cantor?
MR. PAGE: Eric Cantor is the mouthpiece for the tea party in the House. Everybody knows that. And he's proud of it. John Boehner is more the Ohio moderate. But Rich is right, though, that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you dissect Cantor any more?
MR. PAGE: What do you want to hear?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, his leadership qualities. Is he --
MR. PAGE: Are you trying to start a fight between Cantor and Boehner?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I just don't know. MR. PAGE: I mean -- (laughs) -- would you like to do that?
MR. BUCHANAN: He would like to be speaker of the House, and he is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He is the now leader of the Republicans in the United States House of Representatives.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, Boehner will be elected -- I mean, re-elected speaker if the Republicans hold the House. But there's no doubt that Boehner (sic/means Cantor) is establishing himself as the real credentials, the guy who's sharp. He's cutting edge, whereas Boehner is more of a compromiser, because he sees that as his future. And he's correct.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, let's -- Eleanor, before I go to you, I want to make it clear that Obama owns this.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: (From audiotape.) Even though 50-some percent of the American people think the economy tanked because of the last administration, that's not relevant. What's relevant is we're in charge. I don't blame them for being mad. We're in charge.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Vice President Biden saying too much, too little, Eleanor, or just enough?
MS. CLIFT: He is candid. And in the end, it may be the president who pays for the inactivity that the Republican Congress is deliberately causing. They have been diabolically successful in creating a dysfunctional political system and then pointing to the president and saying, see, he can't fix it.
MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor, look --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. The president is now taking his case to the country and pointing out exactly who the obstructionists are. And he's saying, OK, you show me each piece of this bill. If you don't want to build infrastructure, what would you do instead? You don't want to help pay the salaries for teachers and firemen? What will you do instead? You don't want to extend payroll cuts. You don't want to extend unemployment insurance. What will you do instead? He's finally --
MR. LOWRY: Listen --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they had a guy by the name of Ryan out there who had a pretty good plan.
MR. LOWRY: Let's include, among these horrible --
MR. PAGE: (Laughs.) Yeah. MS. CLIFT: That was deficit cutting, as I recall.
MR. PAGE: Right.
MR. LOWRY: You know who's included among these horrible obstructionists? Ben Nelson, Jon Tester. These are Senate --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's Ben Nelson?
MR. LOWRY: These are Senate --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Democrats.
MR. LOWRY: -- Democrats. And it's as if the last three years have been forgotten, when for two years President Obama basically could get anything he wanted.
MR. PAGE: He got health care.
MR. LOWRY: He got a stimulus bill twice the size of this. He got a huge health care bill. He got a 2,000-page bill --
MR. PAGE: He didn't get what he wanted.
MR. LOWRY: -- regulating Wall Street and a bunch of other things. And it hasn't worked. And I just want to go back to the --
MR. PAGE: Oh, it has worked. It has worked.
MR. LOWRY: Let me go back to the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there anything else that they're afraid of?
MR. PAGE: What he has done has worked.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there a third rail they don't want to touch, and that's the reason they don't want to go near it?
MR. BUCHANAN: Let me talk to the point.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Taxes.
MR. BUCHANAN: Rich's point is, look, the first two years, Barack Obama had virtually a veto-proof Congress of the United States --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- three deficits adding up to $4 trillion. The Fed's got money at zero, triples the money supply. It didn't work. This new --
MS. CLIFT: It kept us from falling into a depression, Pat. MR. BUCHANAN: This new proposal is peanuts.
MR. PAGE: It did work.
MR. BUCHANAN: The new proposal is peanuts compared to what we've already done. He's probably getting some of it.
MS. CLIFT: You tell all the people who are not going to go back to work because the Congress won't pass those peanuts. That's where the --
MR. LOWRY: By what theory -- hold on, Eleanor.
MR. PAGE: That's right.
MR. LOWRY: By what theory does preserving a payroll tax cut that we already have create a boom in jobs or protect us if there's a financial crisis in Europe?
MS. CLIFT: If you were counting on --
MR. LOWRY: And how, all of a sudden, do we have --
MS. CLIFT: -- that money, it would make a huge difference. You are in a position where you don't have to worry about that.
MR. BUCHANAN: They're not counting on it.
MR. LOWRY: But how is it going to create --
MS. CLIFT: There are millions of people --
MR. LOWRY: -- new economic activity? It's not.
MS. CLIFT: It creates --
MR. PAGE: Well, we tried tax cuts for the rich to create jobs and it hasn't worked either.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --
MR. LOWRY: They're preserving a tax cut that already exists. That's not going to create new jobs.
MR. PAGE: Well, it's conservative anyway.
MS. CLIFT: It's going to take away consumer demand.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Please relinquish.
MS. CLIFT: A minus is just as bad as not increasing a negative.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Please relinquish. Exit question. The U.S. Senate is considering legislation to impose tariffs on Chinese imports. Assuming the legislation passes both houses of Congress and is signed into law, will it balance -- on balance, will it do more harm than good to the American economy?
MR. BUCHANAN: It would do a lot of good if they took all the tariff revenue that they got and cut taxes on American manufacturers.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: It's never going to reach the president's desk. The Republicans won't take it up in the House because they're afraid of the repercussions. So it's not going to happen.
MR. LOWRY: Probably more harm, because you're going to increase the price of consumer goods here in the United States. So a lot of consumers and households will get hit hard by this. It will help American manufacturers. But at best it's a wash. And that's not even dealing with the issue of what retaliation you might see overseas.
MR. PAGE: Like any other trade bill, some win, some lose. And the fact is it's not going to get through legislatively. But we do have to address the issue of unfair trade with China, because they do have an advantage that they've legislated for themselves.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is it's dangerous, but it probably would yield a lot.
Issue Two: Afghanistan End Game?
GENERAL JOHN ALLEN (ISAF commander, Afghanistan): (From videotape.) The plan is to win. The plan is to be successful. And so while some folks might hear that we're departing in 2014, we're actually going to be here for a long time.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Marine Corps General John Allen is the commander of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan -- 90,000 troops. Allen says U.S. forces will be in Afghanistan well beyond the 2014 withdrawal date laid out earlier this year by President Obama.
General Allen's remarks came as the nation completed its 10th year of war in Afghanistan. The war in Afghanistan is now the longest war in American history. It is longer than the Revolutionary War, longer than the Civil War, longer than World War II, longer than the Vietnam War.
The human toll for those 120 months of Afghanistan involvement: U.S. dead in Afghanistan, 1,685; U.S. wounded in Afghanistan, 14,342; U.S. dollars spent in Afghanistan, $450 billion. With 90,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the U.S. is currently spending $2 billion a week and is on pace to spend more than $100 billion this year. Question: What explains General Allen's seeming divergence from the commander in chief, Barack Obama's deadline for withdrawal by 2014, December, which is about three, plus a few months, years from now?
MR. PAGE: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is his commander in the field denying the validity of the commander in chief?
MR. PAGE: Not necessarily. I think it's more of a concern, which is typical of military commanders, of not announcing your withdrawal date, of being as vague as you can about how long we're going to be here.
The one thing the Pentagon does not want is for the enemy to wait us out and then suddenly move in as soon as we pack up and leave. But the fact is we can't stay there forever. We're occupying the place. We're making progress in the tribal areas. We need to wind our effort down and turn it over to the Afghans.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it was purposeful disinformation --
MR. BUCHANAN: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- on the part of the general?
MR. PAGE: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because if you parse that sentence, he's not saying we won't be out.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, what he's saying, John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's going to be a long period of time, which is three years, which is pretty long.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, what he's saying is --
MR. PAGE: It's purposeful vagueness.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- we're going to have a residual training force in Afghanistan, as we purport to have one in Iraq, 3,000 at the end of this year. We're going to have 33,000 guys out of Afghanistan out of 100,000 by next September, which is 11 months from now. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Down from 90 (thousand) now.
MR. BUCHANAN: Right now the Taliban is virtually all over the place. They've got some places intimidated. They are waiting for the United States to leave, John. And I think everybody in that part of the world knows the Americans are going to go home, and this is going to end horribly.
MS. CLIFT: Well, there are some successes. A third of the kids who are going to schools are girls, and before that no girls went to school. The Taliban is hated within the country. They do control some of the southern areas. And I think right now it's a stalemate. We can't defeat them and they can't defeat us. And it's the same situation that the Soviets were in. The Soviets didn't lose in Afghanistan.
MR. BUCHANAN: They left.
MS. CLIFT: They -- exactly. They left. And that's what we're going to do. And we're doing it in as gradual a fashion as we can.
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MS. CLIFT: And I think the Afghans are beginning to stand up.
MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor, their guy ended up hanging from a crane.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is -- Rich, isn't there another --
MS. CLIFT: Well, that's not how we're going to be leaving.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't there another --
MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible) -- are going to end up that way.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't there another angle, that withdrawal from Afghanistan -- the Afghan leaders have to convey that to the people so the people are willing to assume the risk, and this is the master plan? In other words, they've got to get the people on board to accept the risk of withdrawal.
MR. LOWRY: Right. But I think it's actually exactly the opposite dynamic. If they think you are leaving, and leaving soon, they're more likely to straddle the fence or go over to the other side. What you want to communicate is a real commitment to win and stay for the long term. Then you're more likely to have something that sticks and makes it possible for you to leave in fairly benign conditions.
I think -- I fear we have the worst of all worlds here where we put a lot of blood and treasure in, but they're all just waiting us out. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK.
MR. LOWRY: And it's not going to be sustainable.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In a shocking move, John Boehner booms Barack Obama. Obama got a glowing endorsement on his handling of terrorism from -- get this -- the Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner.
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): (From videotape.) I've been very supportive of the president's decisions in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I think so far the president has done just fine. When you look at the prosecution of the war effort against the enemy in the tribal areas, there's clearly more been done under President Obama than it was under President Bush in terms of a more aggressive effort focused at them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is this a shocker, a total, 1,000 percent political shocker?
MS. CLIFT: Well, it's nice that he said it out loud, but I think it's pretty obvious that this president has done a superior job in prosecuting al-Qaida and really using drones more aggressively than President Bush did. There's some controversy associated with that. But in terms of keeping America safe, I think the president has done a good job and goes into the election at least taking that off the table as a --
MR. LOWRY: What this shows, though, John --
MS. CLIFT: -- potential weakness.
MR. LOWRY: What this shows, when he pursues a genuinely centrist --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's he?
MR. LOWRY: -- President Obama pursues a genuinely centrist approach, one, he gets support in the polls; two, he gets support from Republicans, who genuinely want to support him when he does the right thing, which he's done in the --
MR. PAGE: The irony, of course --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish.
MR. LOWRY: -- which he has not done in domestic or economic policy.
MR. PAGE: The irony here, of course --
MS. CLIFT: What's centrist about that policy? I don't get that. MR. PAGE: Well, this whole thing --
MR. LOWRY: He adopted the best aspects of those policies --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Clarence in.
MR. LOWRY: -- and added a little bit more --
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, let Clarence in.
MR. PAGE: The irony here is that Republicans have always supported action over in Afghanistan more than Democrats anyway.
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MR. PAGE: So that's helpful. Secondly, our -- well, frankly, it doesn't swing elections right now. Foreign policy is not swinging Barack Obama's numbers --
MR. LOWRY: That's right.
MR. PAGE: -- even --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So Republicans are from Mars and Democrats are from Venus.
MR. BUCHANAN: Obama --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are they doing?
MR. BUCHANAN: Obama has been more aggressive than George W. Bush when it comes to going after terrorists, al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan and elsewhere. Secondly --
MR. LOWRY: And the occasional U.S. citizen.
MR. BUCHANAN: And the occasional -- (laughs) -- two, and one killed. But I will say this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What?
MS. CLIFT: Oh, Bush --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Eleanor. Let him finish.
MR. BUCHANAN: I also agree with his policy on Afghanistan and Iraq. And we're pulling out. But I do believe we ought to be realistic. Neither of those is going to end up very well, and partly for the reason you described. We're not staying there for the long course. I don't think we can.
MR. PAGE: The question is if we leave and the worst-case scenario were to happen, would Americans care? I mean, the fact is -- MR. BUCHANAN: I think we would care, but like we did in Vietnam.
MR. PAGE: It'd be another Vietnam, right.
MS. CLIFT: Well, the president is not thumping his chest in victory about any of this. But he's handled some pretty bad situations and not made them worse.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's look at what the end game in Afghanistan is supposed to look like, OK? The Karzai government will be stable, backed by U.S.-trained police and military units. Two, the Taliban will lay down arms and be peacefully incorporated into Afghanistan civil society.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Three, women will have equal rights as men. Four, al-Qaida remnants will lose any safe haven. And five, neither India -- no one's pointed this out on this panel -- neither India nor Pakistan will have undue influence over Kabul. And all children will be above average. (Laughter.)
MR. BUCHANAN: The only thing --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about that? What's the likelihood of that occurring if we leave?
MR. LOWRY: That is unlikely. The one goal that I think is achievable is an Afghan government and security forces that can fight the insurgency on their own. That's what you want to achieve.
MS. CLIFT: Maybe we should elect Garrison Keillor president. (Laughs.) Then we'll get everybody above average.
MR. LOWRY: The president of Afghanistan.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Black Walnut.
HERMAN CAIN (Republican presidential candidate): (From videotape.) I happen to believe there's ice milk and there's Haagen- Dazs black walnut. Substance -- that's the difference. I've got some substance here, OK? (Cheers, applause.) I'm Haagen-Dazs black walnut.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Republican presidential candidate, former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, is now nicknamed, quote, "the black walnut," unquote. Herman Cain is more than the flavor of the week. He is now the leading contender for the Republican nomination for president. So says the Zogby international polling firm.
A recent survey found that candidate Cain was the preferred choice of Republican primary likely voters. Cain beats Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry, 28 percent to 18 percent. Candidate Cain also beats former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, 28 percent to 17 percent. He has also won three Republican straw polls in two weeks -- the Florida straw poll, the National Federation of Republican Women straw poll, and the Midwest Tea Party Convention straw poll.
Candidate Cain says he won all three because of his tax plan that he has named the 9-9-9 plan. Candidate Cain wants to replace the current tax code with a 9 percent flat tax on corporations, a 9 percent flat tax on individuals, and a 9 percent flat sales tax on bought goods.
But not everyone is a believer in Mr. Cain's ascension. One of those doubters is Sarah Palin.
FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN (R): (From videotape.) Look at why he's doing so well right now. He's, I guess you could say, with all due respect, the flavor of the week.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Does Herman Cain have the big mo? Clarence Page.
MR. PAGE: For the moment, yeah. (Laughs.) Thank you for handing me that easy pun. I wonder if he's like Eddie Murphy in the movie "Trading Places," though, who, once he got to a point of getting the big job, they said, you really don't think we were going to give it to a you know what, do you?
But he's having a good time out there. Herman Cain's a marketing genius. That's how he brought Godfather's Pizza back. Now he's marketing Herman Cain. And he'll be well set up for a future as a TV or radio commentator.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's his net worth? Do you know what his net worth is?
MR. PAGE: Not to the penny, but he's better off than me. How about that? (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Than I. Than I.
MR. PAGE: Yes, teacher. Sorry about that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you.
MR. PAGE: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have a lot of teenagers watching this show.
MR. PAGE: Well put.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't want to stir the waters any more. But I want to get back to his net worth. What do you think it is? Do you think it's $20 million?
MR. BUCHANAN: I'd guess a lot more than that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A lot more?
MR. PAGE: He's using a lot of money in the campaign, yeah.
MR. BUCHANAN: Worth a lot more than that. John, here's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that what people also like about him -- he's successful?
MR. BUCHANAN: You know what people like about him? He's principled. He's colorful. He's got a real sense of humor. He's got personality and charisma. And he went down there and wins that thing, and people like him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, Pat --
MR. BUCHANAN: Frankly, the Republicans are fairly colorless. And I don't mean that as a --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the Christian virtue involved?
MR. BUCHANAN: He's a Christian. He's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but what's the virtue involved that he's exhibiting?
MR. BUCHANAN: Perseverance.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Humility.
MS. CLIFT: Humility?
MR. BUCHANAN: I haven't seen a lot of humility --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What happened to humility with you?
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.) MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What happened to that with you?
MR. BUCHANAN: That he is not exhibiting, John. He may have --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He is.
MR. LOWRY: Joyfulness. Joyfulness.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Joyfulness.
MR. LOWRY: That's the name.
MS. CLIFT: He's not exhibiting --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's upbeat.
MR. PAGE: Right.
MS. CLIFT: He's not exhibiting humility. He said of the Wall Street protesters, if they're not rich, they should blame themselves.
MR. PAGE: Right.
MS. CLIFT: And, you know, don't look to government for any help. And his little 9-9 plan -- it's nice and catchy, but --
MR. LOWRY: 9-9-9.
MS. CLIFT: -- that last 9 -- the last 9 percent is a sales tax. There would be an enormous transferal of more wealth from the working people to the rich.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, let's see if I can penetrate this a little bit more -- more Cain.
MR. CAIN: (From videotape.) If the word is inflammatory, that's too bad. It is true. And here's why, because some black people won't even listen to someone who appears to be a conservative or a Republican. I call that brainwashing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Will Cain be able to break through the so-called brainwashing with his straight talk, Rich?
MR. LOWRY: No.
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. LOWRY: And he's very likely not going to be the nominee. John, he's basically on the Huckabee path, which means he's going to make some noise. He's going to impress people. He's going to jump up on the hierarchy of media personalities and maybe win a caucus or a primary here, but he's not going to win the nomination. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Describe the Republican primary voter. What is significant about the Republican primary voter --
MR. LOWRY: Very -- well, most of them --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- as opposed to the rank-and-file Republican voter?
MR. LOWRY: They're very, very conservative.
MR. BUCHANAN: Tea party --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish.
MR. LOWRY: Most of them are very conservative, but not all of them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very conservative. Now, what is it about Cain --
MR. LOWRY: You know, there are a lot of regular Republicans as well.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that they particularly like? Do you remember what he said in the beginning?
MR. LOWRY: He's a principled conservative, and he has the one policy idea that's broken through in this primary debate so far, which is the 9-9-9.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He believes -- and he said this earlier, I believe -- the capitalist motor or engine, the capitalist engine he believes in.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's tea party populist and conservative. And you're exactly right. He believes in free enterprise.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: And that clearly resonates with every Republican voter.
MS. CLIFT: And he's a place holder for Republicans who are not happy with the rest of the field. But they will move over to Romney.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Steve Jobs and civil rights leader Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth passed away this week. We mourn the loss of these two American giants, and our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones. May they rest in peace.