The McLaughlin Group
Host: John McLaughlin
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek/The Daily Beast;
Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report
Taped: Friday, May 24, 2013
Broadcast: Weekend of May 25-26, 2013
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Oklahoma EF-5.
TORNADO VICTIM: (From videotape.) I just felt like my son and I was going to die is how I felt.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was a monster -- the tornado that leveled parts of Oklahoma on Monday, an EF-5. That's the strongest tornado rating on the enhanced Fujita scale, meaning inflicting the most damage, with winds topping 200 miles per hour.
The path the tornado tore up was more than a mile wide and 17 miles long. Particularly hard hit was Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City. More than $2 billion in damage is the early estimate for Moore, where 13,000 homes were damaged or completely leveled. Thirty-three thousand people have been displaced or affected by the storm.
The tornado also hit two elementary schools. Seven children were killed at Plaza Towers Elementary. And the death toll as of Friday was 24, with at least 324 injured.
Moore sits in the middle of what is nicknamed Tornado Alley, a geographic area that includes, among others, north-central Texas, central Oklahoma, central Kansas and Nebraska. Cool, dry air from the Rocky Mountains to the West superimposes over warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico.
Question: No state law or local law in Oklahoma requires houses to have so-called safe rooms, underground shelters. And public schools also are not required to have safe rooms. The school where seven children were killed this week did not have a safe room. When that Oklahoma school in Moore is rebuilt, should a safe room be mandatory? Pat Buchanan.
PAT BUCHANAN: I don't know if the state should make it mandatory, but it's an excellent idea for schools in Tornado Alley, John. But all this talk about people getting storm shelters and things, these cost thousands of dollars per individual.
Take a look at what happened in the worst tornado, I guess, almost in American history. Only 24 people died. Now, that's terrible, but that's not a high casualty rate. And when you're talking about a cost-benefit analysis, I think basically, other than schools and certain public places, it ought to be left up to the individuals to decide whether to get together and build a neighborhood shelter or build their own shelter. But they shouldn't be mandated to have to build a shelter for themselves.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we're going to put a finer point on that in a few minutes, Pat.
ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, Oklahomans are not going to want any kind of mandatory requirement, but I would place a bet with you right now that the schools that will be rebuilt will have this storm cellar. And I also think that families coming in there are going to try to find a way to provide this kind of safety for themselves. It's apparently $6 (thousand) to $8,000.
You know, maybe there's a way for tax credits or something like that to encourage this kind of thing. I think that would be a good idea. But I don't think you're going to see any kind of federal mandate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's going to be disaster federal money extended to this part of Oklahoma.
MS. CLIFT: Yes, and that's entirely --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Federal money.
MS. CLIFT: And that's entirely appropriate, because they -- we are all constituents in this land. And both the Oklahoma senators voted against aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and they're kind of refining their position now.
But I think this has come at an opportune time for the president in the sense that it's a circuit breaker from all the scandal-mania in Washington, and it shows how government can work. And this administration has done an excellent job in these really big moments of disaster. And the president is going to be there as a consoler in chief on Sunday.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There are --
MS. CLIFT: We're all with the people of Oklahoma. We don't care how they vote.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There are pretty close to a dozen existing government regulatory agencies that provide disaster relief anywhere in the United States -- any disaster. Did you know that?
MS. CLIFT: I think FEMA is the big one -- the Federal Emergency Management Agency. And it did not perform well when President Bush was in office. And the aftermath --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, there are other --
MS. CLIFT: -- of Hurricane Katrina really undermined the Bush presidency. And so far this president has really done well in responding to these kinds of national disasters. And because of climate change and the effect it's having in the severity and the violence of our weather events, we're going to see more of this. And hurricane season gets under way next month.
SUSAN FERRECHIO: Climate change. OK, so common sense -- Tornado Alley -- you want some kind of shelter in the public schools for kids; I mean, any parent's nightmare. All I could think was they had 16 minutes of warning here. They knew the storm was coming. Still seven kids died -- not a huge number. Any kid being killed is one too many in a situation like this. Tornado Alley -- build a shelter for the kids; common sense.
Requiring everybody else in Oklahoma to have some kind of shelter, that's government overreach. People need to take personal responsibility for their own safety. They know they live in Oklahoma; same thing when you live out in California. You want to make sure you live in a place where you're going to be able to survive an earthquake. It's just common sense.
But I don't think the government can force everybody to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it government overreach, as she has described it, bearing in mind that the federal government may have to expend money on those who have been injured, in some fashion or another; that is, extending the money?
MORT ZUCKERMAN: No, there's certainly going to be government cost out of this thing, notwithstanding --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Federal government.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Federal government, and local governments. I mean, this is a disaster that is going to reach all the way to Washington, one form or another. But I do share the views that are expressed here. I think, for public buildings, absolutely there should be mandatory shelters. I don't think it is necessary to go to all private building. But public buildings should have it, especially schools and hospitals.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to nail this --
MS. CLIFT: You could offer a tax credit to encourage people.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to nail this down a little harder, OK? Should the U.S. government in Washington require states to mandate safe rooms for schools to be used both for tornadoes and also for lunatic murderers like Adam Lanza?
MR. BUCHANAN: The answer is no. This should be a decision -- if it's the states -- if it's a local school, the local folks should build it, make the decision. If it's a state project, they should do it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're going to be broke. They've already got a lot of expenses from the damage of the tornado.
MR. BUCHANAN: You don't think the federal government is broke?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm not saying the federal government. I'm talking about the victims of the tornado.
MS. FERRECHIO: I'm going to disagree with Pat here.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How can they rebuild on this level?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look, what I'm talking about is the federal government should not mandate these things. The state government of Oklahoma understands tornadoes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You sound very parsimonious, no matter how you phrase it.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, I'm -- states' rights.
MS. FERRECHIO: It shouldn't be unfunded mandates.
MS. CLIFT: Actually, the mayor --
MS. FERRECHIO: It shouldn't be unfunded.
MS. CLIFT: The mayor of Moore has called for a safe room in these schools.
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.
MS. CLIFT: They're going to do this.
MS. FERRECHIO: You know, the federal government wastes so much money. We can't waste a little money on little children in an elementary school?
MR. BUCHANAN: But --
MS. FERRECHIO: How many of you here weren't shocked to find these kids were not protected when this tornado came through?
MR. BUCHANAN: But you want a tornado shelter --
MS. FERRECHIO: There was nothing there for them. All the money the federal government wastes --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what is the expectation of the tornado hitting?
MS. FERRECHIO: All the money we waste, a few thousand bucks on a shelter in Tornado Alley?
MR. BUCHANAN: You going to get a shelter, Susan, a tornado shelter in Falls Church?
MS. FERRECHIO: Not in Falls Church -- Tornado Alley, the place where --
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, that's why -- leave it to Tornado Alley to decide it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There we go. Bring it right back to -- let them take care of themselves.
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give me a break.
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. BUCHANAN: You've got to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They can't now. They can't.
MR. BUCHANAN: You're going to -- look, I mean --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The (rehab ?) costs --
MR. BUCHANAN: You need federal aid out there to get them out of
MS. CLIFT: Every new school --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's judging on the basis of their being one and whole. They're not whole.
MS. CLIFT: You know, regardless of all this blather, every new school that is built in Tornado Alley --
MS. FERRECHIO: Look at the money --
MS. CLIFT: -- will have --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is the role of the federal government --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to know the role of the federal government in --
MS. FERRECHIO: Look at the money we're wasting --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- coercing, if that's the right word, in demanding that states do this, and then it goes into effect all the way down the line.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think it is absolutely appropriate for the federal government to mandate that the states do this for schools, absolutely. I don't have any problem --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But the federal government can also kick in --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- through some of those (mandatory ?) agencies --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right. That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that have disaster relief.
MR. BUCHANAN: What schools, Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: What?
MR. BUCHANAN: What schools? I mean, besides -- Texas? Oklahoma? Missouri? How about Virginia?
MS. CLIFT: Wherever there's a risk.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, who's going to decide that?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, let the federal government have people who understand the --
MR. BUCHANAN: Why don't you let the state government, which deals with this, decide it?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm happy to let the --
MS. CLIFT: I don't think it's -- it's not an issue in Virginia.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: So long as one government does it or another. And what state are you from?
MR. BUCHANAN: Oklahoma. (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: They definitely need to have one.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Copping the Fifth.
LOIS LERNER (IRS director of exempt organizations): (From videotape.) I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee.
After very careful consideration, I've decided to follow my counsel's advice and not testify or answer any of the questions today.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lois Lerner works for the IRS. She is the head of the IRS tax-exempt organizations unit that determines whether organizations or individuals are eligible for tax-exempt status.
The six-hour congressional hearing focused on the action taken by the IRS's denial of exempt status to the tea party and the tea party's various extensions. Lerner is the same official who broke the scandal two weeks ago in a scripted Q&A at a lawyers' conference that, in a subsequent phone call to reporters, sounded somewhat spontaneous but may not have been.
Revelations have been growing daily about Lerner's unit and its now apparent systemic harassment of conservative organizations. Beginning three years ago, in 2010, IRS officials began tagging any application with the words tea party or patriot or 9/12 project.
The go-slow approach the IRS used was known as BOLO -- Be On Look Out. BOLO delayed approvals of some 91 conservative groups. Lerner knew about the targeting as early as June 2011. But up to May 8, 2013, she withheld that knowledge when testifying before Congress.
OK, that's the IRS. Now the White House, with its Treasury Department. Obama-appointed Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin was told last year about the IRS's tea party suppression tactics. But the bombshell in Wednesday's hearing was Treasury Department Inspector General J. Russell George's admission that he had only conducted a, quote-unquote, "audit" of IRS procedures, not an investigation. Under questioning, George acknowledged that he did not ask any IRS officials whether their targeting of the tea party was known to or instigated by the White House.
George's revelation means that no authority whatsoever has conducted a probe into possible White House or Obama-Biden campaign involvement in the IRS's political suppression of tea party groups that criticized the president.
Question: If Lois Lerner has nothing to hide, why did she invoke her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination? Susan Ferrechio.
MS. FERRECHIO: Well, there are a lot of interesting factors here that we learned from the hearing this week. And, no, we didn't hear from Ms. Lerner, who recused herself. She may be summoned back. She may have waived her Fifth Amendment right by saying she did nothing wrong at the start of the hearing. So we may be hearing from her. She can come back under subpoena. She may be questioned.
Some of the things we heard that were really interesting at the hearing this week had to do with Douglas Shulman, who was the IRS commissioner at the time. He made 118 trips to the White House to speak to various people there -- the president, others beneath the president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president?
MS. FERRECHIO: The president and people beneath the president, to talk about various things, including health care reform, other issues. I think one big question here is how far up the chain, in all those meetings, did this come up in passing in the White House, the fact that these groups were complaining about being targeted and that there was an investigation going on.
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MS. FERRECHIO: There's no --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did the president know, and when did he know it?
MS. FERRECHIO: Let me just say this one thing. His predecessor, Mark Everson, who was the IRS commissioner before he took over, guess how many times he came to the White House while he was IRS commissioner.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How many?
MS. FERRECHIO: Once.
MR. BUCHANAN: All right, John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what do you -- what is the press concluding? Did the president know about this?
MR. BUCHANAN: The president -- no.
MS. FERRECHIO: We don't know.
MR. BUCHANAN: The president has said I found out -- my first inkling of knowledge of this was when it came into the public press. Now, the White House counsel and the White House chief of staff knew almost three weeks before --
MS. FERRECHIO: At the very least.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- at the very least, and they apparently did not tell the president of the United States, hey, we've got a time bomb that's going to go off at the IRS, inside Treasury --
MS. CLIFT: Well, there's --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- a political scandal of the first order.
MS. CLIFT: There's all this harumphing on Capitol Hill, but nobody has found any connection --
MR. BUCHANAN: No.
MS. CLIFT: -- with the White House. Mr. Shulman, who you just referred to, was appointed by President Bush. He's this --
MS. FERRECHIO: He's a Democratic donor, Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Well, he was appointed --
MS. FERRECHIO: And he admitted so.
MS. CLIFT: -- appointed by President Bush.
MS. FERRECHIO: Right.
MS. CLIFT: You started out asking about Lois Lerner. If she didn't take the Fifth, her lawyer should be convicted for malpractice. She's under investigation in a criminal probe, so she had to take the Fifth. She is a bit of a mystery woman. She blew the whistle on this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: Then she stopped it. Then she's the one who brought it to public light, at the instruction --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can we please move on?
MS. CLIFT: -- at the hearing last week -- I want to finish what I'm saying.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, hurry up.
MS. CLIFT: Steven Miller, the former acting commissioner, said he instructed her to plant a question, thinking he could get ahead of the story. He says, in retrospect, it wasn't the best way to get the story out.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to know --
MS. FERRECHIO: But they discussed --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- what did the president know?
MS. CLIFT: The president --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did Carney tell the president, Jay Carney --
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- who used to be on this program, by the way?
MR. BUCHANAN: Carney didn't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who is his new chief of staff?
MS. CLIFT: Denis McDonough.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did Denis McDonough tell him?
MR. BUCHANAN: No.
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did the president know about it?
MR. BUCHANAN: No. He said he didn't.
MS. CLIFT: The president didn't know.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you believe that?
MS. CLIFT: I do believe it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you believe it, with 118 trips to the White House?
MR. BUCHANAN: I believe the president's telling the truth.
MS. CLIFT: I do too. (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: And I hope he is, because if he isn't, he really has a problem.
MS. CLIFT: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean Carney withheld it from him?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, Carney found out when the president did.
MS. CLIFT: Carney didn't know either.
MR. BUCHANAN: McDonough --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about Denis?
MR. BUCHANAN: Denis withheld it for three weeks from the president and Carney.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So is Denis taking a rap here, or is he --
MR. BUCHANAN: No, no. He's the chief of staff.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- going to be commended? They're saying there are some things the president should not know.
MR. BUCHANAN: That's exactly his stance.
MS. CLIFT: Right. They didn't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Whose stance, Denis?
MR. BUCHANAN: McDonough, yeah, of course.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think that's a legitimate --
MS. CLIFT: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In a case like this, the president should not know what the IRS is doing?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think the president should know.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Huh?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think McDonough should be bounced.
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think he should?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. He should tell the president --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is obviously a close tie between these two men.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Denis McDonough -- they can really talk to each other in a way that previous occupants of that office --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, I've been in the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know how important the chief of staff is.
MR. BUCHANAN: I've been in three White Houses. And when you'd walk in, you'd say give me 10 minutes, Mr. President. I've got to give you a heads-up on something --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's an Irish --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- that could blow up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- an Irish Catholic --
MS. CLIFT: An inspector --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and they speak the same language, and he will
not give an interview to anybody.
MS. CLIFT: An inspector general --
MS. FERRECHIO: (Inaudible.
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. An inspector general's report is something the White House does not tamper with. They didn't want --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There are two excellent pages on Denis in Time Magazine, which was a competitor to your former magazine, which I think is no longer in existence.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: It is in existence. It's on the Web.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I recommend those pages --
MS. CLIFT: Just like the McLaughlin Group. It's on the Net.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- because there's practically nothing on Denis --
MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.) (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- on this Denis McDonough.
MS. CLIFT: I think he's a fine chief of staff.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three --
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) -- IRS malfeasance.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- QE3 Exit Strategy.
BEN BERNANKE (chairman, Federal Reserve Board of Governors): (From videotape.) If we see continued improvement and we have confidence that that is going to be sustained, then we could -- in the next few meetings, we could take a step down in our pace of purchases. Again, if we do that, it would not mean that we are automatically aiming towards a complete wind-down.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ben Bernanke is the chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, aka the Fed. The Fed right now is at the end of its third round of, quote-unquote, quantitative easing, aka QE3, which is Fed argot for a process by which the Fed purchases assets at a current rate of $85 billion a month.
This purchase buoys the economy. The pace and volume of this QE3 is tied to the state of the economy, a moving target. And markets quiver at any hint of the Fed adjusting the spigot.
Mr. Bernanke's testimony asserted the merits of easing monetary policy, and without it, the fear of higher unemployment. But the Fed could begin as early as late July or mid-September to taper off its flow of money, which it eventually must do. But it could wait to 2014, six months from now. Or, if the economy were to drop precipitously without the QE3 easing, the Fed could put its foot back on the accelerator, on the pedal to the metal -- to the QE metal, as it were.
Question: Why is Mr. Bernanke cautioning that the Fed may curb QE3? What has Bernanke so worried? Mort Zuckerman.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: He -- what he is worried about is that there's a huge amount of money that he has put into the financial system of this country. That money is going to look for certain areas in which to get invested. You will have bubbles if they think this is going to go on. He wants to make sure that that kind of speculation does not exist so that people can understand there may be a point where this all ends. And I think that's exactly what he's doing.
He's also making it clear that he will be responsive to the way the economy is going. It was, I think, misinterpreted. He misspoke, I think, a little bit in terms of what he was going to do. I don't think he has any intention at this stage of the game to lower the rate of growth or to lower QE3 or to change QE3 --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think he --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- because that is the only thing keeping this economy from going into a major --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. But there's a negative side to that, and that's what he is now beginning to worry about.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right, because however he spoke --
MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- it shook up a lot of places in the financial world. In Japan it did. In the United States it did. The stock market, for example, was up -- I don't know -- a hundred-odd points. When that came out, it dropped to the point where --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think is going to be the critical point, either in the market or somewhere in the economy, that will inspire him to stop this high liquidation that's going on?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: If you have real increases in employment. But we have had nominal increases in employment that has been basically insignificant. If you had real increases in employment, the economy --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, is there --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me just finish. The economy is only growing at a 2 percent rate. Normally it would grow at a 4.2 percent rate if we had a reasonable response to the --
MR. BUCHANAN: Why are they --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are manufacturers holding their fire, so to speak, and not hiring because they're waiting to see what further developments are, independent of new hiring? You following me?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. What they are waiting to see is whether or not their sales are going up. And their sales are not going up. That's the problem.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that the most serious problem?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, of course.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: People are not buying?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: People are not -- not enough. We have had unbelievably low rates of increases in employment for --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is your prediction of things to come?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: My prediction of things to come is this economy is going to stay weak for quite a while. I don't believe they're going to change their monetary policy. When I say quite a while, I think it's going to go on a minimum of six months to a year.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: Obama, Up Close and Personal.
President Obama delivered the commencement address this past Sunday at Morehouse College in Atlanta, an historic all-male African- American college and the alma mater of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It's been 50 years since Dr. King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered at the height of the struggle for civil rights and justice in this country and on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.
The president spoke for 34 minutes about his own life and the experience of being black in America.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) I was raised by a heroic single mom, wonderful grandparents who made incredible sacrifices for me. But I sure wish I had had a father who was not only present, but involved. I didn't know my dad. I want to break that cycle where a father is not at home -- (applause) -- where a father's not helping to raise that son or daughter. (Applause.) I want to be a better father, a better husband, a better man.
We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices. And I have to say, growing up, I made quite a few myself. Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. I had a tendency sometimes to make excuses for me not doing the right thing.
Whatever positions of leadership I have held have depended less on Ivy League degrees or SAT scores or GPAs and have instead been due to that sense of connection and empathy, the special obligation I felt, as a black man like you, to help those who need it most, people who didn't have the opportunities that I had, because there but for the grace of God go I. I might have been in their shoes. I might have been in prison. I might have been unemployed. I might not have been able to support a family. And that -- (applause) -- motivates me.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What does it say that Obama, President Obama, accepted an invitation from Morehouse and not an invitation -- and he got many of them -- from any Ivy League college, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, you know, I don't know what that says. I think he wanted to go down and talk to those young black males. That was one of the most inspirational, best speeches I've heard Barack Obama deliver. It had humor in it. It had everything in it about his past and about what these kids could do and what they've got for their future. It was a phenomenal, in my judgment, speech at a commencement.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, people ought to read it. It's a 32-minute speech, and I've never seen anything like it.
MS. CLIFT: It's a message that only he could give.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: And in speaking to this audience, he said, you know, no excuses. If you look at your forbears, people survived worse than what you have encountered and will encounter. And then he talked about his being raised by an heroic mother and grandparents who did everything for him, but how much he missed the father in his family.
So, I mean, this is a message -- he's delivered it before, but it is very compelling today. And he also spoke at the commissioning at Annapolis at the Naval Academy and raised the subject of sexual assault in the military and, you know, basically said how that violates the code of honor in the military. So he is bringing these issues right to the people who are going to live these issues in the future.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.
MS. FERRECHIO: The most interesting thing about that speech -- Eleanor's right. He's given it before. He did it when he was campaigning in 2008, and he's done it -- it goes under the radar a lot. But what's most interesting about it is how it splits from his philosophy as president.
Here he is out there talking to an audience about personal responsibility. Well, look at how he governs the nation. He governs the nation by increasing the size of government, by increasing food stamps, and by increasing dependency on government, when it's just the opposite, really, of what he's telling people about the way they should behave, which is personal responsibility. I think that's one of the most interesting things, just how it split from the way he's running the nation.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, you've got 15 seconds.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think one of the lines that he had there that I just felt was wonderful, he said nobody's going to give you anything. You know, you have to earn it. And I think that --
MS. FERRECHIO: But that's not true. (Laughs.) He's giving them everything.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, and that's --
MS. CLIFT: And that's not true either.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- not true either.
MS. CLIFT: What you're saying is very untrue.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And I just think -- I think that is a message that is a wonderful message to everybody in this nation.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: Attorney General Holder put those -- or at least his deputy threw that full-court press on the 20 members of the AP. And we now learn that James Rosen of Fox News has been basically almost accused of criminality in order to run all these searches of his records. And the president was unaware of both of these.
I think Eric Holder, A, is going to be in trouble, and B, I think we're going to get more revelations about these searches of reporters' phone records.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The AP rap is the dirtiest part of that whole mess up there.
MS. FERRECHIO: No, the dirtiest part is the fact that a reporter was found to be committing a crime, according to the Justice Department --
MR. BUCHANAN: By getting information.
MS. FERRECHIO: -- at Fox News for doing his job. That's the most chilling effect.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rosen. You're talking about Rosen?
MS. FERRECHIO: Yes.
MS. CLIFT: Right. But that was two years ago. He wasn't charged then, and he's not going to be charged.
Secondly, the president made a very important speech this week redefining the war on terror as we go forward.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: And closing Guantanamo is part of his approach.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, he does that on Thursday to affect the talk shows on Sunday, because he doesn't want the --
MS. CLIFT: Well, it didn't affect this --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wants the IRS to disappear.
MS. CLIFT: It didn't affect this talk show, did it, John?
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it's a little early.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MS. FERRECHIO: I've got a prediction, which is that the immigration reform bill will pass the Senate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I've got a prediction that the economy is going to grow at no more than a 2 percent rate for the next year, and we're going to be in even worse trouble.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict the upcoming summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Obama will be the most contentious ever -- cybersabotage, trade, the Asia pivot, and the PRC's growing military spending.
(C) 2013 Federal News Service