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Special Report Roundtable - August 24

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume


BUCHANAN: France and the United States has got a moral and a constitutional obligation to defend this country from an invasion. And when you stop six million people in the last five and a half years in his tenure and he can't even tell us how many illegals made it through and one in every 12 he tells us has a criminal record, he is not doing his constitutional duty.


HUME: Pat Buchanan has written a lot of books, but this new one, called "State of Emergency" as we heard from Major Garrett's report, just concluded before the commercial break, has people talking. It's zoomed to the top of the Amazon sales charts. He cites a number of statistics, alarming seeming statistics. One in 12 illegal immigrants has a criminal record, he says. In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding homicide warrants target illegal aliens. And he says between 10 and 20 percent of all the Mexicans, Central Americans, and Caribbean people by percentage of their populations are already here.

Some thoughts on this issue now from Fred Barnes, executive editor of the "Weekly Standard"; Mort Kondracke, executive editor of "Roll Call"; and Nina Easton, Washington bureau chief of "Fortune" magazine, FOX NEWS contributors all three.

So, Nina, what do we have here? Do we have -- this is -- Pat's arguments are going to be heard, he's all over the TV. The book is being read. How does this stand?

NINA EASTON, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE; Pat has this bizarre tendency in this argument to blur illegal immigration, which we're all concerned about, with legal immigration. And even in his comments.

HUME: Well, he wants a moratorium on all immigration.

EASTON: All immigration. This is also somebody who has written, by the way, in the past, saying that the birth control pill is a suicide pill for the West because of declining birth rates. Pat Buchanan's bottom line problem is that people of brown skin are multiplying faster than people with white skin, if you really cut down.

HUME: You think this is a racist argument?

EASTON: Well, he has concerns, if you read what he's saying, he talks about the barbarian invasion of Rome, he compares this to. He talks -- just look at his language, he talks about the "grudge against the gringo," the "seething racial resentment in the third world." Do we think that all those busboys and baby-sitters and gardeners coming to the American dream are seething?

HUME: Well, apart from the decline and fall of Western civilization as Pat projects here.

MORT KONDRACKE, "ROLL CALL": Well, he's always predicting.


HUME: Perhaps he's worried about Western civilization, as he has known it for a long time. He does marshal some quite disturbing statistics, some which we I just mentioned and which you just we heard in fuller detail in Major Garrett's report, which gets your attention. What about it?

KONDRACKE: The bottom line number for me is that the foreign-born represent 12 percent of the U.S. population at the moment. In 1910, there were 14.7 percent, in 1870 they were 14.4. You know, Pat Buchanan says that we are going to be a country unrecognizable to our parents, yes. We always are. And when the Irish came, when Pat Buchanan's forbearers came here the English, you know, citizens said "heaven forfend the Irish are here," you know, and would kicked them out just as Pat Buchanan wants to kick out the brown-skin people.

Nobody wants people to be crossing the border illegally, almost nobody. Almost everybody says that we've got to control the borders better, we do. And that should solve, if we get it done right, should solve a lot of the problem that Pat's talking about.

FRED BARNES, "WEEKLY STANDARD": You know, the thing that got me about Pat's book is, which I have not read, but I've read of it is his belief in this plot the Aztlan plot, a-z-t-l-a-n plot, that he claims all these immigrants from Mexico are a part of, they're invading America because they're a part of a plan to dominate the Southwest with 100 million Hispanics there and then they will revolt and that part of the Southwest America will return to Mexico.

Look, here's what's wrong with that, these immigrants are not coming to the United States because they want to make it a part of Mexico, they're coming to the United States because it's not Mexico. They want to come here -- do you think they like the politics and the economy and the social customs of Mexico? Of course they don't. That's why they're coming here, they want to be Americans. And the notion that all these immigrants are illegal or otherwise are part of a plot is like, you know, Cynthia McKinney saying George Bush knew about 9/11 ahead of time. It's a crackpot idea if you base your argument on it, and that he does. Pat hasn't kept up. The fact is he makes Los Angeles a model. This is the way the Hispanics are going to come into this country and the truth is, in Los Angeles, there are parts of Los Angeles where Hispanics are 100 percent of the population and are not assimilating, but that's not what's happening elsewhere.

HUME: And -- yeah, they speak Spanish.

BARNES: They speak Spanish. But what's happened is, and has happened in the last few years is, particularly immigrants from Central America and Mexico are dispersing all over the country and they certainly are assimilating, and the truth is the first generation may still speak Spanish, but all the kids learn English, I mean all of them. I know a lot of them.

KONDRACKE: Seventy percent of Mexican-American immigrants speak only English in the third generation, you know, now, very few speak only English in the first generation, but it goes up. They're going to assimilate like everybody else. And that's -- it's really an argument for the Bush approach to allowing these people to become citizens. What are you going to do? You're going to keep 12 million people here and not let them become citizens and not let them assimilate? You want them to join the family.

HUME: When we come back with our panel, one year after Hurricane Katrina, will the storm's aftermath effect the midterm elections, and if so, how? We'll ask the all-stars, next.



ROCKEY VACCARELLA, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: I wanted to thank President Bush for the millions of FEMA trailers that were brought down there. They gave roofs over people's head. People had the chance to have baths, air- conditioning, we have TV, we have toiletry, we have things and necessities that we can live upon. But, now I wanted to remind the president that the job's not done and he knows that. And I just don't want the government and President Bush to forget about us, and I just wish the president could have another term in Washington.



HUME: That was too much for the president as you saw there and I think it's reasonable to suggest that that is not a majority opinion among the people who were in the hard-hit areas in Louisiana from Hurricane Katrina. But the issue persists, it's anniversary is upon us and we're back with our panel. What about this issue? Does it still have power or is it spent or what?

BARNES: That guy was great.


President Bush ought to take him around, you know...


HUME: You know what happened was, the guy said that down in Louisiana the other day and the next thing you know he's on the back lawn of the White House with the president. He did he not go unnoticed.

BARNES: Democrats called him a stunt. Well, of course it was a stunt and a pretty darn good stunt. The truth is, you know, we've learned a lot in the last year about, you know, who was mostly at fault in Katrina and government at all levels obviously failed. I think that we know now that the Coast Guard did very well in rescuing people, that's a federal agency and the Louisiana National Guard, as it turned out, we learned much later, did a fantastic job, which I think means that the governor, Blanco, of Louisiana didn't do as bad a job -- look, I criticized her a lot and I'm sorry I did. She didn't deserve a lot of it. She probably comes off the best.

Then you have the Bush administration and FEMA, they didn't do well. And, you know, Doug Brinkley in his book, "The Great Deluge" blames Michael Chertoff, not Michael Brown, not President Bush, who was a bit aloof, but Chertoff kept telling the president that they were on top of the situation when, in fact, early on they weren't. But the -- look, the person who deserves the most blame, we know now more than ever, is Mayor Nagin than New Orleans. He basically panicked. He didn't in time declare a mandatory evacuation, he left, you know, 20 percent of the population behind. He didn't get the school busses to drive people out of town. His people lied about what was going on at the Super Dome, his police force collapsed, the public order collapsed. The mayor was the man most responsible for the damage there.

KONDRACKE: Yeah. And I think, look, it's the slowness of New Orleans' ability to get its decision-making process organized as to which neighborhoods will be rebuilt and which neighborhoods won't that's largely holding up the progress in redeveloping.

You know, the one thing that the White House pointed out in one of these briefings that I don't think that people really realize that this was the largest catastrophic event in the history of America. That there was - - that 90,000 square miles were affected equal to Great Britain and there were hundreds of thousands of people displaced, I guess people know that, and it's been slow rebuilding. But it's been a lot slower rebuilding in Louisiana than it's been in Mississippi where basically the gambling industry has, you know, financed the rebuilding process, if you like that. But, you know, they haven't done as well in Louisiana.

EASTON: Well, the past year, it -- I think -- you know, we saw the break down in government at all levels during Katrina, but what we've seen in the past year is the break down of government at every level in terms of rebuilding, especially when it comes to New Orleans. I mean, you've got this -- studies coming out know shows the waste fraud and abuse in federal contracting. "Fortune" magazine went in with a really a terrific piece, an investigation of six months that just showed what it a joke it is on the local level. They set up these land use commissions and land use studies, the -- then they cancel them and set up other ones, hire new consultants. Then can't -- and it said, you know, there is just this desperate lack of political will and political leadership because it takes some tough decisions, especially in New Orleans where you have got to come up with a footprint, a place, a where you are really going to rebuild and it's going to take tough decision making wants you to want Rudy Giuliani to go in there and crack heads and you are still not seeing it.

BARNES: They got plenty of money.

HUME: So, what's the political effect of this now? Is this a an issue that just -- a residual drag on the Bush administration and therefore on some extent of the Republicans? Or does it not affect the race in the fall?

BARNES: Well in Louisiana, ironically, it actually helps them because of the people who left and aren't coming back are Democrats, I mean New Orleans, the city of New Orleans has changed completely, it used to be -- demographics there used to have huge Democratic vote that would allow Democrats to win statewide so many times. It's gone now, so in that one sense, it's helped Republicans. But, you know, it's still a minor nick for President Bush.

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