Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, on Sunday's The McLaughlin Group, slammed the host for daring to use the term "illegal alien" in discussing the new proposed immigration bill. In her first chance to criticize McLaughlin, after he used the phrase in a pre-taped piece, the long-time panelist griped: "And I would also ask you, John, let's call them undocumented immigrants. Illegal aliens, I think is a rather offensive term."
The following exchange was aired on the April 28 edition of the syndicated McLaughlin Group:
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN in pre-taped piece on immigration proposals: As for the 11 million illegal aliens in the U.S. today the bill grants them conditional legal status and a path to citizenship.
ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK/THE DAILY BEAST: Well Senator [Charles] Schumer and Senator [John] McCain met with reporters last week and basically McCain said if they pass this [immigration] bill it's not gonna add a single Republican vote but it'll get Republicans back on the playing field where they can compete. You can't compete in a country where the Hispanics are gonna become the majority in some states and are such a crucial voting bloc. So there's political incentive on the Republican side. Americans for Tax Reform just did a poll among Republicans only. Two-thirds of Republicans support this bill as described.
You call it amnesty. I don't call it amnesty if you have to pay back taxes, you have to pay some pretty hefty fees and it's 13 years before you can become a citizen. But this does legalize people, gets them out of the shadows and strengthens our defenses frankly if you know who is in the country as opposed to just having people in the shadowy position. And I would also ask you, John, let's call them undocumented immigrants. Illegal aliens, I think is a rather offensive term.
PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR AND COLUMNIST: Or undocumented Democrats.
MCLAUGHLIN: Well they are both illegal and they are also alien. Oh come, come Eleanor, I mean this is not a birthday party we're having here.
-- Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Geoffrey Dickens on Twitter.