LOS ANGELES - This week, a journey from the U.S. Southern Border to the halls of power in Sacramento.
First, Elex Michaelson is joined by FOX News National Correspondent Bill Melugin who, over the past year, has spent more time at the southern border than any other network TV reporter. Melugin describes the crisis-level situation unfolding across the border, and how many foresee the crisis only worsening should the Biden administration repeal Title 42.
Michaelson is also joined by California Controller candidate Lanhee Chen. Chen, a Republican who has worked for leaders across the aisle, from President Barack Obama to then-Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was recently endorsed by the LA Times Editorial Board - the first statewide Republican the paper has endorsed in nearly a decade. Should Chen win in November, he would also be the first Republican to win statewide in the deep-blue Golden State since Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.
This week, Michaelson also heads to USC for the LA Times Festival of Books, where he catches up with Carl Bernstein, Max Greenfield, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Danny Trejo, and more.
THE ISSUE IS: THE CRISIS AT THE SOUTHERN BORDER
MELUGINS’S CENTRAL TAKE: "It's just out of control, and, you know, some of the things we see down there are just crazy - hundreds of people at a time crossing a river, you'll just be driving down a road and you'll see human smuggling incidents, all along the road you'll see Texas troopers arresting people... Just to give you some perspective on how bad it is, back when President Obama was in office, his DHS secretary, Jeh Johnson, said 1,000 illegal crossings a day would be a crisis. We're at 7,000 a day right now. And when Title 42 drops, DHS is projecting upwards of 18,000 a day. So that's 18 times what Jeh Johnson once said would be a crisis…"
THE ISSUE IS: THE LEAKED AUDIO OF HOUSE MINORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY
MELUGINS’S CENTRAL TAKE: "He's still very confident. He doesn't think this tape is going to have any impact on whether or not he would be elected as speaker if Republicans take the House in 2022. He doesn't think it's a big deal. And, you know, you've seen President Trump has come out in support of him, so he's looking to move past this, and, you know, we were just glad to be able to get him on the record - I believe it was his first on camera comments since that that tape was leaked... It was supposed to be a border trip, but, you know, there's other other news happened, so I wanted to ask him about it face to face…"
THE ISSUE IS: THE RACE FOR CALIFORNIA STATE CONTROLLER
CHEN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "The comptroller is the chief financial officer of the state, it's supposed to be the person who gives taxpayers accountability over every single dollar the state spends - think of the position as a fiscal watchdog job. So, really, the responsibility of the comptroller is to ask tough questions and make sure we get answers about where all of this money is going. That's why the notion of having somebody who's independent from the party in power is so important... I say the ideal controller needs to be a fiscal watchdog, not a lap dog for the other Sacramento insiders, and that's why this role traditionally should have been filled by somebody who's got some independence from everybody else…"
THE ISSUE IS: GETTING TO KNOW LANHEE CHEN
CHEN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "My parents are immigrants from Taiwan. They came over to the US in the 1970s. I grew up in Rowland Heights, which some of your viewers may be from there, and it's about 25 miles east of L.A. I went to local public high school, then had the good fortune to be able to get into Harvard University and went back there, got four degrees, including my Ph.D. in political science. Served in administrations in Washington, D.C. My wife and I have two kids, eight and 11. We moved back to the Bay Area, I've been at Stanford University for the last nine years. I've also built my own small business, helped to run a large health care system up here, so I've got an experience set at the intersection of policy-making and business and academics and understand the challenges we face as a state…"
The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to TheIssueIsShow.com.