THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, WASHINGTON TIMES; MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT TAPED: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2010 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 2-3, 2010
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Revving Millennials.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) Now is not the time to give up. We do not quit. And we cannot forget that this nation has been through far worse and we have come out stronger, from war to depression to the great struggle for equal rights and civil rights. (Cheers, applause.) We do not quit.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In the 2008 presidential election, young voters under the age of 30 propelled Barack Obama to the U.S. presidency. Then 51 percent of voters aged 18 to 30 cast their ballots for Mr. Obama by a margin of 34 points. That's why the president was revving up the Badgers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at a DNC rally broadcast to 100 other college campuses. With four weeks to go before election day, the president has his work cut out for him. A Battleground poll conducted last week put the following question: Quote: "Do you think President Obama has performed his job as president well enough to deserve re-election?" unquote. Thirty-eight percent said Obama deserved re-election -- 38 percent.
But despite that low number, there may be good news for Democrats. In a recent Gallup poll conducted last week, Democrats have caught up to Republicans in the generic congressional ballot. When asked whether they would vote for a Democratic congressional candidate or a Republican congressional candidate in their district, 46 percent of those polled picked a Democratic candidate. This is exactly the same percentage as those who picked a Republican candidate.
Question: Will President Obama be able to rally voters and save the Democrats from a November blowout? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, the Democrats are going to have a major defeat, John; there's no doubt about it. But I will say this. The Democrats are in better shape than they were in August when they had that mosque thing, the mosque down there at Ground Zero. And Obama has done pretty well in his campaigning.
The Republicans made a mistake, I think, putting out this new contract with America. They broke into their own message. And there's a lot of races -- California, the Republicans are slipping; Maryland governorship, the Republicans are losing that; the tea-party princess is not in great shape up there in Delaware. But the Republicans are doing well in Wisconsin and some of these other states.
So where I think we're at, John, is people are talking about 60 seats. They ain't going to get 60. But I think it's still 50-50 or better that the Republicans are going to take the House. I do not expect them right now to take the Senate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, tell us why that's not true.
MS. CLIFT: Well, there are glimmers of hope out there for the Democrats. And I'm glad that the president has finally gotten off the mat and is fighting back. He's gotten more confrontational. And it's good practice for after the election, because there will be more Republicans in Congress and he's going to have to get more confrontational.
I think his whole shtick of "Let's all get along" only works if you have the other party willing to get along. And the Republican Party has not been willing to reach across the aisle. And the new tea-party types who are going to be in Congress are going to be even less willing to work with the president. So he's got to get out there and be a fighter and inspire the people. All those young people aren't going to turn out in the midterm. Historically that just doesn't happen.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's changed --
MS. CLIFT: But enough of them might that they might limit the damage.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's changed his game. Is it too late?
MS. CLIFT: It's never too late if you're president, and he's going through a --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's got four weeks to go.
MS. CLIFT: -- transformation in the White House with some personnel, and he'll have to readjust.
MS. CROWLEY: I have this vision of Barack Obama sitting, Howard Hughes-like, in a dark room in the White House late at night, wrapped in ratty bathrobe, watching endless reels of the 2008 campaign, saying, "How did we do it? How can we recapture that magic?"
One of the things -- one of the many things, actually, that Barack Obama's campaign did brilliantly in '08 was mobilizing the youth vote. And what he has done literally over the last week is gone out to these college campuses, broadcasting his rallying speeches to all of these college campuses, about a thousand across the country, to try to re-energize the kids and get the kids out. That was David Plouffe's territory. Plouffe is now back working with the White House on these campaigns. They did that brilliantly.
And this is one thing that Republicans have not been able to really capitalize on -- social media, Facebook, Twitter. I mean, in '08 John McCain was trying to campaign with smoke signals while the Obama campaign was out there using all of the social media.
The other thing that Obama is doing -- and I think probably it's not so great in the way to run a campaign, but I think it's being effective, which is that he's playing the identity-politics card. He's triggering blacks, he's triggering women and he's triggering the unions. Those are the Democratic core constituencies. He's rallying them. He's telling them to get out. And frankly, it's working, because you're starting to see, according to that generic ballot, that the race is really tightening.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Even if he could, according to the figures I have here, turn out liberals, African-Americans, Hispanics and young voters, the coalition that won in 2008 has been whittled down to size. It isn't going to be enough to turn the tide in 2010. Do you think they could? MS. CROWLEY: I think he's going to be able to mobilize a portion of those constituencies that came in huge numbers in '08, not the extent he needs them. But remember, on the other side, it's going to be balanced by older voters who typically always vote in midterm elections but are going to come out in droves because they are horrified by Obamacare and the state of the economy.
MS. CLIFT: And a lot of Republican money. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the intensity gap between Republicans and Democrats. The intensity on the side of the Republicans is 66 percent. The GOP are very interested in the race; only 50 percent for Democrats. That's a 16 percent intensity gap driving the Republicans.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think that's an important, very important factor in the midterm elections. What I think is also going to be very important is the fact that a lot of these people are still going to have a lot of very difficult economic news between now and the election time. And that's going to drive a lot of people to go out and vote.
I don't think -- I don't want to underestimate Obama as a campaigner. I don't think it's going to be nearly enough to turn the tide. The only question is, how big will the Republican victory be? And the question is, will they get enough to capture the House? And how many Senate seats will they be able to capture?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Obama --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The anger out there is against both parties. But when they go to vote, they vote against the incumbent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there -- in the good rhetoric of Obama, where he performed as he did in that videotape piece at the top, is there a sense on the part of the electorate "Been there, done that; yes, you're good, but you are not a leader"?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, absolutely. I think not only -- it's not only that he's not a leader. He hasn't delivered. Whatever the level of expectations were when he was elected, they were much higher at that point.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, this is not a pro-GOP --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And I think, therefore, it's going to be very difficult. MR. BUCHANAN: This is not a pro-GOP election at all. Of course, that's out at Madison, Wisconsin --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean by that?
MR. BUCHANAN: What I mean is people are voting against. They're coming out to vote against Obama --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's the intensity factor.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- Pelosi and Reid and debts and deficits and unemployment. And this is why the Republicans made a terrible mistake. The party of no was winning, and so they come out here and say, "Look, here's the things we're going to do," put a target on their back, interrupted their own momentum.
MS. CLIFT: Right. They --
MR. BUCHANAN: This is an anti --
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Wait, hold on.
MS. CLIFT: They should have just stood aside and let it be a referendum on the Democrats.
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.
MS. CLIFT: Instead, they put their extreme proposals out there.
MR. BUCHANAN: It wasn't extreme. It was mush. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: Well, yeah --
MR. BUCHANAN: The extremists didn't like it. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: The candidates around the country are running on the extreme proposals. You're right.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, we --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Self-identified --
MR. BUCHANAN: We disagree --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Self-identified conservatives -- listen to this number -- the largest bloc of voters, conservatives are the new majority. Forty-two percent say they are conservatives; 35 percent moderates. Twenty percent say they're liberals.
MR. BUCHANAN: The key, John, is conservatives don't agree with each other except on getting rid of Obama and Reid and Pelosi. If the Republicans stay on that, they win. MS. CROWLEY: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: If we start getting into "Should we support" --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Hold on, please.
The Biden blame game.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: (From videotape.) There's some on the Democratic base, not the core of it, that are angry because we didn't get every single thing they want. And so those who don't get -- didn't get everything they wanted, it's time to just buck up here.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Before he said "buck up," he said something else: "Stop whining."
MS. CROWLEY: "Stop whining."
MR. BUCHANAN: But that's foolish.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Let's get to the point here. Is he laying the foundation for a blame game, namely blaming the left if they lose?
MR. BUCHANAN: They're his own people. They're his strongest people.
MS. CLIFT: He's trying to get --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't understand.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: He needs them. You don't get these people by yelling at them --
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- and blaming them. You want them to come out, you know, and support you. That's not the way to get them out. You can't provoke them that way.
MS. CLIFT: Right. They need to be bucked up.
MR. BUCHANAN: Inspired.
MS. CLIFT: But the point he's trying to get across is if people -- if liberals stay home because they're disappointed, they will get a choice that is worse than the one they have now. So just as his economic plan is "It would have been worse without my economic plans, if you don't vote for me, it'll be worse with the other guy." It's a complicated argument to make.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right, but he's saying -- he's saying, "You liberals better get on your game, because if you don't, you're going to drive me to the centrists and you're going to drive me to the Republicans to get things done." That's what he's saying to them.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I don't think he's going to drive them to the Republicans. It would cripple them.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: When he has an appeal -- when he had an appeal as a candidate, it was that he would be a unifier. He became a divider.
MR. BUCHANAN: It was hope.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: What this is going to do, it's going to make him a divider again.
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: John, I take particular pleasure in reminding both President Obama and Vice President Biden, who both used the phrase "buck up," that the last president to regularly use that phrase to rally his troops was Pat Buchanan. No, it was Richard Nixon.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You got Pat confused with Richard Nixon.
MS. CROWLEY: No, no. I was looking at Pat because we both worked for President Nixon at different times.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I worked for him. MS. CROWLEY: Nixon used to use the phrase "buck up." Look, this election is a referendum on progressivism. Okay, progressivism has destroyed this economy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean liberalism.
MS. CROWLEY: It has taken it -- no, I'm talking about progressivism.
MS. CLIFT: No, no, no, no, no.
MS. CROWLEY: And what Eleanor refers to as extreme policies in the pledge, we're talking about cutting taxes, limiting government, cutting the deficit --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CROWLEY: -- cutting the national debt.
MS. CLIFT: I was --
MS. CROWLEY: And, by the way --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let Eleanor in.
MS. CLIFT: Do not misquote me, please.
MS. CROWLEY: Let me just finish my point.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, what's your point?
MS. CLIFT: Do not misquote me.
MS. CROWLEY: You said --
MS. CLIFT: I was talking about extreme policies that Republican candidates are running on that the Republican leaders on Capitol Hill --
MS. CROWLEY: Okay, let me --
MS. CLIFT: -- don't want to be part of.
MS. CROWLEY: To further clarify, let me just get back on my point --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Please relinquish.
MS. CROWLEY: The extreme policies that she was referring to are limited government, lowering the tax burden, constitutional government, reducing the national debt and deficit --
MR. BUCHANAN: John -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --
MS. CROWLEY: -- not exactly radical.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Get in here, Pat. On a political probability scale, zero to 10, what is the probability that Obama will close the intensity gap with Republicans and motivate his 2008 coalition to buck up and turn out next month, zero to 10?
MR. BUCHANAN: To completely close it, it is a zero, John. Maybe he can make some marginal gains. But the real problem we're talking about here, Obama's great mistake was he misread an election which said, "Get rid of those Republicans and Bush" as a mandate for liberalism, for transformational change, that he never had. And because he's moved in that direction, he has lost the center.
MS. CLIFT: I disagree. He didn't act on the mandate he had from a 53 percent majority win. And he misread the public's desire for everybody to get along for thinking the Republicans might want to do that. And that failed completely.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MS. CROWLEY: He never --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.
MS. CLIFT: His opportunity to close the gap is probably two or three. But there's a march this weekend in Washington, and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert --
MR. BUCHANAN: That'll do it. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: -- could put the young people --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Colbert? Colbert? Is he in good odor?
MS. CLIFT: They're having a --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MS. CROWLEY: Look, Obama never reached out to the Republicans -- not on stimulus, not on health care, not on any of the issues the Republicans were trying to work with him on. So, look, that 42 percent conservative number, this is still a center-right nation. Obama has led this country from the far left. That's a real disconnect. That's a real problem.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your number?
MS. CROWLEY: I don't underestimate the Obama team's ability to mobilize young people, minorities -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MS. CROWLEY: -- and the unions. So I would say it's about two to three.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two to three?
MS. CROWLEY: Two to three.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I just have to say this. We are forgetting the fact that he had a failed economic policy and a health-care program that has the lowest level of support that anybody could have imagined for somebody who devoted so much time and energy to that.
The substance also counts, in addition to the ideology and the personality. I think it's between one and two.
MS. CLIFT: And that substance --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think --
MS. CLIFT: -- will be vindicated in the future, either in 2012 or in the future. He's done good things --
MS. CLIFT: He's done good things in this economy, with health care, and the stimulus plan in addition.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort is almost right. The answer is one.
Issue Two: You Got It?
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): (From videotape.) We get it. We get it. And this is why, when we outlined in here our Pledge to America, I can tell you, we are very serious about implementing our pledge.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: House Republicans have unveiled a 21-page manifesto, the Pledge to America. With its agenda, the pledge may deflate the Democratic rap against Republicans; namely, that the GOP is, quote, "the party of no," unquote -- no programs, nothing constructive.
The Boehner 21-page document promises that a Republican- controlled Congress will execute the following: One, cut spending; two, cement in place the Bush tax cuts at all levels, no class warfare; three, trim the U.S. government; four, sack Obamacare; five, put in GOP health care; six, pay down the catastrophic U.S. $13 trillion public debt. And -- get this -- any future bills, including budget items, must include exact words from the U.S. Constitution that justify the content of the proposed measure.
Question: What is the reaction of rank-and-file Republicans to the pledge? I ask you, Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: What a radical agenda -- constitutional government. Holy cow. I can see why the left is very threatened by this and thinks it's extreme. But it's not. Look, this pledge is a very good start for the GOP. One of the big reasons why they lost in 2006 and 2008 is because they went down this big-government, big-spending road. They lost touch with what they're supposed to stand for.
But again, this pledge -- I understand, heading into a big election, you don't want to go out there with some very aggressive, bold proposals by a balanced-budget amendment or a spending-limitation because you want to win in November. But after November, assuming they make big gains, they are going to have to come out with some much more aggressive --
MS. CLIFT: There's nothing extreme about that. It's full of platitudes. And it's an effort to try to coopt the tea-party emotions. And the tea-party candidates are running on positions -- they want to privatize Social Security and Medicare. They want to get rid of the Energy Department. And this document doesn't say a word about how they're going to go about doing these things. Everybody can say, "Let's cut the deficit." Doing it --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, it was a strategic disaster.
MS. CLIFT: Specifying programs is -- I agree with you; it's a disaster.
MR. BUCHANAN: It was a strategic disaster for this reason.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?
MR. BUCHANAN: First, the Republican Party had tremendous momentum going forward. So they interrupt it and they put this thing out. The very conservatives said, "This is a pile of mush." The Democrats said, "You're going back to the Bush policies." They attacked it. And folks like me, who were saying, "The party is really rolling along; why did you stop and interrupt this?"
In addition, John, do you know they put it on the air at the same time Obama was giving a speech, so that even on cable nobody saw their event?
MS. CLIFT: Well, that could be good. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think you're being too tough on them? MR. BUCHANAN: Look, John, they were --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think people like to hear what we just heard?
MR. BUCHANAN: The press says, "Come on, where's your plan? Where's your plan?"
MS. CROWLEY: Pat, they've got to win first.
MR. BUCHANAN: "Where's your plan?"
MS. CROWLEY: Pat, they've got to win first.
MR. BUCHANAN: "Here's our plan." And then they get clobbered.
MS. CLIFT: It's an effort to paper over the differences between the establishment Republicans. And John Boehner has been there. He was there for the first revolution. So this is not a new --
MS. CROWLEY: But there are a lot of --
MS. CLIFT: -- the new fresh --
MS. CROWLEY: -- new faces here.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: They're trying to capture the anger of the country on a couple of issues.
MR. BUCHANAN: They've got it, Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I know they have it, but they're trying to capture it, shall we say, if anything, from the tea party as well. But they want to at least make clear that they're the voice of that anger and not just another party.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think there is a unitive impact to what Boehner said, namely that there will be a fusion between tea party and them? Because what we just had up on the screen is very attractive to the tea party. It's not everything they want, but it is attractive and it pulls them closer so that there is a fusion between the two, because when it comes two years from now, if there's not a fusion, both the regulars and the irregulars may be out in the cold.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I agree. I think everything that he would like to accomplish -- of all the things, it's to get the tea party really to support the Republicans.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I just don't see where else they can go. There's no other vote for them. MR. BUCHANAN: On November 2nd there's going to be a war.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: The war for the soul of the Republican Party will start on November 2nd. You'll have -- I mean, we agree, for example --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why don't you see that building the fusion between the two?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the tea party has been taking down regular Republicans consistently. Quite frankly, these guys are trying -- you're right -- to capture it. They ought to get out of the way, ride this to victory, and then make your decisions on what you're going to do.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. A battle between the conservatives, the true conservatives, and the Republican dreaded establishment is going to be one that's worth the price of admission, that even people who support the Democrats -- okay, Democrats might lose, but this could be a lot of fun. This is going to be really entertaining.
MR. BUCHANAN: It certainly is. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So exit question. Let's get down to this political-fusion scale. Zero to 100 -- zero to 100 -- zero meaning no fusion whatsoever, and 100 meaning perfect fusion, copper and brass forming a single entity -- to what extent will the GOP and the tea party fuse by the presidential election?
MR. BUCHANAN: You just asked the question, John, as to whether or not the Republicans will provide the next president. Reagan's a 10. He did put all that rage and anger and everything together with the Republican establishment and did it. George Bush I didn't.
I think it's probably a four or a five, but it's going to take a -- it's going to take a Richard Nixon, frankly, or a Ronald Reagan to do it; both those skilled politicians.
MS. CROWLEY: Strong leader. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: I think all of the candidates in the Republican field are going to pander so far to the right that whoever gets the nomination, they'll be -- it will not be worth having. But there are some exceptions. I think -- I've just been to New Jersey, and I think Chris Christie is someone who could walk above the various factions and he could be one of those come-from-nowhere candidates. And I can't say that about anybody else --
MS. CROWLEY: Well, yeah, but --
MS. CLIFT: -- on the political horizon right now.
MS. CROWLEY: -- Chris Christie, whom I admire very much, is doing some of those radical things you were talking about -- cutting taxes, taking on the unions, doing pension reform, right up in the grill of the teachers' unions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to give me a number, zero to 100?
MS. CROWLEY: I would say --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fusion.
MR. BUCHANAN: Ten. (Laughs.)
MS. CROWLEY: -- it's about a 20. I would put it at 20 percent, because the tea party is not going to be coopted. What the tea party is doing is actually dragging the Republican Party back to its core principles. Whether or not the establishment in the GOP is going to be actually listening to and absorbing the lessons of the tea party is an open question, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the fusion number, Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, I think it's going to be 50 or 60. I think they know what they want. They want a conservative president. That's the only way they're going to get it in two years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is 85 out of 100 for fusion.
Issue Three: The Billionaires' Club.
If you're scanning the market for new friends, don't forget the rich. Here are the top 20 wealthiest Americans, along with their net worth in billions of dollars, as reported by Forbes Magazine in the October 11 issue: Gates, $54 billion; Buffett, $45 billion; Ellison, $27 (billion); Christy Walton, $24 (billion); Charles Koch and David Koch, $21.5 billion each; Jim Walton, $20.1 billion; Alice Walton, $20 (billion); Robson Walton, $19.7 (billion); Bloomberg, $18 (billion); Brin, $15 (billion); Page, $15 (billion); Adelson, $14.7 (billion); Dell, $14 (billion); Soros, $14.2 (billion); Ballmer, $13.1 (billion); Allen, $12.7 (billion); Bezos, $12.6 (billion); Chambers, $12.5; Paulson, $12.4 billion.
Forbes says that the wealth of our nation's most affluent people is an indicator of how well our nation, and to a larger degree how the whole world, is doing.
Question: Is the wealth of our nation's billionaires really an indicator, a clear index, of how much or how little the U.S. population is striving? I ask you, Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, thank you for throwing that question to me, John. (Laughter.) I really appreciate it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, please.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I do not --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Let's get this straight now. Okay, we're talking about Mort Zuckerman. Now, you appear as number 182 out of about 380, I think there are, billionaires in the 400 issue of the billionaires.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: All I can say is I don't agree with your question in the sense that I don't think it is a reflection of how well the country is doing. It is how well the country is doing for a lot of people who have the chance to do well in this country and start off with very little and can do very well at the end. And that's been my experience, and I think it's wonderful.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, let's take a look at the 19th century. The billionaires of those days would be, you know, Rockefeller, Harriman, James J. Hill, Carnegie. These were people that built the country enormously. A lot of these folks -- some of these folks are in gambling. They're in finance. They're in trade. They're in service. And I think that's a sign that the people are making all their money in things that don't necessarily --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- make a country more powerful.
MS. CLIFT: I'd like to see another --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Gates did not do it --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gates is not. Gates is right at the top.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The Waltons didn't do it.
MR. BUCHANAN: The Waltons --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: A lot of the people -- MR. BUCHANAN: The Waltons are killing mom-and-pop stores across America.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Listen, they changed and transformed the standard of living for a lot of Americans in terms of --
MR. BUCHANAN: But that is not the guys that built America.
MS. CLIFT: But I'd like to see another list. How much do these various people give to philanthropic ventures, like the Carnegies --
MS. CROWLEY: A lot.
MS. CLIFT: -- built our library system?
MS. CROWLEY: Bill Gates -- the Gates Foundation.
MS. CLIFT: Gates did. But there are a lot of people on that list I haven't heard of. And I'd also like to see their involvement in political exercises, because I know there are some prominent Democrats on that list. But the Koch brothers, who operate against --
MR. BUCHANAN: What did Soros --
MS. CLIFT: -- who operate against global climate change --
MR. BUCHANAN: What did Soros do to build America?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: What did what?
MR. BUCHANAN: Soros do to build America.
MS. CROWLEY: John, this is --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me just say this.
MS. CLIFT: He supported progressive candidates.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Do not underestimate the role of finance in America's growth and in America's role in the world.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, can we get back to the --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It is a huge industry in this country.
MR. BUCHANAN: But it's gotten too big a part of America. That's the problem. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can we get back to the question I put originally? Is this a barometer? It takes billionaires to produce the purchasing power that --
MR. BUCHANAN: No, because the standard of living of the average American has been falling or stagnant for years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The middle class depends on the purchasing power of billionaires. True or false?
MR. BUCHANAN: That is false -- false as it can be.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: True or false?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: False.
MS. CLIFT: Well, and the distance between the very rich and the poor -- in the District of Columbia, where I live, they just did a survey. I think it's the median income is $87,000. And 40 percent of the children are in poverty. If the median income is $87,000, there are a lot of people at the top making humongous sums of money, because that is not the median income in the District.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Doesn't it take private capital to create jobs?
MS. CROWLEY: Yes.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And doesn't private capital depend upon --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- the billionaires to a great extent, to a considerable extent?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: To some extent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The purchasing power that they have -- the billionaires --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: But the private capital comes from our financial system, where you can raise private capital and entrepreneurial capital for good ideas.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think after the election, John -- we've been talking -- I think the tea party and the war party, which wants to go to war against Iran, I think you could have real problems there, because a lot of these tea-party folks, I think, are not anxious for any more interventions. And some of them are "Come home, America" people. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Anti-interventionists.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tea party.
MR. BUCHANAN: Tea party.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Dynamite.
MS. CLIFT: California is coming home to the Democrats. And the revelation that Meg Whitman had hired an illegal alien for nine years and kind of looked the other way is dealing her -- will deal her campaign a deadly blow.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She denies it.
MS. CLIFT: Well, she can't deny that this woman worked for her.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you see her on TV denying it?
MS. CLIFT: And there's an exchange of documents --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She looked very authentic.
MS. CLIFT: Well, her husband said that maybe he did see the documentation from the IRS about it.
MS. CROWLEY: Well, we don't know --
MS. CLIFT: So we'll see.
MS. CROWLEY: -- the whole story and we don't know all of the facts.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your point? Quickly, quickly. We've got two seconds.
MS. CROWLEY: Irish debt is causing another crisis for the Eurozone. It's going to put enormous pressure on the EU to bail out Ireland the way they did Greece.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, we're out of time. Quickly.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: President Ahmadinejad is going to go to Syria in two weeks. Look for the Hezbollah people to try and destabilize the country after he leaves Syria. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: After he leaves Lebanon; excuse me.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that Syria will unlock the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.