THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, WASHINGTON TIMES; JAMES WARREN, NEW YORK TIMES TAPED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 4-5, 2010
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Data Base Data Abuse.
SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: (From videotape.) Whatever are the motives in disseminating these documents, it is clear that releasing them poses real risks to real people, and often to the very people who have dedicated their own lives to protecting others.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The 220 documents that the secretary of State refers to were released by WikiLeaks this past Sunday. It was the first batch of more than a quarter of a million documents yet to come. WikiLeaks is, of course, a website, WikiLeaks.org. The stated mission of WikiLeaks.org is to expose the inner workings of governments and corporations and to promote transparency generally. WikiLeaks does not believe in government secrecy under any circumstance. Structurally, WikiLeaks is made up of many decentralized groups in scattered locations that collaborate on projects. The recent document dump reveals sensitive U.S. diplomatic correspondence. Many of the documents discuss strategy in the war on terror. This includes backroom deals between U.S. diplomats and foreign diplomats, even leaders. Other documents reveal uncomplimentary or, some say, offensive comments about certain heads of state.
The documents also expose precarious situations the U.S. faces in political hot spots, such as Iran, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan. Some say the leaks have the potential for great diplomatic fallout, bad or good. German newspaper Der Spiegel calls the leak, quote, "a political meltdown for U.S. foreign policy," unquote.
Question: What is the most shocking aspect of these disclosures? Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, this is the Pearl Harbor of American diplomacy. You've destroyed the utility of an awful lot of American diplomats. You've damaged severely relations with Putin's Russia, with the Turks especially, with Argentina and other countries. You've injured the credibility of the secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who comes off as paranoid, asking her own diplomats to grab, you know, account records of friendly diplomats.
But the worst things, John, I think, are the revelation that a number of Arab leaders and others, including Harari, the president or prime minister of Lebanon, whose father was assassinated by Hezbollah, which is an agent of Iran, or allegedly assassinated, he has said you've got to go to war against Iran. He is now a direct target, in my judgment, for potential assassination by Hezbollah, which is right in the cabinet with him.
John, this is -- the only good news out of this is this character Assange is now in the same crosshairs that he has put thousands of our sources and dozens of our diplomats.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, is Pat overstating it?
MS. CLIFT: He's way overstating it. This isn't a good thing from the point of view of American diplomacy, because it does constrain diplomats going forward in their candor as they describe situations and other people. But this does lift the curtain on some of the dealings.
And I must say, in this particular administration there's not much of a gap between what they say publicly and how they're dealing privately. The Pentagon Papers, of course, came out about the Nixon era and the LBJ era, and they were pretty shocking. And I think if we -- some of this does go back to the Bush era. But I don't think there are really anything here that endangers national security. It's mostly an embarrassment.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Doesn't the public really kind of expect diplomats to behave this way?
MS. CROWLEY: The American public expects diplomats to do and say one thing in public and do and say completely different things in private.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So he's overstating it.
MS. CROWLEY: No, I -- well, look, I think it does endanger American lives. I think it does put at risk those who are around the world trying to cooperate with the United States to advance our interests around the world. But in terms of substance, there really wasn't anything that was all that shocking in this. This is kind of much ado about the obvious, like it's a big shock that Saudi Arabia is funding al Qaeda or that the Chinese are facilitating the North Koreans and helping Iran with its nuclear arsenal. None of this comes as a shock.
But I think what is shocking to the American people is not the anti-American anarchist, Julian Assange. And I do believe his act was an act of sabotage against the United States. I think what comes as the biggest shock is the fact that the original leaker was an Army private first class, Bradley Manning. This is somebody within our own intelligence apparatus in the United States Army. He's the real -- not to excuse what Assange did, but Manning is the ultimate villain in this case. And I think that's what comes as the biggest shock.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: James Warren, welcome. I like the shirt, but this is not Halloween.
MR. WARREN: I think this is the online two for one from the Tony Blankley memorial collection. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've got to work on the suits now.
MR. WARREN: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the answer to this question?
MR. WARREN: The answer to the question --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he overstating it?
MR. WARREN: Pat's way overstating it. This is less Pearl Harbor, more Mary Poppins. It's an interesting window onto some of our toughest, biggest decisions impacting Americans, including over two wars. And I think, as Eleanor suggests, that it's pretty darn benign when one sees how our diplomats have been acting. I think they come off as pretty smart, pretty thoughtful. Now, as far as the bigger surprises, I would say the utter duplicity of many of the Arab nations, who tell us privately about, "Yeah, bomb Iran, bomb Iran," but don't have the nerve to tell --
MS. CROWLEY: But we all know that.
MR. WARREN: -- to tell their own people. And then also I find fascinating the utter ignorance about that wacky country of North Korea. Even the Chinese don't really understand what's going on.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MR. WARREN: We don't know what's going on.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. WARREN: We don't know about their plutonium enrichment.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, this is astonishing.
MR. WARREN: The amount of ignorance that is underscored is amazing.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The WikiLeaks revealed that China is quite unhappy with North Korea.
MR. BUCHANAN: There's a lot of phoniness in there. But, John, this is -- what's astonishing, look at what we did with -- we had Valerie Plame, you know, an analyst named in the CIA. You have all the grand juries. Look, John, this is -- look, take -- the king of Saudi Arabia is calling for a war on Iran. Okay, we know they maybe were pushing for it. If there's a war in Iran, what do you think is going to happen to these guys in the Arab world?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, let's move it on.
MS. CLIFT: Well -- MR. BUCHANAN: Are they going to talk to America?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Eleanor. I'll go right back to you.
Okay, WikiLeaks leaker. The leaker of WikiLeaks is said to be military intelligence specialist Private Bradley Manning. He is in federal custody and is charged with distributing classified information to a third party. But the U.S. government wants to arrest the webmaster himself, WikiLeaks director Julian Assange, a native and citizen of Australia. But the case against Assange is difficult to make.
PETE WILLIAMS (NBC News): (From videotape.) As surprising as it may seem, when it comes to the website, there is no federal law that explicitly covers something like this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It is not clear what law, if any, WikiLeaks has broken. Espionage laws, laws against spying, have never been used to incriminate a publisher. Federal prosecutors are arguing that Assange is protected by the First Amendment, freedom of speech. Prosecutors are looking to present him not as a publisher but as a third party. This may shore up the legal case against him.
Question: Can Assange be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act? Eleanor Clift.
MS. CLIFT: Well, the courts have significantly narrowed that particular act, and I think it would be very difficult to prosecute him. And I somehow don't think they're going to spend the effort to go after him because he's not the real problem. There could be other people like him if this material is so easily accessed. I think that's what we have to get to.
MR. WARREN: Yeah, it is --
MS. CLIFT: But I want -- Pat mentioned Valerie Plame. I'm not sure whether you were trying to say there's an equivalence here, but --
MR. BUCHANAN: What I'm saying is that --
MS. CLIFT: -- Valerie Plame -- we're dealing with assets around the world.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What were you trying to say?
MS. CLIFT: We have undercover operatives.
MR. BUCHANAN: What I'm trying to say --
MS. CLIFT: And people's lives were put at risk. MR. BUCHANAN: John, what I'm trying to say is one analyst was named, okay? We now have 250,000 documents, thousands of secret documents, some for non-foreign distribution. And you tell me one guy, Bradley Manning, with one little computer, got all these out of one area and leaked those? What is going on? Something is drastically wrong in the Pentagon and in the security apparatus of the United States.
MS. CLIFT: It's called the computer age, and we haven't gotten a handle on it yet. (Laughs.)
MR. WARREN: You're correct. The difference is too many people have access to that stuff; a problem of the Internet world. I absolutely agree. But this ain't a Valerie Plame situation. And again, I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's Valerie Plame?
MR. WARREN: Oh, come on. Valerie Plame was --
MS. CROWLEY: We don't want to relitigate this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't relitigate it. Just identify --
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) -- go see "Fair Game," "Fair Game" the movie, they'll learn all about Valerie Plame.
MR. WARREN: Former CIA official who was outed during, you know, the illegal conflagration which involved the Scooter Libby case and --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Her husband being whom?
MR. BUCHANAN: Wilson.
MS. CLIFT: Joe Wilson.
MR. WARREN: Joe Wilson; both memorialized in a Hollywood movie. But as far as Mr. Assange --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wilson was a member of the CIA.
MR. WARREN: As far as Mr. Assange, there's no way; not a former government official, not a U.S. citizen. You're not going to get anything done with him. And again, despite what Pat says, I think ultimately this is a window onto some pretty thoughtful diplomacy by most of the American officials.
MS. CROWLEY: You have Republicans and Democrats, including Dianne Feinstein, who is the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, calling for Assange to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. I think it's probably unlikely. In fact, the attorney general, Eric Holder, this week gave kind of a vague assurance that there would be a prosecution. But it looks unlikely. The problem here in the Internet age is that Julian Assange didn't do this by himself.
So even if you lock him up, he's got countless people working for him. They will find another Assange to do it. Even if they lock down WikiLeaks, then another --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --
MS. CROWLEY: -- website will pop up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which is worse, that these documents leaked or that our own government made it so easy to leak them by bundling them into a computer data base that was accessible to thousands of government employees?
MR. BUCHANAN: The incompetence of the United States government in securing its national-security secrets is appalling. If this came out of the Pentagon, are all our war plans and military plans easily accessible as well?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: The bundling is the result of 9/11 and the feeling that all the information was in silos and people weren't sharing. Now they've shared, and maybe they've overshared. But, you know, I don't think this is incompetence. This is, again, the hurdles of the new age that we're living in.
MS. CROWLEY: Well, the biggest scandal, again, is that an Army private first class would have access to this kind of level of classified information and enough that he could download it on a Lady Gaga CD while pretending to listen to the CD and then pass it off to WikiLeaks is an outrage.
MR. WARREN: Lady Gaga finally makes it into this discussion. Good to see. The easy access to this information is unfortunate, but the substance of this information is fine; good it's out there. And I think, in many ways, it shows that the Obama folks have been doing a pretty good job. There's nothing in here, you guys, about secret renditions, about secret prisons, about torture.
MR. BUCHANAN: How about Hillary Clinton spying on --
MR. WARREN: It's a lot of Foreign Service guys -- MR. BUCHANAN: -- spying on friendly diplomats?
MR. WARREN: -- basically doing in private what the Obama administration says they wanted to do in public.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's clear what the government has to do, the federal government, and that is, compartmentalize this information. Don't band it together; make it an easy theft.
Issue Two: Obama Visits Afghanistan.
PETER GALBRAITH (former U.N. deputy envoy to Afghanistan): (From videotape.) Who are the police? They are illiterate villagers, many of them users of drugs, who come in. They have a six-week training course. How can you treat -- teach somebody to read and write, to be a policeman, to defend themselves, in six weeks? It just isn't possible.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's not only Hamid Karzai's inner circle that is corrupt. It's also his regime. Case in point: The Afghan police force. Beyond that, it has metastasized like cancer. This Monday, an Afghan police officer shot and killed six American troops. The killer was putatively a stand-in for al Qaeda. It is said to be the worst single-day attack in the history of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.
Question: Is Afghanistan -- is Afghanistan Obama's Vietnam? Monica.
MS. CROWLEY: Well, Afghanistan is now our longest-running conflict after Vietnam. And Obama, when he announced the surge last year, he also simultaneously announced the withdrawal, which a lot of military and political strategists thought was a huge mistake because it signals to the enemy that the United States is not fully committed to Afghanistan.
Now the timetable is shifting. We have the secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, the secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, and even Obama now starting to say that it's more like 2014 rather than July of next year when we'll really start to begin a drawdown. I think that's actually optimistic.
Now that President Obama is fully committed to Afghanistan, he's invested in it with the troop surge. I think David Petraeus, the general in charge there, is going to make it both politically and militarily very difficult for the commander in chief to begin withdrawing according to his original time line.
MS. CLIFT: Well, the 2011 date was always kind of a sliding date. They may send home six troops in a truck or something. I think he will keep the promise, the letter of the promise. But 2014 is the data that NATO raised -- MR. WARREN: But it's not --
MS. CLIFT: -- and that is a real date.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also 2011 --
MS. CLIFT: That is a real date.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- also 2012, also 2013 and into -- and Petraeus is saying, "We will begin the exit at the end of 2014." What is that?
MR. BUCHANAN: Let me tell you something. That's ridiculous.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, the outsider-insider on Iran -- Afghanistan -- Vladimir Putin. The prime minister of the Russian federation, Vladimir Putin, appeared last Wednesday night on "Larry King Live."
(Begin videotaped segment.)
LARRY KING (CNN "Larry King Live"): The former USSR spent nine years fighting in Afghanistan. Do you think the United States will do any better in Afghanistan?
RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER VLADIMIR PUTIN (through interpreter): I would think that the international coalition in Afghanistan today is carrying out an important and positive mission.
(End videotaped segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But Russia's commitment does not mean combat forces.
PRIME MINISTER PUTIN (through interpreter): (From videotape.) We cannot and shall not be present there militarily ourselves, but we'll be rendering assistance to the American partners and other partners of the international coalition in Afghanistan in various ways and means.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What kind of assistance?
PRIME MINISTER PUTIN (through interpreter): (From videotape.) We have agreed to ensure transit, and we've been doing that, including not only by air, but also by surface.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Russia had 80,000 forces on the ground over the course of its nine years in Afghanistan. What's the strategic yield of that data for today?
PRIME MINISTER PUTIN (through interpreter): (From videotape.) We've been relating important, pertinent information, including we have got it through our special services. We count on the fact that this effort will bear positive fruit. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Why are the Russians cooperating in Afghanistan? James Warren.
MR. WARREN: Well, because they know the trouble that can, you know, stem from that in regions that are much more important to them. And it's as simple as that. They don't want, you know, terrorism to be heading off in places like the Caucacus.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, it's the North Caucasus is the problem.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the North Caucacus?
MR. BUCHANAN: Dagestan, Ingushetia, Chechnya, all in the North Caucacus, which is southern Russia right now. They've got wars going on, assassinations, murders. If the United States fails in Afghanistan, then the Taliban and the al Qaeda, they start moving more towards Russia. And the Russians are saying, "When you Americans bail on us, they're coming to us, so we'll help you out overland, everything." They're even supporting the American bases --
MS. CLIFT: And we also --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. I want to ask you a question. May I?
MS. CLIFT: All right. Okay.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to know why the president went over there for a few hours to talk, presumably, to Karzai.
MS. CLIFT: Because this is the month where he's reassessing his policy. He already spent an hour with Karzai a couple of weeks ago in Europe, so I don't think it's all about Karzai. But this is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Karzai says, "The United States has been over here for 10 years and they've accomplished nothing."
MR. BUCHANAN: It's about --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "I'm going to talk to the Taliban."
MR. BUCHANAN: It's WikiLeaks.
MS. CLIFT: It's WikiLeaks II, which is --
MR. BUCHANAN: It's what they did to Karzai.
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish. MS. CLIFT: It's WikiLeaks also, which is why the Russians are cooperating, because if you read those cables, this administration has been pretty deft in its dealings with Russia, which is why we need to pass the START II treaty, because it's another --
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --
MS. CLIFT: -- element of good will in that relationship.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Work your point into this exit question. On a quagmire scale, zero to 10 -- zero meaning no quagmire whatever, 10 meaning a total and complete quagmire -- how big is Obama's Afghan quagmire, zero to 10?
MR. BUCHANAN: It's about a nine, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A nine?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think we're going to have to get out of there, and I think we're going to lose the war. And Obama is over there because Karzai was completely trashed in the WikiLeaks thing. And my guess is that Karzai is looking to cut a deal --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did WikiLeaks say about Karzai?
MR. BUCHANAN: It said -- the diplomats we've got over there said the guy was crooked and paranoid.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but Vice President Biden went over and reamed him out two years ago. And there have been all sorts of news articles about the fact that he's unbalanced. So this is hardly news.
MS. CLIFT: I put -- on a scale of one to 10, I'd say it's hovering around a four.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
MS. CROWLEY: I would say it's about a six or seven; could be tilting into an eight. Look, the reason that the United States is there is twofold: One, because al Qaeda and the Taliban used that as a base of operations to launch 9/11, and we don't want to see them using that territory again to launch terrorist attacks against us or our allies; and number two, which we haven't discussed, is Pakistan.
MS. CLIFT: That's not why the Russians --
MS. CROWLEY: No, we're talking about us and our commitment to Afghanistan. And it's because of Pakistan, John, because that is an increasingly unstable state with nuclear weapons -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The consensus of the American --
MS. CROWLEY: -- and a fundamentalist, a serious fundamentalist problem.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The consensus of the American people want us out of there.
MR. WARREN: The answer -- Eleanor is right. The answer is four. And it's not Vietnam. We're not being lied to. We're not going to escalate the amount of troops we have. And if we have any notion of ferreting out all that corruption, that surely is a fool's errand. As the cables make clear, there's one guy who's caught going to the United Arab Emirates with $52 million in cash.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's at least a seven, and climbing.
Issue Three: The Moment of Truth.
ERSKINE BOWLES (co-chair, National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform): (From videotape.) Our goal in this whole process has been really simple, and it's basically been to start an adult conversation here in Washington about the dangers of this debt and the deficits we are running.
ALAN SIMPSON (co-chair, National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform): (From videotape.) We will listen now in the next few days to the same old crap I've been dealing with in all my public life -- emotion, fear, guilt and racism. They're going to rip this thing to shreds, and do it with zeal.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The presidential commission's report is titled "The Moment of Truth." And for Washington it's existentially the moment of truth. Co-chairs of the 10-month-old commission, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, released their 59-page report Wednesday. It promises nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction, saving for the U.S. in the next nine years, through 2020.
Question: The final vote of the debt commission on Friday was 11 yea, seven nay. What signal did this failure to win support send? Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Well, they needed 14 to go ahead and present it to Congress. They got 11. But that's 60 percent of the 18, and that's far better than anyone dreamed they would. They got conservative senators like Tom Coburn, Senator Crapo, liberal like Senator Durbin. This is the beginning of a serious debate. I think the president will incorporate some of this in his budget. The Republicans will incorporate some of it. I think people are finally getting serious.
MR. BUCHANAN: The very fact that you only got 11 votes tells you that on the Republican side they're going to fight any taxes. The Democrats are going to fight any social spending. It says we've got deadlock in Washington.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MS. CROWLEY: Yeah. It came out with a couple of really good ideas on tax simplification and reform, and also on taking an ax to Social Security. But its fatal flaw was not dealing with Obamacare, presuming that that would go forward, and also they started from the Obama excessive-government-spending baseline.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MS. CROWLEY: So any of the cuts that they're talking about are not particularly significant.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will the report live on?
MS. CROWLEY: I think -- I agree with Eleanor on this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes or no?
MR. WARREN: Yes.
MS. CROWLEY: I believe it begins a real adult conversation.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It will live on.
MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) Yes.
MS. CROWLEY: It will live on.
MS. CLIFT: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It will live on. It will live on. It will live on.
Issue Four: Good News, Bad News.
Will the U.S. economy finish out 2010 on a good note? Let's take a look at some of the numbers. Here's the good news.
Item: Manufacturing up for the 16th consecutive month.
Item: Stock market. The market soared this week. Performance was terrific, best since July. Item: Retail sales up by 5.8 percent thanks to Black Friday shopping. It was the biggest jump in retail sales since November 2007, three years ago.
Okay, the not-so-good news.
Item: Unemployment up from 9.6 to 9.8 percent. That's two- tenths of a point jump. Fifteen-point-one million Americans are unemployed; only 39,000 jobs added last month, November. But in the month before that, October, 172,000 jobs were added.
Question: What other bad news are we facing beyond continuing high unemployment? Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, the real fear we've got is, I think, this European bank crisis, this debt crisis continues, and it moves to Portugal and Spain and Italy. If that's the case, the Eurozone collapses, and I think it leaps the Atlantic and we're back into a financial crisis. That is number one.
As for the unemployment, it may not be that bad a news for this reason. It could be folks who have given up looking for work are now coming back looking for work. I think there's general good news, John. But out in the country there is generally positive news out there. It's perking.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to -- I want to know why it jumps back to the United States from the Eurozone. Is it because the Eurozone is our biggest trading --
MR. BUCHANAN: No, no. It's because --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- partner? And that is, they buy more of our exports than anyone.
MS. CROWLEY: No, it's because the European Union has the world's biggest economy. So when a major domino falls -- and all of this, by the way, is contingent on Germany. Germany is almost single-handedly holding up the European continent. But getting back to the United States --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean the bank failure over there will spread to here.
MS. CROWLEY: It could. I think that's what --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But is it not also a result of the trade component?
MS. CROWLEY: Yes, that's part of it. But also here in the United States you have a lot of contradictory economic indicators. On the one hand, you've got inflation happening in food and energy prices, but you have deflation continuing in the housing sector. Unemployment, that is the most politically toxic element of this entire economic equation.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's get into what's coming, and that's tax cuts.
HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): (From videotape.) The motion is adopted.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On Thursday, the House passed a bill extending lower- and middle-class income-tax cuts. The bill permits upper- income tax cuts to expire, however, at the end of 2010, December 31, four weeks from now. Beginning January 1, 2011, incomes of $200,000 or more for singles, $250,000 for married couples, will then be subject to tax hikes if the Senate so legislates. The House vote on Thursday is not, by any means, the end of the process.
Question: Is the vote of the House Democrats largely symbolic, James?
MR. WARREN: Answer: Yes. And closer to home, with all due respect to England -- I mean, Ireland and Portugal and all the problems there, I mean, as Monica says, you still have 10 percent unemployment. You still have a deflationary situation in the housing market spiraling.
I can attest, having an 18-month-old who was just in the ICU at a hospital, to rising health-care costs, which are just absolutely outrageous, and people still spending, nobody saving. And look around at the states -- state of Illinois, $13 billion debt, $80 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. California's on the precipice. New Jersey's on the precipice. Texas is on the precipice.
Pat, with all due respect to your populist wanderings around the country, it's still --
MS. CLIFT: Well, beyond --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Hold on. Do you anticipate that the unemployment rate is going to continue to rise?
MR. WARREN: Yeah, I think it will rise. And I think you're also meeting some structural changes in some industries who are not going to be --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where will --
MR. WARREN: -- investing until they know things get better.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where will it peak? MR. WARREN: Well, in some states it's going to continue over 10 percent. It's been up in the Midwest for a while.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I think we're looking at -- we're looking at probably 10 percent-type unemployment for the next year. And these bad numbers, I think, are shocking the Congress and the White House, as they should. And I think this president is willing to do anything he can to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does Obama have -- does he have a jobs plan?
MR. BUCHANAN: No.
MS. CLIFT: He doesn't have a jobs plan that you can put on a bumper sticker --
MR. BUCHANAN: The stimulus is dead.
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. I think the question was posed to me.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The stimulus is dead?
MS. CLIFT: The question was posed to me.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead.
MS. CLIFT: He doesn't have a jobs plan that you can say and put on a bumper sticker.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gasoline national tax of 15 cents a gallon. It will not pass.
MR. BUCHANAN: Dead on arrival.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Dead on arrival.
MS. CLIFT: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Dead on arrival.
MS. CROWLEY: It will not pass.
MR. WARREN: Dead in your local showroom.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Dead on arrival.
Happy Hanukkah. Bye bye.