The McLaughlin Group
Host: John McLaughlin
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report;
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek/The Daily Beast;
Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner;
Paul Glastris, Washington Monthly
Taped: Friday, October 11, 2013
Broadcast: Weekend of October 12-13, 2013
Copyright © 2013 by Federal News Service, LLC, 1120 G Street NW, Suite 990, Washington, DC 20005-3801 USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, LLC. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Transcripts Database or any other FNS product, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-202-347-1400.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Debt Crisis? What Debt Crisis?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) Because it's called raising the debt ceiling, I think a lot of Americans think it's raising our debt. It is not raising our debt. This does not add a dime to our debt.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two issues have paralyzed Washington this month: The federal government shutdown, which began October 1, and the $16.7 trillion debt-ceiling limit, which the government will hit on October 17th unless Congress raises the debt limit.
President Obama and Speaker Boehner have been deadlocked over a clean debt-ceiling extension, meaning no spending cuts attached versus a messy debt-ceiling extension, meaning one with spending cuts or tax hikes attached.
On Thursday, House Republicans presented Mr. Obama with a proposal to end the debt-ceiling deadlock. Republicans will vote to raise the debt ceiling enough to last through November 22. In exchange, Mr. Obama will agree to negotiate with Republicans over spending cuts.
On Wednesday, the president met separately with House Democrats to prepare them for the coming compromises, according to Congressman Gerry Connolly, who was at the meeting. Connolly says Obama told House Democrats they, quote, "need to be prepared to give and take," unquote, and, quote, "We weren't going to win everything," unquote.
Financial markets cheered the breakthrough. The Dow rose 272 points moments after the breakthrough announcement. But the debt- ceiling proposal will not end the government shutdown. Republicans and Democrats remain at loggerheads over the 2014 federal budget.
Question: What made President Obama change his position on negotiating with the Republicans over the debt ceiling? Mort.
MORT ZUCKERMAN: Well, because I think it would have been a catastrophe for the country if they hadn't found some way to begin talking about it. And the country would have reacted in a plague on both your houses. And I think that's something he had to avoid if he's going to be president for the next three years.
We would have ended up in a real economic catastrophe that would have had reverberations for years and years to come that the United States is no longer good on its money and would no longer be the world's reserve currency. This would have been an absolute disaster for the United States. And I think they both more or less stepped back from the brink. But we're not through this crisis yet.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What happens if the debt reaches 190 percent of GDP?
ELEANOR CLIFT: I think that's big trouble, and that's why you see the Republicans basically backing off of their stand. You see the big-money donors and Small Business Administration people and Wall Street basically putting pressure on the Republicans.
And the Republican Party as we knew it is imploding over this issue. Their tactic of making the president agree to certain conditions before they open the government is wildly unpopular. And while it's not a zero-sum game, I don't see the Democrats winning in this environment. I think we all lose, because the faith in government is very costly.
But at this point, I think the Republicans want to take one hard vote, and they'll do that next week, to avoid defaulting on the debt ceiling. And it's hard for me to imagine that they're not going to open the government at the same time, because the political cost is just way too great of sticking with this position that they have, which is so unpopular.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the House Republicans' position on this?
SUSAN FERRECHIO: They're a little bit more flexible than they're letting on. I believe they will agree to reopen the government if they're going to have the opportunity for a larger deal on spending, entitlements, tax reform. That's what they're gunning for. That's what the mainstream part of the House Republican conference is really trying to achieve. And they have on their side Republicans in the Senate, including more moderate members like Susan Collins of Maine.
Given that, the deal I see happening is one that Eleanor was talking about. They have a short-term deal to raise the nation's borrowing limit till sometime in late November. And in the interim, they will agree to reopen the government with such changes to the health care law that they will put forward; the medical-device tax, which is unpopular; income verification for people seeking health care subsidies; changing what makes up a full-time employer, which would certainly affect the economy in the whole scheme of the new health care law. All of this will be packaged together.
And given the fact that the poll numbers for Republicans right now are terrible on this, I think you'll have an agreement. It'll end up on the House floor and it'll pass. It's in the best interest of Republicans and Democrats to stop this thing now, because every -- the poll numbers show everybody looks bad.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK --
MS. FERRECHIO: And -- (inaudible) -- means it's going to happen next week.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, debt crisis deniers.
If you think climate-change skepticism is unwarranted, consider the debt-crisis deniers. Debt skeptics say we can grow our way out of debt with more tax revenue. Not so, says Harvard University's Niall Ferguson in a recent column citing forecasts from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the CBO.
Last month the CBO published its 2013 long-term budget outlook, forecasting U.S. debt 25 years from now and beyond. Like climate- change projections, the CBO uses models based on current trends and likely future scenarios to forecast the national debt.
By 2038, 25 years from now, the debt may rise 73 percent of gross domestic product today, to as much as 190 percent of GDP, says the CBO. Unlike climate change, which has failed to heat up for the past 15 years, the federal debt outlook has worsened substantially since last year's CBO report.
If you think rising sea levels are bad, get a load of this. As debt rises, so will the percentage of the federal budget that goes to pay interest, from 8 percent today to 40 percent in 2072, even under the CBO's optimistic growth scenario.
Paul Glastris, does that send nervous chills up and down your spine?
PAUL GLASTRIS: Yeah, it certainly does. But if you read the CBO report, you'll realize -- and all the CBO reports on this issue, going back for several years, virtually the whole debt problem is a health care cost problem. If we can get health care costs under control, we don't have a long-term debt problem.
That's the thing that people are avoiding talking about. We talk about entitlements, reforming entitlements. We talk about -- we don't have an entitlement problem. We have -- it's like saying, you know, you have a leaky boat and it's full of people, and the way to fix the boat is to throw people off the boat. The way to fix the debt problem is to fix our long-term health care cost problem.
MS. FERRECHIO: How can you say that health care reform -- health care is not -- entitlements are not -- they're one in the same. Medicare is an entitlement.
MR. GLASTRIS: One is how you pay for it. The other drives the costs.
MS. FERRECHIO: Well --
MR. GLASTRIS: You don't control the cost of health care by paying less for it. You control the cost of health care by fixing the system itself.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Ten years ago --
MS. CLIFT: Well, Niall Ferguson has a very negative outlook. He goes, like, 50 years out. And I think if you go that far out, the solution is, which he concedes, is raising revenues -- i.e., taxes -- and cutting spending, which is the formula -- you know, Bowles- Simpson. How many times have we talked about that? It's going to be talked about in these upcoming talks between --
MR. GLASTRIS: That's right.
MS. CLIFT: -- Congress and the White House. And whether there's any give yet on the Republican side on taxes, we'll see.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, tough talk. Here's a sample of the level of discourse in the nation's capital this week.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) The only thing that I will say is that we're not going to pay a ransom for America paying its bills. We're willing to pass at least a short-term budget that opens up the government at current funding levels.
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): (From videotape.) What the president said today was if there's unconditional surrender by Republicans, he'll sit down and talk to us. That's not the way our government works.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) We can't make extortion routine as part of our democracy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Other presidential characterizations of the Republican strategy by President Obama. Quote: "Hostage-taking," "blow the whole thing up," "insane," unquote. Also, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid calls the leaders of the GOP, quote-unquote, "anarchists."
Question: Is this rhetoric conducive to the civility President Obama promised in 2008? Susan.
MS. FERRECHIO: It's really in stark contrast to what he talked about as candidate Obama in 2007 and 2008, as somebody who was going to unite us all, unite the two parties, stop the clamor on Capitol Hill. But it's gotten so much worse.
And I've been on Capitol Hill for many, many years. I have never seen it this partisan and I've never heard this kind of rhetoric constantly used by both sides, Republicans and Democrats, talking about gun to the head, suicide caucus, all these terms. And it really does keep them further apart when it comes to trying to find a deal that's going to stop all the gridlock.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there anybody who seems to be able to conciliate?
MS. FERRECHIO: Yes. And the people who always do this are the moderates. They are a shrinking group in both parties. Now you have -- who is leading the charge to come up with a compromise? Susan Collins. She never uses terminology like that. The problem on Capitol Hill right now is that we have these swing elections, and it puts people on the conferences for both the House and the Senate who are really polarized. And that's why you get this kind of conversation on Capitol Hill.
MS. CLIFT: I must say, I think it's correct that the president is calling out the other side. And you could put together a montage of Republicans saying things that you might regard over the top. You could also put people like Warren Buffett, who says that the tactics that the Republicans are using are like putting a nuclear bomb. We don't fool around with the full faith and credit of the United States. So I think the quality of the discourse here is very different. And as long as I've been in Washington --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
MS. CLIFT: -- they always fight it out in public, and then they go in the backroom and make the deal. And that's what's going to happen in the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think that President Obama is trying to demonize the Republicans up there, do you?
MS. CLIFT: They're doing that to themselves, John. They don't need any help. (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The difference is that this president has very few personal relationships, not only with the Republicans, but even with the Democrats. And I can tell you that from direct personal knowledge, listening to the leadership of the Democrats in both the House and the Senate.
MS. FERRECHIO: (Inaudible.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There is absolutely -- Reagan, when he was president, every week would have a luncheon with six Democrats. He built up a relationship. You know, Bill Clinton did the same thing. You don't have this here. So the kind of dialogue that you normally have that leads to compromise, that leads to negotiation, that is just not there. It comes when we have an emergency, which is what I hope --
MS. CLIFT: That's because the Republicans --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me just finish, please, OK?
MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That is a key part of the way our government works, and it is not working now.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: That's because the Republicans are too busy negotiating among themselves. There is a civil war in the Republican Party.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, you interpret it the way you want to do it. I mean, you could say the same thing about Democrats.
MS. FERRECHIO: That's an aside.
MS. CLIFT: John Boehner cannot deliver his caucus. Newt Gingrich could. Tip O'Neill could. It's a very different kind of politics we're dealing with today. And this is a (shoot-'em-out ?), to use --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: This president does not show the leadership that we need in this country.
MS. CLIFT: -- that kind of rhetoric among the Republicans.
MS. FERRECHIO: Even the president's liaison -- nobody even knows who he is. My colleague at the Examiner, Susan Crabtree, wrote a great story this week about how this person is an invisible man. Normally the liaison is someone who everybody knows on Capitol Hill. They have no contact with this person. It's about the White House being really separated from Congress.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.
MS. FERRECHIO: And you can see the effect of it, I think, particularly with this whole government shutdown.
MS. CLIFT: I think it would be nice if they had better personal relationships. And I applaud the president inviting them over and all that. Of course, John Boehner said he didn't want everybody going over to the White House; afraid there might be some defectors. But I do not think that having more dinners together and more schmoozing together --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
MS. CLIFT: -- would break --
MS. FERRECHIO: (He doesn't do that ?).
MS. CLIFT: -- would break the wall of opposition that the Republican Party has created.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's prolong this a little bit. Here's a question that I have seen. Was President Obama being disingenuous when he insisted in his Tuesday press conference that raising the debt ceiling does not increase our debt?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, on one level he's right. But in a real sense he's not right, OK, because why do we have to raise our debt ceiling? Because we're spending more money than we're taking in. And at some point you reach that ceiling and then you have to move on or else you can't do it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, Congress and the president raise the debt ceiling.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Of course. I mean, it's not done exclusively by the president. But you can't just say that, you know, accumulating all of these debts has no consequence. One of the consequences is it runs into a debt ceiling. Ask any family in America. They'll tell you what their debt ceiling is.
MR. GLASTRIS: The point is, these are obligations already incurred, for which you have to pay. So the debt is already incurred. We haven't yet printed a treasury bond to make good on that. So --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think he was being disingenuous.
MR. GLASTRIS: No, no, no. Technically and in the spirit of it, he was absolutely right.
MS. CLIFT: Talking about disingenuity, you have a Republican Party claiming they're so obsessed and worried about the deficit, they send home 800,000 government workers. They're going to pay them, but they're not getting any work out of them. They're costing millions to communities around the country dependent on federal money and grants. You know, they're not saving any money.
MR. GLASTRIS: Oh, and by the way, the big thing that we're going to do to pave over this is to get rid of a tax that's going to add $20 billion to the deficit. This isn't about the deficit.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Do the Congressional Budget Office forecasts underscore the importance of a grand bargain on taxes and spending? And, if so, does President Obama have the requisite political skills to pull it off? Mort Zuckerman.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't think he has. But I think there will be some kind of a deal. I don't think it'll be a grand bargain. It'll be a temporary bargain to get us through this crisis. What we need is a grand bargain, because we are looking at an accumulation of debt in this country, or you want to call it debt service or you want to call it spending more money than we have.
Call it whatever you want, but we know we're in that kind of a problem. And this is going to have an end whether we like it or not, because the whole financial world is going to just stop doing what we are now doing, which is funding American debt.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So that's a yes or no answer?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: (Laughs.) One of each.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Republicans aren't even sure what they want to extract in terms of concessions from the White House. So they have to agree. And I think the burden is as much on the Republicans as to whether they can deliver a majority of their caucus than it is on the president.
MS. FERRECHIO: OK, this may not be a grand bargain, like Mort said. It might be the grandest bargain we've seen in a long time, though. I've never seen the two sides come together with so much at stake. And the real leverage is here now to try to get some kind of spending reforms and some kind of entitlement reform. We've never really seen that, not in recent years.
So I think that this may be the most significant movement we have seen. Will it be a great grand bargain that we were speculating about months and months ago? Probably not. But it'll be the most movement we've seen on spending reform in a long time, because I just don't think the Republicans will go along with anything less.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the engine of it is fear?
MS. FERRECHIO: I think the engine of it is something we talked about on a show that we aired months ago where you showed a poll number where what the public considered one of the most important priorities of the Obama administration in part two, which was let's solve our debt problem.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah.
MS. FERRECHIO: And I think that's driving a lot of this. People want an answer here, and the lawmakers are responding.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the answer, Paul?
MR. GLASTRIS: If the Republicans don't put revenue on the table, there will be no grand bargain.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will they?
MR. GLASTRIS: I don't know. They haven't yet.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So we will live in wonder.
Issue Two: Yellen at the Helm.
JANET YELLEN (Federal Reserve Chair nominee): (From videotape.) We have made progress. The economy is stronger, and the financial system sounder. While we have made progress, we have farther to go. The mandate of the Federal Reserve is to serve all the American people. And too many Americans still can't find a job and worry how they'll pay their bills.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama's nominee to be the next chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors is Janet Yellen. If confirmed, Dr. Yellen would become the first woman ever to lead the Federal Reserve in its 100-year, this year, history. She will also become the most powerful economic policymaker on the planet. Yellen will replace the outgoing Ben Bernanke, whose term ends in January 2014, two and a half months from now.
Listen to this remarkable curriculum vitae of Dr. Yellen.
Born, Brooklyn; 67 years of age. Husband, George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize economist. One son, Robert. Democrat.
Brown University, bachelor, economics. Yale University, Ph.D., economics. Harvard University, assistant professor, five years. Federal Reserve Board economist, two years. London School of Economics, lecturer, three years. University of California-Berkeley, professor of business and economics, 14 years.
Federal Reserve Board governor, four years. White House Council of Economic Advisers, chairman, Clinton administration, three years. OECD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, chairman of the Economic Policy Committee, three years. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, president and chief executive officer, seven years. Federal Reserve System, vice chair, three years and currently.
Is it fair to say that if Yellen cannot resolve the problems of the world's economy, nobody can? I ask you, Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think the first thing, and her major challenge and job, is to resolve the problems in this economy. That will help the rest of the world. She is as good a Federal Reserve Bank governor as we're going to get. Bernanke, I believe, saved our system as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. She was his principal deputy. She followed in his steps. I think she understands what he was about. She is absolutely the right choice for it. I mean, you couldn't find a better --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did she give him guidance?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Give who guidance?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did Yellen give guidance to the chairman?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: To Bernanke? I'm sure she did. They worked very closely together. She was his closest colleague on the board of the Federal Reserve. And she was --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was Obama originally opposed to her?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know that. I don't know the answer to that. But all I can say is she was the right choice at the right time.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And I hope she does what she has to do.
MS. CLIFT: Right. Yeah. Bernanke sort of put out the fires. And now she's coming in, the next phase. And from her remarks at her ceremony, she put the emphasis on employment and jobs. And so she's making a shift after Bernanke, an appropriate shift.
And I must say she takes her place alongside Christine Lagarde at the IWF (sic/means IMF) as two women now at the center of monetary policy. And I find that quite exhilarating, especially since she comes out of Brooklyn, public school. You listed all of those achievements. But when she --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: She married well.
MS. CLIFT: Well -- (laughs) -- I think her husband married well. But when she came out of high school --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
MS. CLIFT: -- the editor of the school newspaper always interviews the valedictorian, but she was both, so she interviewed herself. (Laughs.) So, I mean, she's just a wonderfully accomplished and apparently a very down-to-earth person.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the story on Capitol Hill --
MS. FERRECHIO: She --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- regarding her?
MS. FERRECHIO: The story on Capitol Hill is that they believe Yellen will continue the quantitative easing. That's the biggest question here. What's going to happen with the economy when you keep pumping money in?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, she's got --
MS. FERRECHIO: She --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- to review whether, when, and how fast to unwind it all.
MS. FERRECHIO: Well, the thought is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (There was ?) a lot in there.
MS. FERRECHIO: -- she's going to keep it going longer. And I believe she'll be confirmed. But even if she's not, the unique situation here is that she's the vice chair, so she's going to be in the role anyway, even if suddenly the Congress --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give me a one-word answer. Do you give her a vote of confidence? Yes or no?
MR. GLASTRIS: Oh, absolutely. I served with her in the Clinton administration.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I absolutely do.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you?
MS. CLIFT: Double yes. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you?
MS. FERRECHIO: I --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Conditionally, huh?
MS. FERRECHIO: Conditionally. Very much conditionally.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Spoken like a true journalist.
Issue Three: Obama on the Warpath.
RAY HALBRITTER (Oneida Indian Nation): (From videotape.) No matter what the history of something is, if it's offending people, then it's time to change it. And this is a great time to do it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ray Halbritter is the leader of the Oneida Indian Nation, a Native American tribe from upper New York State. This week the Oneida Indian Nation put pressure on one of the biggest institutions in the District of Columbia -- Washington's football team, the Washington Redskins.
The Oneida Indians find the term "Redskins" to be a racial slur, pointing out that the word "Redskin" is defined in the dictionary as a highly offensive term formerly used to refer to a Native American.
The Oneida are airing their grievance to the NFL, the National Football League, in hopes Redskin owner Dan Snyder will be pressured to change the name of his team. Mr. Snyder is on record claiming he never will. However, that was before President Obama, when asked by the Associated Press, said this.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) I've got to say, if I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team, even if it had a storied history, that was offending a sizable group of people, I'd think -- I'd think about changing it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Presidential pressure or no, Snyder won't budge, defending the team's name in a letter to fans. Quote: "Our fans sing 'Hail to the Redskins' in celebration at every Redskins' game. They speak proudly of Redskins Nation in honor of a sports team they love," unquote.
Snyder also pointed to polling from the Annenberg Public Policy Center that found that 90 percent of Native Americans did not find the team's name, quote-unquote, "offensive."
The team has had the team Redskins since the 1930s. The name was originally a tribute to its Native American coach at the time. Well, that was then. This is now. The Oneida see nothing honorable about the tradition. They see it as derogatory and have launched radio ads decrying the name.
They are also urging the passage of legislation drafted by two U.S. lawmakers, one of whom is Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has represented the District of Columbia in the U.S. Congress for 23 years, that would void Snyder's trademark status on the term "Redskins." Passage of the bill would mean opening the money drawer to other entities, mimicking the name on knockoff merchandise and lessen the Redskins' franchise profit.
What about the Baltimore Colts? What about the Miami Dolphins?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about Pittsburgh Steelers? What about Oakland Raiders? What about Dallas Cowboys? What about Chicago Bears? Should all these names be changed? What about the Bengals, Cincinnati Bengals? The Vikings?
MR. GLASTRIS: I think we should ask the bears, if the bears are upset about it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the Vikings, given to plunder and --
MR. GLASTRIS: Well, again, the Vikings can have a say in it. (Laughter.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Given --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of this whole argument?
MR. GLASTRIS: I think that in a year we won't be calling it the Washington Redskins.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MR. GLASTRIS: Yeah, it's gone.
MS. FERRECHIO: Unbelievable.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm going to put it this way. There are so many people in this country who are upset with Washington, they probably ought to change the name Washington as well. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just Redskins.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MS. FERRECHIO: Well, the people whose opinion really matters most are the people who really have the right to be offended by this, the Native Americans. Now, one thing I heard the president say is a significant number of people. Let's see how significant is that number.
I know that one group of Native Americans was offended but that there are many other Native Americans who are not offended by this. And it really amounts to what they think and what the owners think. And that's why we need to ask Mort what he thinks, because you're a former part-owner.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I've given you my view of it already. I don't have anything else to add.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it constitutional for Congress to pass legislation voiding a specific trademark?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Not to my knowledge. I can't believe that this is something that is going to take the attention of the entire Congress. They have a few other things they really ought to pay attention to.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, this is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is the thin edge of the wedge?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: This is the thin edge of the wedge. This is another edge of the wedge that this Congress better pay attention to, which is their own work.
MS. CLIFT: This is an argument that's been off and on for the last 20 years at least. And I think there is a momentum. I think we're going to end up eventually they're going to change their name. I don't know that it's going to be in the next year. But the intensity right now is on the side of the fans.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the --
MS. CLIFT: And a lot of fans feel deeply attached to that name.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the Anaheim --
MS. CLIFT: For what reason, I don't get it, but --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- the Anaheim Angels? Do you think that we're going to hear from atheists on that?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MS. CLIFT: No, I think we might hear from God himself. And I think then it's worth the argument. (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Boy, I'll tell you, if they win the Super Bowl, you'll hear from God, I'll tell you that. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: OK.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: They're going to amend the "Obamacare" legislation so that it is not restricting employers to employ people for under 30 hours a week. And they're going to raise that to 40 hours because it has produced an onslaught of part-time workers.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Polls show that the Republican campaign against "Obamacare" has backfired. The law is more popular now than since before the shutdown.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.
MS. FERRECHIO: That's crazy. But let me just add my prediction, which is that the government will reopen this week when they fund the federal government in Congress.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Paul.
MR. GLASTRIS: Everyone's looking at FEC versus McCutcheon, the big Supreme Court bill, when it comes to unleashing corporate power. Keep your eye on U.S. versus Standard & Poor's.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that computer glitches are the tip of the iceberg for the implementation problems with the new Obama health care law. And the more the law unfolds, the more impatient citizens will experience with it. But none of this will doom the law as history-making and President Obama's crowning legislative signature achievement.
(C) 2013 Federal News Service