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The McLaughlin Group

Host: John McLaughlin

Panel:
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast;
Tom Rogan, National Review/Daily Telegraph;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report

Taped: Friday, August 1, 2014
Broadcast: Weekend of August 2-3, 2014


JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Putin In Our Backyard.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) It's not a new cold war. What it is is a very specific issue related to Russia's unwillingness to recognize that Ukraine can chart its own path.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama may want to consult another president, Vladimir Putin, about whether or not we are in a new cold war, now that Mr. Putin has not only invaded our U.S. sphere of influence, but capitalized on the hemisphere long-term. And get this: Last month, July, just past, Mr. Putin visited Cuba and met with the Castro brothers, Raul and Fidel, legendary Marxist revolutionaries who have run Cuba since 1958, almost six decades.

Ties between Russia and Cuba hit a low point after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the last Cold War. But Russia has since hit the reset button hard on relations with Havana. Mr. Putin's mission was to cement growing cooperation and camaraderie between Russia and Cuba. In February, Russia's defense minister began talks with Cuba and Venezuela and Nicaragua about establishing, just 90 miles from Florida, and bordering the Panama Canal - get this - Russian military bases.

Cuba ran up a debt to Russia, dating back to the Soviet era, of $35 billion. On his July trip, President Putin waived $32 billion in debt. Also, new commercial agreements on energy and trade were inked by Vlad and Raul. The remaining $3 billion will be used for education in Cuba.

Mr. Putin also wants to invest in the creation of a grand transportation hub with modernization of the maritime port of Mariel, the construction of a modern airport with its cargo terminal, and petroleum projects on the island's north coast, including drilling for new oil and potential vast-volume offshore deposits.

Next stop, Argentina. President Putin visited Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez and signed agreements with her on nuclear energy generation involving the massive Russian atomic corporation ROSATOM.

Question: Is President Obama's belief that this is not a cold war, a new one, is that wishful thinking on his part? Pat Buchanan.

PAT BUCHANAN: No, it's not. There is not a new cold war, John. Putin is playing in our backyard because we are playing in his backyard. He doesn't want a cold war. He's got a real problem in the Ukraine. But let me tell you something. He and Angela Merkel are working behind the scenes for a deal whereby Russia cuts off aid to the separatists in Ukraine in return for recognition of his ownership of the Crimean peninsula. He pays reparations. And after that, Russia comes back in from the cold.

The Europeans don't want Russia out in the cold. I don't want Russia out in the cold. Putin doesn't want to stay out in the cold. I believe he does still see his future as with the West. And I think what they're doing down there is nothing more than playing games.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

ELEANOR CLIFT: I think these are targets of opportunity for Putin. He's in our backyard, as Pat says, because he can. And he sees the U.S. as in his backyard, and he wants to let us know how it feels. And he's also going to sign some sweetheart deals there - sweetheart for the recipients, just like he did with China. He gave China really a good break on oil and gas. And he's likely to do the same with these South American countries as well, because he likes the political credibility that comes with it.

I don't think there's anything to fear about this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm hmm.

MS. CLIFT: I think he does like to remind us -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm hmm.

MS. CLIFT: - that back in the Soviet era, during the `80s, they were in El Salvador. They were in Guatemala. They were in Nicaragua. And he's basically letting us know that, you know, he can play there as well as we can play in his part of the world.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It only takes one side, Eleanor, to start a cold war. Truman didn't start the first Cold War. Stalin did. If Putin thinks it's a cold war, the U.S. will feel the chill no matter long Obama tries to stay in ostrich mode.

MR. BUCHANAN: If they try to put missiles back into Cuba, then we're talking about a cold war. (Laughs.) Otherwise, some ports and pipeline deals, that's commercialism in the 21st century.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tom, do you share all this happy talk?

TOM ROGAN: I don't, I'm afraid. No, I think Putin quite enjoys the cold. Let's remember, he's a KGB officer who I think, quite frankly, never left the KGB. And I think if you look at what's happening in Eastern Europe, not simply with Ukraine, but Poland, Moldova, the perception of weakness and the perception of vulnerability, and now obviously what's happening in Central and Latin America, there is a clear statement on behalf of the Russian government to try and assert its interests, as they see it, around the world.

And I would argue, you know, in deference to Pat, but actually the things we're seeing here are a pretty concerning movement towards a new cold war, because they really do affect the U.S. in tangible strategic ways.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He cut a very big deal in Argentina.

MR. BUCHANAN: John -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's going to make nuclear reactors for -

MR. BUCHANAN: Let him build a nuclear power plant. There's no ideological content to this conflict. He is a Russian nationalist. He's not a Marxist-Leninist who wants to take over the world. As Eleanor said, he's not going to put intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Cuba. If he does, I'm wrong.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Mort?

MORT ZUCKERMAN: Let's go back with Cuba, OK. Russia has had a relationship with Cuba and with the Castros going back decades, OK.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which you know very well, because you knew Fidel very well.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I knew Fidel very well. I've been to that country about eight or nine times. I've spent a lot of time with Fidel Castro.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I attended a lunch with Fidel Castro. It was in your place in New York.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right. He is a remarkable man, Castro is; not our favorite guy, but he's an unbelievably charismatic man. I don't think I've ever seen somebody with greater feel to an audience as to see him talking to his own people. It's just extraordinary.

His brother's a different kind of a person. His brother's just an operating man. But Castro is a visionary, at least in Cuban terms. And his visions go way beyond Cuba. So I don't think this is anything of -

MR. BUCHANAN: These guys are 90 years old. What are we talking about? (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Wait a minute -

MR. BUCHANAN: They're propping these guys up and moving them around in carts or something. (Laughs.)

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He's still there, and he intends to do something for the longer-term interests of Cuba. And his brother is a lot younger.

MR. BUCHANAN: But do you see them as a threat to the United States that they were -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't see them as a threat to the United States.

MR. BUCHANAN: - at one time?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, of course not. I didn't say that. I didn't come close to saying that.

MS. CLIFT: Maybe Putin is there taking charisma lessons from Fidel. And he could use them.

MR. ROGAN: I think -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Tom in.

MR. ROGAN: The issue we have, you know, in Europe, that's what it comes down to, whether it's about - I think, you know, you're right in that sense, that this is nationalism rather than Marxism. But the problem is, what does it say about the current position with the administration at the moment? The president today saying, well, the sanctions are working. Clearly they're not. Clearly Putin is saying come on.

MR. BUCHANAN: If Putin wanted eastern Ukraine, he could have marched in and taken it. He doesn't want it. I think he would like to have it - he would like to win a victory there, but he doesn't want to annex this part of -

MR. ROGAN: I think he's annexing it under the surface. That's what he's doing. He's playing the long game with us.

MR. BUCHANAN: You know, in a way, if he'd walked in -

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: - and taken it, his problem would be over.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's laying the groundwork, as he pointed out, in Moldova. Can you speak to that any more?

MR. ROGAN: Yeah. I think what you see - I mean, you speak to politicians in Eastern Europe, they do see this as a regional - a covert invasion under the surface.

MR. BUCHANAN: Transnistria broke away from Moldova. He can't even reach it. He doesn't have a common border with Moldova.

MR. ROGAN: But he can reach it covertly. He can reach it in the same way that he's reached into eastern Ukraine, with the pretense that we haven't invaded, but we have.

MS. CLIFT: With everything going on, if this comes down to Moldova, I'm -

MR. ROGAN: But Poland - but Poland as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, wait a minute. Are you ridiculing Moldova? Try their honey. Try their honey - I mean, literal honey.

MR. ROGAN: It's also about American credibility in the world.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I buy Moldova honey.

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Since Russia's reannexation of Crimea, western diplomacy with Vladimir Putin has been premised on drawing him back from the fringes, if you will. Is that working? Yes or no.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's going to work, because I don't believe he wants to annex. And I think he wants the sanctions lifted. And I think ultimately he does see his future not with China but with the West.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, quickly.

MS. CLIFT: I think actually they will work. The broader sanctions were just in place last week. They can't tighten the vise that quickly. He's going to feel the pain.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tom.

MR. ROGAN: I think tougher sanctions could work. I really do not believe these will at the moment, because they haven't been tough enough in terms of the energy sector, which is very difficult with the EU. But I think if we were willing to push the line, then it could work. But at the moment, I don't see it. And I think it reinforces his perception that he can do what he wishes to do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Look, I think there's some intangible quality to all of this, and that is the nature of people like Putin. I mean, this man is an extraordinarily tough-minded guy. He was in the KGB. He ran the KGB at the age - in his early 40s. Do you know what it takes to run the KGB at that age? This guy is extraordinary. He's got ambitions that may not take into account the kind of national power structure that you're referring to. He is going to be a real player and a difficult player for us all around the world.

MR. BUCHANAN: Do you think he wants a war with us?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, of course not. But he's not looking -

MR. BUCHANAN: So he's going to go into Poland.

MR. ROGAN: But I think he perceives that he can get away -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't think he's talking about going to war.

MR. ROGAN: - with what he wants without -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think he's going to try and do it without going to war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: His relationship with - what's her name, the head of Germany?

MR. BUCHANAN: Angela Merkel.

MS. CLIFT: Angela Merkel.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Angela Merkel.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quite intriguing from both points of view.

MS. CLIFT: He speaks fluent German and she speaks fluent Russian.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a very lucrative arrangement that they have, from both points of view.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely. Absolutely.

MR. BUCHANAN: They had that relationship under the tsar.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And she is very - she is very -

MR. BUCHANAN: They had the same relationship under the tsar. The Germans and Russia had a long-time relationship. They're working - they've got tremendous economic interests. Germany produces this high-quality material. He's got the raw material. They've got reasons to work together more important than who gets Luhansk.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think some of these world figures are more interesting than other world figures?

MR. BUCHANAN: Take a look at Putin and Bibi Netanyahu, both nationalists. They're the most popular figures in their country in the world.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm talking worldwide.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but that's short-term popularity. I don't think that wears well over the long term.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't agree with that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't agree with what?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I don't agree that it's short-term popularity. I think Putin is very popular in Russia, very popular. He's a very strong leader, OK, and he articulates everything he wants to do. He's got great appeal to the Russian people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you see the picture -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He's not to be underestimated.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - of his daughter?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, I did.

MR. BUCHANAN: She was -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who is - she's in Amsterdam.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And because of the flight and getting the remains and all of that, that horror, she got quite a bit of publicity.

MR. BUCHANAN: She's a very attractive young lady.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. Well, that's in their national interest, Pat, don't you think?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You say that with -

MR. BUCHANAN: If you had a picture -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - some surprise. Do you think her father is ugly?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, but I think he has - I think he's not as pretty as she is. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll see that he gets a copy of this show. You'd better watch where you go walking at midnight with that cat of yours.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Kerry's Critics.

SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: (From videotape.) Make no mistake: When the people of Israel are rushing to bomb shelters, when innocent Israeli and Palestinian teenagers are abducted and murdered, when hundreds of innocent civilians have lost their lives, I will and we will make no apologies for our engagement.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: With the combat between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip now entering its fourth week, efforts to broker a ceasefire have taken on an air of urgency. In late June, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi proposed an unconditional ceasefire. Israel embraced it. Hamas rejected it.

This week, Secretary of State John Kerry jettisoned the Egyptian plan and instead adopted a proposal floated by Turkey and Qatar, allies of Hamas. The plan includes Hamas's demand to lift Israel's eight-year-long blockade but is silent on Israel's demand for the demilitarization of Gaza, including the destruction of Hamas's tunnel network and rocket stockpile.

Israeli officials went ballistic last weekend after Secretary Kerry abruptly changed the terms. And on background, the Israelis vented their outrage to the press. Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper, said this. Quote: "Very senior officials in Jerusalem describe the proposal that Kerry put on the table as a," quote-unquote, "`strategic terrorist attack.' His decision to go hand in hand with Qatar and Turkey and formulate a framework amazingly similar to the Hamas framework was catastrophic," unquote.

The chief editor of the Times of Israel was even more acerbic. Quote: "Whether through ineptitude, malice, or both, Kerry's intervention was not a case of America's top diplomat coming to our region to help ensure, through astute negotiation, the protection of a key ally. This was a betrayal," unquote.

Haaretz columnist Chemi Shalev was succinct. He dubbed Kerry a, quote, "hapless nebbish," unquote.

Obama administration officials are bristling over the criticism of Kerry's initiative. Since 1945, Israel has been the single largest beneficiary of U.S. foreign and military aid, to the cumulative amount of $181 billion.

Also on Friday, Secretary Kerry condemned the, quote-unquote, "outrageous Palestinian violations of the Gaza ceasefire."

Question: Is the criticism of Secretary Kerry warranted, or is it over the top? I ask you, Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, at the very specific issue of his coming in with a peace proposal that came from Qatar - Qatar, by the way, is the financier of Hamas, and Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood, so this is not exactly a favorite of Israel - and joining up with Turkey, whose leader, Erdogan, is the worst and most anti-Semitic leader in the Middle East. OK, those two form a program, and Kerry carries it in as a proposal with the United States' blessing, did not go over well, to put it mildly, OK.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A lead balloon.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It was a very, very bad move. It's already been completely disengaged from the process. They've come back with a new (series ?). The Israelis have a very simple problem. They have got to prevent their own people from being bombed with missiles and being attacked through these tunnels that are under them. These are strategic threats to Israel, and they are going to respond to it. And this is something that is not going to change because of Kerry coming in (under ?) this way.

He's come back with a different proposal, with a short-term ceasefire, which ended after about three years when Gaza - when the -

MR. BUCHANAN: John -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: - Palestinians attacked and killed a couple of Israeli soldiers and captured one, which is just another way to explode any possibility of an agreement.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The death toll is 1,445 Hamas; Israel, 56.

What about the Fatah wing of the Palestinians? Is that - is he playing any role now in anything?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No. Right now, at this point - they will have to play a role if this is ever going to be resolved, because the Israelis can deal with Mahmoud Abbas.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: They cannot deal with - needless to say, with the kind of people who are in Gaza - (inaudible).

MR. BUCHANAN: The peace process is dead as it can be. John, look, it's not only Israel that's got a hard time with Qatar and Turkey, but the Egyptians and the Jordanians and the Saudis and the others are very much in Israel's camp in this war. They're silent cheerleaders for Israel, and they were appalled.

But there's a new division in the Middle East, and what is happening to Turkey is something - now, that's a NATO ally, but they are savagely anti-Israel, and they're comparing them with Nazis. That's a NATO ally of the United States.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What kind of grade -

MS. CLIFT: At some point -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What kind of grade do you give to the secretary of state?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I'd give him at this point a B. And I'm trying to be generous, because I think he actually changed the whole atmosphere -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: - in terms of coming in with that proposal, as Pat was saying, from two countries who are the least -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Qatar.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes - Qatar -

MS. CLIFT: But -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Eleanor. I'll let you right in.

OK, there's a follow-up here, and the fallout grows. It's not just the Israelis who are unhappy.

After Jerusalem, Secretary Kerry went to Paris, where he met with the foreign ministers of Turkey and Qatar, excluding regional U.S. allies like Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Egypt's foreign minister was invited but turned Kerry down. And get this: The Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas is also piqued. He issued a blunt statement to Hamas that those who side with Turkey and Qatar can go and live there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: How did the Obama administration manage to simultaneously alienate Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the Fatah wing of the Palestinians? I ask you, Tom.

MR. ROGAN: Yeah, I think what we've seen here is a consolidation of power. We have al-Sisi in Egypt, you know, much stronger in terms of an anti position against Hamas.

But I think the issue, going back to John Kerry, is that you have to speak to Qatar to some degree, because they're the tap for Hamas. So if you want to cut off the money for Hamas and compel them to the peace process, Qatar is necessary.

Erdogan, yes, is a populist. You know, he's gaming this. It's public appeal at home. But it ultimately has to come down to Egypt. And I think the problem, going back to this problem, is that Kerry hasn't been astute to the fact that all these dynamics in the Middle East are under way with regional power games, and he's sort of tried to meander his way through.

MR. BUCHANAN: He doesn't know -

MR. ROGAN: And perception drives reality.

MR. BUCHANAN: He doesn't know -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the fact that the deal could be moved forward or cut in Egypt more likely, less likely, or -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, yes, much more likely.

MR. ROGAN: Much more likely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Much more likely?

MS. CLIFT: Hamas is -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's not just Egypt. It's not just Egypt. Understand, it is Egypt. It is Saudi Arabia. It is the UAE.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It is - Qatar -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Qatar is the financier of the Muslim Brotherhood.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu - shall I put it this way? - save face if the deal were cut with some kind of a relationship, an intrusion, a benign intrusion of Egypt?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Of course. Egypt -

MS. CLIFT: Egypt is critical -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Mubarak did this before, OK.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Mubarak went against the radicals in that part of the world. Mubarak and Sisi himself, they're much closer to where we are.

MS. CLIFT: But Egypt -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: They're much closer to where Egypt is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Eleanor in.

Quickly - five seconds.

MS. CLIFT: Egypt is very anti-Hamas, as is most of the countries you've mentioned.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm hmm.

MS. CLIFT: Hamas is isolated. But at some point, their concerns are going to have to be dealt with. Only two countries deal with them, Qatar and Turkey. And Kerry has to open up lines to them -

MR. BUCHANAN: But Kerry -

MS. CLIFT: - or else you can't speak to Hamas. He's doing the right thing -

MR. BUCHANAN: Kerry's problem -

MS. CLIFT: - as a fair-minded diplomat.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Well stated.

What?

MR. BUCHANAN: Kerry's problem is he doesn't understand the new realities of the Middle East.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is true, but -

MS. CLIFT: He does not.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - I think he's a quick learner and a fast learner.

Issue Three: Break Out the Champagne.

Good news from the Commerce Department. Commerce reported this week that second-quarter GDP - that's gross domestic product - growth from April to June was at 4 percent, up from the dismal first-quarter 2.1 percent contraction, which was partly attributed to the long, bitter winter.

The 4 percent GDP growth rate exceeded economists' expectations by a full percentage point. That good economy news is accompanied by more good economy news.

Item: Consumer confidence up from 86.4 in June to 90.9 in July, the highest the index, put out by the Conference Board, has been in seven years, since October 2007.

Item: Consumer spending up from a first-quarter hike of 1.2 percent to a second-quarter hike of 2.5 percent.

Item: Business investment up, way up, from a first-quarter increase of 1.6 percent to a second-quarter surge of 5.5 percent.

Item: Private-sector job growth steady; 218,000 private-sector new jobs were added in July, as compared to 281,000 new jobs in June, still acknowledged to be a good, solid number.

Also, the Labor Department announced on Friday that 209,000 new jobs have been added to the economy in July. The unemployment rate rose slightly, from 6.1 percent in June to 6.2 percent in July. Average hourly earnings, $24.95.

Question: How do these numbers sound to you? Mort Zuckerman.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, they are part of where we are. But it's not, in my judgment, a very encouraging part, because you have - when you say the economy has grown by 4 percent, it was - it declined by 2.1 percent in the first quarter. So the average growth over the six months is 2 percent. That's literally nominal growth in this economy.

We have been growing at a rate of 2 percent for the last five or six years, which is much lower than the normal rate of growth. So we are still in an economy which has a lot of problems. We have a huge level of unemployment. A lot of the employment numbers you're seeing here are part-time employees. They're not really full-time employees. There are only 47 million full-time employees in this economy, which is a very, very low number. So we are still in very, very difficult macroeconomic problems.

MS. CLIFT: Well, more jobs have been created in the first half of this year than at any time since 1999. So the whole Bush administration fell below this time. I mean, we ought to cheer a little bit. I mean, I agree there's lots more to be done.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm hmm.

MS. CLIFT: The quality of jobs. Wages need to be raised. And the president himself is out there saying he's trying to get cooperation from Congress on a number of these things. A small sliver of Americans are doing extremely well. A lot of people have been left behind.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, Tom and Pat, can you speak to a new report from the Urban Institute that shows that 77 million Americans, 35 percent, have debt that has been referred to collection agencies? How bad is that bad?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, John, it's located in the South and the West. And, quite frankly, it is minorities and poor folks who have this particular problem. And that's bad news.

But I'll tell you one thing. We have a Fed-fueled economy. You've got - the stock market went shooting up to 17,500; just lost about a thousand points in the month of July, maybe a little less than that. And the stock market is a lead indicator of where you're going.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've got 10 seconds.

MR. ROGAN: Yeah. I still think there's slack in the labor market. My concern, though, as a younger American, is that, if you look at the CBO report, 2018, the deficit starts going up. People are not saving enough. What happens if we don't have entitlement reform? My generation has a big problem.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Good apperceptions here.

Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: While Scotland's secession is touch and go, Catalonia may be voting on secession from Spain this fall. If they do, Catalonia will succeed - secede.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: CIA Director John Brennan apologized for the CIA spying on the Senate and hacking into their computers. There are calls for his resignation from Democratic senators. He will survive.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tom.

MR. ROGAN: I think Scotland stays as part of the United Kingdom. The polls have tightened, but I think that that will be the outcome.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.

Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Notwithstanding the fumbling to date, there will be a ceasefire that will be agreed to between Hamas and the Israelis.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, will not seek the presidency in 2016.

By the way, the Steamboat Institute in Steamboat Springs, Colorado has just named Tom Rogan on my left the first recipient of its annual Tony Blankley chair for public policy and American exceptionalism.

Congratulations, Tom.

MR. ROGAN: Thank you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Following in Tony's footsteps is no small feat - (laughter) - pun intended - especially on the sartorial front.

Bye-bye.

END