The McLaughlin Group

Subject: The Results of the Mid-Term Elections, President Obama's Trip to China, Blue Dog Democrats

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

Time: 11:30 am EST
Date: Sunday, November 9th, 2014

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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Shellacking II.

SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): (From videotape.) I've heard your concerns. I've made them my own. You will be heard in Washington. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Republicans will indeed be heard in Washington. The GOP won big on Tuesday. They bolstered their majority in the U.S. House and are on track to hold a proportion of seats not seen since 1947. And in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats hold a majority, 53 seats to Republicans 45, the GOP routed the Democrats from control.

Here's a sampling from crucial battleground states like North Carolina, where Republicans scored.

SENATOR-ELECT THOM TILLIS (R-NC): (From videotape.) My name is Thom Tillis, and I'm the next United States senator from the state of North Carolina. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Like Colorado, another Republican win.

SENATOR-ELECT CORY GARDNER (R-CO): (From videotape.) It is time for a new way forward.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Like Iowa, where the first female senator ever in that state was elected - the Republican self-described hog castrator, Joni Ernst.

SENATOR-ELECT JONI ERNST (R-IA): (From videotape.) But thanks to - thanks to all of you, we are heading to Washington - (laughs) - and we are going to make 'em squeal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On Friday, Republican candidate Ed Gillespie conceded the hard-fought Virginia Senate race to incumbent Democrat Mark Warner. So Virginia stays Democratic as it now stands. Republicans have won seven seats, bringing the new Senate breakdown to 52 Republicans, 44 Democrats and two independents, with two races undecided, Alaska and Louisiana.

Question: Was this election a referendum on Barack Obama? Pat Buchanan.

PAT BUCHANAN: John, that's exactly what it was. Barack Obama was rejected and repudiated. If he had been prime minister of Great Britain, considering all the losses of seats he had, he would have resigned by now and he would be gone.

But this city is somewhat in denial. They say, you know, the country has told Republicans to go back to Washington and work with Barack Obama. The country said the exact opposite. They rewarded Republicans for standing up and hammering Obama repeatedly. They punished Democrats for working with Obama.

So I think if there's any mandate here, it is for Republicans to go back and put forward their own positive agenda based on their own principles.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. With that, let's go to this.

OK, the Republican agenda.

SEN. MCCONNELL: (From videotape.) We're going to function. This gridlock and dysfunction can be ended.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Republican leaders have come up with an ambitious legislative agenda for next year's 114th Congress. Among the big-ticket items Republicans expect to pass are, one, a major overhaul of the tax code; two, a 10-year plan to balance the federal budget; three, a stiff revision of the Affordable Care Act; and four, approving the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

And there is this Mitch McConnell promise.

SEN. MCCONNELL: (From videotape.) Let me make it clear. There will be no government shutdowns and no default on the national debt.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama says he welcomes the Republican initiatives but that he will veto any legislation that does not conform to his agenda.

Question: When it comes to domestic policy, who is in the driver's seat, the president or the Congress? Eleanor Clift.

ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, the Congress will be initiating, but the president is going to be a very strong back-seat driver. He's not going to sign anything that compromises or really undermines the Affordable Care Act. He can probably take the Keystone pipeline. It's still in litigation. Let's see what happens with that.

But the strongest thing that came through in this election is dissatisfaction with the way Washington works. And if the Republicans do what Pat's suggesting, just hew to their hard-line agenda, they're going to throw away whatever mandate they have, and the Democrats will be in a much stronger position in 2016.

There are things that the president and this Congress can do. The president leaves for China this weekend. A trade deal will happen; infrastructure, which the parties have traditionally always agreed on. So I think they can get some work done. And frankly, I think the gridlock the last four years has been so terrible that I've made the pivot. Bring in the new faces. They're going to shake it up. We're going to see what happens. And, you know, I think, you know, when things look the worst in politics on your side, sometimes there's great opportunity.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think -

MS. CLIFT: I think there's opportunity here for this president and for the Republicans as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think -

MS. CLIFT: Have at it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - you're overdoing it? Do you think this is too much of a concession on your part?

MS. CLIFT: Not a concession. It's a recognition of reality, and it's maneuvering to get what you can. Look, Mitch McConnell was in Washington decades before Barack Obama showed up, and he'll be here long after Barack Obama leaves. So I don't underestimate McConnell, and I think he can stand up to the more extreme voices in his caucus.


MS. CLIFT: I'm not sure about John Boehner.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Vox populi. CBS's exit polling shows that 65 percent of voters say, quote, "the country is on the wrong track," unquote. And only 44 percent say they approve of the job the president is doing.

Exit polls also show that the economy was the number one issue for 45 percent of the voters, and 78 percent said they are concerned about the direction. So reports the Washington Morning Update.

Question: Should President Obama reorganize his White House team to show that he gets the message? I ask you, Tom Rogan.

TOM ROGAN: I think he should shake up his team, not just to show that he gets the message, but more to show that he can actually institute some changes in policy, because the record of the past six years of his presidency has been such that people have lost trust. He suffered a very stinging rebuke in the midterms.

And if he gets rid of people like Valerie Jarrett, who are real narrow populists, partisan populists, in the sense of White House control, he could perhaps broaden the perspective. I mean, President Bush did this in 2006 at the height of difficulties in the war in Iraq. And that allowed him to bring some salvage to that; that he brought in Robert Gates; that he, you know, allowed a broader thinking to come in.

But the president is known - the current president is known for having a very insular attitude. And I think that is deeply problematic, both foreign policy, domestic policy. He needs to broaden his perspective.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does John Podesta figure in that insularity of the president?

MR. ROGAN: I think he does. I think John Podesta has been pretty keen on pushing the president to take executive actions, which I think it would be very damaging for the president if he moves towards legacy, because, look, Republicans realize that, going towards 2016, they have to show a different brand. I mean, Senator McConnell has said there are going to be no more shutdowns. There's a representation there that they know they need to rebuild the brand. Republicans and Democrats are seen toxic.

MR. BUCHANAN: There's no - go ahead.

MORT ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think the issue that is going to continue, in my judgment, is the economy. And the Republicans have got to come forth with something that makes sense, makes economic sense, compared to what they have, in a sense, not been able to persuade the Obama administration to bring to the public.

So I think if they get a series of legislative programs that really begin to deal with the issue of the economy, in particular the jobs issue, which is very, very weak, I think they will be able to gain a lot of credibility. And if they don't, they'll just be another -

MR. BUCHANAN: But there is common ground, John, I think, in some things. Everybody agrees a corporate tax rate of 35 percent is absurd.


MR. BUCHANAN: Now, the president is going to have to come toward the Republicans. The Republicans will give up some of these exemptions, deductions. But the $2 trillion that's sitting over there abroad, we all agree it ought to be brought home. (When ?) is the tax rate going to bring it home?

MS. CLIFT: Right. And they -

MR. BUCHANAN: They disagree. They could use the money, some of the money for that, for infrastructure. There are areas where you can find common ground.

MS. CLIFT: And they could have done that last - earlier this year, but they didn't want to give the president -

MR. BUCHANAN: They've got -

MS. CLIFT: They didn't want -

MR. BUCHANAN: - Barack's attention now.

MS. CLIFT: - to give the president a victory.

MR. BUCHANAN: They got his attention.

MS. CLIFT: But now - now the pressure is on them. They've got to perform.

MR. BUCHANAN: But he's going to have to move in their direction.

MS. CLIFT: Sure. They have to move in his direction too. It takes two.

I wanted to say, about the shaking up of the White House, my progressive friends lament the fact there's no Donald Rumsfeld this president can fire. He's not going to let Valerie Jarrett go. I mean, and she -

MR. ROGAN: He should.

MS. CLIFT: Well, maybe that's what you think, but that's not what the president thinks. But -

MR. ROGAN: That's what business leaders think.

MS. CLIFT: - the problem with this White House is they don't have very many big-ticket names that attract a lot of attention. Valerie Jarrett, I doubt, has a lot of name recognition.

MR. ROGAN: What about Susan Rice?

MS. CLIFT: She's no Donald Rumsfeld.

MR. ROGAN: The national security team is a disaster.

MS. CLIFT: I don't - I wouldn't agree with that as well. And she's not going anywhere either. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The economic anxiety was the top concern in Tuesday's election; unemployment rate, 5.8 percent from 5.9 percent, the lowest since 2008; October jobs, 214,000 jobs, the healthiest in eight years. The Labor Department August and September adjustment added 31,000 jobs; total jobs in nine straight months, 200,000 jobs.

Exports fell in September, widening the trade deficit. Sixty percent of voters thought the economy was stagnating or worsening, one third that it was improving. I'll read it again: 60 percent of voters thought the economy was stagnating or worsening, one third that it was improving.

Federal Reserve will end its bond purchases program, lower interest rates to stimulate economic growth. Average hourly pay rose 0.3 percent, benefiting the wealthiest. Average income grew 10 percent from 2010 for the wealthiest one tenth. For everyone else, income stagnated or declined.

Over the past six months, the economy has grown at 4.1 percent. U.S. manufacturers are expanding at the fastest pace in three years.

MR. BUCHANAN: Are we going to be tested on this? (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: There were a lot of -


MS. CLIFT: There were a lot of good -

MR. BUCHANAN: Are we going to be tested on that? (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. There were a lot of good numbers there. But the problem is that ordinary people aren't feeling it in their everyday lives. And these are stagnating wages, a gap between what the CEO makes and what the worker makes. And these are problems that were existent before this president took office, but the expectation -


MS. CLIFT: - was that he would be able to address them. He hasn't been able to, in part because Congress won't let him do anything.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me let Mort in here, because Mort has an entirely different review of - interpretation of the economy today than it might be giving people to believe from some of what I just read.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I do. The economy, in my judgment, is a lot weaker than it looks, OK. Number one, you have had, in the last half a dozen years, a drop of 7 percent in real income. And the president himself said, you know, people are employed, but their real pay is not going anywhere. If anything, it's going down.

You look at the number of jobs and where they're coming from. First place, the unemployment rate is - the real unemployment rate is much higher than the 6.1 percent that they talk about. It doesn't include people who are part-time workers, which is almost 8 million people. It doesn't include people who have just given up looking for a job. If you add those together, the real unemployment rate is closer to 20 percent than it is to what it is now. And everybody knows it.

And real wages - in the last seven years, family incomes have gone down - adjusted for inflation, have gone down by 7 percent from now to 2007. Now, that's a huge drop for the -

MR. BUCHANAN: And you had a trade deficit that's running at $500 billion a year for the 40th straight year, which is hollowing out the American economy. And Republicans are talking about fast track and letting the president get a new trade deal with the Chinese.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And (all of that ?) is just peanuts. It's just peanuts.

MS. CLIFT: You've got to -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got a national debt, a national debt of $17 trillion, now pushing $18 trillion.


MR. ROGAN: Who's going to have pay it off?

MR. BUCHANAN: And the 500 -


MR. ROGAN: I will have to pay it off.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean because of your generation?

MS. CLIFT: The deficit -

MR. BUCHANAN: Don't worry. We'll inflate -

MS. CLIFT: - was not an issue in -

MR. BUCHANAN: We'll inflate our way out of it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No one even alludes to the role of the national debt in making decisions in Congress (on this or that ?).

MR. BUCHANAN: We have a deficit of $500 billion a year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: On a political Richter scale, zero to 9.5 - the strongest earthquake ever recorded in Chile in 1960 - how much did Tuesday's midterm elections convulse the American political landscape, zero to 9.5?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's pretty close to a nine. It was a - I mean, Republicans have got numbers now they didn't have since 1929.

MS. CLIFT: Right.


MS. CLIFT: I put it at a seven. The electorate was 75 percent white. You're not going to see that in 2016. There'll be another earthquake in 2016.

MR. ROGAN: Eight.


MR. ROGAN: Mmm hmm.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, I'm nine - nine. I think this was an absolute earthquake in terms of American politics.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'll climb that up to a 9.5.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you live with that?

MR. BUCHANAN: I don't think it's accurate, but I can live with it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK. That shows what kind of character you have.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't forget, the McLaughlin Group has its own website, and you can watch this program or earlier programs on the Web at any time from anywhere in the world - Could anything be simpler - - or more edifying?

Issue Two: The View From Abroad.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

Q: What do you make of the notion that you're now a lame duck?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: So one thing I'm pretty confident about, Jim, is I'm going to be busy for the next two years.

(End videotaped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Busy? Perhaps yes, Mr. President. But respected? Perhaps not, especially on the world stage. It will be a diminished President Obama who heads to China next week for a forum on Asian-Pacific affairs, according to the foreign reaction to this week's midterm elections in the U.S.

The venerable Times of London called the (balloting ?) a, quote, "humiliating defeat," unquote, for Mr. Obama and an indication of his, quote, "political impotence," unquote. In a derisory tone, China's state-controlled Global Times editorialized that Mr. Obama is full of, quote, "empty rhetoric," unquote, and that, quote, "U.S. society has grown tired of his banality," unquote. Spain's El Pais called the elections, quote, "an authentic punishment," unquote.

The Guardian's executive editor for opinion, Jonathan Freedland, says foreign observers will interpret the elections as the beginning of the end of the Obama presidency. Quote: "The chancellories of Europe and elsewhere will have more than half an eye on the results of Tuesday's midterm elections. They may not obsess over the details of Indiana's second district or the turnout in Kentucky, but they will get the broad message. Put crudely, it is this: The Obama presidency is over. Start planning for the next one. Mr. Obama will become a thwarted leader, his hands tied by hostile majorities in both houses of Congress," unquote.

Then there is the view from Asia. Quote: "Obama has become the incredible shrinking president. He's very much weakened by the midterm results, and that's going to diminish him in his foreign policy. Leaders in Asia will now view him as a lame duck."

Question: How much have the Democrats' losses in the midterm elections diminished President Obama's international stature? Tom.

MR. ROGAN: They have - it has been diminished, because, I mean, you see the quotes, but you also see the basic understanding that in international politics, perception drives reality. And the president is perceived as a weak leader around the world, whether that's fair or not, depending on our particular views. And I think this is just going to reinforce that.

I mean, you see statements from the Russians, a prominent member of the Russian parliament, derision; from China, derision; from allies, concern, whether it's France on Iran or, you know, Sunni Arab monarchies behind the scenes. There is real concern about the damage that the president has suffered through, and -

MS. CLIFT: I would point out that -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish.

Go ahead. Keep talking.

MR. ROGAN: Yeah, I would be interested to hear what -

MS. CLIFT: I would point out that, in a lot of these countries, their leaders are in worse shape than this president. And I don't think they're sitting around saying, oh, my God, he's lost the Senate. They care - they care that the economy is on an even keel. Everybody's still parking their money in this country. And they care about foreign policy (and issues ?).


MS. CLIFT: The president has been writing letters to the ayatollah, trying to work a deal with Iran. He's got more trouble with his Congress -

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got real problems, John.

MS. CLIFT: - than he has with any people around the world.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, he's really got trouble.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear what she said?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, but he's got real troubles here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She said -

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got troubles -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - (inaudible). She says how can you come to that conclusion simply because he lost the Senate -

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, you've got -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - (as though ?) losing the Senate -

MR. BUCHANAN: - real problems.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - he's lost the government?

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, he's got real problems dealing with the Russians in Ukraine. He's going to have real problems in Iraq and Syria. And he now has a Republican hawkish bloc in the U.S. Congress which is going to try to force on him sanctions on Iran before or when this deal comes. And it's going to try to force him into a larger war, which I don't think he wants, in Iraq and Syria. It's going to be a real battle.

MS. CLIFT: Totally. That's what I said. He has more trouble with the Republican Congress than he has with people around the world. And I would point out that Ronald Reagan lost the Senate in 1986 -

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, but he came up with an international - I was with him in Hofdi House in the second -

MS. CLIFT: And he got things accomplished in those last two years -


MS. CLIFT: - just as Bill Clinton did after losing both houses in `94.

MR. BUCHANAN: Reagan got a nuclear deal.

MS. CLIFT: So this is not the end of the world.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think if you had any ability to compare Bill Clinton's performance and Ronald Reagan's performance to this president, then you and I are talking about two different worlds. This man has lost the credibility that he once had, not only in this country but around the world. His credibility around the world wasn't terribly good. But after this, he's going to be considerably diminished. He's going to have a very difficult time getting -

MS. CLIFT: Bill Clinton -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Eleanor. Hold on.

MS. CLIFT: I have to say -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to get somebody else in.

MS. CLIFT: - Bill Clinton -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to get somebody else in here.

MS. CLIFT: Bill Clinton was asked if he was irrelevant after losing the House and the Senate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who is the -

MS. CLIFT: These other presidents went through much the same thing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who is the winner?

MR. BUCHANAN: The winner of this election?


MR. BUCHANAN: I think the Republican hawks were winners. There's no doubt that -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give me a name of one individual who is the winner, who is going to control the action.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, McConnell is -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McConnell. Talk to me about McConnell.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, Mitch McConnell's got the whip hand. He's going to have 52 - he may have 54 United States senators. I think the Republicans do have a different agenda. There are some things they need Obama for. There are other things they can pass and send down there and let him veto. Let Obama become the obstructionist. And I think Eleanor is correct in this sense. Boehner's going to have real trouble. If they're going to do deals on trade deals and they're trying to do immigration reform, you're going to have real trouble in the Republican caucus.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think O'Connell (sic) can deal with this president?

MR. BUCHANAN: McConnell? I think he did very well when he was in the minority. He's got a lot better cards right now.

MR. ROGAN: Biden and him had the deal.


MR. ROGAN: Joe Biden and McConnell were able to work together. So it'll be interesting to see.


MR. ROGAN: They can work together if they want to, if both sides want to.

MS. CLIFT: You know, McConnell -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is McConnell the magic name in all of this?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got the whip hand.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He's a critical name, without question.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's a critical name in it.

MS. CLIFT: He's a critical name, and -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does he have the manner and the behavior and the knowledge of politics -

MR. BUCHANAN: And the charisma.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - and the way it works? Does he have the respect of his peers?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, he does.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, he does.

MS. CLIFT: He's a pro. And what we don't know is about John Boehner. The tea party caucus has been doubled. Even though he has the largest -


MS. CLIFT: - portion of members since 1929 -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we've designed this question for you, Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've designed it for you, Eleanor. Let me get it in here. Is President Obama a lame duck? Yes or no, Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, he is.

MS. CLIFT: Well, that's obvious.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor Clift.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That means yes?

MS. CLIFT: Yes, yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's a lame duck?

MS. CLIFT: Of course.

MR. ROGAN: I think he is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A lame duck.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah - more than lame.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: More than lame?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He certainly is a duck.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he crippled?

MR. BUCHANAN: Is he a dead duck? (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: No, he's not.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, he's not a dead duck.

MS. CLIFT: He's going to get some things done, definitely.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Of course. The president is never without a certain influence. And he has lost such political traction, especially in Russia. It was never that high in Washington anyhow because he has no ability to develop the personal relationships that you need to be effective, particularly across the aisle.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is crippled duck.

Issue Three: Goodbye, Blue Dog Democrats.

Goodbye to the Blue Dog Democrats. Hello to civil war inside the Democratic Party. The last white southern Democratic congressman, John Barrow of Georgia, bit the dust in Tuesday's election. So did 19-term Democratic incumbent Nick Rahall of West Virginia.

The so-called Blue Dog Democrats - that is, the centrist or conservative-leaning Democrats - numbered more than 50 members of the House back in 2009 when President Obama took office. They were heralded by The Washington Post as one of the most influential voting blocs in Congress.

Today centrist Democrats have all but vanished from both chambers, wiped out in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections. Progressive, meaning liberal, Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren are who remain.

This is a stark reversal of the trend set in the 1990s by the Democratic Leadership Council and the Clinton-Gore administration. Clinton and Gore tried to shift the Democratic Party to the political center after two presidential campaign losses for the GOP by liberal nominees Michael Dukakis and Walter Mondale. Under the Obama presidency, there has been a de
facto purge of the Democratic Party's centrists.

Question: If Hillary Clinton decides to run for president, will she face a power struggle with the Democratic Party's liberal faction? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: Well, I think there might be some tension in the primaries. And I don't know who the candidate is; perhaps Bernie Sanders, who's actually a socialist, who represents the state of Vermont. He might get in the race.

There really doesn't seem to be a credible candidate representing the progressive point of view who seems to be willing to get in the primary with Hillary Clinton. And I think Hillary is smart enough that she is going to figure out the progressive economic vision that is going to put the party together. So I don't see a civil war in the Democratic Party at all.

And where did all those Blue Dogs go? They went the same place where all the moderate Republicans in the Northeast used to go. Both parties have gone more to their right and left wing.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the liberals are now in control of most of the offices. True or false?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, they don't have any conservative wing of the Democratic Party anymore. John, go from the South - you can go from North Carolina all the way around down to Louisiana up to Arkansas. I don't believe there's a single white Democratic congressman at all. Every one of the Democratic -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does this complicate -

MS. CLIFT: I think that's a legacy to be proud of.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does this complicate the landscape for Hillary?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, it does, in this sense. Hillary is much more a centrist, a centrist liberal Democrat than her party is now, that has lost its conservative or centrist wing.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but if you're looking at the electoral map, you know, the Democrats are not going to win in the South. They have to count on the Southwest and New England and the two coasts; still plenty of states there to get to the 270 electoral votes. But the loss in this election of Colorado and Iowa and, to some extent, North Carolina is - those are bad signs for the Democrats, because those are states that Obama had in his coalition, and they look now a lot harder to hold onto.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If you were Hillary Clinton after these midterms, would you want to spend the next two years of your life running for the Democratic nomination?

MS. CLIFT: Yes, absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You would?

MS. CLIFT: She's got plenty of fight in her. There's nobody who understands better how to fight against Republicans and Republican extremism.

MR. BUCHANAN: If she's out, John -

MS. CLIFT: She's not going to be out there saying -

MR. BUCHANAN: - the Democrats have no one.

MS. CLIFT: - let's all just -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does this motivate her to run?

MR. BUCHANAN: She is up here, and there is no - there's no second-tier or third-tier candidate.

MR. ROGAN: She will raise pressure from Elizabeth Warren, though. There is a growing populist sentiment of the Democratic Party that is very liberal and is trying to exert pressure, because they know that Hillary Clinton is basically the inevitable candidate. So there will be pressures.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And Hillary -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will this make Hillary run all the harder -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, to some extent.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - that you're describing?

MS. CLIFT: You don't want to -

MR. BUCHANAN: She's being pulled to the left, John.

(Cross talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: She was pulled to the left. Did you see that foolish statement? Corporations and businesses don't create jobs. She's trying to channel Elizabeth Warren.

MR. ROGAN: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, Mort. Let Mort in.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Hillary Clinton is - A, she herself is a very shrewd politician. And B, the last time I checked, she has one of the smartest political advisers you could have at a very low cost. (Laughter.)

So let me just say this, OK. She is - she's not going into this campaign to lose. If she goes in, she's going in to win. She can't win if she moves in the direction that is being suggested here, to the left wing of the Democratic Party. She knows that as well as anybody, and so does her husband, OK.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That was the point of my question.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Both the Paulites, Rand Paul's forces, and the McCainiacs have been enforced in the Congress of the United States, John. And this is in the Republican Party. They will be at war with each other on tougher sanctions on Iran and whether to go to war in Iraq and Syria.


MS. CLIFT: The strong showing of the Republicans in the election will swell the ranks of presidential candidates. Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor, now looks likely to get in. John Kasich from Ohio may get in. Governor Christie did well reelecting Republican governors. He now looks like a sure thing. And I think Jeb Bush is also going to run. There's going to be probably at least a dozen Republican candidates.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think you can handle all this?

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) I'll be watching Hillary Clinton's listening tour, which will get under way early next year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You'll just turn the dial to Hillary.

MS. CLIFT: That's right. (Laughter.)


MR. ROGAN: There'll be a major showdown in the coming months between the new Republican Congress and President Barack Obama over relieving sanctions on Iran in the event that he signs a nuclear deal, which he, I think, will.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which way is it going to go?

MR. ROGAN: I think the president will win it. He'll remove the sanctions -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which way should it go on merits?

MR. ROGAN: I think somewhere - I think Republicans in Congress.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On merits.

MR. ROGAN: It depends on what the deal is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm talking about the decision.

MR. ROGAN: If the deal is a good deal, remove the sanctions. If it isn't, it isn't.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, assume it's a good deal.

MR. ROGAN: Then remove the sanctions. But I don't think it will be a good deal.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: The collapse of oil prices has had a huge effect on the Russian economy and on the ability of our friend Mr. Putin to do a lot of things that he had hoped to do, because their economy is really dependent upon oil revenues.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, fasten your seat belts. I predict the Catalans will officially declare their independence from Spain in this Sunday's elections under the leadership of Carme Forcadell, the female president of the Catalans national assembly.

The Group salutes U.S. veterans on Veterans' Day.