THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MORT ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT; CAROLINE DANIEL, FINANCIAL TIMES
TAPED: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2006 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 4-5, 2006
Copyright (c) 2006 by Federal News Service, Inc., Ste. 500 1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005, 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, Inc. 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 Internet Service, please visit http://www.fednews.com or call(202)347-1400
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Beware China/India.
PRESIDENT BUSH: (From State of the Union address.) The American economy is preeminent, but we cannot afford to be complacent. In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new competitors like China and India. And this creates uncertainty, which makes it easier to feed people's fears. And to keep America competitive, one commitment is necessary above all. We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. Tonight I announce the American Competitiveness Initiative, to encourage innovation throughout our economy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A strong message from President Bush's State of the Union address this week -- keeping America competitive with China and India. The cost: A cool $136 billion over 10 years for research and development into science and technology, especially supercomputing and nanotechnology.
Question: Pat, can America compete with China and India, based on innovation?
MR. BUCHANAN: We certainly can, based on innovation, John. The problem of the United States with China, especially, is in production. We've got the greatest trade deficit in all history, something like $760 billion this year, $200 billion with China. In terms of industrial production and things like that, American factory technology, jobs, are shifting dramatically to Asia, to India, the Far East in general, and especially to China. I think all the production or most of the production in the world is going to be there by the year -- I'd say 2020.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Level playing field?
PRESIDENT BUSH: (From State of the Union address.) One out of every five factory jobs in America is related to global trade, and we want people everywhere to buy American. With open markets and a level playing field, no one can outproduce or outcompete the American worker. (Applause.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president repeats this message throughout the speech. He says with open markets and a level playing field, the United States can compete with anybody. Is that statement based on reason, or is it cheerleading? I ask you, Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Well, he hasn't done anything to level the playing field. Actually, the cost of health care is hobbling American industry. And one of the best things in his speech was calling for an investment in young people in math and science.
But I don't know how much presidential passion he's going to put into it. I don't think he has much muscle left. And this was not an idea that he created. It comes from Capitol Hill. Chiefly Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, is pushing that. That's a very worthy initiative. None of this will pay off in the immediate future.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't think there is any such thing as a global level playing field possible vis-a-vis the United States, China and India. Why? Because of the siting, s-i-t-i-n-g, where we have to put our plants, the matrix of choking regulations and rules, the unions, the labor laws, and the rest of it. They don't have that. So we'll never have a global playing field for as far as the eye can see. And you can't get there by innovation alone. Isn't that true?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, that's certainly true. But, look, the principal concern that we have to have in manufacturing, particularly low-end manufacturing, labor-intensive manufacturing, is we simply can't compete on labor costs, never mind all of the other items that you mentioned.
Look, we have a 4.9 percent unemployment rate, despite the fact that China and India are major competitors, China in manufacturing and India in services, and that's going to get worse and worse. We are faced with a huge competitive labor force in those two countries that is bound to have an enormous impact here.
The only basis on which we can compete is on innovation. I'm not sure that's the right program that he's putting forward, but that's the right idea.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Affordable health care.
PRESIDENT BUSH: (From State of the Union address.) Keeping America competitive requires affordable health care. (Applause.) We will make wider use of electronic records and other health information technology to help control costs and reduce dangerous medical errors. We will strengthen health savings accounts, making sure individuals and small-business employees can buy insurance with the same advantages that people working for big businesses now get. (Applause.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Electronic medical record-keeping and health savings accounts -- are these good ideas, and will they help control our dangerously ballooning health-care costs? I ask you.
MS. DANIEL: Of course they're great ideas. But I think that the real problem faced by American businesses is not so much sort of electronic records and who can read the scribbles in doctors' notebooks. It's -- you know, look at GM. GM has a huge problem with its legacy costs for health care, which the other competitors we were talking about earlier, China and India, just don't have those legacy costs imposed upon them.
So what's interesting now is that big business actually wants government to act in these areas in a way that historically they didn't want government to intervene by providing these sorts of things.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That answer was so good, I want to revert to the question I put to Mort, and that is, do you believe that a global level playing field is possible in view of the welter, the matrix, the suffocation imposed by OSHA safety and health regulations, by the Environmental Protection Agency, by rules and regulations with regard to siting, et cetera, et cetera?
MS. DANIEL: I don't think economists have ever believed in a level playing field. The whole idea is that competitive advantage exists, so different countries do different things. I think the issue really is America needs to be great at innovation, and they've lost some of that way; again, the car companies. GM and Ford have fallen behind on innovation, fallen behind the Japanese carmakers. So the issue isn't so much --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think we can get along without an automobile industry in the United States?
MS. DANIEL: In fact, you do have an automobile industry. You just have one increasingly based here, but it's owned by Japanese companies, not by American companies.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can we get along without that?
MS. DANIEL: Well, England can.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, let's hear this again. Technology rules.
PRESIDENT BUSH: (From State of the Union address.) Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem. America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the president right, Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. But these are just words. I mean, he has done nothing in five years as president to encourage conservation, to encourage alternative cars. And now he's just tossing out some words with no real funding behind them, setting some imaginary goals out in 2025. And he has no credibility on this subject at all.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it deserves at least as much money as we're putting into Iraq, which is about $100 billion a year? He's offering $136 billion over 10 years. What do you think of that?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Of the $136 billion over 10 years, $86 (billion) of that is tax breaks for business in R&D.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that good or bad?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's good, up to a point. I would never put that kind of money into the business sector and not put it into the area of expanding educational opportunity in the maths and sciences and physics. And that's why I think it's an unbalanced program.
But I want to go back. You asked, can we survive without an automobile industry? We've survived without a lot of industry. We had 45 percent of this country working in manufacturing 45 years ago. It's now down to 11 percent. A lot of industries have moved away, labor-intensive industries in particular. We have to find -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you're saying we can.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We can. We have to concentrate our efforts in those industries where we have comparative advantage. They're white- collar industries. Health and education, for example, just to mention two of them, are huge industrial conglomerates in this country, and we have a great competitive advantage in those areas.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think it's based on an unwarranted premise, in view of what I've been saying here, that --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- there's no such thing as a global level playing field?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There never is.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And anything that we can do over here in the area of talent, whether it's engineering talent or supercomputer talent, can be done in India, in China. They can match us.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know that they can match us, John, because it's not just the technology. It's a whole system of innovation and entrepreneurialship and financial systems that support it. Nobody compares to the United States in terms of --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But the question about the atrophy of the automobile industry goes to the larger question of whether or not there is a global level playing field.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There never is.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There never is. Okay.
MS. CLIFT: Al Gore was ridiculed eight years ago when he predicted we would have to phase out the combustion engine. If people had paid attention to him eight years ago, Detroit could have been producing these cars just as easily as Toyota. It requires some imagination and a little bit being less wedded to the oil and gas industries.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You sound like the president, Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: I wish. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Isms? Enough already.
PRESIDENT BUSH: (From State of the Union address.) In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting, yet it ends in danger and decline. Protectionists want to escape competition, pretending that we can keep our high standard of living while walling off our economy. America rejects the false comfort of isolationism. Isolationism would not only tie our hands in fighting enemies; it would keep us from helping our friends in desperate need. American leaders from Roosevelt to Truman to Kennedy to Reagan rejected isolation and retreat. There is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isolationism, defeatism, and what?
MR. BUCHANAN: Protectionism.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Protectionism. He's nailed you, Buchanan. What do you have to say about that?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, what Bush is doing, his foreign policy is failing. His trade policy is a total failure. Therefore, rather than defend that policy, he is taking all the opponents who said, "Don't do this, Mr. President; you're destroying the American industry, you're shipping it abroad; don't send the troops to Iraq," and he's putting them all into these two boxes, isolationism and protectionism, which they poll-tested, and the polls say people think that's negative.
So rather than defend his failed policies on economics, trade and Iraq, he's decided to attack his enemies. The best defense is a good offense. I understand it perfectly. But I'm glad we're getting to him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it's below the belt? Do you think that it is burlesquing the enemy in that fashion --
MR. BUCHANAN: It is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- saying that you are, in effect -- you're a paleo-isolationist.
MR. BUCHANAN: Listen, when I ran --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that that's justified on the part of the president, or is he taking something that should be reasoned out carefully and not gone into name-calling?
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, I understand politics. His father, when I ran against him, as soon as I ran against him, his father came out and attacked isolationism and protectionism for the reason that he figures if he can tar you with those, he doesn't have to defend his failed policies. There's nothing wrong with hardball politics. I credit the president for that and for what he's doing --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MR. BUCHANAN: -- because I think it may be effective. It's mistaken, but it may be effective. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are your thoughts on that, Caroline?
MS. DANIEL: I don't know that it's going to be very effective, because he's creating false-enemy straw men and then just trying to destroy them. The fact is, Democrats aren't isolationists. They're not calling for America to retreat from the world. They're calling for America to work with the world to combat difficult problems.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't that true, though, that technology does do an awful lot? For example, ethanol, while it is not --
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's growing in the United States, but Brazil has really shown that ethanol has greatly reduced their oil consumption.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Ethanol is probably the most expensive cost --
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly. (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- per gallon of anything we've ever had.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, if you want to include the cost of the tractor that grows the corn --
MR. BUCHANAN: I endorsed it in Iowa, but I can tell you -- I endorsed it in Iowa, but I can tell you, when I look at the costs --
MS. CLIFT: It --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But that includes the cost of the tractor and the farm land.
MR. BUCHANAN: With the corn and all that stuff, those guys are making millions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Assign an overall grade reflecting style and substance to President Bush's State of the Union presentation, A to F, please, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: I'll give the president an A by his own standards in terms of -- he was very strong, and I thought it was a powerful speech, effective in his delivery and his control. But I'll give him basically a C on substance, because I think in many, many cases, Iran and some of these others, he's backing away. And I thought it was weak there. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Well, that's kind of a long-winded grading. What are you going to grade?
MS. CLIFT: I give him a B on style and a D on substance. It was empty rhetoric, well-delivered. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, as they say, all isms are was-isms, so I would not give him -- I'd give him a B- on substance and a B+ on style.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Caroline.
MS. DANIEL: I think I'd give him a C on style. It was reasonably well-delivered; not very many jokes in it this year, but a lot of elephants in the room that he didn't really address. So in terms of substance, I would probably give him a D. Issues didn't come up. Social Security rarely came up. North Korea was not mentioned. There were a lot of issues which he should be talking about.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he talk about lobbying and the necessity for cleanup?
MR. BUCHANAN: The culture of corruption? (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It didn't come up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So what other dogs did not bark? You've named three of them. Was there a fourth dog?
MR. BUCHANAN: New Orleans. New Orleans.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: New Orleans didn't --
MR. BUCHANAN: New Orleans was overlooked.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Katrina.
MR. BUCHANAN: It was mentioned, but --
MS. DANIEL: Iran didn't really do much. Social Security didn't come up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Social Security and Medicare?
MS. CLIFT: Social Security brought the Democrats to their feet, celebrating the fact that he didn't get it through. And he called for a commission. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think that the technology emphasis and the competitive position we're in was quite audacious, mentioning that so sharply about India and China. I think he was right. I'll give him an A for that. The rest of the speech struck me as quite stale, particularly the treatment of Iraq. I felt it belonged more in the year 2004 and 2005. It was formulaic. We've heard it all before. And I would give him an F on that.
Issue Two: Legendary Alan.
The legend himself was working even on his last day. Alan Greenspan's parting act this week as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board was a quarter-point hike in the interest rate, the 14th consecutive hike by the Greenspan Fed.
Alan was appointed by Ronald Reagan. He served over 18 years. He led the Fed through a series of four tectonic crises: One, stock market crash of '87, called Black Monday, two months after Greenspan took office; two, Asian currency crisis; three, dot-com bubble burst; four, September 11. And not only was Greenspan legendary; he may have been preternatural.
ALAN BLINDER (FORMER FEDERAL RESERVE VICE CHAIRMAN): (From audio tape.) He's a terrific tea-leaf reader, and I think very few, if any, people have ever figured out to this day how he does it. The near- absence of recessions during an 18-year period -- there have been recessions, but they've been short and mild -- while, at the same time, managing to inch down the inflation rate, despite a quite strong growth record.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Does Greenspan deserve the adulation he's getting, Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely. I mean, this man was beyond anybody's ability to even contemplate as chairman of the Federal Reserve. What you left off was not only the crises that he averted, but the fact that he allowed the growth in this economy in the latter part of the 1990s when --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The real-estate bubble has not yet softened out.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: You assume it's a bubble. You are assuming it's a bubble. It's not necessarily a bubble. What it reflects is an availability of capital at low levels of interest rates.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, what about the $400 billion deficit this year?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The deficits are not a matter of function of the Federal Reserve. That's a function of the federal government. The fiscal deficits do not come from the Federal Reserve.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, well, that's a fine distinction. But most people will see it --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It is a distinction. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- not making a difference.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the state of inflation? Has that evaporated?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, the rate of inflation is -- if you take out food and energy, we're under 2 percent. Now, that isn't entirely due to the Federal Reserve also. It's due to the fact that everything that China and India makes is going down in price. We have a global economy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Blinder says that he strayed into areas where he didn't belong; for example, in saying that the tax cuts were good, and he should have stayed out of that. That's Blinder's only complaint, really, the gentleman who was just on the screen.
Do you have thoughts on this?
MS. DANIEL: Well, I would say he has waded into politics before. He did so with Bill Clinton. And he waded in very positively. He helped to endorse --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that's part of the job?
MS. DANIEL: He's made it part of the job. And people have invited him in.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was it a price he had to pay? His term is guaranteed, isn't it?
MS. DANIEL: It wasn't a price he had to pay. But people have courted him deliberately, and they want to have Alan Greenspan on their side. I mean, Gordon Brown in the U.K., for example, has just solicited him as an adviser. He's a man who basically is perceived to sprinkle magic into economic policy around the world.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he going to do that as a consultant? And, of course, lecturing. He starts at $100,000.
MS. DANIEL: Alan Greenspan is not -- he's not going anywhere. He'll be back.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: He's considered the wisest --
MS. CLIFT: I don't think the legacy of Alan Greenspan --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- the wisest man in economics in the last generation.
MS. CLIFT: I don't think the legacy of Alan Greenspan is finished, because the bill hasn't yet come due for those tax cuts at the high end that he gave the green light to and testified on Capitol Hill that we had such a big surplus that the surplus was worrisome. That was not based on fact. That was based on fiction.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think you're out on a limb by yourself on that, Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Fine.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think that all of us give him an A+.
MR. BUCHANAN: Wait a minute.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you give him an A+?
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MS. CLIFT: I've got an ally over here.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. The prophet Benjamin.
Benjamin Shalom Bernanke. He says he'll continue to "Greenspan" the Fed.
FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD CHAIRMAN BEN BERNANKE: (From videotape.) First of all, maintaining low and stable inflation in the medium term; secondly, the use of flexibility and judgment in making monetary policy; and the third is the use of transparency to inform the public and inform the markets about policy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fifty-two years of age; Jewish; Harvard University BA, economics, summa cum laude, with the highest praise; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ph.D., economics; Princeton University, professor, economics, 17 years; Federal Reserve Board of Governors, three years; current Bush administration Council of Economic Advisers, chairman, eight months.
Question: Is Bernanke likely to be as successful as Greenspan, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By the way, were you going to say something before this?
MR. BUCHANAN: I'll mention it. Bernanke, in the cover of The Economist magazine, is running and Greenspan's handing off the baton to him, which is a stick of lighted dynamite. Now, here's the problem with Greenspan. He has expanded the supply of money and credit more than any central banker in all of history. He's responsible for the trade deficit, responsible for this housing bubble, all these things. There's a very real possibility, The Economist magazine and others are saying, this thing could come crashing down. He has lateraled the ball to Bernanke 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage, John. And this guy could get sacked with the whole problem.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that doomsday scenario?
MS. DANIEL: I think it overstates Alan Greenspan's role in creating the problems that he's handing on to Ben Bernanke. The fact is, they just govern interest rates. I mean, he's not running the economy and they're not deciding tax cuts. They advise on that, but it's politicians who made those decisions. So the real blame should lie with (the administration?), not Alan Greenspan.
MR. BUCHANAN: The money supply, he's got a lot to do with.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --
MS. CLIFT: The tax cuts would not have gone through if Alan Greenspan had not blessed them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will Bernanke continue his policies, do you think, Caroline?
MS. DANIEL: Yeah. I think everyone -- basically it's been an incredibly smooth handover, despite the dynamite. Wall Street is very happy with Ben Bernanke's appointment; an incredibly uncontroversial nomination. People didn't even know it had gone through, some of the senators. And so I think it will be a -- it's been a very clean transition.
MS. CLIFT: He's not an outright ideologue. He's not a supply- sider. This appointment could have been a lot worse.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are they going to come to an end, the --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I believe the increase --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- interest rates hike?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- in interest rates will come to an end. I think the economy is going to slow down to the point where there are not going to be any increases. In fact, the next change in interest rates, in my judgment, will be down. And that will not be for a while, though, until --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of Pat's critique?
MR. BUCHANAN: If inflation goes up, you've got a real problem.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't accept Pat's critique. I think the one thing that Alan Greenspan has to deal with is the fact that he did, in his special way, give a green light to the tax cuts. That's the one thing he did, in my judgment, that he -- MR. BUCHANAN: John, this trade deficit and this current-account deficit are at records that no country has ever sustained. It's over 6 percent of GDP. If the Chinese and some of these others decide, "We don't want any more dollars," Bernanke will have to raise rates at the time. As Mort says, we got 1.2 percent growth in the fourth quarter. Keep your eye on this thing. Bernanke is a brilliant guy. He's a great choice. But he's been handed a stick of dynamite.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I like Bernanke already. I like that visage. It's right out of central casting. He looks like Moses. He looks like Moses. (Laughter.) Do you think he'll have to be Moses to --
MR. BUCHANAN: The guy who was head of the Fed in 1929 looked a lot like Moses.
MS. CLIFT: When we get into those biblical times, he'll be a good person to be leading us.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Tinseltown Turmoil.
The glitziest night of the show-biz year, the Oscars, four weeks away. The Academy Awards will be handed out. But all the movie news is not glitzy. As Tinseltown's brightest stars gather to celebrate, Hollywood is reeling from its most disappointing box-office performance in 15 years. Studios are scrambling to regroup. Marquee actors are taking pay cuts.
Meanwhile, a new trend is rearing its head that could make things even worse. It's called a day and date release, the practice of putting first-run movies almost simultaneously in theaters, on pay- per-view TV, and on DVD.
Question: Will this bring a welcome element of competition to the industry? Caroline Daniel.
MS. DANIEL: Well, actually, I think the Hollywood companies welcome this. The fact is that more and more things are sold on DVD than in theaters. Sixteen percent of their revenues come from theaters and 41 percent from DVDs. This is great for Hollywood. It's bad for movie theaters.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they want -- yeah, it's bad for movie theaters.
MS. DANIEL: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, are movie theaters going to survive? MS. DANIEL: Of course they'll survive. They just have to adapt; have nicer chairs or something.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you buy DVDs and watch them at home?
MR. BUCHANAN: I don't know how to work them, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you like communal gatherings in the theater? Is that why you go to movies?
MR. BUCHANAN: I love the big movie theaters with the popcorn, watching the show there.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: With other people.
MR. BUCHANAN: With other people. That's the way it ought to be done.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That doesn't defeat your isolationism?
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: That's traditionalism.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: Europe will not cut aid to Hamas.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Second week in a row: Global warming will finally get the proper attention as an issue.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bush didn't mention it. Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Despite his promise to resign if Hamas won, Abu Mazen will stay as president of the Palestinians in the hopes that he can get money out of the United States.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Caroline.
MS. DANIEL: "Brokeback Mountain" will win at the Oscars for best picture, and George Bush still won't watch the movie.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Whether President Bush realized it or not, isolationism is in the U.S. It has already arrived, therefore, and unpacked.
Now a Group salute. Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil- rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., died this week at the age of 78. After her husband's assassination, Mrs. King herself became an icon of the civil-rights movement. She spoke often and eloquently of America's progress towards the dream her husband sketched at the 1963 March on Washington. In August 2003, 40 years after her husband's "I Have a Dream" speech, Ebony Magazine asked Mrs. King to write on the question, "Have we overcome yet?" Her answer: "We have not overcome yet. It is true that we have made great progress in many areas. Yet we have a long way to go before we realize Martin's dream of a nation united in justice, equality and peace."