Share

THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, WASHINGTON TIMES; MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT TAPED: FRIDAY, APRIL 2, 2010 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF APRIL 3-4, 2010

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright (c) 2010 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: Iraq's Easter.

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: (From videotape.) This election is a milestone for both the Iraqi people and our relationship, which is transitioning to a long-term primarily civilian partnership.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Iraqis voted in their national election almost one month ago. Sixty-two percent of Iraqis voted -- almost two out of three. To get to the ballot box, Iraqis put themselves in danger. Thirty-eight civilians were killed by terrorists on election day itself. But Iraq does appear to have a visible, functioning democracy, a democratic state and a democratic process; still violence, but largely contained, and much less than in the past. So who gets the credit? Is it our current president and commander in chief, Barack Obama? Well, does he deserve it? In 2008, Senator Obama called the Iraq war this.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) A war that should have never been authorized, a war that I believe should have never been waged.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But is President Obama now taking unearned credit for the functioning Iraq democracy?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) We are responsibly leaving Iraq to its people. As a candidate I promised that I would end this war, and that is what I am doing as president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Or does the Iraq putative credit, notably its current democracy status, more properly belong to former President George W. Bush? Many believe that the Iraq war was a war of choice, many believe a preemptive war, and that President Bush chose it for the post-Saddam era. This was his reasoning.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) We are helping the long-suffering people of that country to build a decent and democratic society at the center of the Middle East. Together, we are transforming a place of torture chambers and mass graves into a nation of laws and free institutions.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Before he surged our forces, President Bush said this.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Should any credit for the triumph of democracy in Iraq go to President Obama? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, President Obama is correct. This was an unnecessary war. It need not have been fought. And I think there's real question whether it was a just war. But how it comes out, full responsibility for that rests with George W. Bush, who launched this war. And what did he do? He attacked a country that did not threaten us, did not attack us, had no role in 9/11, had no weapons of mass destruction. You've got to ask yourself whether this was just or necessary. I think not.

But I do think the situation now is far, far better than it was in 2006-2007, when the Baker commission reported. And if it comes out well, I think any measure of credit or blame or responsibility goes with Bush primarily, and General Petraeus for the success.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do not think that the functioning democracy now in Iraq redeems it? MR. BUCHANAN: Look, I don't think you can redeem killing 100,000 Iraqis and making orphans of hundreds of thousands of children and making 2 million Christians refugees and destroying a country and 35,000 --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Doesn't that really depend on the future? And are you trying to anticipate the future?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think the future is not going to be particularly well. I hope it is, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MR. BUCHANAN: But I think Kirkuk and the Kurds -- I think the Kurds -- you could have a sectarian and civil war coming ahead. I hope not, but you could.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I agree with everything that Pat said. I --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Get that in writing. Get that in writing.

MS. CLIFT: I would be careful --

MS. CROWLEY: I got it, John.

MS. CLIFT: I would be careful about too much triumphalism. We haven't even seen how the elections are sorting themselves out. And the country could still divide along sectarian lines.

But having said all that, considering what a disaster Iraq once was, I give credit to a lot of people. I give it to General Petraeus for developing the counterinsurgency strategy and to President Bush for gambling and doubling down and putting more troops in there when he was under a lot of pressure to get out, and to President Obama, who stuck to a withdrawal plan that came under a lot of criticism during the campaign, and he's going to see it through as well.

But I would -- you know, we're not at the end of the troubles there. We see some stability after all the chaos, but the price has been enormous.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let's frame it a little more sharply. Shall we do that, Pat? The cost of the Iraq war as of mid-March: U.S. troops dead, 4,385; U.S. troops wounded, 31,616; cost of the war, over $700 billion; Iraqi civilians dead, over 100,000; Iraqi civilian refugees, up to 4 million.

Do you think that that cost outweighed the benefits of this democracy?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, look, I don't think anybody is engaging in triumphalism. But the success that we have had, particularly since the surge in Iraq, has been tremendous politically, socially and economically. And I do say that the credit does belong to President Bush, who took a huge political gamble on his -- staked his presidency on the surge.

And the surge, by all accounts, has largely succeeded. Even Eleanor's magazine, Newsweek, a couple of weeks ago -- and they were very opposed to the war -- ran a great cover story about the enormous successes that we're seeing there.

I also want to be the first one on this program to give a huge shout out, because most of the credit does belong to the United States armed forces and the armed forces of our allies that did the heavy lifting in that country to get to where we are.

Look, when we talk about the security situation, vastly improved, although you do have big outbreaks of violence. But politically, what we saw in a relatively peaceful, stable election a couple of weeks ago, and now because there is going to have to be some sort of coalition government, you have politicians, Sunnis and Shi'a, Kurds, all stripes coming together, having tea in hotel lobbies in Baghdad, to try to forge a stable government.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it's going to remain unitary, as described by Monica?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't think we know. I really don't. And I have to say, I interviewed Vladimir Putin shortly after we went into the war, and he said, "What are you doing in Iraq?" He said, "Iran is the real problem," because one thing that is left out of all this analysis is that the weakening of Iraq strengthened Iran.

Iran was, of course, a major problem and still is a major problem in Iraq. And I think that is -- we have now seen the costs that show up, not just in terms of the number of troops killed and wounded and the cost, but in terms of the ability that Iran has had to strengthen itself.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what do you think of that point of view, that namely, under Saddam, he ran the machinery quite well, didn't he? There was corruption there to some extent, but it was limited corruption. Is there much to be said for Saddam Hussein now that he's dead and gone? Was it a mistake to remove him from power --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I have to say --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- as he says? MR. ZUCKERMAN: I will try very hard -- I can't think of a positive thing to say about Saddam Hussein.

MS. CLIFT: The only --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, for one thing, he would not permit the al Qaeda in his territory.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, no, I don't -- listen, there were things about it that actually helped the United States. The fact was that Iraq was the major stumbling block for Iran.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, did Putin, in his conversation with you, have a real point?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I think he absolutely did have a real point.

MS. CLIFT: From the U.S. interests, we were better off with Saddam there. And he didn't have weapons of mass destruction. If he had weapons of mass destruction, then it would have made sense to go after it. But a strong-armed --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear that?

MS. CLIFT: -- a strong-armed dictator did hold that country --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is what they needed.

MS. CLIFT: Well, that's what they have under Maliki, to some extent, assuming he gets returned to power.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, and they had electricity full-time, right?

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me make a point here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MS. CROWLEY: It's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her in, quickly.

MS. CROWLEY: It's amazing to hear from the left, the left that has already championed human rights, standing up for Saddam Hussein, a tyrant, brutal mass murderer, responsible for the deaths of 1 million people. What we're seeing now is the development of a stable, decent government in Iraq. And that will have great ramifications.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me just say this. With Saddam in there, he was a brutal tyrant, no doubt. But this was a balance against Iran in the Gulf. It was a very powerful force. Secondly, the Christians were not persecuted the way they're being persecuted by the Islamic militants, who have been let loose now that the dictator is dead. MS. CLIFT: Yeah, Saddam was our ally through Republican and Democratic administrations.

MR. BUCHANAN: We helped him during the war.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The much-maligned Saddam Hussein.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: I don't want him back, though.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: The Iraqi people have -- let's go -- the Iraqi people have been liberated from Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. Will this be a celebrated event in Iraqi history, or will it be looked upon as a national humiliation at the hands of a foreign occupying power? Which?

MR. BUCHANAN: In the Iraqi people, I think there are some people who will celebrate it, but most Iraqis will say, "The Americans came in, killed enormous numbers of us, tried to remake things; maybe we're better off, but it was a terrible thing that happened to us and a national humiliation."

MS. CLIFT: They're going to have two holidays -- one when Saddam was gone and the Saddam statue was toppled, and second, when the foreign power left. They're looking forward to us leaving.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is time on the side of this being declared a celebratory event?

MS. CROWLEY: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would you say yes to that?

MR. BUCHANAN: By Iraqis?

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, it is, because -- yes, because --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By Iraqis, yes.

MS. CROWLEY: -- we have already gotten over the most difficult hump here. Look, democracies -- free societies don't just happen overnight. The United States didn't happen. We still have grave problems in our own democracy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Everything is not coming up roses in Iraq.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely. It'll be a long --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know that now. MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know that there are people who voted for the opposition to Maliki.

You know that.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, for sure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And they're still there.

MS. CROWLEY: But it's democracy, John.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's not exactly a perfect democracy. But it'll be a long time before they celebrate the American invasion.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's long? Ten years?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I think it'll be decades, decades, before they celebrate that.

MS. CLIFT: But if they could put together a coalition government that does give rights to the Sunni minority, that involves the Kurds, and they figure out how to divide the oil money --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer --

MS. CLIFT: -- all the more power to them. Great.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is, the jury is still out.

Issue Two: Republicans' Battle Cry.

JEB BUSH (former governor of Florida): (From videotape.) There are probably 10 people right now that wake up and say, "What do I need to do to get into position to run for president?" I'm not one of them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jeb Bush is the son of President George H.W. Bush, 41st president, and the brother of the 43rd president, George W. Bush. Jeb Bush was governor of Florida for two four-year terms, January '99 to January '07. Many see him as a dark-horse GOP nominee for president in 2012.

Jeb Bush recently has upped his visibility after keeping a relatively low profile over the past few years. He's been collecting IOUs also, campaigning for Republican candidates, and with a few selected appearances on network and cable television, and notably when he met with President Obama in the White House with his father, photographed with two U.S. presidents.

Jeb Bush speaks fluent Spanish. His wife Columba is Latino, a Mexican-American. And his son, George P. Bush, is a lawyer in Texas.

Question: As a 2012 GOP presidential contender, what is Jeb Bush's biggest asset? Monica Crowley.

MS. CROWLEY: Well, let me address his biggest disadvantage first. And although I disagree with the assessment of the Bush name, I think the Bush name, given Bush 43's presidency and the way it sort of came to a close, I think is quite tainted. So I'm not sure he'll be able to overcome that.

But on his strengths, he is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we have the Iraq war. That came to a conclusion -- benefit politically.

MS. CROWLEY: And it's improving. Look, stranger things have happened in politics than somebody coming right out of the blue or somebody who has been considered -- somebody who couldn't really make a serious challenge. So, look, anything is possible here. And Jeb has extraordinary political gifts. He is a natural politician. He is a fiscal conservative. He led the state of Florida extremely well. He remains very popular in Florida, which will be a swing state in 2012, just as it perennially is. And he does -- as you say, he does have great traction with Hispanic voters, and the Latino vote is going to be huge.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Well, he was the son, the Bush son, that was supposed to be president. And he is smart. He is politically gifted. But I think he may have missed his turn.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MS. CLIFT: And I think there are other candidates -- I think Mitt Romney is really the serious Republican candidate for the next time around. And he's shaking his --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's making a face.

MS. CLIFT: He's shaking his head.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, he made a face.

MS. CLIFT: And I don't sense -- not that I'm traveling in all that many Republican circles, but I don't sense a big groundswell for Jeb Bush. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, there's no groundswell.

MS. CLIFT: No groundswell.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is a little bit of talk down in Miami --

MS. CLIFT: Okay.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and in Dade and Broward.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me tell you the problem.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He is a phenomenal politician, Jeb Bush, and an excellent governor, and somebody who was at the forefront of the education reform in this country. And I think he'll have a lot of traction if he runs; frankly, I think more than Mitt Romney. I think Mitt Romney did not do himself any great, shall we say, advantage the last time he ran, and I don't think it's going to be any different this time.

But everything is going to be dependent -- the election is going to be about the Democrats and about Obama --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- the next time. And the real question is, where is the economy going to be?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Bush name is, I think, less tainted than you currently feel it is. I think the longer we have Obama, the better Bush looks.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, okay, John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But let me --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me tell you --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me say one other thing. He's got the Bush name. That means less advertising. People know who he is. They connect instantaneously. And that's a big help.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me tell you what his problem is. You say he's very strong with the Hispanic vote, and I would agree he's a strong candidate there. Marco Rubio is going to win the Senate seat in Florida. He's a Cuban-American. He's Hispanic and speaks Spanish. He is going to come out of Florida as an exciting young phenomenon from Florida. I don't think he's going to run for president in 2012.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Unfortunately.

MR. BUCHANAN: But Bush has got to move in 2012 or he is finished. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Big front-page stories in the Miami Herald are painting him, as I would describe, as a crypto-liberal, the kind of money he's been earning, the things that he hasn't really talked about as far as his personal wealth is concerned.

MR. BUCHANAN: He has moved to capture the tea-party vote.

MS. CLIFT: Earning money makes him a crypto-liberal? Earning money makes him --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, it is not.

MS. CLIFT: That's the best news I've heard in a long time. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, no. But he has presented himself as a conservative. And there are things in his record, in his voting record, in his political behavior --

MR. BUCHANAN: He will be --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that suggest that he's not quite as true and darling as you would suggest.

MR. BUCHANAN: He will come up here and vote strongly right wing, strong tea party. You watch.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm not sure that Charlie Crist is as dead as you say he is.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think Charlie --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're talking about a primary here.

MR. BUCHANAN: Requiescat in pace.

MS. CLIFT: Yes.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let's get back to Jeb Bush.

MS. CLIFT: Rubio is Bush's protege. I would take it full circle.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Another 2012 GOP dark horse. REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI): (From videotape.) I think this is more than just about health-care policy. I really believe this is more about ideology. They believe in more of a political philosophy that's more of a cradle-to-grave social welfare state, kind of like what you see in Europe.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan has been leading the charge against President Obama's health-insurance- reform bill and earning conservative kudos in the process. He is seen by many as a principled thinker and a rising star.

Paul Ryan, married; three children. Miami University of Ohio, B.A. Wisconsin Senator Bob Kasten, aide, one year. Empower America, a conservative think tank, adviser, speechwriter, two years. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, legislative director, two years. U.S. congressman, 1st district, Wisconsin, six terms, 12 years and currently.

Question: Would Paul Ryan appeal to GOP primary voters, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Paul Ryan is -- it's not his time. But I'll tell you this. He's Catholic. He's from Wisconsin, which is a critical swing state. I think we've lost it five straight times. He's cerebral. He's intelligent. He's a very nice guy. He's respected by everybody. But it's too early for Paul Ryan. I would think he'd make a terrible mistake if he goes as a congressman into the Iowa caucuses.

MS. CLIFT: And he has a budget plan that calls for privatizing Medicare. Not a single Republican --

MR. BUCHANAN: There you go. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Not a single Republican in the Congress has sided with him. So he's a bit of a lone-wolf, green-eyeshades guy.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think green eyeshade --

MS. CLIFT: Give him some time, but not 2012.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's one critical question here. How will he perform in the eyes of the tea partiers?

MS. CROWLEY: Oh, he's a hero to the tea-party movement. Are you kidding? He is such a solid fiscal conservative. He's a tax cutter. He's a pro-growth conservative. And, look, he's not the most charismatic politician, but I really think that after all of the charisma, bells and whistle of the last couple of years with both Barack Obama and Sarah Palin on the other side, the American people might want somebody who is a serious thinker.

Paul Ryan is the most serious original thinker that the Republican Party has. It's very difficult to run for the president straight out of the House of Representatives. He might seek the Senate, maybe run for governor. Who knows? But he needs to make that intermediary step.

MS. CLIFT: Having charisma --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No name recognition.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: Having charisma doesn't mean that you're a serious thinker. I'll just put that in. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No name recognition. No national constituency outside of where he is now. I mean, we're raising his name amongst a few principled people.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, the kind of show we run.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look at Howard Dean. Look what he did.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And there's no national network to raise money for him.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I agree with what --

MS. CLIFT: A governor is a better --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I agree with what Pat said. It's too early for him. He may come onto the national stage, maybe even as a vice presidential candidate, because it is a swing state. And he is a rock-solid conservative. I just don't see him going for the top job or the top --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, did Bill Clinton start out with a national base?

MS. CLIFT: Bill Clinton was a governor.

MR. BUCHANAN: He was a famous national figure. He'd been governor for a dozen years, and he'd been boosted as really a national figure for a long time. I just don't -- I don't think -- he's like a young fighter. You don't put him in with a champion.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Ryan facing insurmountable --

MR. BUCHANAN: Not at all. Not at all. He's got a lot of assets.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- insurmountable handicaps?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got a lot of tickets, but it's too early. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: He's young. He's got a lot of time left. But launching a presidential candidacy from the House of Representatives is very difficult. Let him go for the governorship first.

MS. CROWLEY: That was my point. But, look, here's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is Sarah Palin's attitude towards Ryan?

MR. BUCHANAN: It would be positive.

MS. CROWLEY: Very positive. But, look, here is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Doesn't she claim that he has more credential and hope than others?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, no, if I were she, I would claim that. (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: She's on the record as being very favorable to Paul Ryan. But, look, here's the big advantage that Paul Ryan has. He is essentially the ideas engine for the Republican Party. And the Republican Party desperately needs somebody who's willing to think out of the box but still solidly conservative. And he is a very serious thinker, and they ought to be paying closer attention to him.

MS. CLIFT: Well, privatizing Medicare is not a serious idea.

MS. CROWLEY: You've got to have some original thinking for these problems.

MS. CLIFT: That will go nowhere.

MR. BUCHANAN: I'd love to see him as VP, John. I'd love to see him as VP.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You would?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, I think it'd be terrific.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which is the stronger candidate, potentially, Jeb Bush or Paul Ryan?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't think it's even close. Jeb Bush is by far the stronger client -- candidate, rather -- and has an extraordinary amount of national credibility, without -- I mean, Ryan's just not in that league.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, you're right once again.

Issue Three: Mind the Gap. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: (From videotape.) We must declare with one voice that women's progress is human progress. And human progress is women's progress, once and for all.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Women of the world, not just women of America, the secretary of State is referring to. And there's plenty of room for progress. Women of the world, as opposed to men, make up roughly 50 percent of the 7 billion people on the planet. Women are disproportionately poor, illiterate and hungry. Seventy percent of the world's poor are female. Sixty-six percent of the world's illiterate are female. Sixty percent of the world's hungry are women.

The World Economic Forum -- think Davos, Switzerland -- in its annual report ranked 134 countries, measuring the gap between women and men in four categories: Economic activity, education, health, political representation, regardless of wealth.

Here's how the top nations ranked: Number one, Iceland, then Finland, and then, in sequence, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, South Africa, Denmark, Ireland, Philippines, Lesotho, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Latvia, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Spain, France, Trinidad & Tobago, Australia, Barbados, Mongolia, Ecuador, Argentina, Canada, Mozambique, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Cuba, Lithuania, and then the United States, numero 31.

Question: Why did the United States come in number 31 in the World Economic Forum's calculus about gender equality? Thirty-one. Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, this is not my field, John, so -- (laughs) -- I'm going to tell you something. If I were in any -- at least half of those countries that came ahead -- I would much rather be a woman growing up in the United States than Mongolia, just to pick one of the countries out.

Whatever the basis for their statistics, it had to have been very narrow, because the fact is that there's no country in the world, in my judgment, that comes close to the United States in terms of offering real opportunities to women.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: Well, in --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're challenging the criteria --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- of the World Economic Forum --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I certainly am. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in establishing which countries are more gender fair than other countries.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right. If this is their result, I definitely --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you attend the Davos conference?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I have many, many times, yes. But I've never been a part of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you stand in awe at the quality of discussion that's engineered over there?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I stand in awe of the quality of women who attend it -- (laughs) -- not necessarily -- I want to be ranked number one in terms of men who appreciate women.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Buchanan doesn't know what the problem is. What's the problem?

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute, Eleanor. What's the problem?

MR. BUCHANAN: The fundamental problem with the Davos thing is they are measuring, quote, "equality." There is equality in misery and unfreedom. That's what you've got in Mozambique and Cuba. Now, America, there may not be equality, but there is freedom and opportunity and advancement and all these things. They ought to send the women at Davos down to Mozambique for a while, John, so they can come back and report on how good it is.

MS. CLIFT: You know, you guys can't handle any criticism, really constructive criticism. We come in, I happen to know, 35 in terms of infant mortality. So we're very smug in this country about our health system, but there are gaps. We're not perfect in every sense. Our women are more educated. We have lots of opportunities. We have lots of benefits over a lot of those countries that are ahead of us. Maybe they're ahead of us because they have more women in their legislature.

But I don't think we should be blinded to the fact that we do have some problems in this country as well. And I think it's good that we have a secretary of State who recognizes that women, as your report said, do form the majority of the poor and the undernourished and the people who suffer in this world.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know how many women CEOs there are --

MR. BUCHANAN: Of major corporations?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in American corporations, Fortune 500?

MS. CROWLEY: It's a small percentage. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The figure I have here is 28 female CEOs in the Fortune 1,000.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a pretty small percentage.

MS. CROWLEY: Twenty-eight out of 1,000.

MR. BUCHANAN: How many of those companies did they start?

MS. CLIFT: It's 15 in 500.

MR. BUCHANAN: How many of those countries did they start? Companies.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, they don't deserve to be CEOs.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I'm saying, look, who started the companies? If they started the company and were knocked out because they're women, I agree with them. But what, do they demand a percentage of the Fortune 500?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, in the workforce --

MS. CLIFT: Well, did all those men start their companies?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, tune in, will you?

MS. CLIFT: You don't know that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In the workforce, in the workforce, 52 percent of United States workers are women.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, why would you be in charge of a company if you didn't start it, you didn't make the effort, you didn't make the investment?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let's hear Monica. What's the answer?

MS. CROWLEY: I just want to point out, before I give you my answer, that you have gender equality on this panel. Eleanor and I don't always agree. In fact, we rarely agree. But you have two of the four panelists here as women. So I give you a lot of credit.

Look, when you're talking about CEOs, that's one thing. But when you look at the startup businesses, small businesses, almost half of them are started by women. And this gets to Mort's point about the opportunity in the United States.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So Mort is right again?

MS. CROWLEY: And I would say that in this country, even though women don't make as much -- I think it's something like 80 cents to every man's dollar -- we've still -- we've made huge, huge progress here. And most --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The methodology in this report is deeply flawed.

Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Two major contingents in Iraq are going to give it real problems. Allawi and Maliki are just about even in votes. They'll fight it --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Haven't we discussed all that?

MR. BUCHANAN: We have, but we haven't discussed Kirkuk. I think the Kurds are going to demand Kirkuk as the price of coming into the government.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And that's the capital of the Kurdish territory?

MR. BUCHANAN: That's what they want is the capital.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that -- well, you go ahead, Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Catholic Charities will face legal challenges because of its decision to stop giving spousal benefits to employees going forward because they don't want to give benefits to same-sex couples.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: Keep an eye on Turkey. This is a very important ally for the United States. And the Islamists are on the rise, and they're really starting to tighten their grip on the government. They're starting now to go after the military. Now, the army in Turkey is the real bulwark keeping Turkey a secular society, and now the Islamists are going after the military. This is a very ominous sign.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the burkas?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, look, it's all coming back in Turkey. That's why I'm saying look out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: You know, the polling indicates that a core Democratic constituency, the blue-collar workers, especially white blue-collar workers, are 70 percent against Obama. So look for the Democrats to come up with programs to try and bring that constituency back into their party.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that President Obama will get enacted a new national sales tax early in 2011, in January, March or February.

Remember, you can friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Happy Easter. Bye-bye.

END.