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, JANUARY 21, 2011 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JANUARY 22-23, 2011
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Hu's Here.
CHINESE PRESIDENT HU JINTAO (Through interpreter): (From videotape.) I have come to the United States to increase mutual trust, enhance friendship, deepen cooperation, and push forward the positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship for the 21st century.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: China's President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama convened this week in Washington. The two leaders met for frank and friendly talks about outstanding matters of contention.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) This is our eighth meeting. Together we've shown that the United States and China, when we cooperate, can receive substantial benefits. The positive, constructive, cooperative U.S.-China relationship is good for the United States.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The major disagreement is over Chinese currency, the Renminbi. The White House believes that the Renminbi is artificially undervalued. That means that China is decreasing the value of its currency, making U.S. goods more expensive in China.
Some think that the Renminbi is the big reason why U.S. unemployment is at 9.4 percent. Lawmakers, like New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, insisted that President Obama tell President Hu how frustrated Americans are.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY): (From audiotape.) We are fed up with your government's intransigence on currency manipulation. If you refuse to play by the same rules as everyone else, we will force you to do so. The time for talk is over. The time for action is now.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Obama-Hu meeting ended with an Obama call for a speedier Renminbi float.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) The RMB is undervalued. President Hu has indicated he's committed to moving towards a market- based system. And there has been movement, but it's not as fast as we want.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What policy options does President Obama have if President Hu Jintao refuses to budge on China's currency? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: Realistically, he's got none, John. the United States is committed to globalization. The Chinese are committed to China first. They're running an economically nationalist policy. Why should they give up a trade policy that is succeeding marvelously for them to embrace one that is failing completely for us? We've been running huge trade deficits for 20 years. It's because of globalization.
It is also because we can't move to economic nationalism, because American corporations, giant corporations, have a vital interest in shifting production to where it's cheap, and free access back to the American market. The Republicans are wedded to free trade. Not until, John, we are about wiped out of manufacturing do I think a new political class will come in and do something about this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: I don't have nearly that apocalyptic view. I think the president does have one club, and that is that President Hu could see what's happening on Capitol Hill. And he did meet with congressional leaders, and they could move with some protectionist legislation that the president would be hard-pressed not to sign. And so I think the atmospherics around this summit were very positive. It was a win-win for both leaders politically. Now, will substantive change follow? And I think the most inspired part was to have President Hu meet with American capitalists and travel to Chicago and meet with capitalists there. And they're not so much worried about the currency manipulation. They don't like the intellectual- property theft. And so I think Hu could hear that directly.
And I think for somebody as closeted as a communist leader, this was really a healthy exchange. He probably doesn't get exposed to much of this. And he was even challenged on human rights and actually made a very minor admission that they do need to do more, which for a Chinese leader is quite significant.
MS. CROWLEY: Actually --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The White House and Congress could levy import charges on China --
MS. CROWLEY: They could.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- up to 35 percent. There are things that can be done.
MS. CROWLEY: They could do tariffs, but they're not going to. Okay, they're not going to do it. And this president doesn't want a trade war with China. It would hurt both sides. They're not going to do that.
The truth is that President Hu Jintao is actually a capitalist pretending to be a Marxist. And one of the things that they're very concerned about is the value of their holdings of U.S. assets. And so they were looking for an answer from President Obama this week that U.S. debt is still a relatively safe place for them to be.
I think that the president, to his credit, did speak very sternly to them behind closed doors, as it should be, about their currency being undervalued, about the big state subsidies that go to Chinese state industries, and also the theft of intellectual property, all of which give Chinese goods and products a very unfair advantage over American ones.
Now, will things change? Probably not immediately. But the benefit of this is having the American president air these things very publicly while the president of China is standing in the East Room with him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
Hold on, Mort.
Okay, let's make a deal. PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) We want to sell you all kinds of stuff. We want to sell you planes. We want to sell you cars. We want to sell you software.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Presidents Hu and Obama agreed on a deal by which the U.S. will export billions in goods to China.
How much in billions? Forty-five billion dollars. More than 200,000 jobs will probably be preserved as a result of the deal.
On top of that, the CEOs and chairmen representing 18 companies in both nations assembled on Wednesday at the White House executive office. The 14-member U.S. business group: Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Motorola, Westinghouse, Sybase, General Electric, Coca Cola, DuPont, Dow, Boeing, Intel, Carlyle Group, HSBC and Cargill. China's business group: Lenovo, China Investment Corporation, Wanxiang Group and Haier.
Question: China's trade surplus with the U.S. last year was $275 billion. So how significant, Mort, is this bundle of deals yielding $45 billion?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, it's still $45 billion, which, as we say, you know, that ain't change. It's a significant amount. But the real advantage that we are going to have to build on is not low-cost manufacturing, because we're never going to be able to compete, not only with China, but with Vietnam and a whole series of countries who are going to be able to outcompete us because they have much lower labor costs.
We have to find a way to maintain the intellectual input, which, amongst other things, involves keeping the people who have the great technological skills in our graduate schools, who get the MAs and Ph.D.s in the hard sciences in this country. Instead we are allowing very few of them to stay. We're forcing them to go abroad, even those that want to stay, and they now compete with us.
I give you as a small example, the computer industry, which was an American industry born and bred, we have 160,000 people who work here in the computer industry and a million and a half work in Asia manufacturing the goods. This is a problem that we have. We cannot compete on a price basis.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the manipulation of currency?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, that is a part of it. I'm not disagreeing -- MR. BUCHANAN: They're not manipulating it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Can the WTO intervene and make a law, a rule binding the members of the WTO not to manipulate their currency?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: They're not manipulating, John. The currency of the Chinese --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're saying it floats?
MR. BUCHANAN: No. It's tied directly to the United States. When ours goes down, theirs goes down with it. They tied it in 1994. We want them to cut it loose and rise.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. We want it to float.
MR. BUCHANAN: All right, so they're doing -- they're abiding by the old Bretton Woods rules.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about that?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, listen, it is absolutely true, what Pat is saying. It doesn't mean that this is the way currencies are managed today. These are the old Bretton Woods rules.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: What we want them is to play by the game that everybody --
MR. BUCHANAN: Why should they?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is no world power -- (inaudible) -- no manipulation of currency.
MR. BUCHANAN: They're not manipulating.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We have to compete where we have the strength and the comparative advantage, not where they have the comparative advantage.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's an extremely narrow reading of Bretton Woods.
MR. BUCHANAN: It is not narrow. Let me tell you, John, look, they are economic nationalists. They are doing to us what we did to the British in the 19th century. We put tariffs on, kept their goods out, and invaded their market.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. President Hu on China's human rights. Perhaps the biggest news of the meeting came from this acknowledgement by President Hu on China's human-rights record.
PRESIDENT HU (through interpreter): (From videotape.) And a lot still needs to be done in China in terms of human rights, and we will continue our efforts to promote democracy and the rule of law in our country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Washington Post --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: May I get in here? The Washington Post's Foreign Service reports that "The BBC television report" of that, that you just saw on the screen, "was airing a clip from Wednesday's Obama- Hu news conference at the White House on the touchy topic of human rights." Quote: "'A lot still needs to be done...,'" closed quote, "Chinese President Hu started to say. And then the television report went black."
Now, in fairness to China, all foreign media were not blocked. The blog sites were not blocked. But the state-owned and the state- controlled foreign media, they were blacked out. What do you think of that?
MR. BUCHANAN: John, look, the Chinese have a single-party state. They believe in it. We have a democracy. We can't control our borders or win our wars or balance our budget or run an economy. They are succeeding with their system. Why should they adopt ours?
MS. CLIFT: It's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Eleanor. Let Monica in. What does it mean to you?
MS. CROWLEY: I'll tell you, when Hu Jintao, in that joint presser with Obama, claimed that he wasn't getting the translation, I thought what a perfect metaphor for this. "President Hu Jintao deaf to human rights," right?
Look, this administration made a big mistake in 2009 when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a speech in which she pretty much directly dismissed human rights as a paramount concern of the United States in dealing with China.
The Chinese took that as a direct signal that they could go to town with impunity, and they did, because over the last two years there has been an escalation of jailings, of detentions, of torture, of killings of democracy advocates, of ethnic minorities and Catholics in particular.
Now, to their credit, they backed away from that. The secretary gave a good speech on this a couple of weeks ago. And it was very important for the American president to air American concerns about this in public, that the Chinese --
MS. CLIFT: And the president --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. At first she says, "We're not going to treat human rights -- we're going to put the economic considerations affecting both countries forward." Right?
MS. CROWLEY: Right.
And the Chinese took that as a signal --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And then she reversed it -- she reversed herself on that?
MS. CROWLEY: A couple of weeks ago she gave a very tough speech about the importance of human rights to the United States.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what is that all about?
MS. CROWLEY: That was -- it was a reversal, and it was setting the stage for this visit.
MS. CLIFT: The president raised it privately and publicly, and I'm sure those words will fall on a lot of deaf ears in China.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about --
MS. CLIFT: More importantly, this is a society that has moved the equivalent of the entire U.S. population out of poverty in recent years. They still have 700 million more people in poverty. They're terrified about unrest. They have a young population that is dominantly male. They worry about jobs. You've got to look at what they're doing from their own perspective.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about --
MS. CLIFT: Nations out of their self-interest.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me ask you this. What about the Nobel Peace Prize disappearance from the screen? He is now either under house arrest or he's in jail. Correct?
MR. BUCHANAN: He's locked up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, there was no reference to that.
MR. BUCHANAN: The wife is not locked up --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: At the press conference with Obama, there was no mention of him. MR. BUCHANAN: Why are we talking -- look, the Chinese are the toughest people on earth. They're running a single-party state. They're the most successful country in the world. We are receiving --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is this, more power to the Chinese?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, what I'm saying is get real. Get real. Talking about Hillary Clinton's speech? For heaven's sakes.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There's another thing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean her second one, not the first.
MR. BUCHANAN: This is nonsense.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's a completely different culture.
MS. CROWLEY: (Inaudible) -- important to the United States.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: They have had an authoritarian government for 5,000 years. They're comfortable with it. We may not be. They are.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why break up a winning proposition?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: In addition to that it's now a winning proposition at many levels, that doesn't mean they don't have a long way to go, but they know how to do it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The planet's two most powerful powers are the United States and China. Correct?
MR. BUCHANAN: Which one's rising and which one's falling?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think we're in decline?
MR. BUCHANAN: You don't think we're in decline? They're going at --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean by "we," are we back to that (scale ?) of yours?
MR. BUCHANAN: They're growing at 10 percent a year. They're growing right now.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean we're going down; they're going up?
MR. BUCHANAN: Relatively, yes.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Wait a minute.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Maybe we're both going up. MR. BUCHANAN: No, no. One is moving down. The other is up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: China has doubled its share of the world's gross national product --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should we worry about it?
MR. BUCHANAN: And we've lost a third. You betcha.
MS. CLIFT: The U.S. economy --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, they're going to win the --
MS. CLIFT: The U.S. economy is still three times the size of China, and our military is vastly greater. So let's calm down a little.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look, there's --
MS. CLIFT: The president is trying to find a balanced relationship, and he did a very good job. George W. Bush would only have lunch with the Chinese president, and that was seen as a snub. This country really rolled out the red carpet for the Chinese. And let's hope that that leads to a cooperative relationship and still competitive. I sound like a State Department --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me just say --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For those interested, the best treatment I've seen of this China-U.S. equation on the financial scale is Bob Zoellick, the head of the World Bank. He analyzes it very well from both sides.
Issue Two: Repeal and Replace.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): (From videotape.) "Obamacare," as we know, is the crown jewel of socialism.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The GOP-led House of Representatives this week passed H.R. 2, the repeal of "Obamacare." Two hundred and forty-five lawmakers voted for repeal, including all 242 Republicans. Three Democrats crossed party lines to vote with the Republicans.
The law is President Obama's 10-year, $1 trillion health insurance reform law. After the vote, Democrats sent a message to their Republican counterparts. The message: "We are willing to deal with you to reform 'Obamacare.'" The chief Democrat who delivered the olive branch was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): (From videotape.) We're always open to legislation. This is not theology. It's not ideology. It's problem-solving for the American people.
If people have ideas about how to help solve those problems in a better way, then we're open to it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here's the deal. President Obama's health insurance law is seen to involve these elements: One, pre-existing conditions; there would no longer be a reason to deny coverage. Two, parents' coverage of up to 26 years of age through parents' existing coverage -- yes. Three, malpractice claims; better protection for doctors from phony malpractice lawsuits. Four, electronic medical records to reduce errors, increase efficiency, and to share with other medical authorities if patients approve of the exchange. Five, less IRS tax paper for businesses; eliminate excessive paperwork for business expenses of $600 and up. Six, individual mandate out; individuals will not face a fine if they do not purchase health insurance. Seven, employer mandate out; employers will not face a fine if they do not purchase health insurance.
John Boehner gave a press conference this week and he outlined 13 principles the GOP will follow in crafting new health care legislation. Is that fundamentally reducible to that, that you just saw?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I think that's right, and I think the Republicans have got the votes in the House to get an awful lot of that through, John. The problem is the Senate. Quite frankly, the Democrats have a terrible problem. They are unwilling to vote on repeal of the health care -- the entire thing because they don't want their 21 senators to go on the line saying, "We favor the existing law," because they're terrified of it. The Democrats lack the courage of their convictions. They are cowards on this issue. And the Republicans are going to drive them to the wall on it, but nothing's going to get done.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's going to win? Who's going to win that contest?
MR. BUCHANAN: Obama will win.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why will Obama win?
MR. BUCHANAN: Obama's got a veto of everything. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will he use the veto and then make the Democrats the party of no?
MR. BUCHANAN: If they -- you might get some of those reforms through both houses, but the Senate --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's a political risk to that.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, no. The Senate --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: People like the stuff that you just saw -- they like the stuff you saw on the screen.
MR. BUCHANAN: Democrats have a veto for everything.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And they don't want to repeal "Obamacare" completely. They want to repair it.
MR. BUCHANAN: The Democrats don't even want a vote on it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that --
MS. CLIFT: I can tell by that smile on Pat's face, they just love this mischief-making. What the Republicans are doing is a total side show. It's political gas baggery. It's not going anywhere.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're talking about the repeal of -- what are you talking about?
MS. CLIFT: I'm talking about the repeal of health care and their notion that they have something to replace it with. When they were in charge, they came up with no ideas to replace health insurance. And John Boehner, who was not yet then the speaker but was the minority leader when "Obamacare" was going through, he offered a plan which would expand health insurance to 3 million more people. There are 50 million people without health insurance.
This is an opportunity for the Democrats to showcase what they have already passed and the positive elements that have already come into play for people, several of them which are on the list that you just showed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you happen to see that plan from Republican doctors?
MS. CROWLEY: The doctors, yes, which most of the Republican politicians embraced over the last two years. The Republicans actually did have a coherent plan to match what the Democrats were offering that ultimately became law.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean they were shut out before the --
MS. CROWLEY: Yes, of course. I mean, the Republicans -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- I mean, while the Democrats were in control, right up to this --
MS. CROWLEY: Of course. The Republicans had no power whatsoever when this debate was taking place. The Republicans talked about having insurance companies be able to sell insurance across state lines, to increase competition and lower prices. They talked about portability so that it wasn't employer-based; you could buy your own health insurance and carry it job to job; tort reform, to lower the malpractice costs and so on. They had some great patient and market- based ideas that the Democrats just completely blew off.
The problem now for the Democrats is it's still incredibly unpopular. The clear majority of Americans want the thing replaced completely; they want it repealed. And you not only have this political assault. You've got a legal assault on it as well, John. Now 26 states have joined the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, there's no doubt but this is basically just politics. The real problem for the Democrats, if I may say so, is that the country wanted to find a way to get health care costs under control. Instead what the administration focused on was expanding the coverage. And now we are in a situation where health care costs are going up across the board.
I've spoken to any number of hospitals and doctors, and they're all really upset about it, because they see what's happening to health care costs. That's going to hit the American public. You cannot add 30 (million) or 40 million people and not expect health care costs to go up.
MS. CROWLEY: Right.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And that's exactly what's going to happen. So we are -- this is going to be a major issue, and it's going to be an issue that's going to be a plus for the Republicans and a negative for the Democrats.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean if there's no health care legislation that's emergent, say, this year --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Obama is going to take a big hit? He's going to take a big hit next year?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I believe he will, without question.
MS. CLIFT: I don't agree. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the Republicans are not in the business of stalling it to --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, they're --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- be hung by their own, what, petard.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The country came out very unhappy about the health care bill. The Republicans said, "We're going to repeal it." This is their -- as far as they're concerned, "We're living up to our promises.
" It doesn't mean --
MS. CLIFT: The country --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Just a minute. It doesn't mean that they think it's going to get passed. It's not going to get passed.
MS. CLIFT: The country --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: But it's a statement that they are making.
MS. CROWLEY: Right.
MS. CLIFT: The country is divided on. And if you look at the people who think that it should be reined in or something, a lot of them think that it doesn't go far enough.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Sargent Shriver.
SARGENT SHRIVER (former Peace Corps director and former Democratic vice presidential candidate): (From videotape.) We only have one war. We have a war for the freedom of people and for opportunity for all people, regardless of race, color or creed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ambassador Sargent Shriver died on Tuesday at the age of 95. This ended a long life of public service. Sargent Shriver was married to Eunice Shriver, the sister of JFK, John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States from 1961 to 1963, when he was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. This month is the 50th anniversary of JFK's inauguration.
The '60s was a decade of idealism.
PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: (From videotape.) And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Shriver served in JFK's administration as the director of the Peace Corps. JFK created the Peace Corps in 1961 to send young Americans to poor countries to foster education and development. The Peace Corps at that time was the fastest-growing peacetime agency in U.S. history. After President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Shriver stayed on to serve in Lyndon Johnson's administration. Johnson asked Shriver to head up his declared war on poverty. Shriver resisted at first, but Johnson was insistent.
(Begin audiotaped segment.)
PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON: I am going to make it clear that you're Mr. Poverty. And at home and abroad, you ought to be. And I don't care who you have running the Peace Corps, if you can run it, wonderful. If you can't, get Osh Kosh from Chicago and I'll name him.
MR. SHRIVER: I can't get anybody. The only guy that could possibly do it, Mr. President, is Bill.
PRESIDENT JOHNSON: Well, you can write your ticket -- you can write your ticket on anything you want to do there. I want to get rid of poverty, though.
(End audiotaped segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Who's Bill?
MR. BUCHANAN: Bill Moyers?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think so.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think so too, probably. That was 1963 or '64, and Moyers was very close to Johnson. He came back after the assassination.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If that is the era of idealism, the decade of idealism, the '60s, how far removed or how far connected are we to that same zeitgeist, if that's the right word?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's a different -- there are different issues now. I mean, it's wonderful to hear Lyndon Johnson saying whatever he's saying to get rid of poverty.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Johnson was focused on poverty, which is quite extraordinary. Today people are focused on education. You have somebody like Wendy Kopp of Teach for America. There are more than a million kids who are educated who are going in to teach in schools that are really below-grade schools. That is a wonderful thing to see in this country. And I hope that that kind of youthful idealism -- call it what you like --
MR. BUCHANAN: This is pre-Vietnam, John. This was pre-Vietnam. There was idealism in 1961, '62, '63. The assassination, the murder of John F. Kennedy in Dallas just put a pall over this country. Johnson came in. He won big. But by '66, we were as divided as we've ever been in our history.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the zeitgeist today? Is it cynicism?
MR. BUCHANAN: It is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it skepticism?
MS. CLIFT: I look at the millennial generation, volunteers. And they're out there. They're not taking to the streets like their elder idealists did, but I think people are working to make their lives better in smaller ways. And I think Sargent Shriver was not only an idealist. He was a hard-hitting businessman as well. And he really regretted the lack of resources, which is why the war on poverty could not be concluded, if you will, because the resources --
MR. BUCHANAN: It didn't work.
MS. CLIFT: -- went to war.
MR. BUCHANAN: It didn't work, Eleanor.
MS. CROWLEY: I also see --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's New York like? What is the zeitgeist of New York? What is -- there was idealism then. What is it today?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There are 12,000 eleemosynary institutions in New York, covering every civic, cultural, education and medical interest. There is the most public-spirited community in New York that you could ever want to have at every level. So I wouldn't just look at New York in terms of how it's done financially or the snowstorms or what have you. You have public-spirited citizens --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what kind of an era are we living in? Would you care to describe it?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's what I'm saying. I think you have both older folks --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it materialistic?
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't believe it is. I think it is much more socially conscious.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And New York is the best city for that than we've ever seen it. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Obama was 40 percent in the polls. Now he's at 50 percent. Where will it level off? Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: There's a ceiling of 55. It doesn't go any higher.
MS. CLIFT: He's at 53, which is the percentage of the vote he got in '08. I'll settle for that.
MS. CROWLEY: He's capping out -- 53.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fifty-three?
MS. CROWLEY: Fifty-three.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Everything is going to depend on the economy in the second year from now, and it's going to go down from where it is.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's his -- (inaudible)?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, it'll stay at around 53 to 55, and then it's going to go below 50.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fifty-eight percent. The economy is rising.