MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Mubarak Goes.
The announcement that Hosni Mubarak stepped down came on Friday. On the day before, Thursday, Mubarak addressed the nation and tried to cling to power. He said he would hand his responsibilities to his vice president, Omar Suleiman. But protests erupted throughout Egypt, in Alexandria, Tantur, and Nile Delta towns.
In the southern Egyptian town of Asyut, the National Democratic Party offices were attacked -- Mubarak's party. In the north, the Sinai town of El Arish, 1,000 protesters tried to free political prisoners in jail and exchanged gunfire with police. Then key members of Mubarak's ruling party turned against Mubarak, now isolated. So, on Friday, Mubarak resigned, and crowds erupted in cheers across the country.
Question: What's the impact of Mubarak's exit on the nations in the Middle East? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, uneasy lies the head that wears a crown in the Middle East, all the way from Morocco to the Gulf. But this 12- hour hiatus, what moved? I think the military said, "We can no longer keep this guy in power. He's too great a weight."
The military, John, made the call. And the military -- while the demonstrators deserve enormous credit for patience, perseverance and courage, the military has vital interests of its own in economics, in politics. It's got half the governors. It's put together -- it's put all the presidents in power. And I think they are not interested in the kind of government that you're going to get from a fully free and fair democratic vote, because they've got lines to the Pentagon. They want to keep the peace with Israel.
So I think the key question now is how long the military holds power and how they shape the coming elections. Do they conform to the demands of the demonstrators for free, fair, open elections where all parties participate?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, what's the impact?
MS. CLIFT: Well, I share in all the exhilaration of the people who are over there, but this was a military coup. I mean, you can call it --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MS. CLIFT: Yes. The military took over. Now, it's a military that everybody seems to be commending. The people in the street love them. They're conscripts. And they have showed enormous restraint. But it is a military takeover nonetheless.
I think the impact on the other regimes -- the youth bulge that fueled this popular uprising is present throughout these other countries, as are repressive governments. And so I think there's a message to everybody.
But this is a time to celebrate and to be happy about it. But the rising expectations that this has created will be very difficult to meet. The protesters want more than the lifting of the emergency law. They want jobs. And that's going to be difficult, as is where are the leaders going to come from? We have to watch where the leaders emerge from.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see this as a silent coup, or do you think Suleiman called in the troops? MS. CROWLEY: Well, I think between Thursday night's speech by President Mubarak and his ultimate resignation on Friday, you did have the military go to him and say, "This is the end of the line." So in that sense, it is something of a soft military coup. And nobody knows how this is going to turn out.
Your broader question about how it's going to affect other regimes in the Middle East -- remember that President Bush began this open and public discussion about economic and political liberalization in the Middle East. You had the Iraq war.
But understand something -- that, yes, the regimes in the Middle East, from Jordan's King Abdullah to the Saudi King Abdullah, all across North Africa and the Middle East, they have to be very worried about the impact of this. But remember that the only Arab democracy that we currently have in this region is the one built by the United States in Iraq.
So when we talk about democracy, the way we talk about it here in the West has a fundamentally different meaning than it has in the Middle East. And because you have so many devout Muslims across this whole region, if they are given the vote, the chances are you're not going to get a Jeffersonian democracy, John. You are going to get very strong Islamist influences, just as we saw in 2006 with the vote in Gaza.
Remember, we're hearing the same kind of talk now with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. We hear now that the Brotherhood would only get 20, 30 percent of the vote. That's the exact same percentage we were told Hamas would get in Gaza. Guess what. They got 70 percent of the vote.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let me --
MS. CROWLEY: Tread very carefully here.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me clear this up before we go to Mort, and that is, who's in charge? Omar, are you still in charge?
Omar Suleiman is Egypt's newly appointed vice president. He is not optimistic about Egypt's democratic potential, and he said so publicly. Quote: "Egyptians are not ready for democracy. The culture of democracy is still far away," unquote.
Mr. Suleiman warned that the government was growing impatient with the ongoing protests. Quote: "We can't bear this for a long time. We don't want to deal with Egyptian society with police tools," unquote.
Obama's spokesman was critical of Suleiman's words.
ROBERT GIBBS (White House press secretary): (From videotape.) Vice President Suleiman made some particularly unhelpful comments about Egypt not being ready for democracy, about not seeing a lift of the emergency law. And I don't -- I don't think that in any way squares with what those seeking greater opportunity and freedom think is a timetable for progress.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Suleiman is now in charge, or is the army running it?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, it's certainly a combination of the army and Suleiman.
Suleiman, after all, heads up all their secret police, all their intelligence operations, has been a key figure in Israel -- I mean, excuse me, in Egypt -- for a long time.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was the equivalent of the head of the CIA over there.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, but it's much broader than that. The CIA does not operate domestically in the United States. It does -- that kind of intelligence service does operate domestically in Egypt, and he was a key player. And he was the one, as you saw, that Mubarak had confidence in. And frankly, so does the military. He's a very shrewd, very tough-minded guy. And we'll see what happens.
Nobody knows what happened with the military. It is clear that he is not that far away from the military. They are still in control, at least of all the major sources of power. But once you deal with fear, once fear disappears in that country, and in a sense hope takes place, you don't know what's going to happen. So we're still too early --
MR. BUCHANAN: But Suleiman is too close to Mubarak. I think he got too close at the end. He stayed right with him to the end. Even on Thursday night and Friday morning, he was sitting there. I think the military realizes "These guys are dead weight, and we've got to move" --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Both of them.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, both of them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Both of them.
MR. BUCHANAN: But I'll tell you this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it going to be --
MR. BUCHANAN: Here's what the military fears, that something -- what Monica says. Look at what happened to the military in the only other democracy in the Middle East other than Israel -- Turkey. The Turkish Islamic government -- it's not Islamist, but it is Islamic -- they have curtailed the military, taken away their role of national guardian, and they've got 100 of them on trial for treason. The military fears a wide-open democracy in Egypt. That's the way they'll end up.
MS. CLIFT: Well, the military has --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You understand the distinction between a civilian running the country -- that's Suleiman -- he's not a member of --
MR. BUCHANAN: He's a former general.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know, but he's not a military -- he's not in the military now.
MS. CLIFT: No, but all their leaders --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does that mean anything?
MS. CLIFT: All of their leaders --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: They don't --
MS. CLIFT: All their leaders have come from the military.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I understand that.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, not at all of them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I understand that.
MS. CLIFT: Suleiman -- well, most of them. Suleiman is Mubarak lite.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Including Mubarak. I know that. But he's technically a civilian.
MS. CLIFT: Yes, but he's supposed to be temporary. He's supposed to be temporary --
MR. BUCHANAN: He will be.
MS. CLIFT: -- until the election.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does this take some of the edge off --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, no. We don't know. The question is if the military still controls the country, which they very well may, notwithstanding what we have just seen, where so much of that hostility was focused on Mubarak -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- he will be able to work with the military.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was it a silent coup, in your judgment?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, in my judgment, it was against Mubarak. It's not necessarily against Suleiman, okay. The military still controls the country. They're the most powerful and the most effective organization --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the military working at the wishes and the direction of Suleiman?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, not at this point, absolutely not.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, the president --
MS. CLIFT: The --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Eleanor. The president spoke to this matter -- that is, the resignation of --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Mubarak.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Mubarak on Friday afternoon.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) We saw protesters chant, "Selmiya, selmiya" -- "We are peaceful" -- again and again. We saw a military that would not fire bullets at the people they were sworn to protect. These scenes remind us that we need not be defined by our differences. We can be defined by the common humanity that we share.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of the president's -- you've been answering this, Mort -- of the president's reaction?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I mean, I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he's drawing too close to it, that he wants to own it? He says "we, we, we" throughout.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Listen, I don't worry about the president's reaction. I worry about the reaction to the president, okay. And you have countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan and the PLO, all of whom are terrified by the consequences of this thing, because this country might very well support Hamas and a lot of other radicals in that region. That's exactly what we do not want to happen.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he's drawing too close to it, the president?
MS. CLIFT: No. No.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I don't think so.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he wants to take possession of it? He wants to own it.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It certainly, from his point of view, is sort of a modest triumph, okay. But we'll see. It's a lot too early to tell.
MS. CLIFT: It's very hard to get the fuel mixture right of backing a government that has been an ally for 30 years and standing with the people in the street who are aligned with the democratic principles that this president discussed in Cairo in July of 2009. There was some --
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There is a --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.
MS. CLIFT: There were some missteps along the way, but he got it pretty much right and I think he's looking pretty good; modest triumph, I agree, but we don't know --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We don't know. It is too early to tell.
MS. CLIFT: -- the direction. And I would like to point out --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think we are hyper -- are we hyper- involved in that situation?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, I think that the president has hop-scotched over this over the last two weeks, where he got too involved and then not involved enough, and he said too much and then he didn't say enough. Look, his words on Friday were very much tied to what he called the aspirations of the Egyptian people. It would have been very nice to hear those same words from the president two years ago when the Iranian people were in the street. We didn't hear it.
MS. CLIFT: It's a totally different situation.
MS. CROWLEY: It is not.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish. Let her finish.
MS. CROWLEY: You know what? Actually, the situation in Iran nearly two years ago was a much more clarified moral question for the president than this one, where we're dealing with a regime that was our ally.
MR. BUCHANAN: John -- John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to ask you --
MS. CLIFT: When the tanks came out in Iran, what would he say then?
MR. BUCHANAN: Go ahead, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me get -- I'll go right to you, Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Thank you.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me go to Pat first.
Do you think there could be a pernicious element in the president's remarks, namely that it would be excitational for the younger people around the world to replicate what the United States approved so much?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, I think you're exactly right in this sense. Look, what he has done now, belatedly -- he has been all over the lot -- he has embraced the revolution.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: Now, suppose there's a crowd of 50,000 in the streets of Amman and in Riyadh and in the capital --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- of Bahrain, where we've got the fleet, where there's a Sunni king ruling a Shia nation. If this thing takes off and metastasizes, is he going to say, "I am all for the revolution across the Middle East" when they wipe out our allies? MS. CLIFT: No, he's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about that? Let Eleanor respond.
MS. CLIFT: He's going to play it as carefully as he did through this. And this is up to the people in these various countries. And I would like to point out that an American-created democracy -- and I put it in quotes -- in Iraq brought about at the edge of a gun is very different from a popular uprising in Egypt --
MS. CROWLEY: I was talking about Iran.
MS. CLIFT: -- which was created by the American --
MS. CROWLEY: I was speaking of Iran.
MS. CLIFT: You spoke about Iraq in your first intercession.
MS. CROWLEY: (Laughs.) The point that I was making --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, hold on. Hold on.
MS. CLIFT: And Iran -- and it's going to be fascinating to see if this does have an impact in Iran. But it's a very different government there. They don't have a friendly military like they have in Egypt.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We have an absolutely perfect example of whether our interests and our values are aligned here in Egypt, because our interests, as Pat says -- we're tied in with a lot of very, very conservative monarchical or, shall we say, non-democratic regimes all throughout the regime of the Middle East. They're in our interest. The question is, our values -- if democracy becomes our sole value, we're going to have a lot of problems. So the president does have a very difficult line, in a sense, to walk.
MS. CROWLEY: And I also think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he preserve a line, a proper distinction and clarity between these two situations, the United States and Egypt? Did he draw too close to Egypt?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Certainly it was very easy to draw a very clear line at this stage of the game.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's got a problem, John.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: But the problem -- we don't know what the problems are going to be coming down the road.
MR. BUCHANAN: Here's what the problem is, John. The problem is our military, John -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: General Crowley -- General Crowley, what do you think about this?
MS. CROWLEY: Yes, sir -- reporting for duty. Look, I think, in many instances, the train has left the station. And when we talk about the president's ability to influence events, we saw that that was incredibly limited even within the context of Egypt.
And now, as this starts spreading abroad, it's going to be so far beyond what the United States can influence here. And what you might get --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Obama going to take any of that rap?
MS. CROWLEY: What you might get is far darker influence than what you have with an authoritarian regime.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, look at Gates. Look at the military.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What?
MR. BUCHANAN: Look at the military-to-military relationship. What we want is maintaining that peace treaty. I think the Egyptian military doesn't want to put an army in Sinai. The Israelis want that. But here's the thing. Do the people -- does the Muslim Brotherhood want that? No.
MS. CLIFT: I'm sorry, but the protesters --
MR. BUCHANAN: They would like to cut ties to Israel.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MS. CLIFT: -- were secular. They were peaceful.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We don't know that. That is nonsense.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That is nonsense.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's nail it down. Multiple-choice exit question: Characterize President Obama's moves in handling the Egyptian crisis -- A, sure-footed; B, flat-footed; C, wrong-footed; D, none of the above; E, all of the above.
MR. BUCHANAN: A, B and C. (Laughter.) MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's all of the above.
MR. BUCHANAN: All of the above, except for D. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: Well, he --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're squeezing out the side door, aren't you?
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: He was cautious in a rapidly changing situation, and there was some pretty fancy footwork there. And I think he comes out --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sure-footed?
MS. CLIFT: Fancy footwork at the end, and he's looking pretty good, yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MS. CROWLEY: Well, I disagree. I think he was all over the map. You had some pretty catastrophic situations where the Director of National Intelligence goes on the record and says the Muslim Brotherhood is largely secular -- huge mistake. He had the king of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah, calling him, in a pretty brutal phone call to the president of the United States. And he had our CIA director who was getting his information from Fox News, for crying out loud.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did --
MS. CROWLEY: This does not reflect very well on this administration.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did Abdullah say to him?
MS. CROWLEY: Abdullah had a very -- a pretty frank and brutal conversation, saying, "Do not humiliate your long -- a stalwart ally of 30 years."
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. I mean, I think Obama did well within Egypt, okay. But in terms of the rest of the Arab world, they think that the United States abandoned their longest and most sure ally of 30 years. And to use a phrase that was used by a very high official in Saudi Arabia, they say, "He backstabbed your best ally." And this does not go well in that part of the world. Now, it doesn't mean we can't repair it, but that's a serious issue. It's all over the press there.
MS. CLIFT: And the alternative would be to be on the wrong side of history. MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, it's not the only alternative.
MS. CLIFT: He nudged Mubarak appropriately, gently in public, and I presume more aggressively behind the scenes. And when Mubarak was thought to resign and then did a reversal and the president came out with a statement saying he didn't think the transition was meaningful and sustainable, I think that might have had a little something to do with Mubarak understanding how the speech that he had given had completely backfired.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the answer is it was flat-footed. And we remain in motion, but it's painful.
Issue Two: The Hustler.
President Barack Obama is hustling to sell U.S. goods on the world stage.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) We believe Americans have the best products and the best businesses. And if we're out there selling and we're out there hustling, there's no reason why we can't do a lot better than we're doing right now when it comes to our exports.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wants to rev up the U.S. export engine that will kick into the U.S. economy and accelerate it. The president this week hit the outbound trade issue hard, and in many different emphases, during his major address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest business federation in the world. Three million businesses worldwide are represented by the chamber.
At the world headquarters of the chamber this week in Washington, Mr. Obama urged new export markets for American goods.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: From videotape.) We recently signed export deals with India and China that will support more than 250,000 jobs here in the United States. We finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that will support at least 70,000 American jobs. And that's the kind of deal that I will be looking for as we pursue trade agreements with Panama and Colombia, as we work to bring Russia into the international trading system.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And there is this. The president's high-octane export trade effort now has the support of organized labor. Of note, two huge unions have thrown their support behind the president's export emphasis, the United Auto Workers and the United Food and Commercial Workers.
Exporting U.S. goods means producing U.S. jobs, cutting the current unemployment rate; in other words, enhancing exports equals enhanced recovery. PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) As far as exports are concerned, that means seeking new opportunities and opening new markets for your goods. We need an economy that's based not on what we consume and borrow from other nations, but what we make and what we sell around the world. Everybody's got a stake in increasing exports.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: At generating jobs, will President Obama's U.S. export push (be) more successful than his stimulus package?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, it won't be. The stimulus package should have been much more successful than it was. You cannot create enough jobs out of exports to make the difference in terms of what we've lost. We've lost eight and a half million jobs. We have 130,000 people coming into the economy every month. We're not even creating enough jobs to handle them. So we've got a long, long way to go.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, Obama has no real history in his administration thus far of urging trade except the transpacific partnership.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And that excluded everything in Latin America except Colombia.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he's been neglecting -- has he been neglecting trade, or is trade any kind of an open sesame?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: A number of months ago he put out a letter hoping to double exports over five years. But these are aspirations. It's a very difficult market to crack. We -- for example, the computer industry --
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, what's the big lever, Eleanor --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, the market --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- with regard to trade? Is it a big lever?
MS. CLIFT: It is a big lever. But he's got to get business revving up. And I think with this speech to the Chamber of Commerce, one of the things he's addressing is the $2 trillion in cash on the corporate books. And they're saying, "Well, there's no demand out there." Well, you've got to start investing and then the demand will come and the jobs will come. And I think that was one of the reasons for his going over there.
MR. BUCHANAN: They're not going to invest because Barack Obama --
MS. CLIFT: Exports are an answer. They're not --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- tells them, for heaven's sakes.
MR. BUCHANAN: They're not going to invest because Barack Obama tells them.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: You want to know the market we've lost that we ought to get? It's not China or India. It's the United States market. Sixteen percent of GDP is imports. The world has more of our market than we've got of the world market.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, the problem with that is --
MR. BUCHANAN: We capture our own market.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You are so introspective -- so introspective.
MR. BUCHANAN: What is it --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can't we at least dream about a trade --
MR. BUCHANAN: Which one is easier to get into?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that trade is a lever. Why can't we dream about it?
MR. BUCHANAN: Which market is easier to get into, our own or China's?
MS. CLIFT: While we're yammering --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All this talk about the United States this, the United States that --
MS. CLIFT: While we're yammering about --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, we're taking possession of a foreign policy that -- MS. CLIFT: While we're yammering about Egypt, the president has traveled --
MS. CROWLEY: On your question about --
MS. CLIFT: The president has traveled to all of these states while we've been busy talking about Egypt --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Right.
MS. CLIFT: -- talking up entrepreneurial efforts that are working.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get --
MS. CROWLEY: Well, I --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get the trade specialist in here quickly, quickly.
MS. CROWLEY: He crushed the private sector in his first two years. On your question of trade, he has let trade languish. The South Korean trade deal is pending his signature. However, there are two outstanding trade deals, with Colombia and with Panama, that are languishing in the Congress, and he could do a lot to get behind it, and he hasn't quite yet.
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If trade is good enough for China, why isn't it good enough for us?
MR. BUCHANAN: Isn't Panama a huge market? What about our own market, John?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It might stimulate some inventiveness and it might --
MR. BUCHANAN: Companies will move into Panama and export to the United States.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, if we're concentrating on selling abroad --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'll give you an example. We invented the computer. We have 160,000 people who work in the computer industry here, and a million and a half in Asia manufacturing --
MR. BUCHANAN: We get our computers from China.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I think Obama was very enlightened in his approach to -- MS. CLIFT: Hear, hear.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Senate Shakeout.
SEN. JIM WEBB (D-VA): (From videotape.) I don't want to be out asking people for money unless, you know, they can be certain that I'm going to use it for a campaign.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That was Virginia Senator Jim Webb, a Democrat. Two weeks ago he was noncommittal on whether he would run in 2012 for a second term. Webb made the decision this week, and he voted nay. Webb is a Vietnam vet, former Navy secretary, journalist, novelist and lawyer.
Then another bombshell: On Thursday, another senator, a Republican, announced that he would not run for another term in 2012 -- four-term Arizona Republican Senator and Minority Whip -- get this -- Jon Kyl.
Webb and Kyl join three other senators who have already announced that they are not running in 2012: Kay Bailey Hutchison, senator, Republican, Texas, ranking member, Commerce Committee, will have served four terms.
Kent Conrad, senator, Democrat, North Dakota, chairman, Budget Committee. Conrad in 2012 will have served five terms.
Joe Lieberman, senator, Connecticut, chairman, Homeland Security Committee, independent, Democrat. In 2012, Lieberman will have served four terms.
Question: Which party do these five Senate retirements benefit more now, Democrats or Republicans? I ask you, Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: The Republicans. I think you look at the seats that the Democrats are walking away from, and it's going to be very difficult to hold, for example, Virginia. It's going to be impossible to hold North Dakota, where Kent Conrad is not running again. And the Democrats are going to have to hold a number of seats. I think it's almost nearing certainty that the Republicans will probably get the majority in 2012.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there any common denominator to those retirements, Pat, i.e. incumbency is a dirty, dirty word?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, a lot of them are concerned about that, mainly some of the Democrats, because they're fearful -- they're fearful they're going to have a very bad year. But I'll tell you, in Arizona, Kyl stands down. Gabby Giffords, if she's okay, she could walk into that seat for them.
But I do think the Democrats have got about 22 seats up, John. The Republicans have got about 10. And what the Democrats feel, they've been in power for a while. They've had those chairmanships. And they're looking down the road and they're seeing, "We're never going to be chairmen again. If we're going to get out, let's get going now."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about in Egypt? Was that an anti- incumbency -- (laughter) -- situation?
MS. CROWLEY: That's really stretching it, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) You think it's a world mood? Seriously.
MS. CROWLEY: You know, I don't know. I mean --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it bred by the recession?
MS. CROWLEY: Look, remember --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think the problem in Egypt is fundraising. You know, he just couldn't raise enough money for his campaign -- which is also true, I might add, for a lot of people running --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By the way, how much money does Mubarak have? One moment; I'll get right back to you.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't think anybody knows. But the most reasonable number I've seen is about $2 billion.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That high?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, no, there have been numbers that have been way, way higher than that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he have a lavish lifestyle?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, he did not. He did not.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He had a home in Sharm el-Sheikh.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah. But, no, he did not have a lavish lifestyle.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, Mort is not impressed by somebody having $2 billion, I'm sorry. (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right. I mean --
MS. CROWLEY: Well, shall we get back to the Senate question? MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MS. CROWLEY: Yeah. Look, I think that 2012 is going to be not a pretty picture for Democrats, especially those running for re-election in the Senate. But, look, when you consider the Republican side, you have a number of Republicans who are choosing to retire because they don't want to face a potential tea party primary. So there are a lot of external forces on these races.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's try an exit question. By the end of this year, how many senators will have announced their retirement? We've got five here in front of us now. How many by the end of the year do you think that will pull the plug?
MR. BUCHANAN: I would bet eight to 10.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eight to 10.
MR. BUCHANAN: Mm-hmm. (Affirmative response.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which is it?
MR. BUCHANAN: I mean, overall, maybe 10.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So that's an increase of about five.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Five to seven.
MS. CLIFT: He didn't name names, though. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly, quickly.
MS. CLIFT: Okay. Well, there have been five. I would put it at eight.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eight?
MS. CROWLEY: Yeah, I --
MS. CLIFT: Which is probably not unusual.
MS. CROWLEY: I think a couple more. You might also see some party switchers.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MS. CROWLEY: Interesting.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think it'll be closer to 10 than to eight. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Out of time. Bye-bye.