THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW; MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT TAPED: FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2011 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JUNE 18-19, 2011
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Huntsman Versus Obama.
FORMER UTAH GOVERNOR AND 2012 PROSPECTIVE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JON HUNTSMAN: (From videotape.) I intend to announce that I will be a candidate for the presidency a week from today.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The ranks of Republican presidential contenders grew this week from seven to eight. Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah and U.S. ambassador to the People's Republic of China, announced that he also will seek to be the Republican nominee to challenge Barack Obama 17 months from now. What does Jon Huntsman bring to the 2012 table? One, foreign policy -- ambassador to Singapore, appointed by George H. W. Bush; ambassador to China, appointed by Barack Obama.
Two, executive branch. Huntsman has served four U.S. presidents: Reagan, `82 to `83; H.W. Bush, `92 to `93; W. Bush, `01 to `03; and Obama, `09 to `11.
Three, moderate politics. Huntsman is a supporter of green energy and equal rights for same-sex unions. That means he can steal independent votes from Obama in the general election. Those factors are the reason why former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe is nervous. Plouffe, in 2009, said that a Huntsman candidacy made Plouffe feel, quote, "a wee bit queasy," unquote.
Why did Huntsman declare his intention to declare his candidacy instead of just declaring his candidacy? Pat Buchanan.
PAT BUCHANAN: To get a couple of separate headlines, but I think he's delaying awfully long. He did not show up for the New Hampshire debate.
John, this guy is the Wendell Willkie of 2012.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Willkie lost.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, he's the media candidate who's being imposed upon the Republican Party. I've never seen such a buildup for a candidate who's at about zero or 1 percent in the national polls. He's got no agenda. He's got no cutting-edge issue. He's not been a leader of the party.
Sure, he's got a shot to get into this thing, John, but he is nowhere in Iowa right now. And I do not see how he beats Mitt Romney or Michele Bachmann in either Iowa or New Hampshire. I think this guy is going to flame out very, very early. He's going to get a huge boost, but he is going nowhere.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, there are a lot of up sides to Jon Huntsman. He's smart. He's good-looking. He's comfortable with himself and a natural campaigner in a way that Mitt Romney isn't. He definitely will cut into the Romney vote, what you could call the grownup vote. And I think he's not contesting in Iowa. I think the showdown will be in New Hampshire.
I think if the party really is looking for someone who's unconventional -- he's got an ad out there that shows him riding a dirt bike out west. And he's an interesting man. But if you believe that the Republican electorate has moved to the hard right, it's really a challenge to see how he can defend working for President Obama and defend some of his policy positions. I think he'd be a formidable candidate if he can get past the primaries, but I think Pat is probably right that Republican primary voters are not going to buy him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, what does Mitt Romney bring to the 2012 table that Jon Huntsman does not?
One, finance experience; 25 years of experience in high finance, medium finance, low finance. That means he has finance creds as a candidate who knows how to fix the economy.
Two, presidential campaign creds. This will be Romney's second run. That means experience in campaigning and an existing fundraising network.
Three, name recognition. Eighty-three percent of Republicans in the country recognize the Romney name. That's as compared with Huntsman's 27 percent recognizing his name.
So question: Is Romney still the front runner, Rich?
RICH LOWRY: He's a stronger front runner than I would have expected a month or two ago. Nationally he's ticked up a bit. In New Hampshire he's genuinely in a front-runner-like position now. He's at 40 and the others are down at 10.
But John, the opening of this race is not for Jon Huntsman. The motorbike ad is actually a pretty apt metaphor, because you don't know where he's come from or where he's going in that ad. And I think, like Rudy --
MS. CLIFT: He looks good, though. He looks good.
MR. LOWRY: Like Rudy Giuliani in `08, he's going to be looking for a state where he can get purchase, and he'll never find it. The opening is for Rick Perry, who could potentially eclipse Tim Pawlenty and compete with Michele Bachmann for the tea party vote and potentially be a real competitor to Mitt Romney.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's he going to do?
MR. LOWRY: You know, I don't think he's made the existential choice, but it's going to be very, very tempting for him to get in.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, what do you think?
MORT ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think Huntsman has a first-class intelligence, a first-class temperament. As Eleanor was saying, he's totally comfortable with himself and connects very well with people. And he has a first-class family.
I think he's an outstanding individual, and I think he's going to be much more competitive when the country gets to know him and the Republicans get to know him. I think he's going to be somebody who's really going to appeal across the board. And he is a winning candidate if he ever gets the nomination. And that is something that, at some point, may actually have an influence on what the Republicans do.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Mort, why would you shove Romney aside to take Huntsman? Whatever you say about -- Romney's been out there.
He's made $500 million. He frankly has downsized businesses. He's a tough guy on the economy. And he's out there at 40 percent. What does Huntsman have in terms of a cutting issue or dramatic agenda to beat Romney, who's now, as Rick says, out there at 40 percent?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: My view is that he's got a natural gift for leadership. And Romney, if I may say so, has had too much, shall we say, flip-flopping on a lot of issues to have the kind of credibility to be a leader in that sense.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Huntsman is not like that. I think he's really -- wait till the country gets to see him in action.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to point out that he was CEO of Huntsman Corporation petrochemical company from `83 to `89?
MS. CLIFT: Well, that sounds like --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So he knows about being an executive.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: He's had --
MR. BUCHANAN: His father started it. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: He did outstandingly well as the CEO of that company.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: In fairness, the name of the company somehow or other has some relationship to his family. But even still, he did very well.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. And he was deputy assistant secretary of commerce, trade and development. MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was deputy assistant secretary for --
MR. BUCHANAN: Deputy assistant secretary, John, is very --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- again for U.S. Department of Commerce, East Asia and Pacific. He's got pretty good creds.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he's been ambassador twice.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely. He was ambassador to Singapore at the age of 32. He was appointed by a whole range of different administrations.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And, of course, he just got back from being ambassador to China.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: China.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, Huntsman and the China syndrome.
The former U.S. ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, was one of two speakers at a Reuters event in New York City this week. Huntsman, along with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, was asked by Harry Evans to give his view on China's rise on the global stage. Huntsman says China is on the global stage but is learning how to handle it.
MR. HUNTSMAN: (From videotape.) They're on the world stage. The question now becomes, are they ready to lead on the world stage? And I think there's a lag there. They'll figure it out, but I think there's probably three to five years during which they will have to come to grips with what it means to be on the world stage.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question. Jon Huntsman served as ambassador to China during that ambassadorial service. China backtracked on human rights. Will that hurt Huntsman on the campaign trail?
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, if he's talking --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I ask you, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, I'm sure that's just a small excerpt about five years to get -- what is he talking about? This is a great, dramatic, dynamic power which is working the world international order we established for its own benefits, engaged in economic nationalism.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I was there, yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort was there. I was there. Do you recall what Huntsman said?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I do. And I don't disagree. China has played a role that is a much narrower role in terms of playing on the world stage. OK, there is no doubt. But they're growing in that direction. He was the first person I've ever heard who was able to stand with Henry Kissinger, who knows more about China than any other public official, and keep that dialogue going.
MR. LOWRY: Mort, you know what that gets you?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Mort finish.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me finish, OK? China is going to be the major player, as far as we are concerned, over the next decade. He's got the experience that I think will show up in the way he deals with it and the way he --
MR. LOWRY: You know what that gets you?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Eleanor in.
MS. CLIFT: I think I'm with Rich on this one. Henry Kissinger is not exactly a marquee name among Republicans. Most Republicans today think that he was some sort of a sellout. And I don't think --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, that's nonsense.
MS. CLIFT: -- voters are going to hold Huntsman responsible for our China policy, but it does accentuate the fact that he worked for Obama. How does he explain that away?
MR. LOWRY: If one of the first --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Rich in. Let Rich in.
MR. LOWRY: Quickly, quickly, if one of the first --
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, let him in.
MR. LOWRY: If one of the first caucuses or primaries were held at a seminar on the Council on Foreign Relations, he would be fantastic.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. LOWRY: But none of them are. You look at New Hampshire, John. This is extraordinary. He is 14 percent favorable, 36 unfavorable, already in New Hampshire, which is -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?
MR. LOWRY: I think it's his affect and the fact that he worked for President Obama.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean a silver spoon in his mouth? Silver spoon in his mouth?
MR. LOWRY: No, he's not rhetorically --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)
MR. LOWRY: He's not rhetorically combative enough. And the thing that people know about him was President Obama's ambassador to China.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Will Jon Huntsman make it all the way to the presidential nomination, or will he fold? Pat Buchanan. Quickly, one word.
MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor said he was riding that motorbike across the desert. He's going to wind up like Evel Knievel in the Snake River Canyon, with all his bones broken. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Well, I think he's going to announce with the Statue of Liberty in the background. And he's --
MR. BUCHANAN: Like Pete Wilson? (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: Well, but Pete Wilson used that to knock immigrants. And this man is coming from the opposite end. There's a lot to like about Jon Huntsman.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's going to be pro-immigration? Good.
MS. CLIFT: But Republican primary voters are probably with you, Pat. They don't much care for him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rich, what do you think?
MR. LOWRY: He might get the Eleanor vote --
MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) That's right.
MR. LOWRY: -- but that's not going to do him much good in the Republican nomination fight. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know if he'll win the nomination, but he will be one of the final contenders for the nomination.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about vice president?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: He'd be a great choice, in my judgment.
MR. BUCHANAN: Two guys from Utah?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think -- listen, I don't know that Romney will be the nominee of the Republican Party either. I mean, you may think so. I don't see --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, of the two, you would be inclined to think Romney.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Romney at this point is certainly ahead, without question. He's been running for five years. This guy's been running for five weeks.
MS. CLIFT: Either one of them would look good with Michele Bachmann. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, Bachmann at the top of the ticket?
MS. CLIFT: She was the star --
MR. BUCHANAN: She's the star this week, John.
MS. CLIFT: She was the star of the debate this week.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bachmann at the top of the ticket?
MR. LOWRY: Bachmann-Huntsman. You heard it here first.
MS. CLIFT: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also Bachmann worked all the way for herself, whereas Huntsman had kind of this not handed to him, but --
MR. BUCHANAN: She's a self-made woman; exactly right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's a self-made woman.
Issue Two: War? What War?
REPRESENTATIVE DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH): (From videotape.) We're here today to announce the filing in federal court of a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the war against Libya. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit this week against U.S. President Barack Obama, a Democrat. Kucinich and nine other House members, two Democrats and seven Republicans, are suing the president for violating the War Powers Act.
The 1973 War Powers Act calls on the president to notify Congress when U.S. troops are in combat situations and to withdraw them within 60 days of the notification unless both houses of Congress declare war or otherwise approve the use of the troops.
The 10 lawmakers argue that the president violated this War Powers Act by not receiving congressional approval for U.S. military actions against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
President Obama's 60-day safe-harbor period ended without any authorization from Congress. North Carolina Republican Congressman Walter Jones says the president not only violated the War Powers Act, but also the U.S. Constitution.
REPRESENTATIVE WALTER JONES (R-NC): (From videotape.) Where and when does the Constitution say to a president, "You may bypass Congress and send millions of dollars of bombs and equipment over to invade a country that's not a threat to you?"
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On Wednesday, President Obama submitted a 30- page report to Congress. He contends that he and his people did not violate the War Powers Act. The president argues that the U.S. is not engaged in, quote, "hostilities," unquote, or at war with Libya. Rather, we in the U.S. are playing a supporting role in the mission led by NATO, the North American (sic/means Atlantic) Treaty Organization.
The president's press secretary, Jay Carney, also affirms that Congress has not been kept in the dark on the U.S. role in Libya.
JAY CARNEY (White House press secretary): (From videotape.) There have been 40 distinct engagements with Congress in terms of consultation on Libya. So we feel very confident that we will be able to answer the questions that Congress has.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Does President Obama have any legitimate basis to claim that the U.S. is not at war with Libya? Eleanor Clift.
MS. CLIFT: The War Powers Act is couched in these big constitutional terms, but it's really a turf war between Congress and the White House. If Congress was really serious about wanting to stop this engagement, they'd use the power of the purse. This is a small group of members, Kucinich and maybe two other Democrats and some Republicans, who mostly have an ax to grind with the Obama White House. An institution -- they're claiming mostly that they've been disrespected -- but an institution that has 12 percent approval rating isn't going to get much sympathy in the country for this.
MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor, you are dead wrong on this one.
MS. CLIFT: So I think it's a lot -- I think it's a lot of table pounding that is going nowhere.
MR. BUCHANAN: You're dead wrong on this one. Kucinich --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Me or Eleanor?
MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor's dead wrong.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You pointed at me.
MR. BUCHANAN: Kucinich and Walter Jones would have passed their resolution in the House defunding the Libyan war if Boehner hadn't run in with a substitute. Obama is not telling the truth.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, ask Gadhafi if we're at war with him. We've attacked and killed his troops. We've attacked him in his compound. The United States -- ask those guys over there. They lied --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We killed his daughter.
MR. BUCHANAN: We lied about going in. We said it was to protect --
MS. CLIFT: Not recently. That was during the Reagan years, John. (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: We said it was to protect civilians.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: U.S.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: And you killed one of his grandsons.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK --
MR. LOWRY: We killed one of his sons.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, you've heard from Eleanor. You've heard from Pat. Speaker Boehner, what makes you think we are at war with Libya?
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): (From videotape.) We're spending $10 million a day in part of an effort to drop bombs on Gadhafi's compounds. I don't know -- it doesn't pass the straight- face test, in my view, that we're not in the midst of hostilities.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you agree with the speaker, Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, I mean, I think we are. I mean, I can understand they're -- everybody can play legal games with the words here, but when the president goes public and says we're going to get Gadhafi out and we're going to really be involved in this war on whatever terms, we're involved in hostilities.
But, having said that, it's a political issue, basically. But why do they play games like this? I just don't understand it.
MS. CLIFT: Because --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't think it passes either the smell test or the legal test to say that the War Powers Act doesn't --
MR. LOWRY: It's incredibly disingenuous. One of the things they said in this document was that we're not engaged in hostilities because there's not firing back and forth. That's only because we've already bombed the hell out of them such that they can't fire back. So it's obviously military hostilities.
If President Obama were being honest, what he would do is what Bill Clinton did towards the end of the Kosovo war, which was basically say, "I am not going to comply with the War Powers Act because it's constitutionally defective."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The response --
MS. CLIFT: We're part of a NATO exercise sanctioned by the U.N., and we're not playing a lead role --
MR. LOWRY: It's still military hostilities.
MS. CLIFT: It's military hostilities, but I don't think it rises to the --
MR. LOWRY: Drones are still bombing Libya almost every day.
MS. CLIFT: -- constitutional definition of war.
MR. LOWRY: The War Powers Act is extremely broad.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me -- MS. CLIFT: Exactly.
MR. LOWRY: It is written in such a way to catch up all this sort of activity on.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me make a point here. The document that the White House uses to defend itself and claim that it's a humanitarian effort on its part is so weasel-worded --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's ridiculous.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- it becomes almost not only laughable, but contemptible.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. The polls tell us America's role in the Libyan intervention is a political minus for Obama. What kind of minus is it? Is it major, is to moderate, is it minor, or is it convertible into a plus if and when Gadhafi goes? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: It is a moderate minus right now, John. But I do agree, when and if Gadhafi goes down, they will say, "I got the guy that did Pan Am 103."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: It would have been a much bigger minus if Obama stood by while Gadhafi murdered his own citizens in Benghazi. So I'd say it's a small minus now, convertible to a plus.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll hear from the remaining members of the panel in a minute.
Issue Three: Weiner Resigns.
FORMER REPRESENTATIVE ANTHONY WEINER (D-NY): (From videotape.) I had hoped to be able to continue the work that the citizens of my district elected me to do. Unfortunately, the distraction that I have created has made that impossible. So today I am announcing my resignation from Congress.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, by the way, representing the ninth congressional district of New York -- that is Queens and Brooklyn -- resigned this week. Did Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and President Obama pull out the rug from underneath him and force him to resign? I ask you.
MR. LOWRY: Yeah. As we discussed a couple of weeks ago, this is not a resigning kind of guy, Anthony Weiner. But Pelosi, Obama and the Clintons, Bill and Hillary, really put the screws to him. But I think the decisive thing was his wife apparently shifting and wanting him to go. MS. CLIFT: Yeah, they ratcheted up the pressure on him.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I've been waiting on this moment. Weiner was schnitzeled.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I just can't help it.
Listen, he has become a parody. The tabloids are killing him in New York.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And it's day in and day out. And it's humiliating, not just for him, but for her family, his wife's family, which is a very prominent family. And I think the combination of everybody loading up on him was just too much.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You may not believe this, but the Weiner story was actually fading, despite the New York Post.
MR. BUCHANAN: It was.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was fading.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Excuse me.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And it was arguable --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Just a minute, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's arguable that if he had done nothing, he could have made it.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I've never heard of the New York Post, but I've heard of the New York Daily News.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He has a marriage to contend with --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, of course.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- not contend with, but to --
MR. LOWRY: But John, there's no way to say -- MR. BUCHANAN: John, he could have made it. He could have made it if Pelosi and Reid say, "We're going to send him to the Ethics Committee. What he did was wrong, but we're not going to throw him out of here." And if they just had -- Obama and Pelosi did this. They threw him under the bus --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They did the deed.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- because he's an embarrassment and because he's expendable.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he could have ridden it out?
MR. BUCHANAN: He could have ridden it out if they'd said, "We're going to send it to the Ethics Committee; we condemn what he did," but that's it.
MS. CLIFT: Not with pictures coming forward and more women stepping forward. The story wasn't going to die.
MR. BUCHANAN: But the women weren't -- the women never protested.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What they're hanging on is lying rather than the rap itself -- lying.
MS. CLIFT: No, they're not. There's a new zero --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: This is --
MS. CLIFT: There's a new zero-tolerance code on Capitol Hill.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: African Queen.
SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: (From videotape.) It is a great honor to join you here in Addis Ababa and to address the African Union. It is good to be back in Africa, and it is a singular honor to address this body.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week became the first U.S. secretary of state to address the 53-member Africa Union, the AU, in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. That address included a plea from the White House; namely, abandon Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The White House wants the AU, the African Union, to call on Gadhafi to step down, despite the fact that Gadhafi himself was chosen president of the AU and served as such from February 2009 to January 2010.
President Obama hopes that Gadhafi will heed the words of his African Union allies and step down, ending the civil war between his forces and Libyan rebels. Secretary Clinton says the fate of Libya is now in Africa's hands. SEC. CLINTON: (From videotape.) Your words and your actions could make the difference in bringing this situation to finally close.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here's the list of demands from Washington: One, AU nations should call for a cease-fire between Gadhafi's forces and the rebels. Two, AU nations should call on Gadhafi to resign. Three, AU nations should suspend their embassy operations in Libya. Four, AU nations should expel from their own nations any diplomats who are pro-Gadhafi. Five, AU nations should put their support behind the anti-Gadhafi rebels.
Question: In presenting our demands to the African Union, was Secretary Clinton speaking to a receptive audience or a hostile audience? Rich Lowry.
MR. LOWRY: Not a receptive audience. They were not big enthusiasts for this intervention in the first place. Gadhafi has spread a lot of money around to these countries. I would expect the AU to dump him just as soon as he's dead or fled from the country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was there another reason for her going and visiting with the AU in Africa? How many secretaries of state do you know have gone to Africa and taken the continent seriously?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Hillary has done something necessary for this country and for our foreign policy. She has gone out there and really established a lot of personal relationships and really been in their homes and in their places, their countries, and really done that. Frankly, that is not what the president has done, and she has filled that gap. And it's a very, very important --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Chinese -- out of 53, 5-3, nations in Africa, the Chinese now have full diplomatic relations with 48 of those -- 48.
MR. BUCHANAN: And they've got enormous investments in -- they're in Sudan and all these other countries.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right. They are.
MR. BUCHANAN: They're putting money in, developing resources --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- building roads and all the rest.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why are they doing that in Africa?
MR. BUCHANAN: Because they're building for the future --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Natural resources. MR. BUCHANAN: -- to draw the resources out of there to China.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there any place on the planet that China has not penetrated?
MR. BUCHANAN: Mexico.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mexico.
MR. BUCHANAN: That's about it. I mean, they're in South America. They're in Africa. They're all over South Asia.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think there is --
MS. CLIFT: We send --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- a sense of mission creep, and the mission being to be number one on the planet?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't think that's their objective. They're doing it for their own national economic reasons. They're developing resources for them. They do it wherever there's oil. They do it wherever there's minerals. They're doing it in Latin America.
MS. CLIFT: They've got a huge --
MR. BUCHANAN: They're doing Australia.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So whatever they want, a whitewash.
MS. CLIFT: They've got a huge population to support. They're doing things out of their own national interest. They're not necessarily doing it to tweak us, although that's how the U.S. --
MR. BUCHANAN: But they're building to be a global power.
MR. LOWRY: They're never going to be a leader, really, around the world --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?
MR. LOWRY: -- because they'll never have followers, because the self-interest is so naked. There's no idealism or purpose there that anyone can get beyond.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You say that, but I know --
MS. CLIFT: But they're doing more humanitarian stuff than the U.S. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- of Ph.D. students who are over here from China, and they used to stay here. They don't stay here anymore. They go back to China.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: But part of the reason is we don't let them stay here. That's one of the absolute outrages of our policy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't think that's the reason. I think the reason they feel --
MR. BUCHANAN: The reason is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- is that the future is in China.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MR. BUCHANAN: China is succeeding while the rest of the West is failing right now, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why is the West failing, Pat? Tell us.
MR. BUCHANAN: Because the West is in terminal decline, in my judgment.
MS. CLIFT: Oh, Pat, you've --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Terminal decline?
MR. BUCHANAN: That's exactly right.
MS. CLIFT: Pat's been preaching that for the last 20 years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The West.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, decline of the West. Did you read "Death of the West," that great book, 10 years ago?
MR. LOWRY: (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm going to get that book, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: The day of the interventionist neocons in the Republican Party is just about over, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Michele Bachmann is going to get a lot more scrutiny, and it's going to be coming from Republicans who are uneasy with her growing prominence in the presidential race. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rich.
MR. LOWRY: The House will vote by the end of the year to strip the independent payment advisory board out of the health care law.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What does that mean?
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. LOWRY: It's basically what Sarah Palin calls the death panels.
MR. BUCHANAN: The death panels.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The death panels will go.
MR. BUCHANAN: The death panels are gone.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think about that, Mort? Is that good news?
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No. But housing prices will continue to decline a year from now. Another 5 million homes will have mortgages that exceed the value of the homes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be the new head of the World Bank when she steps down from her present post.
Happy Father's Day. Bye-bye.