The McLaughlin Group Host: John McLaughlin Panel: Pat Buchanan, MSNBC; Eleanor Clift, Newsweek; Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner; Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report Taped: Friday, November 4, 2011 Broadcast: Weekend of November 5-6, 2011
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Cain in Pain.
HERMAN CAIN (Republican presidential candidate): (From videotape.) Let me say one thing. I'm here with these doctors, and that's what I'm going to talk about. So don't even bother asking me all of these other questions that you all are curious. OK, don't even bother.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain this week went from media darling to media target. Cain confronted allegations that he had sexually offended three female employees some 15 years ago when he was the president of the National Restaurant Association, representing nearly 400,000 restaurant locations. Cain says the charges are absolutely and unequivocally false. Quote: "I have been a professional. I respect women. I have never done anything like that. Even the accusations that were made against me were found to be totally baseless," unquote.
Cain drew a defense from Karol Markowicz in the New York Post this week. Markowicz moved to Georgia seven years ago and worked on the Cain 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate. Markowicz wrote this week, quote, "It would be unfortunate if a good man were maligned by such ambiguous charges. While the accusers of the political story are anonymous, many people spoke on the record about how they couldn't imagine the stories being true. Former colleagues expressed their surprise at the story and defended Cain as," quote, "`extremely professional,'" unquote, "and," quote, "`fair,'" unquote, "to female staffers at the restaurant association," unquote.
Question: Is the Cain campaign getting unusually tough scrutiny, or is this kind of treatment standard for a front runner? Pat Buchanan.
PAT BUCHANAN: No, it's getting unusual treatment because he's an African-American who talks about getting off the liberal plantation. He is also a conservative and he is the front runner for the nomination. You take a look at -- the media went in the tank for Jack Kennedy, all of them; John Edwards. It took the National Enquirer to run that down. The big media didn't go after it.
However, John, there does appear to be some measure of substance to the charges. And it hasn't all come out. But I do agree, these don't -- I mean, these don't look like murderous charges to me, but they've damaged Cain. I think they've damaged the Republican Party. And the Republican establishment is probably more against Cain now than ever, figuring we don't know what's going to come out here. So it's been very hurtful overall. But Cain's getting the treatment because of who he is and where he stands.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This has been -- this is described by Politico as, quote, "physical gestures that were not overtly sexual but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable and that they regarded as improper in a professional relationship," unquote. That's the degree of clarity and obscurity that's reprinted as harassment.
ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, there were financial settlements that were made. And the women's anonymity so far has been protected. I'll bet if this story continues to play out, the women may step forward and we may hear their side. But Pat says, on the one hand, he's being victimized because he's black and because he's a conservative. But on the other hand, there may be some substance to the charges.
I mean, this is the press doing what the press should be doing. And they should have done due diligence on this candidate earlier on. I think there was an assumption and there still is an assumption that he is unlikely to be the Republican nominee and he is very unlikely to be president. So he got a free ride for a good long while.
And he's getting some positive things out of this. He's been interviewed by Virginia Thomas, the wife of Clarence Thomas. And the images surrounding the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas confrontation in the early `90s is powerful imagery for the right wing. And when the attacks seem to be coming from the outside, Herman Cain is doing very well. He's raised a lot of money. His numbers are up. So I think this is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: -- not going to have a good end for a lot of people, but right now it's -- it's almost more about the media now than it is about the candidate himself.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The cash settlement -- often enough, cases are resolved by cash because they're very time-consuming --
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- very time-consuming, and there are -- there can develop massive legal fees. So you settle it. You put it away, and everybody buries it. And one takes an oath not to repeat the contents of it, which is what all parties here are laboring under.
MS. CLIFT: Right. You make a good point on that. But until we hear the other side, you know, there's also the possibility that this is a man who behaved inappropriately, and it's just easier to settle it for cash.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, inappropriate is one thing, but harassment, sexual harassment, is something else.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I don't know where the line is, John. (Laughs.)
SUSAN FERRECHIO: It really depends --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, this is -- it's a disputed area.
MS. FERRECHIO: It's going to depend on whether these women come forward and what they say. If they say something that makes voters really uncomfortable, then he's going to be in big trouble. But if it stays vague or they don't come forward at all -- look, his poll numbers this week have remained steady. This hasn't hurt him yet. He's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Since the revelation. MS. FERRECHIO: Since the revelation. He's still at the top, barely, and he's raised a million dollars. So it's not hurting him yet, but it could.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do you explain that?
MS. FERRECHIO: Well, because the information, as Eleanor is saying, is vague. And as Pat was saying, we don't know what he's done, if anything.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, does it have something to do with the way he comes across and what is needed now in a president of the United States?
MS. FERRECHIO: Well, his story has shifted somewhat; that's true. He's recalled more details. But he has steadily denied doing anything wrong. He's done that consistently. And as long as he keeps doing that -- and he's stuck to his message, talking about his 9 percent tax plan --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It may be more --
MS. FERRECHIO: -- and the economy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It may be more about him and what the people are looking for and his popularity, and they see qualities in him that they want in a president.
MORT ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think, television being television, OK, he's a very attractive personality on television in an array of candidates who are not totally, shall we say, doing well across the television screen. So I think there was room for somebody who seemed to be genuine. He had a sense of humor. He had something very clear in his message, which is the 9 plus 9 plus 9. And I think that was something that really resonated for a while.
This is not going to help him, in my judgment, OK? The question is, I think, absolutely rightly put when you say the real question is what's going to come out of it --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- and how is it going to affect him?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that the stated opinion on the screen here from the woman who wrote the column in the New York Post will have any relieving effect on his situation?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't. I don't. I think -- MR. BUCHANAN: John, look --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She said others have said the same thing.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She worked for him in the Senate race of 2008.
MR. BUCHANAN: Right. Here's what helps him. Here's what helps him. The liberal media is just detected and distrusted by the American right. And when the liberal media goes after one of their own -- a popular guy, Herman Cain; he's got all this attractive qualities as a black guy coming up -- they just say, they're after our guy; we don't trust you people; we don't like you. Cain is being helped by that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, moving on. So much for the Cain 2004 campaign worker and columnist blogger. What is Cain's presidential campaign manager saying? He's saying that a political consultant to a Cain rival in the U.S. presidential race, Texas Governor Rick Perry, informed the Perry campaign of the alleged charges brought against the then-CEO of the National Restaurant Association.
MARK BLOCK (Herman Cain's campaign manager): (From videotape.) In 2003, Herman Cain ran for the Senate. He hired a general consultant, Curt Anderson. Mr. Cain divulged the NRA claims at that time to his general consultant so the campaign at that point would be prepared if the issue surfaced. It did not.
Approximately two weeks ago, as you know, Mr. Anderson went to work for the Rick Perry campaign. What else happened about two weeks ago? Politico began this smear campaign, citing anonymous sources claiming Mr. Cain acted inappropriately.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Was it smart of Cain's staff to accuse the Perry campaign as being behind this, Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: You know, I don't think it was smart. I suppose it's an attempt to divert attention, again, from him and say it's all political. But I don't think it's going to help. I don't think it's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That guy looks pretty authentic, though, doesn't he?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: He's backed off some of that, frankly --
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- since then. So I don't think that that's going to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean he's backed off his own statements that we just saw? MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, he has.
MS. CLIFT: Yes, because the aid who works for Rick Perry came forward and said that he never heard any of this and he denied it, and then Mark Block backed off and said, well, until we get all the facts --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mark Block was the person we just saw.
MR. BUCHANAN: Right. Right.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. And then you have the Perry campaign claiming that it was actually the Romney campaign.
MR. BUCHANAN: Here's what Cain is doing.
MS. CLIFT: So what you have is this wonderful, delicious fratricide among the various Republican campaigns.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: John, what McCain is doing --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, just give them more --
MS. CLIFT: They're shooting at each other.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- give them more time.
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MS. CLIFT: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)
MR. BUCHANAN: What Cain is doing --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: This is called Schadenfreude.
MR. BUCHANAN: What Cain's campaign is doing is all this animus and hatred of the liberal press coming after him; they want to redirect that right over to Perry. (Laughs.) Lateral the ball to him. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, are you willing to contradict what he's saying?
MR. BUCHANAN: No. I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's saying he backed off.
MR. BUCHANAN: If the guy gets up and says, I didn't do it -- Curt Anderson -- MS. CLIFT: That's right.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- I tend to believe him unless he's contradicted.
MS. FERRECHIO: Curt Anderson said he didn't even know anything about these charges. However, the Perry campaign has the most to gain from Herman Cain's downfall.
So they could -- because they attract the same voter base. So there would be some motivation on the Perry campaign for someone, or Romney even --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your intuition?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Wait a minute.
MS. FERRECHIO: Is it came from one of the Republican candidates.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But you think that there has been dirty pool --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: John, John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that's laying it on Cain to rid Cain of the campaign because of Perry.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: John, nobody in politics would do something like that.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, no, absolutely not.
MS. CLIFT: The surprising thing --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Such an honorable profession.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: The surprising thing is that Herman Cain, and presumably his aides, knew that this was out there and that it likely would come up. And they should have gotten their act together.
MR. BUCHANAN: They went into paralysis. (Laughs.)
MS. FERRECHIO: That is the big problem with Cain's campaign, yes.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Cain did not handle it well either; let's face it. MR. BUCHANAN: No, he didn't.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: He kept on changing his story.
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And there was a --
MR. BUCHANAN: Mort, sometimes you have to change your story. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: On a political damage scale, zero to 10 --
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- zero meaning no damage, meaning full survival, and 10 meaning total eclipse, how much have the Cain allegations damaged his candidacy?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's four and rising.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: I'm going to give it a five. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A five?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.
MS. FERRECHIO: Five, dependent on what comes out in the forthcoming days from the women who accuse him of this.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think we're all --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- in the same place.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This -- (inaudible).
MS. CLIFT: He's teetering.
MS. FERRECHIO: They could be released from that. I know there's a request in from the restaurant association that these women have the opportunity to speak. And, depending on what they say and how they say it, that will really determine his future.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hasn't the restaurant association relocated in the Bahamas? (Laughter.) MR. BUCHANAN: Tell them to hold firm. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The whole firm has moved right out of Washington.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: They're back in the kitchen. They're out of the restaurant. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is a three.
Issue Two: No Satisfaction.
BEN BERNANKE (Federal Reserve chairman): (From videotape.) I certainly understand that many people are dissatisfied with the state of the economy. I'm dissatisfied with the state of the economy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: High unemployment, slow economic growth -- that's the forecast for the U.S. economy for January through December 2011, announced this week by the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Ben Bernanke.
The Fed, as it's called, released its revised economic projections for 2011.
The bad news.
Item: GDP, gross domestic product, all goods and services, down from 3 percent projected growth for 2011 to 1.6 percent projected growth for 2011.
Item: Unemployment up from below 9 percent projected for this year to 9.1 percent now projected for this year.
Item: Long-term unemployment up. The currently unemployed will remain unemployed after the economy recovers.
MR. BERNANKE: (From videotape.) Cyclical unemployment, left untreated, so to speak, for a long time can become structural unemployment as people lose skills, they lose attachment to the labor force, as their work networks dry up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Last week the U.S. secretary of the treasury, Tim Geithner, echoed Chairman Bernanke's overall assessment.
TREASURY SECRETARY TIMOTHY GEITHNER: (From videotape.) It's still very tough out there. I think people are very frustrated and still hurting a lot. The economy as a whole -- the economy is just not growing fast enough.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The U.S. unemployment rate came in late this week. It has gone from 9.1 percent to a flat 9 percent. In 28 of the last 30 months, over two years, the unemployment rate has stood at 9 percent or higher. Question: Are policymakers around the world starting to fear that they don't know how to restore the economy that existed in 2006, before the meltdown? Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah. I mean, I think it is a huge problem not only in the United States, but in Europe, as we see. The problem begins with an absolute, overwhelming amount of debt overhanging the economy. And until that debt gets worked down, we're going to have a very slow growth in the economy.
And the opportunities that we have to turn around the economy -- when we had the stimulus program, frankly, the stimulus program was badly structured and inadequate and it didn't work. So we're now in a situation now where we have very few tools left in the tool shed for any government to do anything very much at this stage of the game. We cannot afford another huge increase in our deficit, nor can they in Europe.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, let's nail it --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: So we have a real problem.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's nail it down a little more.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) If Europe isn't growing, it's harder for us to do what we need to do for the American people -- creating jobs, lifting up the middle class.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama this week was in Cannes, France for the G-20 summit, which focused on Greece. Greece is debt-ridden, and the 27-member EU is insisting that Greece pay back 50 percent of that bank debt. This week Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou called for a referendum to ascertain what the Greek people think about taking this major loan. The EU told the prime minister to drop the referendum idea, whereupon the prime minister then decided to drop the referendum.
Question: Is there any reason to believe that this Greek debt plan, even if it passes, will work? Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, John. Here's what the Greek situation is. They wrote down 50 percent of their bank debt, but they've also got an austerity plan. And Papandreou says we're going to let the American -- the Greek people vote on whether they want this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: They would have voted it down. They would have gotten no money. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?
MR. BUCHANAN: Because the Greek people have had it. John, this is one of the things that's a problem with this whole thing. Democracy is killing the new world order. When people vote on the Maastricht treaty, the constitution in Europe, or the Brits get a vote on the EU, they vote it down. This is an elite project. But if the Greeks had voted it down, they would be out of the EU. They would go back to the drachma. The Eurozone would be down and dead. And then what follows there is the big one, which we talked about last week, is Italy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean --
MR. BUCHANAN: If Italy goes, it can't be rescued.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So reductively, what Buchanan is saying is that the EU needs Greece --
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- even more than Greece needs the EU.
MS. CLIFT: Well, Papandreou actually forced the issue, because he has a socialist government and the conservative opposition was opposing any of the mergers and the deals and they were opposing this bailout. And so now the threat of being forced out of the EU --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: -- has made the opposition turn around. So you now have political unity, and they may form a unity government. I think the Greek people, if it's explained to them, will understand that they get a lot of benefit from the EU, and the Germans are putting up a lot of money because they get a lot of benefit from the EU, and they're not ready to let the EU go under.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is it, $500 billion?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me say, there was $8 (billion) or $9 billion which was on the verge of being transferred to Greece, OK. When he called for this referendum, the Germans and the French said, oh, we're not giving you that eight billion plus dollars. That was the first kind of, shall we say, hint that Greek -- the Greek economy would really be suffering, OK?
The real problem, though, is the contagion of this thing, as I'm sure you were talking about. And it's going to affect the whole banking system in Europe. And in particular, when you have countries like Italy and Spain, where you have to come up --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there a larger question of whether the EU is going to hang together as a unit? Or is a possibility of breakaway -- MR. BUCHANAN: John, look --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There is a possibility --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- people saying, look -- Spain -- we don't need this?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: They can't afford to allow it to break up now.
MR. BUCHANAN: There's two --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Because you'll have bankruptcies all over the place.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: You'll have a bankruptcy and the default of Italy. You'll have it with Spain.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The European economy would be wiped out. Germany would be in real trouble because --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, there's two things --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the EU --
MR. BUCHANAN: It's the Eurozone.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you shed any light on this?
MR. BUCHANAN: It's the Eurozone.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the EU in any danger of disassembling?
MS. FERRECHIO: Absolutely.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MS. FERRECHIO: I absolutely think it is, especially if we have a problem with Italy, as we were talking about before.
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Then what happens to our economy?
MR. BUCHANAN: It's the Eurozone, John.
MS. FERRECHIO: It drags down our economy. MR. BUCHANAN: There are two separate things.
There's the Eurozone, which has 17 nations, and the EU. If the Eurozone goes down, though -- if Italy demands 50 percent write-down of its debt, they can't pay it off.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, we're talking about --
MR. BUCHANAN: Then the EU follows the Eurozone down. If the Eurozone dies, I think the EU dies.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Eurozone means that --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Nobody has enough money to support 50 percent write-down --
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- of both Italy and Spain. You're talking about a couple of trillion Euros.
MR. BUCHANAN: Trillion dollars.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That money is just --
MR. BUCHANAN: The Germans won't pay it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Multiple-choice exit question: Is Bernanke's assessment for 2012 -- forget the EU -- A, not rosy enough; B, sufficiently rosy; or C, too rosy because we are headed for a global double dip? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, I think he's probably about right unless this Eurozone goes down, and then Mort's right. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: I think he's about right. And I also think the Germans and the French are going to do everything to keep the Eurozone going. And I'd put my money on them.
MS. FERRECHIO: I think that Bernanke was right in his assessment, absolutely.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do? MS. FERRECHIO: Yes.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think he's going to have another occasion next year in which he's going to further depress his estimates of the growth in the economy. They took off about 50 percent of the estimated growth. I think it's going to go down further from that. I don't know whether it'll be a double dip, which was your other option. But do I think it's going to be worse than his numbers? Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, Mort, is there any bottom to your pessimism?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, there is, actually.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is the bottom?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The bottom to my pessimism --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When could it turn around?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Nobody's ever asked me that question.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's going to turn this thing around?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Time is the only thing. We have to eliminate a lot of the debt. Until that happens, we are in deep trouble. We have the most -- the largest fiscal and monetary stimulus program in the last two years. It's not worked.
MS. CLIFT: It wasn't enough.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We are in great, great difficulty.
MS. CLIFT: It wasn't enough.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was it enough?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.
MS. CLIFT: It wasn't enough. And the focus --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And you're not going to get any more.
MS. CLIFT: And the focus on all of the austerity is further pulling the economy down.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, I hope that's clear to everybody.
Issue Three: The U.S. Oil Rush.
PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON: (From videotape.) Let this be our national goal. At the end of this decade, in the year 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Richard Nixon laid out this goal during his 1974 State of the Union address, that the U.S. will be energy-independent by 1980. But the U.S. did not achieve that goal by 1980. In fact, every U.S. president since Richard Nixon has pledged to make the U.S. independent of foreign oil -- Jerry Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and currently Barack Obama.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) The only way this century will be another American century is if we confront at last the price of our dependence on oil.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But the U.S. is still the world's largest importer of foreign oil, 12 million barrels per days. The cost of importing all of this oil this year is $1 trillion. But the U.S. may now be experiencing an historic U-turn. The U.S. in the coming decade will surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's largest producer of liquid hydrocarbons, oil and LNG, liquid natural gas.
Astonishingly, the U.S. will be free from foreign oil in nine years, 2020. Energy analyst Daniel Yergin says this: "Until recently, the question was whether oil imports could flatten out. Now we are seeing a major rebalancing of supplies. Over the past couple of years, there has been a great U-turn in U.S. oil supply."
Question: Is this a game changer for the U.S. in the world economy? I ask you, Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: No. Oil is still a limited supply. This is a narrative that's being advanced, frankly, by people who are trying to stall the alternative-energy industry. And I just -- I'm happy for Williston, North Dakota, that there are some jobs there. There are lots of problems associated with getting at natural gas. Fracking is now being investigated for what it does to, you know, the water supply and so forth. So, no, this is not a panacea.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
MS. CLIFT: Still invest in solar energy --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, Eleanor is the problem.
MS. CLIFT: -- and windmills.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor is the problem?
MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor and her friends are the problem.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean the battery-powered --
MR. BUCHANAN: This has enormous potential -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- automobile people, the green people?
MR. BUCHANAN: This has enormous potential. It's enormously hopeful. We've got our technology. We're going to make ourselves more energy-independent.
And the green movement wants to block it because they say, oh, my goodness, this will mean our --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There goes our money?
MR. BUCHANAN: There goes -- yeah, there goes Solyndra and there goes all our benefits and the rest of it. This is a tremendous thing for North Dakota and a tremendous thing for America. I agree with Eleanor. You've got to make sure the environment is protected. But we ought to go full bore ahead.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For those interested, there is an absolutely splendid piece that appeared in the Financial Times this week by a man by the name of Ed Crooks. I think it was on Monday. It was a full- page spread -- two-page spread, as I recall, in the energy section of it, and it was just great. And it's very compelling.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It is very compelling and it's accurate, because I've spoken to a lot of the people in this industry. The technology has changed dramatically. It does not involve the kind of environmental risk that Eleanor was referring to. They are going to be able to drill in totally different ways and much deeper.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And laterally.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And laterally. They go laterally and much further down.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A mile -- a mile laterally.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We are talking about a dramatic transformation in the supply of energy coming up out of the domestic --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Natural gas --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Natural --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and liquefied natural gas.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And oil.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And oil. MR. ZUCKERMAN: And oil, absolutely.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So it comes out as oil too.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There are 40 million barrels of oil in Idaho alone -- Dakota, excuse me -- North Dakota alone. What they are finding is truly astonishing and transforming for this country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So Canada is rich in this regard.
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We are apparently richer.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We are -- we are phenomenal.
MR. BUCHANAN: Canada is too; shale.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, I know. But there are other places that haven't been successfully prospected yet.
Can you speak to this?
MS. FERRECHIO: Part of the trouble with our economy right now is the trade deficit. And if we start exporting this oil, we could cut down the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars. That would really help the economy. So I think this is a game --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Just cutting our oil imports would help our economy.
MS. FERRECHIO: This is a game changer.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How much are we importing every day?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Something like 10 million barrels, 12 million barrels a day.
MR. BUCHANAN: Twelve (million) or 13 (million) -- 12 (million) or 13 (million).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where is that going?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: What do you mean, where is it going?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Saudi?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, the Saudis are a part of it. We've become dependent on a lot of countries -- Venezuela, Mexico, Canada --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Venezuela. MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- and the Middle East.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think 18 percent of our oil --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The last thing in the world --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- comes from Venezuela.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, right.
MS. CLIFT: Call me the cynic in this bunch. I see this as a public-relations narrative advanced by the coal and oil industries --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Aha!
MS. CLIFT: -- that feel like they're losing their primacy --
MR. BUCHANAN: But this will kill the coal industry.
MS. CLIFT: -- in our --
MR. BUCHANAN: This will kill the coal industry --
MS. CLIFT: Oh, coal is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, Pat --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- when you've got oil and gas.
MS. CLIFT: Fossil fuels -- this is still fossil fuels.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Big oil is up to its old tricks --
MS. CLIFT: That's right. You got it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- disguising the whole deal.
MS. CLIFT: That's right, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: The drums for war on Iran will begin next week when the U.N. report comes in saying Iran is playing around, maybe, with nuclear weapons.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wow.
MS. CLIFT: The referendum to restore collective bargaining rights will pass in Ohio.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan. MS. FERRECHIO: The accusers of Herman Cain, one or more, will come out and say something.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The Egyptian military will stay in power in Egypt for a number of years. There will be no popularly elected government in Egypt.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do you think they're behaving?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: So far they're being fairly prudent and fairly careful.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I thought they were shooting guns right into a crowd.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, not -- I haven't noticed that recently, and I was in the crowd.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, Mort, put this in your pipe and smoke it. Ready? I predict that China will launch its own space station by 2017, three years ahead of schedule -- a China space station.