Share

The McLaughlin Group Host: John McLaughlin Panel: Pat Buchanan, MSNBC; Eleanor Clift, Newsweek; Beth Hirschhorn, Chief Marketing Officer, MetLife; Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune Broadcast: Weekend of November 26-27, 2011

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright (c) 2011 by Federal News Service, Inc., Ste. 500 1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Internet Service, please visit http://www.fednews.com or call(202)347-1400
-----------------------------------------------------------------


JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: America's Freedoms.

PRESIDENT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT: (From videotape.) First is freedom of speech and expression. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way. The third is freedom from want, which, translated in world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: As Americans gather around the family table this 2011 Thanksgiving, the words of the 32nd U.S. president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, bear new relevance; unfortunately, not pleasant. The 2011 budget for food for the average American family is more stretched this year than at any time since 2008. The U.S.'s unemployment rate hovers around 9 percent. State by state, unemployment ranges as high as 13.4 percent. Little wonder that the Gallup polls and other polls report that two out of three Americans, 66 percent, are preoccupied with the economy as their number one concern.

To give that winch of worry an extra turn, the world economy, not just the U.S. economy, crashed four years ago, 2007. We are living through the fourth year of that meltdown.

So what have we to be thankful for this Thanksgiving? Answer: American resilience, the capacity to bounce back -- resilience. Sixty-one percent of baby boomers, age 47 to 65, and 67 percent of Gen Xers, age 31 to 46, and 68 percent of Generation Y, mid to late 20s, believe that they or any American can still achieve the American dream.

What is the American dream today? Has it been redefined as a result of the financial slowdown? Pat.

PAT BUCHANAN: The American dream is the belief of each and every American growing up that if he studies and he works hard and he gets a job and he stays out of trouble, he will be able to build a good life for himself, his wife, his family. That life will get better and better gradually. There may be some bumps. But at the end of it, his children will have even a better life, John.

The American dream is not being redefined, but what is happening is it is being postponed for tens of millions of Americans for the last three years. And for some Americans, I think it has been canceled.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, I think it's been redefined in the sense that it's less materialistic. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. I think people are looking for more meaning. And I think there's more individuality. And this notion that you have to do better than your parents, I think that's fallen by the wayside. And I think a lot of young people may feel liberated. They don't necessarily have to follow their father's path and earn more, and they can find their own way.

So I don't think it's all that depressing. And I think the numbers you've put on the screen show that people are redefining the American dream in a way that they feel comfortable with, and they're optimistic. I think that this is not a pessimistic society that we live in.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Beth, welcome. BETH HIRSCHHORN: Thank you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think about this?

MS. HIRSCHHORN: Well, the dream has been redefined. It's no longer the singular collective vision. It's much more personal. And the traditional milestones of the recent past, like a nuclear family -- you have to be married, have children, get a college degree, own a home -- those have all gone by the wayside. Now it's much more meaning over materialism. Instead of financial success, it's about having a financial safety net. And instead of a nuclear family, it's about broader social relationships.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.

MS. HIRSCHHORN: I think also it's really a new do-it-yourself American dream.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But it is an American dream.

MS. HIRSCHHORN: Oh, it is. It's alive and well, and it's important to Americans of all ages.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of Beth's answer?

CLARENCE PAGE: Well, I think that's fascinating, and I agree with it 100 percent. It's interesting. I think it's become a cliche to talk about the Internet era. But, you know, the Internet era has brought about more individualism and more individual abilities.

To me, the American dream in one word is opportunity. That's what has kept more people coming -- wanting to get into this country than wanting to leave. And, like Pat said, it's not a question of you having guaranteed results, but you have the opportunity to succeed if you work hard and get ahead. And much of our politics is shaped by whether or not that dream is really alive for people or not. You know, if you don't have equal education, can you have equal opportunity, for example, issues like that.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, I think -- well, everybody's making sort of the same point, what I've described as the traditional dream. But part of the American dream is freedom. It's the same thing that Clarence means when he says opportunity; the freedom to live the kind of life, the alternative lifestyle that you described and all the rest of it. Those have always been there, but there's no doubt more and more tens of millions are rejecting the traditional American dream for what they see as their own personal dream.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If Americans are remaining -- and I think you indicated this, Beth -- personally confident, notwithstanding the circumstances, personally confident --

MR. PAGE: Right. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- how does this translate into whom or what they expect from a presidential candidate seeking that office within 12 months?

MR. PAGE: I think, again, it's whether or not that candidate is, first of all, on my side. That's a key political question.

And so your vision of opportunity in this society -- will this candidate improve that or will they put some kind of handcuffs on it? That, in many ways, defines our politics.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In terms of whether or not he's got the policy that I like. But what about the characteristic of his personal resilience and echoing that, that he is a man or a woman who can revive and stimulate the confidence that America has in itself?

MR. PAGE: Well, personal narrative is very important to voters, whether they're conscious of it or not. We all love -- you know, Abraham Lincoln, in his campaign, they talked about the log cabin --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Right.

MR. PAGE: -- and this guy was a rail splitter and all of that. They really exaggerated a lot of that. But still, we love that kind of narrative.

MS. CLIFT: I don't see that happening in the 2012 campaign, because we've already been through Barack Obama's narrative. I don't think he can get too far on that. And I don't think, if the nominee is Mitt Romney, that he's going to be running necessarily on his narrative as the son of wealth. He's going to run more as somebody who can make government work again and be effective.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But does he -- can he rally the confidence of the American people, Mitt Romney?

MS. CLIFT: Look, we have two political tribes in this country, and I think each tribe will be motivated by their standard bearer or by opposition to the other candidate.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MS. CLIFT: So I think there'll be no lack of enthusiasm --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Beth in.

MS. CLIFT: -- when the presidential election gets under way. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see a candidate out there who could do this? Herman Cain, I think, has the characteristic and he has the bearing.

MS. CLIFT: No, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is a problem. He has a problem, and I'm not sure we can even include him on this list.

MS. CLIFT: No, I --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But he does have that about him, does he not?

MS. CLIFT: He's a motivational speaker, and that's what he should stick to. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he's also had considerable success with his --

MS. CLIFT: Pizza. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see anybody on the scene now that --

MR. BUCHANAN: That tells you a lot. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- is going to preserve, and not only preserve but revivify, re-energize the American dream, who's running for president?

MR. BUCHANAN: They're not --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it Barack?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, there's only one man that's done that almost in our lifetimes, and that's Ronald Reagan. He did inspire the country. But, no, and I don't think the American people expect the president to do all this for us, but they --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm not talking about a motivational speaker. I'm talking about someone that they divine --

MR. BUCHANAN: That's irrelevant.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- this is the guy who can do it or this is the gal who can do it.

MR. BUCHANAN: What they want is a president who can get this economy up and growing and working again, get unemployment down. And the individuals and the fathers and mothers, they will decide then on the American dream. That's his job.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There we are with Buchanan, once again talking about money, money, money. Issue Two: Economy Faltering?

BEN BERNANKE (Federal Reserve Board chairman): (From videotape.) The economy is faltering. We need to make sure that the recovery continues and doesn't drop back and that the unemployment rate continues to fall downward.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In 2009 and 2010, Americans were optimistic that President Obama's stimulus program and Cash for Clunkers and first- time homebuyers' tax credit would restore strong economic growth. This year the mood can only be described as sober up.

Item: Shock and awe. Over two out of five Americans, 43 percent, say the impact of the recession has been worse for them personally than they ever expected. Three out of five, 60 percent, of Generation Y, those in their 20s, who backed Obama overwhelmingly for president in 2008, say that they expected the economy to have been fully recovered by now. So says MetLife American Dream Survey 2011.

Item: Suffocating the dream. Almost half of all baby boomers, 47 percent, and 44 percent of Generation X, age 31 to 46, say the U.S. economy is blocking them from achieving their American dream. Forty- three percent of Generation Y blame the lack of job availability and stagnant wages for stifling their dream.

Item: Digging in for the long haul. Forty-two percent of all respondents, over two out of five, in the MetLife survey think it will take five years before the economy improves. That 42 percent is up from 33 percent in 2010 and 23 percent in 2009. And get this: The number of all poll respondents who say the economy will never improve has doubled again, from 5 percent in 2009 to 11 percent in 2011.

Question: We are living in a time of economic sobriety. So where are Americans looking for financial security? Are they looking to the government? Are they looking to their families? Are they looking to themselves? Beth.

MS. HIRSCHHORN: They're looking to themselves, because there's nobody out there to help them. There's one generation, though, which is a little bit of the exception, and that's the Gen Y people. They are -- 60 percent of them said that they receive money from family members just to pay bills. So they are obviously relying on their families.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's that age group, generally?

MS. HIRSCHHORN: The Gen Ys? They're in their 20s, up to 31 years old.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Please continue. MS. HIRSCHHORN: OK. So what's happening with the rest of the workers? So a quarter of them are basically one paycheck away from not being able to meet their financial obligations. Forty-two percent now are two missed paychecks away from not being able to pay their bills and being on the verge of financial ruin.

That said, you know, there's been a savings increase.

We know that. So these numbers, even though they are very sobering, are actually a little bit better than they were last year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, with your far-darting vision, your far-darting eyes, do you detect pessimism on the home front?

MR. PAGE: Well, what really intrigued me and encouraged me about your survey is that it showed --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: My survey?

MR. PAGE: Well, I was talking about --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: MetLife survey.

MR. PAGE: -- Beth, yeah, with MetLife -- is that the younger people who were responding to these questions sounded a little more optimistic than the older people, which surprised me in a way. (Inaudible) -- on a couple of these old boomers like me were really grim --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: -- whereas the young people had optimistic outlooks. That was very reassuring to me. It's not surprising that Gen Y is more dependent on their parents, because they have, unfortunately, you know, a really high unemployment rate right now. Even the college grads are having a hard time getting placed.

But in recent days even some of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators who were unemployed at the beginning have found jobs. So, you know, it's important that -- you may be jobless now, but you won't be jobless in the future. That's the key, I think, to the American attitude, that this is a dip but it's going to recover in the long run.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: I think -- I think there's also a sense that what we're living through may be an historic restructuring of work. And I think people understand this is bigger than just an ordinary recession. And the Occupy Wall Street protests have shone a light on the wealth gap. And I think there is this diffuse anger. I guess I wouldn't call it pessimism. I think America is beginning to wake up. And a lot of people identify with some of the goals of the 99 percent that things -- that economically, things are out of whack in this country.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You sound like you're a member of Occupy Wall Street, Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you been out there?

MS. CLIFT: I've strolled around the tents and the kayaks. (Laughs.) I haven't spent the night.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're simpatico with them.

MS. CLIFT: I am simpatico with them, yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it veers into a possible sedition rap?

MS. CLIFT: No. I mean, I think they're --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are they trying to overthrow government?

MS. CLIFT: Well, I think they don't have the right to permanent -- have permanent encampments in public parks.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MS. CLIFT: But I think they will be back in various forms.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MS. CLIFT: They're not going to go away, because the frustration is too widespread and they have too many sympathizers in all walks of life, including me and Clarence at the very least.

MR. BUCHANAN: If Eleanor thinks Occupy Wall Street represents 99 percent of Americans -- I think they were with the cops in New York that threw them out of Zuccotti Park, which they should have done weeks before.

John, the interesting thing about --

MR. PAGE: You can't kill the idea, though, Pat.

MS. CLIFT: Pat, you're trying --

MR. PAGE: You can't kill the idea. MS. CLIFT: Pat's trying to relive --

MR. PAGE: She's right. The wealth gap is being talked about now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Clarence, tell them to behave themselves.

MR. PAGE: Don't underestimate the idea.

MS. CLIFT: Pat's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No. Don't underestimate Pat's power to kill.

MR. BUCHANAN: Tell them to behave themselves.

MS. CLIFT: Pat's trying to relive the `60s. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Here's the interesting thing about your statistics, your MetLife statistics. Earlier on you told us people -- there was a measure of confidence in their personal lives, a high measure, any number of them. But if you look at are they confident about the future of their country, 70 percent of Americans believe this country is in serious decline. Eighty percent believe we're on the wrong course. They're happy about -- maybe positive about their personal lives, not positive about their country.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got Beth with us today. And let's examine the role of insurance in all of this. This is insurance level of participation. This is what struck me -- auto insurance. Twenty-nine percent of the American people are not covered. Do you want -- if the audience wants to see this, go to McLaughlin.com or go to MetLife.com and you can see it there. Thirty-three percent of the American people, one out of three, is not covered by health insurance.

MR. PAGE: Yeah.

MR. BUCHANAN: But they've got government insurance.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Home insurance, 48 percent, almost half, are not covered. Life insurance -- Pat has loads of this -- 52 percent not covered; more than half not covered. Dental insurance, 57 percent not covered. Disability insurance, 83 percent not covered. Long-term care insurance -- you've got to get hold of this, Pat -- 91 -- just joking, of course --

MR. BUCHANAN: I'd take a look at your own portfolio. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) Ninety-one percent not covered for long-term care insurance. And income annuities, 91 percent not covered. Can you put -- MS. CLIFT: So ask Beth what should we run out and buy if we don't have it? (Laughs.)

MS. HIRSCHHORN: Well, you know, I'm a little biased. You should have it all. But that chart -- let me shed some light on that. So that is basically a snapshot of Americans' safety net, OK? And you see auto insurance high. Why? Because if you want a car, you have to have car insurance, OK? It's mandated.

So let's really look more carefully at the rest of it. Do keep in mind, unlike you, the average American gets most of their protection benefits from the workplace, OK. So that's why you see health insurance next. And then you see kind of a dropoff. That's more related to home ownership. So if you have a home, you pretty much have to have homeowner's insurance anyway. And then -- and then it starts to sort of deteriorate from there. But, you know, at the workplace it feels like medical is something so today and so urgent, and it is.

MR. BUCHANAN: But Beth, aren't all these figures at record highs? You go back to the 1950s. I don't know if Clarence and I had auto insurance when we're driving around.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why don't you bring it back to 1900?

MR. BUCHANAN: It all goes --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You can get your arithmetic from there.

MR. BUCHANAN: They all would have been zero then. What I'm saying is there's enormous amounts of insurance. The industry is doing extremely well. I'll bet all of those are almost at record levels.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want --

MS. CLIFT: Not true.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- a bigger frame here. And Beth is, I think, almost there. Is there any bigger frame to this, I mean, on the neglect of -- I guess that's the word -- of, say, life insurance?

MS. CLIFT: Well, I would -- the lowest figures are disability and long term. And in the old days, Pat --

MR. BUCHANAN: Right. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: -- we had families and we all lived together, and people were nearby. MS. HIRSCHHORN: Right -- another form of social insurance.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, exactly.

MR. BUCHANAN: You've been celebrating the end of the family.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there any -- I'm asking --

MS. CLIFT: No, it's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- this of Beth. Is there any --

MS. CLIFT: -- taking into account reality in a mobile population.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there any reason to believe that if you're strapped for money that the first thing to go is your insurance payment, and that's the end of that?

MS. HIRSCHHORN: No, the average American doesn't have the insurance payments that the group here has. So it's not as financially onerous as you might imagine. We don't see people dropping off or dropping their policies. That's not what's going on. What's going on is that increasingly the urgency and expense of health insurance is kind of dampening --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MS. HIRSCHHORN: Yeah, it's taking up and crowding out some of the other protection products. And, like I said, some of these other things seem like they can wait until tomorrow.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Is a psychology of diminished expectation taking hold in America? Do you understand the question, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's pretty clear, John. And I would say it probably has -- as the recession has endured for two and three years, it may not have been there at the beginning, but I think there's a real pessimism out there in America about the future of the country and about personal problems and when, if ever, this economy is going to recover.

MS. CLIFT: I think it's an acknowledgement of reality. And if -- I don't want to call it pessimistic, because, again, I think the whole thrust of this survey is the resilience of America and Americans. And I'm not going to write off the country as easily as Pat does.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor -- I mean, Beth. MS. HIRSCHHORN: Let's go back to where Pat started, which is with the origin of the American dream, which was about working hard and persevering.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)

MS. HIRSCHHORN: Somehow, in the `50s and `60s, that turned into owning a home. So I think, to the extent that things have a little bit gotten off that track, it's healthier and we're returning more to the origins and, you know, kind of why we're here in the beginning.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MR. PAGE: I think a big reason why there's dramatic increase in pessimism right now is the same reason there was an increase back in the `70s, when we had gasoline lines and runaway stagflation; that things were doing so well before that, by contrast, people have to ratchet back their expectations right now. But it doesn't mean people don't have hope that things will recover in the future. We hope it will be soon.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think the pessimism that exists is because we're a little pessimistic about the rate of the recovery return rather than in any personal terms. But the rate of the -- when is the recovery going to be back, and why isn't it back?

Issue Three: Consumers Too Cautious?

JEFF LANDIS (clothier): (From videotape.) I had a doctor this morning come in and he said to me, boy, I'd love to buy a new suit, but in this kind of atmosphere, with this kind of uncertainty, I'm not going to do it. You can't say, oh, come on, spend the money, tomorrow's going to be better, because you really don't know if that's going to happen.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For the first seven years of this new millennium, the American consumer was the driving force of global economic growth. The European Union also played a key role in that global growth. China achieved its annual 9 percent growth by feeding its products for purchase to the EU and the U.S.

As for the U.S., 70 percent of our economy is powered today by U.S. consumer spending. That makes the combined individual and family budget in America the most important economic force in the world.

So with millions of Americans underwater on their mortgages and seeing no real increase in their incomes, this mighty American consumer engine is powering down. According to MetLife American Dream Survey 2011, 81 percent of Americans say they plan to trim, even cut, the family budget. This is how they are to do the cutting. First, eat out less, 70 percent. Second, travel and vacation less, 61 percent. Third, spend less on entertainment, 61 percent. Four, spend less on wardrobes. And bad news for Silicon Valley: 62 percent of Americans say they'll take a pass on purchasing the latest technology.

In this ocean of austerity, the only life jacket is that Americans plan to spend an average of $764 on gifts this holiday season, up $50 from last year. So says the November Gallup poll.

Question: Can the world economy recover fully if American consumers continue to rein in their spending? Beth.

MS. HIRSCHHORN: It's a big world.

And I will tell you also, in this country the winners are going to be the ones, the retailers and the businesses that rebuild trust with their customers. Ninety percent of Americans are saying they -- it's more important than ever to understand the financial wherewithal of the company they're doing business with. And I think you see a lot of that in the Occupy Wall Street. We have 97 percent of Gen Yers saying that trust and transparency and honesty is more important in how they choose to do business with someone.

MS. CLIFT: Well, it was --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.

MS. CLIFT: It was an outgrowth --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her in.

MS. CLIFT: It was an outgrowth of the Wall Street protests. One woman protested against Bank of America's fees, and Bank of America pulled back those fees. So, I mean, I think people are discovering that they can have a collective voice and that they can influence businesses and how they treat their customers.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think those New York cops are mean?

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) I think most of them are terrific, but occasionally there's a tussle. And sometimes they use too much force and sometimes, you know, it gets out of hand.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How --

MS. CLIFT: But for the most part, the cops have done a good job.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me ask you this question.

MR. PAGE: Sure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know about the Occupy Wall Street movement.

MR. PAGE: Yeah. I've been over there. I have not slept out overnight, but -- (laughs) -- I've talked to -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What have you done?

MR. PAGE: -- a number of them. I've talked to a number of them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've engaged them in free inquiry.

MR. PAGE: Is that your question?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No. (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: I'm a reporter, John. I'm a journalist. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: My question is, are they going to last?

MR. PAGE: Are they going to last? You know, like I said before, it's the idea that matters. You know, what they physically do -- and, yeah, these are rambunctious kids who are angry about the way things are, and they've changed the national conversation. As far as I'm concerned, they've already won. They've achieved their goal, as it were. So, yeah, I don't expect them to be sleeping out all year long.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see any laundry list from them about what they want? You hear --

MR. PAGE: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You hear kids --

MR. PAGE: And you won't.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- shouting out, pay my college tuition.

MR. PAGE: Have you seen a laundry list from the tea party, you know? The important thing is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, I think that laundry list is out there, isn't it?

MR. PAGE: No. The tea party has no laundry list. They have no organization.

MR. BUCHANAN: Elect Republicans and --

MR. PAGE: They have no central structure. But the Republicans --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The tea party should be an example --

MR. PAGE: -- usurped the tea party because they agreed politically. When you see --

MR. BUCHANAN: Right. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So then it evaporated --

MR. PAGE: When you see a political party --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- because it became superfluous.

MR. PAGE: The tea party?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MR. PAGE: No, the tea party is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the Republican Party has done it.

MR. PAGE: But it will. I predict that it will. I've already said that, because they've largely achieved their goal. We'll see how powerful they are in this coming election.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. PAGE: But we already see fissures happening right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- the --

MR. BUCHANAN: The tea party -- I mean, John, Occupy Wall Street, most of them are being cleared out in Oakland, wherever you look at it. Mayors have had enough of the nonsense.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the point? What's the point?

MR. BUCHANAN: The point is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They obstruct traffic.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- they're going to be out of there for the winter and they're going to be gone. But I would expect some of this to come back in the spring. And Barack Obama better not tie himself to those clowns, because they'll be on --

MR. PAGE: It's too late, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: OK, too late. Too late --

MR. PAGE: You guys are tying him already.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's where he belongs.

MS. CLIFT: The opposition to Wall Street crowd has shifted the political narrative in this country for the white working-class people, who are not screaming about too much government; let's pay the deficit.

MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor --

MS. CLIFT: They like their agenda. They think they've got a point.

MR. BUCHANAN: They are more anti-Obama -- the white working class has abandoned Obama. Many of them supported him. They are gone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Beth, a forced prediction.

MS. HIRSCHHORN: True or false: Homeownership, having children and marriage works its way back into the American dream in the next two years.

MR. BUCHANAN: If not, we're toast.

MS. CLIFT: Works its way back, but longer than two years.

MS. HIRSCHHORN: Longer than two years.

MR. PAGE: I think longer than two years.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: True as stated.

Gobble, gobble. Bye-bye.

END.