The McLaughlin Group Host: John McLaughlin Panel: Pat Buchanan, MSNBC; Eleanor Clift, Newsweek; Rich Lowry, National Review; Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report Broadcast: Weekend of December 31, 2011 - January 1, 2012

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ANNOUNCER: It's the 30th annual McLaughlin Group year-end awards, 2011, part two. Here's the master of ceremonies, John McLaughlin.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Destined for political stardom, 2012. Pat.

PAT BUCHANAN: Senator Rand Paul will emerge as the chief anti- interventionist and opponent of Republicans taking us to war in Iran.


ELEANOR CLIFT: Elizabeth Warren, contending for the Senate seat against Scott Brown in Massachusetts, has the potential to not only win the seat, but to really galvanize Democrats across the country. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rich.

RICH LOWRY: Josh Mandel is a Republican running out for Senate in Ohio; a former Marine, a couple of tours in Iraq. He has the potential to be the Marco Rubio figure in this cycle for Republicans.


MORT ZUCKERMAN: Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, who has managed successfully to bring about a balanced budget with a bipartisan approach, both with the Republicans and Democrats in that state, something that hasn't occurred in a long time.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.

MR. LOWRY: John, I know you're eager for this envelope.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I am, indeed. I wish to thank you.

MR. LOWRY: Other end. Other end.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's going on, Pat?

MR. LOWRY: There you go.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let's see it, Carnac -- Carnac the Magnificent. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Carnac. Johnny Carson.

MR. BUCHANAN: J. Carson. Go ahead.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Carnac the Magnificent?

MR. BUCHANAN: Carnac the Magnificent?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Destined for political stardom in 2012: Myanmar's democracy activist, Aung San Kyi -- actually pronounced Aung San Kyi. (Corrects pronunciation of Kyi.) Already famous as a Nobel prize winner, now no longer under house arrest, she can openly campaign and will emerge as a political star. So she's destined for political stardom, Pat, in 2012.

MR. BUCHANAN: Takes my breath away. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, destined for political oblivion. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Bashir Assad, the president of Syria, will not last the year. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Sarah Palin, who apparently is shopping around a new reality show, but they're not lining up to take it.


MR. LOWRY: Nancy Pelosi. When Democrats fail to take back the House, she will no longer be the leader of that caucus.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: Senator Harry Reid. The Democrats are going to lose control of the Senate and he'll no longer be majority leader.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Destined for political oblivion in 2012: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In his heyday, the five major newspapers in the world collaborated with Assange. Now they blame, all of them, Assange for publishing leaked documents, which they also published. That endanger, of course -- that endangers people's lives.

Pat, best political theater of 2011.

MR. BUCHANAN: David Cameron walks out of the EU summit, goes home to a Churchillian reception, stands up for sovereignty and independence. Great job, David.

MR. LOWRY: Hear, hear.

MR. BUCHANAN: Finest hour.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, wait a minute. Is that abuse of him or is that praise of him?

MR. LOWRY: Praise.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you being sardonic?

MR. BUCHANAN: Praise. Praise.

MR. LOWRY: Effusive praise.

MR. BUCHANAN: Effusive praise.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean he rejected the Eurozone?

MR. BUCHANAN: He said take --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Move right out of it?

MR. BUCHANAN: They said up yours.

Take your treaty --

MR. LOWRY: Finest hour.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- and you know what you can do with it. Finest hour.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So he wants to protect Great Britain.

MR. BUCHANAN: He wants to protect their sovereignty and independence.

MS. CLIFT: John --


MR. BUCHANAN: That's right.

MS. CLIFT: John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So there's no EU?

MS. CLIFT: Conservatives don't like the Eurozone. They don't like the Euro dollar or anything. So they love London standing up to it.

But my best theater is the parade of Republican front runners, all flawed -- Trump, Bachmann, Perry, Cain, and now Gingrich.


MR. LOWRY: Tahrir Square. You had the crowds. You had the flags. You had hand-to-hand combat with guys on camels and the drama of history turning. You really couldn't take your eyes off of it.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I would say it was Cain's 9-9-9. I mean, just as a phrase that captured a heck of a lot of people with the idea of simplifying the tax code, I thought that was great.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Great. Best political theater: The European Union's late and ineffectual response to the sovereign debt crisis. That crisis has spread from Greece to Portugal to Italy and appears to be in Spain. Great political theater, but the action moves at the pace of French cinema -- glacially.

MR. LOWRY: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You got it?

Worst political theater, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Occupy Wall Street and its clones, John. This is not the 1950s, children. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: This is not the 1950s we're living in either, Pat.

I think worst political theater is the audience at the Republican debate that booed a gay soldier.


MR. LOWRY: Donald Trump dragging everyone around in this absurd and poisonous birther goose chase.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: To me, the worst political -- it was the GOP debates, just the whole series of them, I mean, as if that's going to be the determination, unfortunately, of somebody who's qualified to be the president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The worst political theater: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lecturing President Obama at the White House. Whether you agree with President Obama or not on his Israel policy, it's tough, as an American, to watch our president be lectured like a schoolboy on international television, especially when he is sitting in the White House.

Is that OK with you, Mort? (Laughs.)

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Obviously, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, worst political scandal. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Fast and Furious. The ATF sent 2,000 automatic weapons and modern weapons into Mexico to the cartel to trace them. They got a Border Patrol guy killed. These guns are being used in the cartel wars in Mexico.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: Bipartisan tie: Arnold Schwarzenegger's love child and Anthony Weiner's tweets. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I forgot about Weiner.


MR. LOWRY: That's it. One word -- Weiner. Enough said.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right. I was going to say Weiner, but as long as we're talking about this, I would add in Dominique Strauss- Kahn getting involved in a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful story for the New York City tabloids.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the story? Was he framed?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I don't know if you've read the report on it. It certainly indicates that it's not, shall we say, a black-and- white story, because there's no doubt that there is a lot of very fishy information going on with that story that goes back to French politics.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The worst political scandal of 2011, that U.S. senators and representatives and their staffs can profit off inside information freely through investment transactions that would send Wall Street insiders to jail.

OK, most underreported story, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The progress of Ron Paul. He wins straw polls. He wins regular polls. He wins debates and the votes. And he gets no credit whatsoever.


MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) What kind of credit do you want him to get, Pat? You want him to --

MR. BUCHANAN: I would like the media to treat him with fairness, Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) OK.

Most underreported story is the positive impact that people are already feeling of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare."


MR. LOWRY: The secret war against Iran, where elements of their nuclear program just continually explode accidentally and mysteriously. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We have 48 million people in this country who are living below the poverty line. In America to have almost 17 percent of the population living below the poverty line is a disgrace.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Underreported.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: You almost never read about that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Most underreported story of 2011: India's drastic reduction of its poverty rate. The U.N. says that India's poverty rate will drop from 51 percent to 22 percent over the last 25 years.

OK, the most overreported story of 2011. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The liberal media hype for Jon Huntsman, who is at about zero percent, at the same time they're cutting Ron Paul dead.


MS. CLIFT: Casey Anthony trial.


MR. LOWRY: Occupy Wall Street. You have a motley collection of whiny youth, aging hippies and homeless people gathering in Zuccotti Park and a couple of other cities around the country, and the media swooned.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: I share that. That was my most overreported story --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The most --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- Occupy Wall Street.


The most overreported story of 2011: The false story that America is in decline. The press, especially the financial press, keep saying that America's days are numbered and that China will soon be the most powerful country on the planet. The true scholars are saying that America will still be on top in 2050 -- number one -- four decades from now.

MR. BUCHANAN: What about --

MR. LOWRY: Take that, Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: What about my book, "Suicide of a Superpower"? (Laughter.) MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where is it? Are you selling it?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's selling, but I'm not selling it right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, the biggest government waste. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Five hundred million dollar loan guarantee to Solyndra, the green racketeers walking off with that kind of money, and other dollars poured into electric cars and all the other Eleanor nonsense in government.

MR. LOWRY: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: I love it all, Pat. And if we live long enough, we'll enjoy the fruits of all of that green stuff.

Biggest waste: The $1.4 billion in surplus dollar coins stockpiled by the U.S. Treasury commemorating all the deceased presidents. Vice President Biden finally blew the whistle on that this month, earlier this month.


MR. LOWRY: Pat nailed it -- Solyndra and the entire green government-industrial complex.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: The congressional salaries paid to the congressional leaders who couldn't agree on a debt reduction program, to the great detriment of the United States. Those people deserve to be paid zero.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are they paid?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: They're over $200,000 a year.


MR. LOWRY: And then their staffs too.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The biggest government waste: The war in Afghanistan -- $2 billion per week. But Osama bin Laden is dead. Al- Qaida is all but gone from the country. And the Afghan government is negotiating with the Taliban.

OK, best government dollar spent, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: It keys off you, John. I think it was SEAL Team 6 taking down bin Laden and the targeted hits on al-Qaida itself. But I agree with you on Afghanistan. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Best government dollar, I would say unemployment insurance in this time.


MR. LOWRY: Every penny spent on Hellfire missiles, which are a great instrument for global justice.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: I was going to say killer drones, which is exactly what you were referring to, Rich. But I would also add the salaries of the people in the counterterrorism unit of New York City police, who have done an unbelievable job in taking care of the terrorist threats to New York.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The best government dollar spent: The money spent to bury Osama bin Laden in accord with Muslim traditions. Killing bin Laden was a spectacular feat, but it would have been marred if the handling of the corpse offended devout Muslims.

Also, more importantly, a land burial would have created a shrine for al-Qaida. The outcome burial at sea was brilliant, and it was money well spent.

OK, boldest political tactic. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Newt Gingrich saying that actually the Palestinian people don't exist; they are an invented people. They're all Arabs. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Horrible, huh?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, he -- this is -- he spun this thing. I've got to give him credit.

MS. CLIFT: He was --


MS. CLIFT: -- talking as an historian. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: And his views happen to match those of the evangelical Christians he's courting in Iowa. So there's always method to Newt's madness.

MR. LOWRY: I wouldn't go that far. There's not always method to his madness. (Laughs.) MR. BUCHANAN: But it is nervy.

MS. CLIFT: Right. Well, I would say stripping the collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin and Ohio -- bold political tactics, backfiring to a certain extent.

MR. LOWRY: Eleanor stole mine. Scott Walker was the boldest tactic, plowing through with that even after Democrats fled the state.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Mort?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I frankly think Newt Gingrich taking on these televised debates as a way to completely revive his political career and political reputation. Who would have thunk?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The boldest political tactic: President Obama's decision to go negative in the current campaign, 2012. There were high hopes that he would be a unifying president, but now his best shot at re-election is to pit the less affluent against the more affluent -- class warfare. If he loses in 2012, unfortunately, Obama's legacy will not be as a unifier. It will be as a divider. You got that figured out, Pat?

OK, best idea of 2011. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: America coming home from Iraq as of January 1. And the next best idea is coming home from Afghanistan by 2014.


MS. CLIFT: To take to the streets -- the Arab youth movement and the Occupy movement in this country.


MR. LOWRY: Best idea is crony capitalism, a phrase that originated on the left. It's migrated over to the right, and unfortunately is quite an accurate description of what we have in Washington and Wall Street.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: The deficit proposals of Bowles-Simpson, which would have been a major step forward in getting our fiscal health back into good shape.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Best idea of 2011: The Obama administration's idea to use SEAL forces to kill bin Laden. Bill Clinton used air strikes twice to kill bin Laden. It's a tough target. He missed both times. Obama's use of the SEALs ensured a more precise mission -- best and bravest idea of 2011.

Pat, worst idea.

MR. BUCHANAN: Worst idea is the former governor and senator, Jon Corzine, former head of Goldman Sachs, steps into a brand new MF Global and he says, I think what we ought to do is shove the whole stack in on European bonds, John -- worst idea of 2011. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He says he doesn't know where the money went.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's gone. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How much was it?

MR. BUCHANAN: $1.2 billion gone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He doesn't know where it went.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's -- that's client accounts. That's the investors' accounts.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That doesn't include --

MR. BUCHANAN: That's not MF Global.


MS. CLIFT: Alabama's anti-immigration law, which has tomatoes left rotting in the fields, construction stalled, and they ensnared two top auto executives who weren't carrying the right credentials -- one from Mercedes Benz and one from Honda -- who were bringing jobs to the state. It's a ludicrous law.


MR. LOWRY: Worst idea was to have about two dozen debates before Republicans started voting in the primaries and transforming the race into a bit of reality show.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: The worst ideas were to come out against Mubarak, the president of Egypt, and then the military more recently, knowing -- or at least unknowing, perhaps -- that the country was going to fall into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists, which is the most extreme Muslim group. It's a disaster for U.S. interests in that part of the world.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Worst idea of 2011: Anne Hathaway, 28 years of age, James Franco, 32, co-hosting last year's Academy Awards. ABC executives thought the attractive duo would build the number of young viewers. Well, ratings dropped by 4 million, one of the lowest Oscar audiences in nearly 40 years.

MR. BUCHANAN: And you're telling me that's worse than the Islamists taking over Egypt? (Laughs.)

MR. LOWRY: I can't believe you went negative on Anne Hathaway, John.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. LOWRY: This is outrageous.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Put that in writing. Put that in writing, sir.

OK, sorry to see you go. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Greatest generation is dying at one thousand a week.


MS. CLIFT: Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, a first-rate legislator, a caustic wit and intelligent mind. And you don't get too many of those on Capitol Hill.


MR. LOWRY: If we had a glad to see you go category, Barney Frank would be mine.

MS. CLIFT: That's why I love him. (Laughs.)

MR. LOWRY: Sorry to see you go, Jeb Bush. He could have been the Republican nominee and could have been the next president.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I would say the passage of Sargent Shriver, who was a wonderful man and made a wonderful contribution to the United States. And I'm really sorry that he is gone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hear, hear on that.

Sorry to see you go: Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Gates revived the morale of the U.S. military and transformed the military to be better equipped to fight in the 21st century.

OK, 15 minutes of fame, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Herman Cain. He could have been a contender. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: I've got to echo you on that -- Herman Cain, 9-9-9. (Laughs.) MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rich.

MR. LOWRY: Herman Cain. No one was as surprised that he was taken seriously as a presidential candidate as he was.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I was going to say Herman Cain as well, but I'm going to have a different twist on it -- Godfather's Pizza. (Laughter.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fifteen minutes of fame -- remember this man? Former Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty. Once thought to be the best Republican presidential nominee, Pawlenty bowed out after the Iowa straw poll's bad Pawlenty numbers.

OK, best spin of the year. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Newt Gingrich -- that $1.6 million was for my role as a historian giving strategic advice -- (laughs) -- to Freddie Mac. (Laughs.)


MS. CLIFT: Quote: "Not intended to be a factual statement," which is what the spokesman for Arizona Senator Jon Kyl said after he declared on the floor that upwards of 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions. The correct number is 3 percent.


MR. LOWRY: Best spin is President Obama blaming Republican policies for the weak economy after he got whatever he wanted for two years.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah. And the other spin, to follow on that, was to blame the Republicans for failing to arrive at a debt reduction agreement when, in fact, they had an agreement on Thursday night and he walked away from it on Friday morning.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, best spin of the year: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke; also Bernanke's decision to hold press conferences. It worked. Both the press and the public liked the innovation of the Fed chairman holding press conferences.

OK, the most overrated, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The most overrated, John, I think, is the threat from Iran. We're getting all this hype from the neocons and others -- we've got to go to war to save ourselves -- when Iran represents no threat whatsoever to the greatest superpower in history.

MS. CLIFT: Texas Governor Rick Perry, who came in as the front runner with lots of money, lots of promise, and it turns out he was exposed in the debates as someone who cannot think on his feet. The Republican debates were the best idea ever. (Laughter.)

MR. LOWRY: Rick Perry. The idea of him was so good.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I would say the most overrated was the Euro. The Euro has now virtually collapsed and may bring about a huge collapse of the entire European economy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me try this out on you, Mort. Most overrated: The U.S. budget will cut $1.2 trillion. The national debt is $15 trillion. One-point-two trillion is a drop in the bucket. It won't even pay for the long-term interest on our debt.

Most overrated, Pat -- most underrated, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think that Europe has got the Euro crisis. What it's ignoring is the demographic winter in Europe, John. Not a single one of those countries has a birth rate that's going to enable it to stay alive. Its population is aging. The number of young people are diminishing. That is a long-term crisis.


MS. CLIFT: Underrated. I give it to mother nature, who visited upon Japan an earthquake and a tsunami. And in this country we had droughts and fires. And with global warming up her sleeve, there's lots more to come.

MR. LOWRY: I think John Boehner has been surprisingly deft in keeping his caucus together. It hasn't been pretty, but could have been a lot worse.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: The most underrated thing that's happened to this country is the energy boom in both natural gas and oil that came out of fracking. It's going to change our whole independence on the issue of energy. We'll become exporters and not importers. It'll change everything. It'll diminish the power of those countries that have used this as a weapon against us for years.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Related to that, most underreported -- underrated -- Canada and Mexico. President Obama's foreign policy has largely shifted to Asia. The president is ignoring the fact that Canada and Mexico are the U.S. largest trade markets. He should also focus on Latin America. Focus on those. Macro predictions. This is a group discussion. Pat, what's your macro prediction?

MR. BUCHANAN: Eurozone is going to come down, John, in probably early next year; I think Italy or Greece or both. I think it's going to come down. I think it's going to bring down those European banks. And I'll tell you, the consequences, when it leaps the Atlantic, I think they're going to imperil Barack Obama's re-election. And there's not a whole lot they can do about it. You look at that thing; the Financial Times, these other publications over there, the pessimism is pandemic among a lot of writers who thought it would work out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So these 27 nations that are in the EU -- the broad EU, not the Eurozone --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- the broad -- are going to go it alone.

MR. BUCHANAN: Here's what's going to happen.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's not going to be any European Union.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, no --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, you're just talking about the Eurozone within the European Union.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Eurozone -- if they collapse -- for example, if Greece defaults -- if Italy defaults, the banks come storming down and there's no way to contain it, John, what happens within the year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's a fundamental distinction here. People can get very easily confused. The entire Eurozone is made up of 27 nations -- not the Eurozone, the Euro -- the European Union is 27 nations.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Eurozone, which focuses on economics, is made up of what, 18 nations?

MR. BUCHANAN: Seventeen.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Seventeen.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seventeen nations.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Seventeen nations. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, the Eurozone could go down, but that means that they're still in the European Union.


MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I'm still --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they do not have a collective opinion -- opinion -- position on economics. Is that correct?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That is correct. But if the Eurozone does go down and those 17 nations can't agree, Pat's absolutely right. You're going to see a recession in Europe that is going to compare to the great depression that we had in the 1930s.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: I've seen economists who've predicted that they would have an unemployment rate that would exceed 20 percent. And you're going to have a wasteland for the banking and financial system, which is going to cross the ocean and affect the United States.

MS. CLIFT: Well, there are a lot of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute -- affect the United States.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, without question.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You heard me say that our biggest trading partner right here -- partners are right here in this hemisphere.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But we still have a terrific amount of -- terrific (amount ?) with the U.K.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's correct.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And that's going to -- that's one reason why it's going to come back here, of course. MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Well, there are a lot of --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, without question, all over Europe. It's 8, 9 percent of our exports.


MS. CLIFT: There are a lot of ifs in the gloom and doom that you are projecting. And they always end up with Barack Obama's defeat, I notice. And I would point out that I think Angela Merkel -- she's been pretty shrewd in how she's handling this. The Eurozone or the Euro was really an invention and experiment pushed by the Germans. They have benefited a lot from it. She's taking a lot of political risks. So I'm still counting on Angela Merkel to pull this -- the Euro --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Angela Merkel is going to put money to save Greece --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and Italy?

MS. CLIFT: Well, that's, in effect, what she's doing. And she's -- the German public doesn't much like bailing out other countries, but in the end --

MR. LOWRY: They'll put --

MS. CLIFT: -- they will benefit more if they do that than if they let it go down.

MR. LOWRY: They're only going to put money in it really seriously, though, if they can control those countries. And John, there is a school of thought from the beginning on the Euro that eventually you'd have a crisis that would force a greater consolidation of Europe and you'd have inevitable centralization. I think there's the horn of a dilemma here, because --

MS. CLIFT: What about the other big traditions --

MR. LOWRY: -- you can't have a single -- hold on, Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: -- (inaudible)?

MR. LOWRY: You can't have a single currency without a single country --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, Eleanor's right. MR. LOWRY: -- nor can you have a democracy without --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor's right. This subject has become boring.

MS. CLIFT: Exactly. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, what is your -- what other macro divination do you have?

MS. CLIFT: Mine is about as macro as the Eurozone, because it's looking ahead to the next year, and that is, there's virtual certainty that there will be a third-party movement, because Americans Elect is putting in place the structure for somebody to grab. And if Newt Gingrich wins the nomination, and even if he doesn't, I think they're going to be lining up to run. And that's -- I don't know who benefits. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'll tell you who could benefit if we could get him to change his mind, and that's the mayor of New York.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael Bloomberg, president of the United States.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: If you could change his mind, that's correct. Listen, he had a real chance last time, because the whole financial crisis broke during that election campaign. He would have had unique credibility. He just couldn't see how he could imagine that at that point. But he's a very talented guy. He's done a great job for New York.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's tailor-made for this job. He knows economics.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He brought New York out of a recession and he put it on the plus side of the ledger.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He's done an outstanding job in New York as the mayor of New York -- an outstanding job.

MS. CLIFT: How about secretary of treasury? (Laughs.) I don't see him as president.

MR. LOWRY: The problem, though, is -- and I agree; I think, especially if Gingrich is the nominee, which I doubt, but if he is, you could get Ron Paul in there, and that could suck Bloomberg in there. But what state is Mayor Bloomberg actually going to run? MR. BUCHANAN: He's not even going to carry New York City. Obama will carry New York City as the Democratic nominee against the independent.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So? There's a third party or an independent party.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You ought to know. How did you create a party?

MR. BUCHANAN: If Bloomberg's in there, the Republicans win.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the name of your party?

MR. BUCHANAN: If Bloomberg is in there, Obama loses. And if Ron Paul is in there, the Republicans lose.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, here's some good news. I predict that the U.S. will start a path in 2012 that will lead it to become once again the world's leading manufacturer in the automotive industry.

OK, New Year's resolutions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Now that my Spenglerian tome is over, John, get to work on my memoirs.


MS. CLIFT: I vow to smile through the political fights ahead and to tap into Pat's knowledge about third-party candidates, since he was one. (Laughter.)


MR. LOWRY: I just got married this year, so I resolve to get used to being wrong about everything.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm going to spend as much time as I can with my two young children.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: New Year's resolution for the McLaughlin Group: Stay on top of the ratings.

Happy New Year. Bye-bye.