The McLaughlin Group

Host: John McLaughlin

Panel: Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek;
Tim Carney, Washington Examiner;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report

Taped: Friday, June 8, 2012
Broadcast: Weekend of June 9-10, 2012







JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Great Scott.

WISCONSIN GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER (R): (From videotape.) Tonight we tell Wisconsin, we tell our country and we tell people all across the globe that voters really do want leaders who stand up and make the tough decisions. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Scott Walker stays as governor of Wisconsin. Republican Walker beat back a recall vote. That recall effort was brought by Democrat Tom Barrett. Barrett is the Democratic mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He got 46 percent of the vote. Barrett lost. Walker got 53 percent, a seven-point spread.

Walker has two and a half years to go in his four-year term. The recall Democratic stratagem was precipitated by Walker's aggressive measures to cut Wisconsin's budget, notably the ones that stripped public employees -- that's Wisconsin state employees -- of their collective bargaining rights, most of them.

Walker's cuts forced workers to pay more for their health care and their pension benefits. Walker's move sparked mass protests at the state capitol. Largely Democratic labor unions were able to collect almost 1 million signatures, thus forcing this week's recall election.

Anti-Walkerites and pro-Walkerites assembled their respective big get-out-the-vote constituencies, spending some $75 million, half coming from outside Wisconsin.

Question: Why did Walker win, and why did labor lose? Pat Buchanan.

PAT BUCHANAN: People will say, John, that Walker outspent him, eight -- or his people did -- outspent him seven to one; and secondarily, Wisconsinites don't like recall elections. They don't think it was deserved.

But John, the cause and consequence of this to me is, I think, historic. This may spell -- it certainly spells a crisis and may spell the doom of these public-sector unions. What Scott Walker did, he won the vote of one third of all union families after he had ended the dues checkoff for unions in Wisconsin.

What did that mean? When their dues weren't checked off, more than one half of the AFSCME members quit the union and kept their dues. A third of the teachers quit the union and kept their dues. And this happened the same day, John, as San Diego and San Jose, California voted -- people voted to end the pensions of their union employees in government and put them on 401Ks.

There is a war inside the Democratic Party between the public- sector unions, which are loyal allies of Obama, and the other folks, some of them private-sector unions. And the war is caused by the fact of these deficits, and government's got to be cut and slashed. And so the Democrats, being the party of government, they're the ones who are going to suffer most.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, what do you think? Your party is coming apart.

ELEANOR CLIFT: (Laughs.) I don't think there's a war inside the Democratic Party. I think there's a war on the part of the Republicans against the public-sector unions. And they have rather shrewdly opened up this wedge between people who look at public-sector unions as people having overly generous pensions and health benefits. And, in fact, they are overly generous, because it was a social contract that was written back in the day when, instead of giving higher wages, unions bargained for better benefits.

We're out of that stage now, and the unions are going to have to retrench. What happened in Wisconsin is an embarrassment for the unions, but they're going to work a whole lot harder for the rest of this year to make sure that things don't get worse; plus the fact the recall election in the state senate worked. The Democrats took back control of the state senate, which will allow them to slow, cripple, Scott Walker's agenda. So all is not lost in Wisconsin.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When was that senate election?

MR. BUCHANAN: Same day.

MS. CLIFT: The same day. It was a recall. The Republican lost and the Democrat won, and so the balance of power has shifted in the state. Scott Walker may be the darling for the moment, but spending $50 million and losing control of the state senate isn't that big a bargain. He's not going to have many imitators around the country. I think Republicans are chastened that it went this far.

TIM CARNEY: I think it really highlighted how one of the main Obama narratives isn't working, and that's the idea that Obama's fighting against the special interests. And that's one of the ideas that they tried to lay out in Wisconsin is that, oh, it was a union -- the working man fighting against big money. But unions are big money. Five of the top 10 political spenders over the years are labor unions.

But government unions specifically are these very politically connected groups that give lots of money and get paid -- I think it's something like the average compensation is over $40 an hour compared to the private sector, where it's about $28. So these are -- the government unions are special interests. So the Democrats can pretend to be fighting against the special interests, but not when they're on the same side as the government unions.


MORT ZUCKERMAN: Well, listen, there is a real crisis in the state and local governments today, which is their revenues are down dramatically, and they cannot reduce their costs in part because a lot of these public-service unions have compensation that is way in excess of the private sector in terms of both pensions and in terms of hourly pay. It's $14 an hour higher, on average, for the public-sector unions than for the private-sector unions.

So you have a sense of saying the private citizens are working for the public -- for the government rather than the government working for the public. They don't want to be in a position where so much is going on. Why does it happen? Because the people who negotiate these, by and large, are the politicians who want the support of the public-service unions. So there's something corrupt in that practice.

They ought to have these contracts determined by independent commissions and not by the --

MS. CLIFT: Does anybody --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Hold on, Eleanor.
Flash back four years. November 4, 2008, the race to become U.S. president, Democrat Barack Obama versus Republican John McCain. Obama wins the state of Wisconsin by 14 points. Not surprising; Republican candidates for president consistently lose in Wisconsin. The last Republican presidential candidate to win in Wisconsin was Ronald Wilson Reagan nearly three decades ago.

So although Republican Walker won Wisconsin's gubernatorial recall vote, 18 percent of Walker's supporters support the nation's number one Democrat, Barack Obama.

Question: Can President Obama take comfort from this fact, or is Wisconsin no longer a sure bet for him? Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, Wisconsin is not a sure bet for Barack Obama. He is still favored. The exit polls showed him up by about eight. But the exit polls showed Walker in a tie too. So I wouldn't trust the exit polls. Here's what's going to happen, John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're talking five months from now.

MR. BUCHANAN: Here's what's going to happen. The Democrats can't take it for granted, so they're going to have to put money and resources and effort. Whereas formerly it was safe, it is no longer safe. And Republicans could pick up a Senate seat in Wisconsin.


MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why didn't -- hold on, Eleanor. This is being fed to you. OK, why didn't President Obama campaign for Democrat Tom Barrett in Wisconsin? Barrett now is the mayor of Milwaukee, and he's a Democrat. Why -- let's ask Mr. Obama's presidential deputy campaign manager why.

STEPHANIE CUTTER (Obama campaign deputy campaign manager): (From videotape.) This is a gubernatorial race with a guy who was recalled and, you know, a challenger trying to get him out of office. It has nothing to do with President Obama at the top of the ticket, and it certainly doesn't have anything to do with Mitt Romney at the top of the Republican ticket.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you embarrassed by this?

MS. CLIFT: No, I'm not embarrassed. (Laughs.) First of all, if Obama is in trouble in Wisconsin, he's got much bigger problems elsewhere, because it's a reliably Democratic state. So that's my answer on that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Obama doesn't show. Did that send the wrong signal?

MS. CLIFT: He didn't show because they were looking at the numbers and they saw that Barrett --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Suppose --

MS. CLIFT: John, do I get to finish?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, go ahead.

MS. CLIFT: They were looking at the numbers. They saw that this was not going to work.


MS. CLIFT: People don't like recall elections. They think they should be reserved for ousting crooks, not over ideological differences. And so -- and also there was nobody undecided in the state. People had chosen up where they were. The president would go in there. All he would do --


MS. CLIFT: -- would energize the Republicans. Bill Clinton went in there. That was enough. The president actually --

MR. BUCHANAN: He did do a fly-over, John.


MR. BUCHANAN: Obama did a fly-over and one tweet. He tweeted the day of the election, please go out and vote for my guy. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that true?


MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, it's true.

MS. CLIFT: Well, and he maintains --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where was he flying from?

MR. BUCHANAN: He was flying from --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: California?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, Minnesota to Illinois, right over the state.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you imagine this? And he flew from Minnesota. That's where this --

MS. CLIFT: If the Democrats had poured every dollar they had in, I don't think they could have matched the enormous sums. The Republicans --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, how can you do this --

MS. CLIFT: -- were writing $250,000 checks.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How can you --

MS. CLIFT: They spent $50 million. The Democrats were not going to match that. And sending in the president --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think that your fellow Democrats --

MS. CLIFT: He wasn't going to win. They weren't going to win.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think your fellow Democrats think that Obama finked out on them? He finked out. He didn't show for their candidate. Suppose their candidate lost. Obama would still have looked good, because he tried to save him.

MS. CLIFT: No. He can fink out all he wants. He's got to win in November.

MR. CARNEY: It was very telling --

MS. CLIFT: This is about November and independents.


MR. CARNEY: Republican enthusiasm in voting to keep Walker was higher than Democratic enthusiasm when pollsters asked what your level of energy was. One interesting thing -- the Democrats in the primary chose Barrett, who had lost in 2010, over Kathleen Falk, who really was a big labor champion. She was harder core. She was going to roll back all the Walker things, really empower the public-sector unions. So the far left there was even losing control over the Democratic Party.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, Mort, I'm going to put this to you. November 6, 2012, five months forward from this date, will Wisconsin vote Democratic for current U.S. President Barack Obama or for Republican and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney?

GOV. WALKER: (From videotape.
) I think people across America, certainly in my state, understand that America is at a tipping point and that we can't sustain the kind of unprecedented growth we have right now in the federal government. And if the governor were to come in and talk specifically about what he's going to do, the risks he's willing to take to turn the country around, I think that would be compelling.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So who's going to win the vote for president?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: If the economy is as weak as I think it'll be over the next five months, I think President Obama will lose Wisconsin.




MR. BUCHANAN: John, Obama --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you anticipate that that economic condition will prevail five months from now?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I do. I think we're in a very, very weak economy. I don't see how it's going to get turned around. I think the unemployment numbers are going to be weak. The housing numbers are going to be weak. The spending numbers are going to be weak. And ultimately this is going to be placed at the -- on the plate of President Obama.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he was told that by his advisers? We're going to lose in November. You're going to look particularly bad if you go in there and you campaign --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He would look even worse.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That I don't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Stay out of there. Make believe it doesn't exist. So he goes with his own press conference this week --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in order to deflect attention from Wisconsin.



MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think Eleanor was right. I think they looked at the numbers. They figured out whether or not he could actually turn it around.

MS. CLIFT: Exactly.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He came to the conclusion that he couldn't turn it around, which is a comment in itself, and therefore he didn't want to seem as if he lost --

MR. BUCHANAN: I'll tell you why he didn't go into Wisconsin. Obama doesn't go in where it doesn't help Obama. I've never seen anyone who never goes to the wall for somebody else. I don't think -- I mean, I understand why guys on the Hill don't feel loyal to him. How many guys has he fallen on his sword for in his whole career?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Obama made a mistake in not going into Wisconsin --

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, I do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- to help the candidate in this race?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think he should have gone in there.

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. BUCHANAN: I think he should have gone in there --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Let him finish. Let him finish.

MR. BUCHANAN: Even if he was going to lose, I think you go in there and stand by your guy. Those union guys -- I don't agree with them -- they went to the wall for Obama.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think the morale of the Democratic Party across the country that has watched this have taken note of it and it hasn't helped the morale --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- nor has it helped them with regard to whether --

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, if I had --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- they're going to vote for Obama.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's like the Goldwater thing. We knew we were going down the tubes --

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- but your guys walked away from you.

MS. CLIFT: OK, Pat's the ultimate conviction politician, but he's sitting here. He didn't win his races. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Right. Neither did they win in Wisconsin. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: No. And the union workers --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --

MS. CLIFT: -- went all out, because they --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out.

MR. BUCHANAN: Reagan was a conviction politician.

MS. CLIFT: -- wanted to oust Walker.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out.

MR. BUCHANAN: Reagan would have gone in for him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get to the queen.

MS. CLIFT: No, I don't think so.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: On a national damage scale, zero to 10, how much damage has the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall collapse done to President Barack Obama in his second presidential term run five and a half months from now? Zero to 10.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's probably a three or four to Obama, but it's an eight or nine to these public unions.


MS. CLIFT: It's a 1.5 to Obama. And the public unions took a blow, yes.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: But you're not going to eradicate them, Pat. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.

MS. CLIFT: They'll be back.

MR. CARNEY: It's a three. And, like Eleanor said, Wisconsin's only in play if it's a huge blowout for Romney. It's not going to be the tipping vote.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're not forgetting that a lot of what we saw on the screen this week was there about a year ago. So this is the second go-around for the same government.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You understand?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So it's the second go-around for all of the conclusions that we have reached, or at least established some beachhead on. Are you there?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. Let me just say this. The --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think the grading here is low.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. But the excessive pay for the public- service unions in comparison to the private-sector employees is going to be a major issue in this election.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: And this highlights it. And that's why it's going to be a real bit of baggage for Obama.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say? Five? Six?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Negative rating?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'd give it a three.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I give it a four.

Issue Four: Diamond Jubilee.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: (From videotape.) The events that I have attended to mark my diamond jubilee have been a humbling experience. It has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbors and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Queen Elizabeth II this week celebrated her diamond jubilee, 60 years of service as reigning queen of England. Celebrations included a star-studded concert on the steps of Buckingham Palace that featured Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Tom Jones. A flotilla of over 1,000 boats rode the Thames, with the queen leading the pageant in a royal barge. A thanksgiving service at St. Paul's Cathedral and a carriage procession through London concluded the celebration.

Over 1.5 million people gathered to show their allegiance to the extremely popular queen. A current U.K. poll shows an 80 percent approval rating for her majesty, who is now the second-longest reigning monarch to serve in British history. Only Queen Victoria, 1837 to 1908, reigned four years longer, 64 years.

Queen Elizabeth II is the 32nd great-granddaughter of King Alfred, the first king of England. He ruled from 871 to 899, over a millennium ago. Reigning Queen Elizabeth II rose to power 60 years ago after her father, King George VI, passed away.

Question: Currently 45 nations have monarchies in place, including Denmark and Spain. Why does monarchy still thrive? Tim Carney, can you address that?

MR. CARNEY: It thrives over in Europe. I once had a European cabinet minister tell me that Europe was populated by two different kinds of people. There were people who did what they were told and followed rules, and people who were upstarts, who went out and went out on their own. And they all got on a boat and came to America, leaving behind the people who do what they're told. (Laughter.)

And in England, it's seen as something that brings the country together, without necessarily having political power, that can be a force of unity.


MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, it's an embodiment of sovereignty, of continuity, of longevity, of tradition, all these things. And she is head of state, as opposed to head of government. It separates the country, if you will, from the government and the regime. I think this is a magnificent monarchy. I think it's good for England. I think she's a great --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it an absolute monarchy?

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It is not an absolute --

MR. BUCHANAN: It hasn't been an absolute --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: These are technical terms, Pat. Don't laugh.

MR. BUCHANAN: This is not Henry VIII or Elizabeth I, John, who were --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, an absolute monarchy --

MR. BUCHANAN: -- close to absolute. I know what they are.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are they?

MR. BUCHANAN: That's where they have all the power. The power's all devolved to Parliament.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, who has the power now?

MR. BUCHANAN: Parliament.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Parliament.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who else has the power? The prime minister.


MR. BUCHANAN: But that's part of Parliament.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who picks the prime minister?

MR. BUCHANAN: She just --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does she pick the prime minister?

MR. BUCHANAN: She names the individual who is sent up to her by the dominant party.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK. She names the prime minister.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, she --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She has to do the naming.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's more than naming. She has to --

MR. BUCHANAN: She doesn't go into Parliament and pick out the prime minister.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, no. She will listen --

MS. CLIFT: She doesn't have a vote.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- to what Parliament says. She doesn't have to obey Parliament.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, she doesn't.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, she does not.

MR. BUCHANAN: She better not not do it.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, wait a minute, now. Now, on important decisions -- for example, going to war, something of that nature -- does she have to be involved in that decision?

MR. BUCHANAN: Sure. The king of England took them to war in World War I with about only 10 people involved in the whole thing. She's got to sign off on it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She has to sign off. So she's in charge of the armed forces and she's in charge of who the prime minister is. Not bad.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Some people say that she doesn't do anything, but she's done a lot.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Not bad is the way I would feel if they made me the king. I would agree with that, John. But, look, let's face it. She is a unifying symbol in that country. It's a longstanding tradition. She is revered in that country at this stage after 60 years.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that's --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And that's -- it's a wonderful (quality ?).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's OK, but, you know, let's get more realistic here.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That is realistic.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why does monarchy work for the U.K. prime minister, David Cameron? Let's hear what he has to say.

UNITED KINGDOM PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON: (From videotape.) Many countries will find their own way to have that mixture of stability and democracy that we all cherish. In America you have the Constitution, something that you revere. In Britain, we don't really have a constitution, not a written constitution, but we have this combination of monarchy and elected democracy that works so well for us.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that's all very edifying, but why else does monarchy work? Shall I tell you?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Economic -- tourists. They love it.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They go there because they want to see -- (inaudible).

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm sure that's a part of it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They see the sentinels standing around.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's also very expensive to maintain the monarchy --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, how does it balance out? If you were judging --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I agree --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- do you think it's a moneymaker for them?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know. It is -- no, it may be a moneymaker for them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it's a net moneymaker?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Probably.

MR. BUCHANAN: You're a mercenary, John.


MR. BUCHANAN: You are a mercenary.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mercenary? I'm realistic.
(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You have the poor in the nation.

MR. BUCHANAN: Is there anything more important --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How are you going to pay for that?

MR. BUCHANAN: Is there anything more important than money to you?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, in terms of --

MR. BUCHANAN: I mean, you're talking about how much money is involved --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in terms of maintaining --

MR. BUCHANAN: This is a thousand-year tradition.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got a 15 percent over here poverty rate. My concern is that. I'd like to see -- I'd like to see the nation do more.

MR. BUCHANAN: Would you like to see the Vatican abolished too?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, now, you know, the Vatican's in trouble. I'm not getting into that.

MR. BUCHANAN: A little pomp and circumstance. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Yeah. Let's get some of those emails from inside the Vatican and do a segment on that. I'm looking forward to that.


MS. CLIFT: What I would like to say about --


MS. CLIFT: What I would like to say about the monarchy is this is a triumph of rebranding. Twenty years ago, when she had her 40th anniversary, she called it the annus horribilis. Three of her four children were divorced. It was -- the palace had set on fire. Everybody was talking about eliminating the monarchy. She has turned this into a wonderful symbol again. She's got a glorious grandson and a couple of -- and the prince is into organic farming. (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Abolish it.

MS. CLIFT: They're a lot of fun -- they're a lot of fun to watch. And they seem harmless.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How is Harry -- how is Harry related to her?

MS. CLIFT: Harry's a grandson.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Grandson.

MR. BUCHANAN: Grandson.

MS. CLIFT: He's the second grandson.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: But the marriage --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who is his father?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The marriage --

MR. BUCHANAN: Charles.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Prince Charles.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Prince Charles going to become king when --

MR. BUCHANAN: That's the real question, John.

MS. CLIFT: Yes. Yes.

MR. BUCHANAN: Will they jump over --


MR. BUCHANAN: -- Charles to William?


MR. BUCHANAN: They won't.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, they won't.

MR. BUCHANAN: Charles is going to be difficult, because he's a very controversial character, unlike his mother.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: They will not. They will not jump over.

MR. CARNEY: On the ground of family and tradition, Pat's praising the tradition, but you look at it from a traditional family view. You had divorces. You had cohabitation of --

MS. CLIFT: Actually, that --

MR. CARNEY: -- Elizabeth.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tell us about that.

MR. CARNEY: I mean, they were a couple together for years, the prince and princess, then Kate Middleton. So it's not -- it's reaffirming not to traditional values, but to contemporary values.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the prince's father? Did he cohabitate?

MR. CARNEY: He got remarried. I don't know --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You remember that telephone call --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- something about (a specific ?) -- when he thought he was not on the phone, he was on the phone.

MR. BUCHANAN: Prince Philip?


MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. Well, there's -- we don't want to get into that, do we, John?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Tweet Me.

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (From videotape.) What I'm worried about is that, for young people, who send an average of 80 text messages today on their telephones and live on the Internet, that it may make it harder for them now and for the rest of their lives to be present where they are.
I was 10 years old before we had a television, so I grew up in a storytelling culture where you were supposed to be present where you are. That's what I worry about.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is the world of Twitter and the virtual world in general a boon or a bane? Not Bain Capital -- B-A-N- E, bane. A boon or a bane?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's a boon as far as I'm concerned. It is going to be a platform through which so many people are going to find out so many things that they never had access to before. It's just going to change everything, and I think for the better.

MR. CARNEY: And --


MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, absolutely.

MR. CARNEY: -- we no longer have to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What he's saying --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: By the way, the only thing that's going to suffer is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president -- the former president is saying --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me just say --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that the constant use of this virtual world makes people unaware, he thinks, of the present. And it took time for him to even get used to television and to kind of accept it.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He seemed to have done fairly well, by the way, in getting used to television is all I can say.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't happen to agree with that, because at least I see it with my own kids. When they look at -- they have access to so much more information. It astonishes me. I can't go to a library every time and they can't go to a library, but it's all available to them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's saying --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And I think it's fabulous.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that their interactional social skills --
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- are maybe in peril.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't believe that for a second.

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly, John.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: They have --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: They have Skype and they have -- they communicate with each other on levels they never --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, with nonsense.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's not nonsense.
It was always nonsense at that age.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, what time are you leaving the house? We're going to leave at 8:00 today. Well, is the dog with you? No, the dog is not here.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's much better --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, is your mother going to drive you any part of the way? Is she going to pick you up later?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'll give you --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, what is that? What is that?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: They share the insights into what they're doing by way of homework, to say --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but enough is enough.

MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're walking down the street. They can walk right into you.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

MR. CARNEY: There was a study in 2009 --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, they're doing their tweeting.


MR. CARNEY: The Pew Institute did a study in 2009 that found that children and people do not interact less with their local communities because of the Internet. They do not -- people who use the Internet more are not less involved in public engagement.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So far. So far. But, you know, we're just beginning to get used to this tweeting process.

MR. CARNEY: But also -- they also showed --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're going to advance it 20 years and what are they going to be like?

MR. CARNEY: It also shows that we're exposed more --

MR. BUCHANAN: I think you're right.

MR. CARNEY: -- to competing viewpoints.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are their eyes going to get adjusted to tweeting?

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, John, I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are their eyes going to take a different shape?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think you're right from this standpoint. When we were young, you listened to radio and you used your imagination. They were doing things on radio, and you used your imagination. I think that people are not in touch as we were when you're growing up with reality and the real world out there, which was before TV, in the days of radio. Look, they're tweeting. They're doing all this stuff. They are smarter in terms of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the tweeting informational?


MR. BUCHANAN: A lot of it ought to be thrown out. They're studying half as long as they used to be.

MR. CARNEY: I get Pat Buchanan's columns over Twitter.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, what is that?

MR. CARNEY: I follow people --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's not what we're -- we're talking about tweeting.


MS. CLIFT: I think kids today --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's not tweeting.

MS. CLIFT: I think kids today --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You tweet his column?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, you don't tweet the whole column.

MR. CARNEY: I follow people who follow everything that I find interesting.

MS. CLIFT: I think kids today are very much in tune with the reality, and it's not always a reality that's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, dear. You want the violins now?

MS. CLIFT: And it's not -- no, it's not -- no, I'm just saying that it doesn't remove them from reality. But I think what President Clinton -- the point he's making is that sometimes you go out into any kind of a social situation and you see kids or teens glued to their device.


MS. CLIFT: They're not really there --

MR. BUCHANAN: They're not talking or communicating.

MS. CLIFT: -- in the moment. And so I think this does have an impact on how human relationships will develop.
(Cross talk.)

MS. CLIFT: More will be virtual. But we're not going back to the radio days.

MR. BUCHANAN: I know you're not.

MS. CLIFT: And, you know, this is what we have.

MR. BUCHANAN: But what I'm saying is you get something enormous and positive, I agree. Look, I go through there and I've got all these websites. I read all this stuff I would never be able to see. At the same time --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're not talking about that. We're talking about tweeting.

MR. BUCHANAN: Human -- human --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're not tweeting the website.

MR. BUCHANAN: Human interaction -- I agree with you. I think -- and people adjusting to other people. I think it damages that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: White House leak of the Stuxnet secrets will become a major scandal.


MS. CLIFT: Governor Scott Walker's criminal defense fund will eliminate him as a running mate for Romney.


MR. CARNEY: Obama will give up on North Carolina by Labor Day.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: I support what Pat said. The leak of the information sources and methods in the way we got Osama bin Laden was one of the real serious breaches of national security.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Beijing last week will prove to be a watershed historical moment.