The McLaughlin Group
Host: John McLaughlin
Rich Lowry, National Review;
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek;
Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report
Taped: Friday, March 1, 2013
Broadcast: Weekend of March 2-3, 2013
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: The Morning After.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) We will get through this. This is not going to be a apocalypse, I think, as some people have said. It's just dumb, and it's going to hurt. It's going to hurt individual people and it's going to hurt the economy overall.
But if Congress comes to its senses a week from now, a month from now, three months from now, then there's a lot of open running room there for us to grow our economy much more quickly and to advance the agenda of the American people dramatically.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sequestration -- $85 billion in automatic spending cuts -- has arrived. And on both sides of the aisle in Washington, politicians are scrambling for the political morning-after pill. Neither side wants to face voters, angered by the budget knife. The House and Senate leadership is already talking about how to modify the sequestration formula.
The next date to mark on your calendars is March 27th. Without a deal, the federal government will run out of funding. The U.S. government will be forced to shut down, at least partially, as in 1995. Federal workers will be furloughed. National parks will be cordoned off. Museums will be shuttered. Tempers will flare.
House Republicans have a plan that keeps the caps on spending but gives the administration more flexibility about who and what gets cut. But the president says that if there are no new taxes, there will be no new deal.
The world is watching. International observers are baffled. Quote: "Both Barack Obama and the Republican Party deserve blame. The White House has done precious little to persuade Republicans it is serious about addressing Medicare and Social Security, which are the real drivers of the long-term U.S. budget deficits. And the Republicans are wrong to dig in their heels in defense of inefficient and unmerited tax breaks for the wealthy. So, the House is controlled by Republicans" -- 232 Republicans, 200 Democrats. "The Republicans should pass their own package of entitlement reforms and bargain from there. Courage is lacking on both sides. The fiscal circus keeps rolling, and Washington remains in desperate need of adult supervision," unquote.
So says the Financial Times in an editorial, slightly edited. By the way, this year the FT celebrates its 125th anniversary, extending its reputation as the world's greatest newspaper.
By the way, President Obama met with congressional leaders on Friday, and he also had a press conference.
Question: Are we in for another month of the political blame game and finger pointing without a partisan deal?
RICH LOWRY: Yeah, another couple of weeks --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rich.
MR. LOWRY: -- of finger pointing. And the White House game, obviously, is to portray these coming cuts in the most dire way possible. Secretary of Education Duncan was caught this past week exaggerating, saying some district in West Virginia was already sending out pink slips to teachers, when it actually had nothing to do with the sequester.
And I think the problem the administration has, John, is that they need the dire effects of these cuts to happen immediately, in the next week or two. They're going to happen much -- if they ever happen, they'd happen, you know, a month, month or two from now.
This coming week the House will pass a so-called continuing resolution to keep the government running after the end of the month. It'll be at the sequester level, with a little bit more flexibility in defense and veterans' affairs. The Senate then will very likely pass a similar bill, also at sequester levels. So I think it's very likely that the end game here, we get the sequester cuts staying in law.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, the pink slips will go out. Kids will lose their Head Start slots. Maybe we'll even get what I call a Wally World story. Remember the Chevy Chase vacation where the family drives a thousand miles with two kids and they show up at the national park and it's closed?
I mean, those kinds of stories have impact and they have a ripple effect. And I think what's going to happen over the next three weeks, before that March 27 deadline, that some of these Republicans, who are now being so cavalier about this really doesn't matter, their constituents are going to start feeling the pain and they're going to begin to cave, just like the Republican governors did on Medicaid, you know, accepting reality and understanding how these things hurt people.
And there is still the possibility -- if the president is willing to go a little further out on a limb on entitlements, I think there's still the possibility of a deal, of closing some of those obscene loopholes that the Financial Times points out --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
MS. CLIFT: -- for the rich, in exchange for some curbing of the entitlements. I think it's still possible.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How much latitude does the president have to select those programs that will be cut?
SUSAN FERRECHIO: I think that is really the big question now. You saw the president walk things back on Friday. All during last week he was parading out Cabinet members to talk about long lines at the airport, fewer airport controllers, border security lessened; all these scare tactics.
And then by Friday he was saying, look, it's really not going to be that bad. And then he started talking about some people being furloughed. You know, that's a big difference from what he was saying earlier in the week. And I think he overplayed his hand. So even though we don't know exactly how and what the flexibility will be, he did signal that it's not going to be the big scary Armageddon that the White House originally said it was going to be.
And I think he also on Friday said, look, I realize the sequester is probably not going to go away, that we're going to have to live with this. That's a big deal to have the president say that after weeks and weeks of saying we need to stop this thing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How bad is it?
MORT ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think one part of it that doesn't get enough attention, in my judgment, was the fact that when the president was caught out with the fact that it was his administration that proposed the sequester that Bob Woodward had in his book and then it came out again, it does suggest to you that he was not telling the truth. And when those people who are working with him in the Congress, the Republican leaders in the House, know that he's not telling the truth, it makes it much more difficult to sit down and get a deal done.
One of the things that has happened here is there's a total erosion of trust between the parties, particularly the Republicans as they view the president. And you have a major problem, in addition to the minor problem. This is the minor problem. The major problem is we have huge fiscal debts that we are accumulating. The indebtedness is growing. And we have got to get that under control. This is just a symptom of that major problem.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jeffrey Sachs is an Obama supporter, but he had this to say about the lineage of sequestration. By the way, he's a renowned economist and he's now located at Columbia. He had taught at Harvard for years.
Jeffrey Sachs had this to say about the lineage of sequestration. Quote: "The fact is that from the start of his presidency, Mr. Obama has planned a steep reduction in discretionary spending, and he planned deep budget cuts all along." He notes that Obama's 10-year budget framework put out in 2009 projects cuts in defense and domestic spending about equal to those of sequestration. So is Obama two- faced?
MS. CLIFT: Oh, please.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know that -- look, let me put it this way.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is his plan.
MS. CLIFT: The sequestration --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: This is not -- this is not his plan, without question. But, having said that, the president has to know what we are facing in terms of fiscal crisis in this country. He has to know that, OK? There's no way that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he's got discretion on where it goes --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and how it happens.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And you cannot solve these problems by using the same thinking as he did when you created the problems. So we've got to get some way to get coordination and bipartisan work between the Republicans in the House and the Democrats in the White House. That is where he has failed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There is no leadership that makes this possible.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you remember the Trojan horse?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think I do, actually. I wasn't there, but I remember it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Obama and his crew have brought in a Trojan horse?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No? It's not a Trojan horse? It's an empty horse.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, it's certainly not going to go anywhere that's going to benefit the country. Let me put it that way.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Sequestration was a trigger mechanism. It was supposed to be -- force the Congress to act, on the theory that Republicans would not go for these big defense cuts. Well, it turns out Republicans love tax cuts more than they hate cuts in defense. So we've learned a lot about the new Republican Party. That is really a huge transformation.
And the sequester -- Gramm-Rudman-Hollings --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rudman-Hollings, yeah.
MS. CLIFT: -- go back to the 1980s.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MS. CLIFT: It's just --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: 1983.
MS. CLIFT: It's a trigger-enforcing mechanism. There's nothing spectacular here.
MR. LOWRY: When the president --
MS. CLIFT: The Republicans were begging --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: -- for some sort of mechanism, and the White House came up with this. I don't see why taking ownership of it on either side, when 173 Republicans voted for it and John Boehner said I got 98 percent of what I want, I mean, that is not the issue. The issue is what to do next.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Hold on, Rich. OK, discourse in D.C.
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): (From videotape.) We have moved a bill in the House twice. We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something.
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID (D-NV): (From videotape.) I think he should understand who is sitting on their posterior. We're doing our best here to pass something. The speaker is doing nothing to try to pass anything over there.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Speaker Boehner right, namely, that the House should not have to move a third bill before the Senate passes something? I ask you.
MS. FERRECHIO: No. The Republicans do this again and again. They get before the mics and they argue with the president. The public is so sick of hearing them argue with the president. Obama gets before the mics and he gets the whole country behind him. They're playing two different games. I mean, it may be true the Republicans --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why are the --
MS. FERRECHIO: -- already passed a couple of bills.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Republicans so stupid?
MR. LOWRY: (Laughs.)
MS. FERRECHIO: Well you'd have to ask why they choose the techniques they do. But, you know, you can understand their frustration and anger. They say we already passed two bills. That was in the last Congress. I mean, the public, their eyes just glaze over when they hear all this legislative back and forth.
The Republicans should kind of harness the information that they can out of the polls, showing the public is interested in debt reduction. They need to get the public behind them using things like Senator Tom Coburn's waste book to illustrate places where the government has duplicative or wasteful spending. Instead they get in front of the mics and, when they have their camera time, they sit there and argue over whose bill came up first and arguing with the president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why all this clamor over Boehner referring to a quadruped --
MR. LOWRY: Well, he's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- a donkey?
MR. LOWRY: He's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why don't they get off the donkey and do some heavy lifting for themselves? Isn't that what he was talking about?
MR. LOWRY: Well, he's constantly frustrated, because the House actually passes budgets, which are quite controversial and have painful choices in them, and they get criticized for them. And the Senate does nothing.
But John, I have to say, the Republicans are pretty well positioned in this fight for a couple of reasons. One, doing nothing means spending cuts happen. Two, the next step here is a must-pass continuing resolution that will have spending at the same level. And they want to give the president flexibility that bizarrely the president doesn't want.
And finally, as Susan points out, they can point to all sorts of wasteful, stupid spending and say, OK, you're saying you're letting off air traffic controllers. Why don't you cut this idiotic program instead?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, that was Boehner waving the white flag of surrender. He cannot pass something in his House caucus without a majority of Democrats. The Violence Against Women Act that passed this week, every Democrat voted for it; 80-some-odd Republicans.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the point?
MS. CLIFT: The point is that Republicans want to pass bills with a majority of their majority, and they can't do it. And if he puts a, quote, "balanced plan" before the House, he can't. He can only pass it with lots of Democrats, and it would cost him his speakership.
MR. LOWRY: But he's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK --
MS. CLIFT: This is about John Boehner's arse.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let's get --
MR. LOWRY: This coming week he's going to pass a continuing resolution with a majority of Republicans. It'll go over to the Senate, and the Senate will either have to choose to --
MS. CLIFT: Because nobody wants to shut --
MR. LOWRY: -- shut down the government or pass --
MS. CLIFT: Nobody wants to shut down the House.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let McLaughlin in.
MS. CLIFT: That's not a fair example.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let McLaughlin in.
Exit question: Who won the week, President Obama and Senate Democrats or John Boehner and House Republicans? Rich Lowry.
MR. LOWRY: I think, against expectations, it was Republicans; one, because the scare-mongering was revealed, and two, this ridiculous flap with Bob Woodward, which I think put the White House in a bad light.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did Woodward say again?
MR. LOWRY: Well, Woodward points out that this originally was the White House's idea, which all the other reporting confirms, but the White House desperately wants to deny.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And without --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So they were caught --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And without tax increases in that original bill. So they went along with additional tax increases (in the extent with ?) billions of dollars.
MS. CLIFT: Any --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Democrats were caught red-handed -- red- handed. Right?
MS. CLIFT: Anybody who's --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MS. CLIFT: Anybody who pays any attention to this White House knows that the president has said from day one, no entitlement cuts without revenue. This notion that he moved the goalposts is ridiculous. And the Democrats -- the president's poll numbers are holding steady. The Republicans -- 72 percent or something consider them extreme and out of touch. And the pain from this sequester will be felt.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You watch the president closely. You're with him all the time, practically, I mean, when he's (speaking ?). For instance, did he seem almost dragging there? Did he seem bored? Did he seem sad? Did he seem aggravated?
MS. CLIFT: Dream on, John. Dream on.
MS. FERRECHIO: He seemed to be kind of blandly accepting defeat. He knows he's not going to get his tax increases, so he came out, said, look, folks, here's the sequester. It's really not going to be all that bad, you know.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he look as though he had been caught red-handed?
MS. CLIFT: No.
MS. FERRECHIO: He looked like he was resigned to the reality that the sequester is going to happen and that the Republicans won one this time.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he feel that he had brought some of this unnecessarily on himself?
MS. CLIFT: No, no.
MS. FERRECHIO: Knowing him, probably not.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think he thought he had miscalculated. I think they really thought, when you put in this kind of fiscal penalty and punishment at the end of it, that they wouldn't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he look fed up?
MS. CLIFT: No. No.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't think he looked fed up. He had no particular energy on the screen is the way I'd put it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He had no energy on the screen.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to move it any further than that?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: (Laughs.
MS. CLIFT: I --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Answer -- who won the week? Who won the week?
MS. FERRECHIO: The Republicans.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Republicans. Who won the week?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't think -- I think both lost.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think both lost.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, absolutely.
MS. CLIFT: The --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think it was a diminution of the credibility of --
MR. LOWRY: It's a Republican win. It's a Republican win, Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: (Inaudible) -- a Republican win.
MS. CLIFT: The president --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute, now. Are you going with him? I was going to go with you.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think both lost. He thinks, compared to earlier --
MR. LOWRY: If it's a tie, it's a Republican win. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: The common-sense caucus wins.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think it's a tie between Mort and Rich.
Issue Two: Hooray for Hollywood.
FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: (From videotape.) These nine movies took us back in time and all around the world. They made us laugh, they made us weep, and they made us grip our armrests just a little tighter. They taught us that love can endure against all odds and transform our lives in the most surprising ways. And they reminded us that we can overcome any obstacle if we dig deep enough and fight hard enough and find the courage to believe in ourselves.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A surprise appearance at this year's Academy Awards, First Lady Michelle Obama in the role of presenter of the best picture, "Argo." The first lady's big-screen panegyric was very much on the mark. U.S. cinema goes beyond entertainment and beyond art, as she says.
American movies are a cornerstone of our soft power, alongside jazz and rock and roll and blue jeans and fast food. Movies, above all, have spread American culture and influence -- soft power around the world, freedom and creativity visualized.
Question: Was the first lady's Oscar appearance payback to Hollywood for its support in the 2012 presidential election? Susan Ferrechio.
MS. FERRECHIO: Well, you don't have to sleuth around much to know that the Obamas would like to continue to have more influence over culture. So this makes perfect sense that they would like to announce the best picture and have Michelle Obama there at the White House.
I mean, there's no doubt that there's a strong connection between how much money Hollywood gave and, you know, this sort of potential payback. But there's no real actual solid proof that this is --
MR. LOWRY: John, this is the kind of --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the actors in Hollywood --
MS. CLIFT: They invited her to do it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- they all voted for Obama, didn't they?
MS. FERRECHIO: Yeah. But, I mean, how do you document what payback is? I mean, I guess --
MS. CLIFT: They invited her.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The heavy money people in Hollywood --
MS. CLIFT: They invited her.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: If I may say so --
MS. CLIFT: They invited her to do it, and she --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. It was --
MS. CLIFT: -- accepted. It was --
MS. FERRECHIO: But they never --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her in. Let her in.
MS. FERRECHIO: They never invited the Bushes, you know.
MS. CLIFT: They invited her to do it. It's an irresistible invitation. There are lots of Washington --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Come on, Eleanor -- irresistible. Nothing is irresistible --
MS. CLIFT: And --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- to the president.
MS. CLIFT: And she is a very popular --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: What's wrong with it, from her point of view?
MS. CLIFT: -- first lady, and --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What?
MS. CLIFT: Very popular first lady, and movies --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's the first time --
MS. CLIFT: -- are one of our --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- it's ever happened.
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. Movies are one of our most important exports, and it's how we change hearts and minds around the world. They love our movies.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I approve --
MS. CLIFT: And they love our first lady.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- 100 percent of her having done it, and that's because there's also this.
Hollywood, make room for Chinawood. That's right -- Chinawood. The Chinese firm Seven Stars Global Entertainment is spending $1.27 billion to build an 8.6-million-square-foot film production facility in China. It's called Chinawood Global Services Base.
Chinawood will produce movies for distribution worldwide, thus shifting cinema -- maybe -- cinema production from Hollywood to Chinawood. And that's not all. Get this distribution. Ten months ago, another Chinese conglomerate, Dalian Wanda Corporation, purchased AMC Entertainment's movie theaters, with their 4,800 movie screens throughout the United States.
The $2.6 billion takeover gives China control over the distribution of movies in the U.S. and makes Dalian Wanda the biggest cinema owner in the world. The investment is fulfilling the Chinese government's directive to project China's power throughout the entertainment industry.
Question: In the future, will filmmakers in the United States and worldwide be turning to Hollywood for talent and for movie production, or will they do what we all do -- take the less costly route and go the made-in-China route? Do you follow me, Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They will go to China, make the movies over there.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Some of them will be made over there. Some of them will still be made over here. The purpose of their buying 4,800 screens is to make sure they have the distribution capability --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- for the movies that they're going to be making. It makes perfect economic sense. It doesn't have to make political sense. They are going to, without question, be developing. They have a huge audience in China. They can fund the movies based on the revenues that they're going to get in China. It's going to be a huge -- a very good investment for them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: These deals come amid a broad push by the top echelons of China's leadership for a greater emphasis on film. The push is intended to bolster China's soft power, to give it the same international sway that the U.S. enjoys through the global popularity of Hollywood movies.
Why don't you do something on this in the National Review?
MR. LOWRY: OK. Yes, sir. Yes, sir, Mr. Editor-in-Chief.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. LOWRY: Well, look, soft power is incredibly important. You'll talk to people who were behind the Iron Curtain --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it's also economic power. If you're going to be producing over there, the money goes into that government.
MR. LOWRY: I was going to say, John, you talk to people who were behind the Iron Curtain. What was most alluring about America in those days? Well, they would see "Dallas," you know, or they'd see "Baywatch."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. LOWRY: And so this is extremely important. But it's very hard to do it in a centralized, top-down manner. And what ultimately matters is the creativity and storytelling.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. LOWRY: And you can't do that by just having government throw money at the problem.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I don't think they're going to sell us on their way of life. (Laughs.)
MR. LOWRY: Correct. Yes.
MS. CLIFT: The new Chinese leader's wife is a popular singer. She may be giving it up. But I think they may be opening up more to entertainment as they move more people into the middle class. People want to go out. They want to go to the movies. I mean, they're kind of getting with the 21st century.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think they'll get into content and try to control content of these movies?
MS. FERRECHIO: They'll fail.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No.
MS. FERRECHIO: And I see it working in reverse. Let's face it. The only kind of Chinese movies that are going to sell over here are the American-style movies, Ang Lee.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give me a quick yes or no on this. The United States is in a cultural cold war -- a cultural cold war with China. Yes or no?
MR. LOWRY: If we are, we're winning it going away.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: No. No. (Laughs.)
MS. FERRECHIO: No.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's no, not yet.
Issue Three: New Hampshire Goes Pink.
NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR MAGGIE HASSAN (D): (From videotape.) The fact that all of us are mothers, as well as public servants, as well as wives and sisters and daughters, certainly is something that binds us together.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: New Hampshire's newly elected governor is a Democrat, Maggie Hassan. Both of New Hampshire's U.S. representatives are also Democrats, and both are also women. And the state's two U.S. senators are also women. But they split politically -- Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte.
Wait, there's more pink. The speaker of the New Hampshire general court, which is New Hampshirese for assembly, is a woman, Terie Norelli. And the chief justice of New Hampshire's supreme court is female -- Linda Stewart Dalianis.
Here's what one newly elected U.S. representative from New Hampshire, Ann McLane Kuster, has to say about the distaff side controlling the levers of power.
REPRESENTATIVE ANN MCLANE KUSTER (D-NH): (From videotape.) You know, I've said if you can raise toddlers and teenagers, then you know how to get to yes. You know how to bring people to the table. And right now in Congress that's what the voters are looking for Congress to do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: New Hampshire is the first U.S. state to send an all-women delegation to the Congress, Senate and House -- their representatives and senators. Is it a trendsetter? Susan Ferrechio?
MS. FERRECHIO: Well, I think you've already seen some incredible moments for women in Congress. First of all, you had the first female House speaker. And I think, just regardless of your politics, her accomplishment there was pretty, you know, amazing for her to be able to work her way through the ranks the way she did. And for those of us who were there and watched her do it, it was quite an accomplishment. And she certainly was moving against the tide of just having a man in the job.
We also have had two female senators from California, from Maine. So clearly there's been a trend, really, for the past 20 years of there being more and more women in Congress. So it doesn't surprise me at all that there's a state now with an all-female delegation.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Twenty female senators in the Senate.
MS. CLIFT: That's still a long way from parity. I mean, I heard Gloria Steinem say on the PBS special, "The Makers," about women who've been pioneers, saying it'll be 50 years before women probably achieve parity. And 20 women in the Senate is great, but that's one out of five.
And New Hampshire -- now, Jeanne Shaheen was the first female governor there. But they do have a tradition of women serving. They have a huge legislature, I think 300 people. They pay very little, and it's always been dominantly women.
And, you know, California has certainly sent a lot of women. Women are coming into their own, definitely, and these numbers are going to continue. But, you know, we're not going to turn every state pink. (Laughs.
) You know, there's plenty of room for men, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think psychologists are right -- I'm reading this -- who have studied women drawn to radical political causes find them more fanatical and ruthless than men? Do you follow that?
MR. LOWRY: I'm going to defer to my female colleagues on that question, John.
MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)
MR. LOWRY: (Laughs.)
MS. FERRECHIO: I don't see any fanatical or ruthless women really on Capitol Hill, any more so -- in fact, just being up there every day, I feel like they pretty much operate in a similar fashion politically. And some of them can be just as cutthroat as the next.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you remember when the SEALs ran upstairs to shoot bin Laden? Do you remember --
MR. LOWRY: I saw the movie.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- who stood in the line -- ran into the line of fire and took a bullet? A woman. So they tend to be -- women tend to be from Venus and men tend to be from Mars.
MS. FERRECHIO: But you're always going to --
MS. CLIFT: They work across the aisle, certainly, in the Senate. They have once-a-month dinners together. There are dominantly more Democrats than Republicans. But I think Republican women there have really co-sponsored --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are they more ruthless than men?
MS. CLIFT: -- (things ?) on women's health and --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are they more ruthless?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, no, no, no, no.
MS. CLIFT: No. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think so?
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: What was -- there is a --
MS. CLIFT: It's all individual, John. You can cite examples on either side of who's more ruthless.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, so everything is in a lovely, flat --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, no.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- distribution of meanness.
MS. CLIFT: When the word ruthless is applied to a woman, it seems to be negative.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Look, there was something --
MS. CLIFT: When it's applied to a man, it's positive.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There was a line in the set-up to this segment, OK. A woman said women are capable of getting teenagers to say yes. I can say, from personal experience, if they can do that, they deserve to be in every political -
MR. LOWRY: (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- platform there is.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Rich.
MR. LOWRY: The Republican lieutenant governor of Virginia, Bill Bolling, will not mount an independent bid for governor. That would have almost guaranteed the election of the Democrat, Terry McAuliffe.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Yahoo's ban against employees working at home, put in place by new CEO and new mother Marissa Mayer, will be scaled back because of a huge backlash, particularly from working mothers.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And well deserved.
MS. FERRECHIO: March 27th, there will not be a government shutdown.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: This economy is going to remain weak for another three or four months at the very least. It's going to put great pressure on the Congress to come up with different kinds of legislation to stimulate the economy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that the election in Italy last weekend will produce political paralysis that will trigger a new crisis for the Eurozone. Do you want to move that around? You've got about four seconds.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah. If they have a new crisis -- we could have a worldwide financial crash if they have a real crisis in the Eurozone.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Big trouble for Brussels.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: For everybody.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If you were giving counsel, what would you tell them to do? Quick.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'd move to China and buy some movies.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You'd bail and buy movies.
(C) 2013 Federal News Service