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The McLaughlin Group

Host: John McLaughlin

Panel:
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast;
Ryan Grim, Huffington Post;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report

Taped: Friday, December 6, 2013
Broadcast: Weekend of December 7-8, 2013

Copyright © 2013 by Federal News Service, LLC, 1120 G Street NW, Suite 990, Washington, DC 20005-3801 USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, LLC. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Transcripts Database or any other FNS product, please email info@fednews.com or call 1-202-347-1400.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Nelson Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95. The current president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, addressed the nation and said that the father of the nation had departed.

More than anybody else, Nelson Mandela was responsible for dismantling apartheid, the systematic segregation of South African society based on race. Mandela transcended the tribalism, the violence and the prejudice, and united a scarred nation. The Group joins me in saluting this extraordinary leader in world history. May he rest in peace.

Issue One: Biden in Beijing.

VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: (From videotape.) We, the United States, are deeply concerned by the attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea. This action has raised regional tensions and increased the risk of accidents and miscalculation.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The unilateral action Vice President Biden refers to is China's declaration last week that no aircraft, military or civilian, could fly over an extensive area of the East China Sea without Chinese permission.

China is asserting exclusive control over what it calls its air defense identification zone, ADIZ, nearly 1 million square miles of sea, with all of the oil, natural gas and fishing resources it contains. All aircraft passing over the area must self-identify and submit their flight plans to Chinese military authorities as they begin to enter the zones.

China's move caught the international community by surprise. Until last week, the zone in question had been universally respected as Japanese airspace; i.e., an air defense identification zone controlled by Tokyo. China's proclaimed ADIZ covers a number of islands that are in dispute, heightening tensions with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.

China's new leader, Xi Jinping, claims that vast regions of the East China Sea constitute a, quote, "core interest," unquote. China uses the term "core interest" to mean a nonnegotiable status, as in sovereignty, over Taiwan and Tibet, and now the East China Sea, over which China is prepared to go to war.

Japan has refused to recognize China's claim. And Japan's ally, the United States, last week flew two B-52 bombers from Guam through the Chinese zone in open defiance of Beijing. In turn, China is scrambling its military jets to shadow and intercept U.S. and Japanese aircraft. This is prompting concern that an aerial confrontation may result.
Vice President Biden's mission is twofold: To reassure Japan that the U.S. will stand firm against Chinese encroachment and to advise Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping that the U.S. believes territorial disputes in the region should be resolved diplomatically, not by force, unless diplomacy falters.

Question: How dangerous is this situation? Pat Buchanan.

PAT BUCHANAN: China took two steps forward and one step back, John. The United States has not recognized their zone, their defense zone, but we have told our own aircraft passenger jets to notify the Chinese as you fly through it.
This is a victory for China, John, but it's only a first step to a major confrontation. China claims the entire South China Sea and the Paracel and Spratly Islands, the entire East China Sea, including these Japanese islands. They claim the Taiwan Strait. They tell the Americans to stay out. They claimed the Yellow Sea and told the Americans to stay out.
What they are doing is they are pushing against the United States in the Western Pacific. And the long-term strategy is to drive the United States beyond the first chain of islands. There's no military confrontation coming immediately, but down the road Xi Jinping has the idea of moving his country out into the Pacific and pushing the Americans back. So you've got a real problem coming down the road.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, I think it was fortuitous that Vice President Biden was over there. That was a long-planned trip. He just happened to be there while this is unfolding. And he does have a relationship with the Chinese leader. He's known him for a number of years.

In the 30 years the vice president spent in the Senate, chairing the Foreign Relations Committee much of that time, served him well in meeting with the leaders of both Japan and China. China did back down. And that's highly unusual in that culture for them to have reacted that way.

It is going to be a simmering tension. The Chinese have gotten more bellicose. So have the Japanese. The U.S. has announced its pivot to Asia. We're moving in there. But as long as you can keep the tensions at a reasonable level, you don't want to get into the position where I remember in 1983 when a Korean airliner strayed into Russian airspace and got shot down.

And so U.S. airliners are respecting China's request. They're filing flight plans. So you don't want this to get out of hand. It's something that's going to be managed for the foreseeable future.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ryan Grim.

RYAN GRIM: But, you know, if the U.S. airliners are presenting their flight plans, then China wins. I mean, China did, you know, rhetorically step back slightly, but they have not renounced their claim over this territory. So I think Pat actually put it well. They went for two steps and they came out of it with one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean civilian airliners.

MR. GRIM: Right. The civilian airliners are respecting the Chinese demand.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That means they have to circumnavigate and use more --

MR. GRIM: They're going to fly --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- fuel, higher ticket costs.

MR. BUCHANAN: They're going to notify the Chinese.

MS. CLIFT: Right.
That area is --

MORT ZUCKERMAN: What it means --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What, notification of Chinese? Is that enough?

MR. BUCHANAN: That's enough. Then they let them fly through.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: What it means is that this is an implicit recognition that this is Chinese territory, which is exactly what we don't want. There are all kinds of reasons why we don't want China to extend its reach into that part of the world, because there are a lot of countries there that are going to be very badly affected.

You remember there was the East Asian leadership conference, OK, to which this president did not show up for the second year in a row. And this is one of those occasions where you have a chance to establish those kinds of personal relationships that make such a difference with the Chinese. They don't exist between this administration and the Chinese.

And that's one of the reasons why we lost the opportunity to make our case clear. And nobody respects the idea that the United States is going to do anything about it. They know we're going to back off, and they're right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: China also has a list of other territorial claims: South Korea, India, Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam.

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Claims against those neighbors.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, they've got -- no, they don't. They've got -- against Vietnam. They've got the Spratly and Paracel Islands --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- and the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: They don't have any particular claim against South Korea. South Korea actually has an island dispute with Japan. And this is one of the problems over there, John. All these countries now are claiming these territories, sovereign control over there, and they're getting more and more militant about it. And the Chinese are the most militant.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they've got a border there with North Korea, and it's up around there where they have their problem.

MS. CLIFT: Well, this isn't a new dispute. I mean, the dispute between the Japanese and Chinese goes back thousands of years. But these islands are described as a pile of rocks. And the U.S. does not take a position as to who has sovereignty. And so I think, you know, the U.S. is really trying to play referee here.

MR. BUCHANAN: But there's oil and gas around these things.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's what makes the rocks valuable.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: These are unresolved territorial claims.

MR. BUCHANAN: But the Japanese have held the islands all the way up through World War II. Then they were taken over by the Americans, re-administered by the Japanese at the same time Nixon gave back Okinawa. The Chinese haven't had operational sovereignty over these things --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you remember --

MR. BUCHANAN: -- in the history of modern China.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You remember in World War I, the role of the Danzig corridor and the Sudetenland?

MR. BUCHANAN: Danzig was World War II, John, and Sudetenland was World War II. That was a very serious dispute that came out of World War I.

MS. CLIFT: Well, I remember Quemoy and Matsu.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about them?

MS. CLIFT: How about Quemoy and Matsu?

MR. BUCHANAN: The Germans -- they should never have put the Germans under Czech control. And when the Germans tried to break away in 1938 to get back under German control, that was the cause of the Munich conference --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They started World War II.

MR. BUCHANAN: Danzig started World War II is right.

MS. CLIFT: Well, remember --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So unresolved territorial claims are worrisome. And we have one over there.

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: But that's not the issue. We do not want to cede that unresolved territory to the Chinese. They are an expansionist growing power. They're putting pressure on -- there is a lot of energy --

MR. BUCHANAN: But Eleanor's right. There's a dispute there, and we're not taking --

MS. CLIFT: We're not taking a side. And I remember Quemoy and Matsu --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: -- which helped decide the 1960 election.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: That was the Chinese communists shelling those islands that were occupied by the -- or claimed by the nationalist Chinese. And we got all in a big uproar about them. Kennedy --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eisenhower threatened nuclear weapons if they didn't back down.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. And that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should Obama convene a conference?

MS. CLIFT: When Kennedy won, that was the end of that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should Obama convene a conference on this matter?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Why not? I mean, I don't know that it will help.

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: But what has to be behind it at this stage --

MS. CLIFT: Not necessary.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: What has to be behind any conference is the credibility of the United States as -- (inaudible).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should the U.N. convene a conference on it?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And this has disappeared.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should the U.N. convene a conference on this?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Somebody should try.

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MS. CLIFT: I think Vice President Biden did a terrific job on this trip. I think the U.S. is exerting leadership. Sending B-52s there was a pretty bold move. I think right now the U.S. is keeping a lid on this. Let's see what happens.

MR. GRIM: There was some boldness, but the inability to project power there comes back to Iran and Afghanistan. You know, these are the consequences of our decision to exert all of our influence in Iraq and then --

MR. BUCHANAN: John -- in your conference, John, look, the Chinese claim these islands as sovereign territory and the Japanese claim these islands as sovereign territory. They're not going to sit down with the U.N. and have it decided there. This is a question of real power. One or the other is going to wind up in control of them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Pres Populi.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe. A child born in the top 20 percent has about a two- in-three chance of staying at or near the top. A child born into the bottom 20 percent has a less than one-in-20 shot at making it to the top.
The idea that a child may never be able to escape that poverty because she lacks a decent education or health care or a community that views her future as her own, that should offend all of us.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama struck a decidedly populist theme in an address on Wednesday on the economy, warning about the dangers to the country of a growing inequality and a record income gap. In the speech, hosted by a liberal think tank, the president argued that decades-long shifts in the economy have undermined all groups, poor and middle class, who now face the same problems once attributed to inner-city minority groups.

One prescription cited by the president to battle rising inequality is a hike to the federal minimum wage, now at $7.25 per hour.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) I'm going to keep pushing until we get a higher minimum wage for hard-working Americans across the entire country. It will be good for the economy. It will be good for our families.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president made his call one day before thousands of fast-food workers in 100 cities nationwide walked off the job on Thursday in protest of low pay. These workers want a minimum- wage hike to $15 per hour, higher than what Democrats in the Senate favor, $10.10 per hour, a 39 percent boost from the $7.25 current minimum wage, an increase to that amount incrementally by 2015.

President Obama supports the $10.10 hike. Congress, by the way, hasn't raised the wage since 2009 under legislation passed when George W. Bush was president.
Question: Is an increase in the minimum wage justified at a time when real wages for all income levels, except the top, have been flat or falling, not rising? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: I think you just made the case when you said that all wages are falling except for the top. In that speech, the president made the point that when he graduated from high school in 1979, the top 10 percent were taking home a third of the country's wealth and the economy was growing and everybody's incomes were rising.

Those trends have gone in the opposite direction since then, and now the top 10 percent takes home half of the economic wealth in this country. And you have a lot of people making minimum wage who then have to rely on government subsidies --

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

MS. CLIFT: -- including food stamps, because they're working 40 hours a week and they're not getting paid enough. So I'm for what I would call the Henry Ford economic philosophy. Henry Ford raised the salaries of all his workers. Everybody thought he was nuts. Other factory owners followed. Everybody had money to buy cars. That's how you -- so, yes, you do need to raise the minimum wage.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what do you think about --

MS. CLIFT: And it's happening around the country.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think about this?

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Minimum-wage workers qualify for free health care. Under an Obama law, they get free cell phones. They get free cell-phone service. And due to the expansion of food stamps, many get free food. So where are you with your thinking that --

MS. CLIFT: What is the point that you're making?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The point is that there is --

MS. CLIFT: They're relying on government subsidies because they're not making enough in the private sector --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's correct.

MS. CLIFT: -- because the people who run these corporations are taking home huge profits and not paying their people enough, and depending on taxpayers to subsidize their workers.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it isn't such a depressed situation as you complain about.

MS. CLIFT: That they're all fat and happy because they're getting food stamps?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They are getting these additional cost benefits. Is that not true?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, they certainly are getting these additional cost benefits. But the real problem is not the problems that are being talked about here, if I may say. The real problem is the economy is growing much more slowly than it has grown in the last 50 years. We have the weakest recovery of any recovery we've had since the end of World War II. Therefore, the economy is growing very slowly.
And what happens under those circumstances is nobody can afford to pay higher wages. You can say whatever else you want about the wealthy, and I don't disagree with that. But the fact is, underneath all of that is a very weak economy, which makes it impossible for us -- we are not competitive, for example, in a lot of the manufacturing jobs, the more highly paid jobs. We've got to find a way to improve the education of these people, because it's in the high-tech jobs where the money is being made. And we have not done it.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, education -- have you seen the international test scores on education? The Americans dropped down in reading, dropped way down in math --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: In everything. In everything.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- way down in science.
Let's go back to the minimum wage, John. Look, everybody would like to see somebody making $7 an hour make $10 an hour. But you get these small businesses. You get the McDonald's. You get all these folks. You raise that minimum wage that high and some of those places will shut down and go out of business.

There is a tradeoff -- lost jobs for the higher minimum wage. It's always done that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, they won't. Wal-Mart will pass the loss off on customers.

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly. But, look, the House is going to stop this bill, so this -- what this is is a political gambit, a political issue by the president, probably a pretty good one. He's going for this inequality issue. And what is the Republicans' answer? And I think it's a real offensive for 2014.

MS. CLIFT: We can talk about --

MR. GRIM: (Inaudible) -- for decades, though, and they have found no evidence of loss of jobs as a result of raising the minimum wage. And you can compare areas that have a higher minimum wage, and right next door they have a lower minimum wage, and you don't see any difference in job growth there. And certainly this Republican Congress is not going to pass it. But it is going to happen. This is not --

MR. BUCHANAN: Suppose you had a $20 minimum wage right away. What would happen?

MR. GRIM: Right away?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MR. GRIM: I mean, that's not actually going to happen.

MR. BUCHANAN: I know it's not. But what would happen?

MR. GRIM: If you had a $20 -- right away, if you tripled everyone's wages, a few jobs would be lost, no question about that. But you --

MR. BUCHANAN: Why not do it? (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're going to raise their prices in McDonald's and in Wal-Mart.
(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In McDonald's and Wal-Mart, the prices will go up.

MR. BUCHANAN: Who shops --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And therefore --

MR. BUCHANAN: Who shops in McDonald's and Wal-Mart?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're not robbing the rich to pay the poor. You're robbing the poor to pay the rich.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, November jobs report. Hold on. The U.S. added 203,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell from -- fell to 7 percent from 7.3 percent, its lowest rate in five years.

Question: What do these numbers tell you? Mort Zuckerman.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think we're getting a modest recovery in the economy. The real problem that we have is it is modest and it is simply inadequate to deal with the kind of problems that we were just talking about, which is the inadequacy of employment and at the lower rates, OK -- lower rates of hourly wages.

So we have got to have a more rapidly growing economy. We need, for that, amongst other things, a much more highly educated population. We need infrastructure investments that are really critically damaged in this country, et cetera, et cetera. We have not had the right policies to improve this economy, period.

MS. CLIFT: The momentum --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible) --

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- at the federal level, more spending when you've got huge deficits and everybody's focusing on cutting the deficit.

MS. CLIFT: We're on a --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We have spent the money in the wrong places, as far as I'm concerned.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Eleanor in.

MS. CLIFT: We are honoring the legacy of Nelson Mandela today. And the anti-apartheid movement that he led, and the movement in this country to divest in investing in South Africa was built over time. And you're going to see the same thing is happening with minimum wage. And 10 states and the District of Columbia already have higher.

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

MS. CLIFT: It's going to be a very vibrant --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.) Let the states test it.

MS. CLIFT: It's a debate we need to have.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let the states test Ryan's point.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's (using ?) Nelson Mandela to make her
argument for her. What do you think of that?

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK. "Obamacare" rebounds. The president defended the Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare," on Wednesday, telling Republicans who oppose it that if they have a better plan, let's hear it.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) If you still don't like "Obamacare" -- and I know you don't, even though it's built on market- based ideas of choice and competition in the private sector -- then you should explain how exactly you'd cut costs and cover more people and make insurance more secure. You owe it to the American people to tell us what you are for, not just what you're against.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is this a diversionary tactic by Obama to try to get the media to focus on GOP ideas rather than on the troubled ground of "Obamacare"? Ryan Grim.

MR. GRIM: Yes. There's no question, I think, that they would rather -- that the media focus on the fact that the Republicans don't have a plan than focus on the first two months of this rollout. They're getting much more confident in the last few days, though. You had a two-day period where 29,000 people signed up, which was more than all of October. You had 100,000 in November. You know, so they're much happier about the way this is going. They would still love it if the media pointed out Republicans don't have --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, this is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the news is not bad for "Obamacare."

MR. BUCHANAN: This is a (five-spiral ?) crash that's unfolding here with this "Obamacare." What's going to happen -- you've got 5 million people who lost their health insurance. If all these employer plans -- you hear tens of millions might be invalidated late next year. If that happens, it is all over for "Obamacare."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK.

MS. CLIFT: This is the battle of the anecdotes.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That is the issue. It's not the anecdotes.

MS. CLIFT: There are --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The fact is, 5 million people have lost their health insurance.

MR. BUCHANAN: Already.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: They haven't even gotten to the issue the doctors who are going to refuse to do it, unlike the promises that were made. And 5 million is not the end of it. These people are not going to forget that they lost their health insurance.

MS. CLIFT: The millions --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And, in addition to that, a lot of the health insurance rates have gone up. And I know that's --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a disaster.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's a disaster.

MS. CLIFT: It's not a disaster. And a million people are going on the exchange -- the HealthCare.gov site a day. There's huge demand out there. This is going to succeed. And the Republicans are -- (inaudible) --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's --

MS. CLIFT: -- if they have no alternative.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Well, Eleanor, you hear what's being said here. It's going to be misery central.

Issue Three: Elizabeth Versus Hillary? Ted Versus Chris?
Political newcomers, both firebrands, are heating up the race to succeed Barack Obama as president in 2016. On the Democratic side, freshman U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts has created a stir among progressives; i.e., liberal Democrats. From The New Republic and Huffington Post to The Washington Post and the New York Daily News, Warren is being described as, quote, "Hillary's nightmare," unquote.

Media speculation about Warren taking on Clinton in the Democratic primaries is being fueled by Obama hard-core liberals and donors, who are lukewarm at best about the centrist Hillary. Warren says she intends to finish out her term in the Senate and has no intentions of running for president in 2016. But her statement was less than Shermanesque.

On the Republican side, freshman U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has ignited passion among conservative Republicans. Cruz, who was lampooned by the media for his quasi-filibuster of "Obamacare," has seen his star rise in direct proportion to the lingering disrepute of the Affordable Care Act.
Also, in the 2016 GOP primaries, Cruz would give Republican moderate Chris Christie a run for his money, while Warren could upend Hillary's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination -- her second bid, by the way.

To ward off their respective challengers, Clinton will have to veer leftward and Christie will have to veer rightward, leaving the two political parties dramatically polarized.

Question: Can Warren pull off an upset and beat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination? I ask you, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: No way. I mean, first, Elizabeth Warren, she is a very knowledgeable individual. But she's not a great candidate, first. Second, she's on the left wing of the Democratic Party. If she ran for -- and Hillary's at about 50 percent now. If she ran for the nomination, the Koch brothers would put money behind her in the hope that she would be nominated, because she is so far left, she would sink the Democratic Party; the one person who would sink it in the general election.

The other one, Ted Cruz -- Ted Cruz is much, much strong vis-a- vis Chris Christie than Elizabeth Warren is vis-a-vis Hillary. Cruz right now, if you had a contest of Iowa between the two of them, just the two of them, I would almost bet on Ted Cruz beating Chris Christie in Iowa.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You would?

MR. BUCHANAN: Mm-hmm. (Affirmative response.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would you?

MR. GRIM: The Kochs should be careful what they wish for, though. Nobody thought Barack Obama could beat Hillary at this point either. It would come down to African-American voters, and it would be very tough for Elizabeth Warren to peel those off. But if she could, then Clinton is extremely vulnerable because she's still a very `90s Democratic figure, and the party has moved significantly to the left since then.

MS. CLIFT: Elizabeth Warren is actually doing Hillary a favor, because Hillary's looking over her shoulder and she sees where the sentiments of the Democratic Party lie. They've moved to the left. Hillary does need an economic policy that's different from Bill Clinton's, different from Barack Obama's, and that hears all the conversation about inequality.

And the speech the president gave this week was at the Center for American Progress, which was founded by John Podesta, who was Bill Clinton's chief of staff. It's widely seen as sort of a Hillary Clinton campaign in waiting, her think tank. And, you know, she understands that she's got to be new and different in 2016. She can't be the `90s candidate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
Hillary helped negotiate China's entry into the WTO. Is that right?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's my recollection, yes. I think Hillary is a very strong candidate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: China's entry into the WTO has taken a lot of money out of the United States. Is that true or false?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, to some extent it is, because China has become a worldwide manufacturing power. And we -- manufacturing jobs, middle-class jobs, those are the ones that have been eroding for decades, in large part because we have international competition and because we also have technology that has eroded a number of jobs we need in that category.

Nevertheless, having said all of that, I think Hillary is absolutely way ahead --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- and will stay way ahead of Warren. And I think Ted Cruz, if he beats up on Chris Christie, will make Chris Christie seem like a moderate candidate and make him stronger in the general election.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: China in the WTO, it cost a lot of jobs in the United States.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right, yes.

MR. BUCHANAN: Six million, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And therefore, labor is not crazy about being in the WTO.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No.

MS. CLIFT: I don't think that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Therefore, Hillary arranging that is not going to be a plus for Hillary Clinton.

MS. CLIFT: Well, that is such a reach, John.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Hillary has --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think that's a reach?

MS. CLIFT: That's a terrific reach.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think the labor leaders think it's a reach?

MS. CLIFT: I think the labor leaders are going to get behind whoever the Democrat is. And, you know, I don't think they're going to be assailing Hillary.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about that, Pat? Will the labor leaders kowtow?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, NAFTA and GATT and the WTO are all hemlock to labor leaders. But the Republicans went along with all of that.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's why they lost labor.

MS. CLIFT: Where's the alternative?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Patty Murray and Paul Ryan will cut a deal, but it will be embattled in both houses of Congress.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Thanks to their quiet leadership and their perseverance, they're pulling it off. And Pat and Mort will be able to get mental health coverage under "Obamacare" --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: -- to calm their nerves. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ryan.

MR. GRIM: There will never be another full "Obamacare" repeal vote.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tell us about meeting, briefly, with Mandela.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Mandela. Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And do it in about 10 seconds.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- you know, he was just such a remarkable man, an extraordinary leader. And when you met with him, you had this extraordinary sense that he was able to connect with everybody. I mean, these are people whom he didn't know, including me, because the only time I ever met him was for a brief conversation. And it was just -- he was an incandescent kind of individual.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. I found him the same way.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But (they ?) didn't want you to talk to him, and you didn't want to go to the effort of talking.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But he wanted to know about race relations in the United States.

We are now out of time. Bye-bye.

(C) 2013 Federal News Service

END