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I am Robin Bronk, Executive Director of The Creative Coalition and behalf of The Creative Coalition and our partners NBWA, we want to welcome you to the 21st Century Leaders Event, just very exciting to be here with all you leaders. I want to first introduce Craig Purser from our partner, the NBWA who is going to say a couple of words. Thanks Robin, my name is Craig Purser and I am the President of the National Beer Wholesalers Association, NBWA, we represent America's beer distributors. So if you a truck on the street and it says Bud Light or it says Miller or it says Coors on side of it, nine times out of ten that truck isn't owned by a company from out of state or out of town, its owned by a local business living and working in that community to get America a wide variety fresh tasting malt beverages. NBWA has very good history I think, of working with The Creative Coalition, this is probably our third year of working on projects together because partly because we are big believers in the First Amendment. I think we share that interest in the First Amendment, the right to free speech for us that includes commercial free speech but likewise we should we have a real interest in the 21st Amendment. And for those of you that don't know the 21st Amendment of course, it's the one that Repealed the 18th which was Prohibition. So, but in addition to repealing prohibition, the 21st amendment gives the states the rights to regulate alcohol and that's something that we feel very strongly about as it relates to our businesses but is also as it relates to controlling the product. So thank you all for being here, we are looking forward to a fun filled day lunch today and I understand there is going to be a little bit of cards play this evening, but we appreciate the opportunity to partner with The Creative Coalition and thank you very much. And well, NBWA believes our issues, The Creative Coalition certainly does believe in beer, so it's a great partnership. I wanted now, also let remind every one about the Poker Detente with our partners, the World Poker Tour, the CEO of the World Poker Tour is here, Steve Lipscomb, we actually brought some cards for you to probably to you could start shuffling up and practicing sometime during after the have it after the panel. But Steve said he can teach anything in 10 minutes and the grand prize tonight is a 25 a seat valued at $25000 at the World Poker Tour Celebrity Invitational. But of course if you are working on Capitol Hill we understand that it is of no value to you. And now I would like to introduce our panelists. First of all I want to introduce John Zogby, come on up, the noted American political pollster and First Senior Fellow at The Catholic University of America's Life Cycle Institute, and founder of the Zogby International which has been tracking public opinions since 1984. Okay, I have to read you this card which I am among friends, so and we do have some new staff on board of The Creative Coalition and I want to introduce Margaret Carlson so I think that it must be another Margaret Carlson and since I didn't read my cards beforehand, Margaret Carlson, who is an exciting new voice in contemporary music today. Throughout her lifetime she has relied on her considerable talent and ingenuity to cultivate an out thriving recording career. This is just too -. Margaret Carlson's day job also makes her one of the public opinion leaders of the nation. Margaret Carlson. And now Eric Alterman, who I don't believe you started in music, although he writes about it. Eric Eric Alterman, the noted American journalist, author, media critic, blogger and educator who is best known for the political weblog Altercation, come on up. Now we have Joe Scarborough, Joe is the host of the program Scarborough Country on MSNBC and also the former representative from the great state of Florida, Joe. Well, Joe is a musician, yeah. John Fund, the lead singer from The Wall Street Journal, political journalist and columnist, he also writes for Political Diary, a daily column hosted at OpinionJournal.com. And our moderator and band leader for this discussion, the Emmy award winning executive producer of NBC's West Wing Lawrence O'Donnell Junior and also the senior Political Analyst for MSNBC and one of The McLaughlin Group. It doesn't say anything about the music in there. He is you are a drummer right? Okay, talk away. No this is mine - this is mine. I am just going to move out here a little bit because we are kind of playing in one direction if you - you know, in Washington on - on panels, especially on hearings, if there is an elected official present to testify, the elected official always goes first. Here we have a former elected official so he must go first. The honorable Joe Scarborough, Joe it seems like a sad time to be a Republican and the Republican field is struggling, they - the base seems very dissatisfied. Everyday there is a new story about how dissatisfied the bases and you know, an actor wanders off the set of Law and Order and suddenly he is a Presidential candidate because it seems to be desperation out there among the Republicans. How do you see the Republican field shaping up? How much dissatisfaction is there? You know that base; you were elected by it as well as by independents in Florida. Is it - is it as grim as some reports would indicate? Yeah, it's extremely grim and it's grim really in all segments. I have wrote a book in 2004 that talked about how this Republican Congress and this Republican President could be called many things things, but conservative not be one of them. And that is the Republican base and I am speaking basically on economic issues. There have been so many issues that have concerned Republicans for quite some time and then you add on top of that, Katrina. And this is interesting you know, a lot of times Evangelicals and I think Alexander Pelosi had a great documentary on Evangelicals on HBO that showed they were two dimensional right wing nuts. A lot of Evangelicals were very upset by the way George Bush handled Katrina. And a lot of faith based groups down along the gulf coast and that was also a problem, Harriet Miers was a problem, all the scandals were a problem, I mean you take again Tom Delay, you take Jack Abramoff, Mark Foley, then you go on to my favorite, Duke Cunningham who actually traded votes for hookers allegedly. I am still working how I didn't get on that committee. But all of these things have added up. So you have Republicans who really aren't excited about the field, don't think they can win. Where I go and all the speeches I give to Republicans across the country, I keep hearing Giuliani, Giuliani Giuliani. It all comes down to leadership. But I just don't know that the Republican base can get past the fact that not only is this guy moderate, progressive on social issues but he is now coming out talking about how he supports federal funding of abortions, which most democratic candidates have been afraid to say they support it for sometime. So I suspect, in the end and again I am very cynical when it comes about Presidential politics, I suspect in the end it's going to be John McCain, he is going to say, I was a Reagan Republican in 1982, I have done a couple of things that you don't like but look at my record and they will vote for him thus giving America quite possibly the second Bob Dole in past 10 or some years. All right, John Zogby, set the table for us on the polls, where the different candidates stand Washington Post had a poll this week, you have been doing polling, give us the top three on each party. That's an easy one. Number four is the most interesting one in the Republican side. But on the Democratic side, let's not kid ourselves; we are looking at a three way race here. Don't pay attention to the national polls. National polls at this stage are name recognition. Basically you need to look very closely at Iowa and New Hampshire, we have been also in Nevada and South Carolina and the intriguing thing is while you never ever ever bet against Hillary, the fact of the matter is that she has the misfortune this year of running against both Jack Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy. The voters are telling us that Barrack Obama is similar to what they know about Jack Kennedy and then of course John Edward's message is the kind of the two Americas and the Bobby Kennedy image. Edwards leads slightly, but be leads in Iowa, the three are packed together within a few points. What are those numbers? What do they look like in Iowa? 27-Edwards, 25-Hillary, 23-Obama and then no one else even closer at this point. In New Hampshire Hillary at 29 and Obama and Edwards at 23, in Nevada its 32 Hillary, 23 Obama, 17, Edwards. One could argue the good news for Hillary is this is not a Mondale thing going on here where she is all alone at 45 or 50 percent and running against herself. On the other hand those are not good numbers for a former first lady with a 101 percent name recognition. The Republicans side, the top three candidates are in place. You know Giuliani doing well initially, perhaps peaking a little bit, on the decline right now in all of those states. Still leading, but not by much, leading everywhere I should say besides New Hampshire and South Carolina. McCain, leading in New Hampshire but McCain is a guy who got almost 50 percent of the vote in a crowded race in 2000. In Nevada Nevada we don't have much of a history of Republican caucuses, so we really don't even know who is going to vote on the Republican side, so its name recognition, McCain leading, but by very much. In South Carolina and ironically where he is leading in South Carolina is where he got crushed in South Carolina in 2000, in the North Western part of the state. The flavor of the month is Fred Thompson. Big undecided among conservatives, if conservatives are undecided, either they are not going to vote or they are going to look for another candidate. I think Fred Thompson announces his number so it becomes then a four way race. John Fund, first of all can you explain the Thompson phenomenon to us and then and within the context also of Giuliani, who many of us have been predicting as soon as the Republican electorate catches up with his history and knows the Giuliani story before 9/11 his numbers will start to collapse. Some of that seems to be happening and it when they run polls that include Thompson those numbers seem to be going to Thompson, is that - is that what's happening? Well, I think Giuliani is still in a good position but there are very perilous waters he has to go through. He launched his campaign too early because everything started early, the people expected and his campaign team is basically the old New York boys, he has very inner tight circle. And as much as people in New York like to think they know everything nationally that doesn't always translate into an effective campaign. They made a lot of mistakes. Their a lot of faux pas along the campaign trail. I have always thought that Giuliani's major problem in the Republican Party is not so much the social because everybody knows that, we have processed it. They either are in trouble you know they there were primary voters who are going to learn that soon enough or they already have. I think it's the Bernie Kerik stuff and the fact that there are other Bernie Keriks out there. I think it's the fact that Giuliani partners, he has all kinds of interesting clients and he won't release the client list and there are some other things that are nothing to do with the social issue views. As for Fred Thompson, I think it's astonishing because if you look at the polls and I think John Zogby would bear me out on this, somewhere between half and two thirds of the Republican primary electorate don't know anything about him. In fact they don't even have even heard about him. So the fact that he is drawing as well as he is among the part of the electorate who knows anything about him, even if its just name recognition is I think speaks to what Joe Scarborough and John Zogby said, there is a real void there. People are looking for Ronald Regan and Ronald Regan is not coming back from the grave. But if they can find Ronald Regan, they are going to trying to look Ronald Regan light and right now Fred Thompson, actor, former Senator, some experience, although not a lot looks like Ronald Regan light. Well the electorate might not know anything about Fred Thompson but Margaret Carlson does. Margaret, as if the Thompson candidacy blooms, how do you expect it to go? The later he gets in, the better because if you are going to if you are going to save your party, you are going to fill a gap you need to come in when they are truly desperate and I don't know what that would collate how late can he go and still not be ruined on the process and I here that's June or July, I don't know what John would think about that one, you know he is not a conservative streak. Right. - as Joe described. You sorry, can you hear Margaret back there, is she miced enough? Margaret Margaret, why don't you just use that a hand held mic, just pull it off there and hold a little closer. Do you want to stand up just -? Oh no no, can I do upright? Whatever you want, but just there is not much chord there, but just hold it. I was saying Fred Thompson is not as conservative as those who are hoping he gets in the race want him to be and the longer he waits to declare, the better off he will be. As John says he will soar once he announces, but he could peak at that moment as well because the process is hard and some of it you know, he is not going to come across like a true believer. Do you think I I missed out. Well, which is the process which Ronald Reagan always loved to say, I always wear the white hat. Reagan was like Jeb Bush in Florida, very conservative, but more moderate in temperament, that's what -. Yeah, but if you are going to be Mighty Mouse and save the day you have to your timing has to be very good. You know the front runners are really the front runners which is what makes it so interesting, John McCain should be getting 70 percent of the Republican base, 70 percent that are arguing, say they are still ardently for the war, but he is not getting those numbers and I think its because even inside those people who say, I am for Bush and I am and I favor the war, they want somebody who is going to come in and do something different, even a Republican who is going to come in and do something different. So somebody who is as wedded to the war as George Bush is and that's McCain, may be even more so and McCain has more at stake with the surge than Bush does at this point because he will be leaving. It's not working for him and I think in the end that's going to keep - that's going to tame down McCain and he is not going to make it. And Hillary the Clinton juggernaut is not over just because of the money primary but everybody knows Hillary and everybody has an opinion about her and its hard to break out at the numbers where she is. Its not I don't think she is going to convince many people that you know, she is you know, lovely human, funny, easy going open candidate which is one of things that we require in the televisionary age. Now the good thing about Hillary if I say one more thing, is that there comes a point at which not making mistake is really important. So if she gets through the part where she doesn't show any ankle and - she is not ruined. She is not going to make a mistake. So her weakness becomes her strength, whereas Obama being in for the first time is likely to make a mistake because it's a hard process and it's easy to blurt something out especially now with the kind of coverage that candidates get. Eric Alterman, let's go to the issues. By the time we get into 2008, by the time Joe Scarborough is anchoring from Iowa, what are the campaigns going to be talking about and who is going to be in best positions on the issues? Well, you know issues are funny things in America. But the way I think about I don't know who deserves credit; it's just about the best - Can you hear me, is it all right? - just about the best political observation I have heard in the past 20 years about American politics is that its not what you say about the issues, its what the issues say about you. I think I said it.Did you really, it's very good. But I am going to take that. All the other best observations about American politics, I can't say all that company and so, you know the issues are all about how how people how candidates want to be perceived as people. It's not really about the issues themselves. Most issues and this drives me crazy, about Joe's profession when you watch Cable TV and they fight about issues, actually if you if you parse what the people were actually saying then it wouldn't make any sense. They wouldn't be defensible there. The positions they are taking are merely hypothetical and wouldn't stand up to a moment's scrutiny. So each of the candidates is seeking to define the issues in such a way that they don't have to defend their actual positions should they become President. On the Republican side, that's the fight over the meaning of the word strength. Rudy Giuliani defines strength as making liberals crazy and hate you and that that's all he thinks that will sell to the base. I don't understand the base really well enough to say if that will work. But once if you ever get to actual issues on the Republican side I don't see how you can I don't see how he can survive, he is to the left of most Democrats on most of the social issues On the Democratic side it's not about issues at all. It's all about feeling. I think I agree with Margaret that Hillary has maxed out on the one hand she has maxed out at a place where 50 percent of Americans say they will not consider voting for her, which is a very worrisome thing if you are picking a candidate, where basically there weren't that many issues that divide them. The other big problem Hillary has is that she has no support at all among the net roots which is where a lot of the energy comes from. There were a few polls of net roots in the past week or so she did about 11 percent. So the question I think, goes back to as been showcased, is the Clinton juggernaut real or not? I mean is it powerful enough to survive to control the process. Because Margaret's is right, she is she has got a really, really powerful organization and winning primaries is -a significant portion of that is your organization. As getting people to vote in a primary you can win a primary with 10 percent of the electorate. So if that if that organization can produce what is needed to produce a victory in the first four states, then Hillary will be the nominee and we will have a close election. If its not, then if Edwards wins, then Edwards would be President because people are tired of Republicans and there is no real objection to Edwards. If Obama wins we will have an incredible election because we will find out if Americans are ready to have a black President. Because Obama is an absolutely perfect candidate in every way except that he is black, I mean from the standpoint of his candidacy. And and you can't poll that issue from the from the standpoint of his candidacy.