LYNN NEARY, Host:
This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. Scott Simon is away. I'm Lynn Neary. This week, world leaders floated their ideas for easing the global financial crisis in advance of today's G-20 economic summit in Washington, D.C. Retail sales suffered a record drop, and Hillary Clinton's name came up amid the speculation on President-elect Obama's Cabinet choices. Senior news analyst Dan Schorr joins us now. Hi, Dan. So good to see you.
DAN SCHORR: Hi, Lynn, and welcome aboard.
NEARY: So this G-20 summit is underway. Do you expect anything substantive will come out of it?
SCHORR: Well, it depends on what we call substance. I have the impression that the leaders of the other countries are basically looking past President Bush to the next president and just trying to make a go of it for now. The question really settles down to if you want to avoid further conflagrations in the economy, both in the United States and abroad, what do you need in the way of new financial architecture, as they call it? And then discussing just exactly what you can do with President Bush, rather against the idea of regulating too much, and the others thinking that we've deregulated too fast. And they'll come out with a formula to express that.
NEARY: And of course, this week, too, we saw again more bad news for the U.S. economy. Consumer spending was down 2.8 percent in October. That's the first time that retail sales have fallen for four months in a row since 1974.
SCHORR: Very bad.
NEARY: I mean, is there any end in sight to this economic turmoil that we're seeing?
SCHORR: Well, most of the people who know more about these things than I do say we're in a for a long and deep recession. Obviously, at some point, the United States will climb out of it. It always has. But the other nations are looking at the United States and saying, you know, all this trouble all around the world started in the United States, and it was a kind of contagion that was then sent out to the other countries. And so it's a little difficult for the U.S. facing the other 19 countries and saying, let's do better but we're not exactly sure how.
NEARY: Yeah. Of course, President-elect Obama is working on his transition, starting to pick members of his Cabinet. What do we know so far about that?
SCHORR: Well, very little. I mean, there's an awful lot of speculation going around that Hillary Clinton may be, will be, should be his choice for secretary of state. These are widely-spread rumors. I don't know what they mean. But a lot of people have fastened more on who should be the secretary of the Treasury because we need one very badly right now in view of what's happening in the world.
NEARY: It's interesting, though, you mentioned Hillary Clinton, that his transition team, a lot of his transition team actually worked in the Clinton White House. What does that mean?
SCHORR: Well, that's true. I mean, both Rahm Emanuel and now Ron Klain, who is the chief of staff for Biden. It means that you go back to the last Democratic administration if you're looking for people with experience. I mean, clearly, experience is very important as you plunge into this thing with all that's happened in the world both domestically and abroad. And I'm not surprised to find that he's not picking people somewhere out in left field but saying, let's pick people who've been pitching before, if I can coin that.
NEARY: Also this week, Obama announced that he's going to resign from his Senate seat this weekend. Do you think that's the right move to do it now?
SCHORR: Well, I thought so. I, in fact, had suggested it on the air because it struck me as rather strange that he'll come back to a lame-duck session of Congress, which is starting in the coming week, and you are now the president-elect but you're still also a U.S. senator. Are you supposed to discuss and vote on things, which will then be referred to you as soon as you get into the White House? It didn't seem to make a lot of sense, and I thought in a commentary that perhaps you might consider resigning before the session. I don't think he needed me, but he's now done so.
NEARY: Of course, Republicans now are trying to figure out what went wrong, what they can do in the future. The Republican governors met in Miami this week. What do we hear from them?
SCHORR: There's a question now, how much do they do to keep the evangelicals conservatives, or maybe that was one of the mistakes they made and they should move towards the center. They really have lost their way, and I think it's going to take them some time to find it.
NEARY: Senior analyst Dan Schorr. Thanks so much, Dan.
SCHORR: Thank you, Lynn.
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