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The Chris Wallace Show

Some in Republican Party Calling for Nikki Haley to Drop Out of GOP Presidential Primary and Endorse Former President Trump; Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis Accused of Unethical Behavior in Case against Donald Trump; White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients Says Federal Workers Should Return to Office. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 27, 2024 - 10:00   ET




CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, and welcome. It's time to get together with some smart people to break down the big stories. Today we're asking, with Donald Trump racing so quickly to the Republican nomination, what can never-Trumpers do now to keep him from the White House?

Then, a possible D.A. disaster. Is the Georgia case against Trump in danger because of a love affair?

And it won't be Groundhog Day all over again if animal rights advocates succeed in replacing Punxsutawney Phil with a coin toss.

The panel is here and ready to go, so sit back, relax, and let's talk about it.

Up first, the power of the few. After a relative handful of voters gave Donald Trump back-to-back wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, the Republican race for president is already being called, setting us up for one of the longest and least anticipated general election matchups ever.


VIVEK RAMASWAMY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I say the general election begins tonight.

WALLACE: Donald Trump's camp declaring the race for the nomination is over.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, everybody, thank you, whoa.

WALLACE: Leading to a rush of endorsements from the Republican establishment.

RONNA MCDANIEL, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN: We need to unite around our eventual nominee, which is going to be Donald Trump. SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): I think it's important to unify behind a

candidate, and I respect the voters' choice.

WALLACE: But so far, only 434,000 voters have made their choice in just two states. That's less than one percent of the country's Republican electorate.

CHARLES R. HUNT, POLITICAL SCIENTIST, BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY: Iowa and New Hampshire are just not representative of the country as a whole, particularly on race.

WALLACE: Despite that concern, we're on track for the shortest primary season since 2004 when John Kerry clinched the Democratic nomination on March 2nd.


WALLACE: But we won't see a change this year as voters are stuck with a Biden-Trump rematch for the next 283 days.


WALLACE (on camera): Yikes.

Here with me today, podcaster Kara Swisher, Reihan Salam, president of the Manhattan Institute and "The National Review" contributing editor, "New York Times" journalist and podcast host Lulu Garcia-Navarro, and author and conservative pollster, Kristen Soltis Anderson. Welcome back, everyone.

So Kara, why the rush? Less than one percent of the total Republican electorate has so far had their say and the GOP is ready to say it's over.

KARA SWISHER, PODCAST HOST, "PIVOT" AND "ON": Well, because it's in their interest to get -- move it forward and not create more -- more problems around Donald Trump. Obviously, there's a lot of them, especially the court cases and everything else. And so they want to sort of get a momentum going now without having someone like Nikki Haley saying things, which she's saying with increasing frequency about his age and whether he's unhinged, et cetera.

WALLACE: But I mean, it's always in the interest of the frontrunner. Kristen, what surprises me is this isn't just Trump trying to rush things and wrap them up. All but one of the opponents has already dropped out of the race. GOP officials, as we saw, elected officials, party officials rushing to endorse him. Why the rush?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, FOUNDING PARTNER, ECHELON INSIGHTS: The math is very difficult for anybody who's not Donald Trump. Back eight years ago the conventional wisdom was, you just need the field to shrink, and then if Donald Trump gets in a head-to-head matchup with someone else, it will prove that Donald Trump does not have the majority of the Republican Party. The reality is he does have a majority of Republican voters who are saying, yes, clear-eyed, I know exactly what I'm getting with this guy, and this is what I want.

And so for Nikki Haley to stay in, as much as it brings me no joy to say this, it is hard to see a path forward for her, because while it's true that a handful of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are not representative of America, or even the Republican Party broadly, I don't see what state is next on the calendar where we expect her to do much better.

SWISHER: That's not the point, is it? So what if she stays in? She has the money, she has the means, she has something different to say. She has a very important message of, why are these old guys running. I think it's perfectly fine.

ANDERSON: Well, sure.

SCHLICHTER: It's not good for the Republican Party.

ANDERSON: There's this exercise in allowing Republican voters to put down a marker and say 55 percent of the party is Trumpy and 45 percent is not, or whatever it shakes out to be, that's fine.


But the reality is, in terms of an exercise of amassing delegates to win in a convention, that's a tougher road.

WALLACE: Yes, but let's take a look at these numbers about the delegates, because they're very instructive. A candidate needs 1,215 delegates this year, all the way over to the right side of that graphic, to clinch the nomination. See that little sliver on the left? So far, Trump has won 32 delegates in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Reihan, I guess the question I have is, because ultimately this is everybody's dropped out, that's why this is over so early, with the exception of Haley. How did Trump clear the field, with the exception of Haley, so quickly?

REIHAN SALAM, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Well, one way to look at it is that if you think of him as an incumbent president, it's natural that he would clear the field quickly. It's natural that we have an overwhelming victory.

When you look at it from that vantage point, however, it is striking that Haley did quite as well as she did in New Hampshire. And this is why it is so important for Republicans to unite around Trump at this point for Trump himself, because she is surfacing a vulnerability. And that's a problem for Nikki Haley, because you could say, hey, why not, she's got the money, keep at it. But what she'll be accused of very soon is of being a stalking horse for Joe Biden. If what she is doing is demonstrating that somewhere between 15 and 25 percent of Republican voters are deeply dissatisfied with the person who is indeed likely to be the ultimate nominee, what is she accomplishing other than making it harder for Trump to pivot to the center, as I suspect he's desperate, and his campaign team, is desperate to do?

WALLACE: Lulu, do you think that's fair? I know that's what Trump is going to say, and Republican officials, but do you think it's fair to say that Nikki Haley is gumming up the works?

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, JOURNALIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": I think, certainly, that's what the Trump team believes, and I think we've seen the Republican Party also coalesce around Donald Trump because they do want to move to a general election. But I think these are two words I've never used before with Donald Trump, which is this -- he's run a disciplined and very effective campaign that has been very on message. I mean, we can talk all we want about his bond with the party and the base, but the fact of the matter is, is that he's really, really, in all of these states, run a very effective campaign. He's been out, they have a good ground game. They've been --

SWISHER: He could crack. It's more than zero chance that he could crack, and so if you're Nikki Haley --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What does that mean?

SWISHER: If something happens, like we just saw, we're going to talk about this later, but this court case, there's all kinds of things that could happen, she's in the pole position if he stumbles. I joke about it, if he stumbles, if he actually stumbles, or if he legally stumbles or something else, she's in the pole position. Why not hold onto it? There's no damage to her for doing this. I was telling Kristen --

ANDERSON: I think there's a lot of damage to her.

SWISHER: No, because she's doing a modified Liz Cheney, enough of it that it's -- I think it's good for her to do this.

ANDERSON: You realize the Trump campaign is going to take you saying that, and you just made an ad that's going to run in South Carolina.

WALLACE: Kara Swisher.

SWISHER: Because I'm their favorite, right?

WALLACE: MAGA supporter.

SWISHER: Right, yes. I actually just got a thing from Nikki Haley. I don't know how she got on my phone where it said if Trump wants me to stop, and he promises you can't stay in MAGA if you don't give money here, if you give money to me. And I wrote on one of the social -- on threads, promise, is that a promise, I can get kicked out of MAGA. So I think it's --

WALLACE: Kristen, let me ask you, this talk about Liz Cheney. Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, Adam Kinzinger, assuming that he doesn't crack and that he does get the nomination and that he's the Republican nominee, what do the never-Trumpers do now? Where do they go?

ANDERSON: This is a tough moment if you're a never-Trumper, because you could come away from 2016 going, you know what, it was weird, it was a fluke, it was a black swan event. And then in 2020 you could even say, well, he was the incumbent president, so we stick with him. But it is the moment where you have to realize the old Republican Party is done. It is. This is -- we just witnessed the wake, we have seen the body, and it is Donald Trump clearing the field and winning in these first two states.

And that doesn't mean that a new party can't emerge in the future. That doesn't mean forever, nothing is forever in politics. But it is a moment of reckoning, that this idea that if you just work hard enough you can get the old party back in the short run, I think that dream is dead for the short term.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And I think that's why we see Nikki Haley as this sort of walking ghost, if you will, of like the Republican Party past. I mean, she is someone who is dynamic and has a lot to say. But at the same time, I disagree with you, Kara. I actually think that what she's reminding people of is the fact that this is not the Republican Party that she represents anymore. It's the party of Trump.


SALAM: When you talk about never-Trumpers, you're actually talking about a couple of different groups of folks. You're talking about one group, they've essentially become Democrats, and that's been true for several years. You're talking about another group of people that actually would be open, if Donald Trump, if he decided to be magnanimous, if he was someone who decided --

WALLACE: That's a big if.

SALAM: Wait a second, Chris. If he decided to say I am the only Republican who can help the party pivot to some degree on an abortion issue that's been incredibly challenging for them amongst suburban voters, then there's some of those folks who could come along. But for that to happen Nikki Haley has to move on. And that's the dilemma for the Trump campaign.

WALLACE: Well, we're going to have lots of time, 280 some days to discuss all of this. Then there are the legal cases against Donald Trump, which Kara referenced. One of them may be in trouble because of a love affair, while some others may face a different problem with Trump as the official Republican nominee.

Also ahead, work from home at your own risk. Could staying out of the office hurt your climb to the top?

And later, hey Siri, will the panel agree you need to sound more like them? Stick around to find out.



More and more, it's clear part of Donald Trump's campaign strategy is to use the courtroom to his advantage. And this week it became clearer than ever that strategy is working with Republican voters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Raise your hand if you think he is fit for the presidency, even if he's a convicted felon. Raise it high so we can see you.

WALLACE: A display of unwavering support for Donald Trump this week from a focus group of South Carolina Republicans.


WALLACE: They are not alone.

CROWD: We want Trump!

WALLACE: In a national poll last month, 52 percent of GOP voters said they would back Trump, even if he's found guilty of a crime, 31 percent said they would not. Evidence the message from Trump's last remaining primary opponent isn't catching on.

NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With Donald Trump, you have one bout of chaos after another.

WALLACE: Now one of the biggest cases against Trump has gotten sidetracked.

FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The indictment brings felony charges against Donald John Trump.

WALLACE: In Georgia Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is accused of having an affair with a special prosecutor she hired for the case who then paid for trips together.

BOB ELLIS, FULTON COUNTY COMMISSIONER: It's inappropriate for an elected official to be in a romantic relationship with some -- with a contractor who they selected.

WALLACE: Willis facing calls to step down, possibly putting the historic prosecution in jeopardy.


WALLACE (on camera): Now, we should point out that Friday afternoon a jury in New York City awarded E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million in a civil defamation case. But Kristen, why does it seem to be that Republican voters, a majority of them, don't care if Donald Trump is convicted of a crime, they're going to still vote for him?

ANDERSON: They don't think that it's a big deal because they think the cases are illegitimate to begin with. I think, frankly, the fact that the very first of this series of cases was the New York case, which was about -- I don't want to call it ticky-tack, but kind of the Michael Cohen hush money, something that happened a long time ago.

WALLACE: This is paying off Stormy Daniels.

ANDERSON: Correct. That case felt political, and it then meant that all of the subsequent ones that came after it, even ones of matters of great seriousness, like you can't store documents in the bathroom --

WALLACE: Classified documents.

ANDERSON: Classified documents in the bathroom at Mar-a-Lago, it made all of the rest of it feel like part of a continuous hole of an assault against him, even though the cases are all very discreet. And so for a Republican voter, if you think the case in and of itself is illegitimate, then it is rational to say, well, if he was guilty, I think he shouldn't have been tried in the first place. That's where they're coming from.

SALAM: I would go further than Kristen, by the way, and I would that if you look at, for example, the first impeachment of Donald Trump compared to the second one, had the first one not happened, the second one may well have succeeded. You may well have peeled off more Republican senators. But I think there's a perception that there's this lawfare that is relentless, that is directed against the former president on political grounds, and therefore you can't trust it.

WALLACE: Kara, how do you explain it? A majority of voters say, as you saw there in that South Carolina focus group, raise their hand, I'd vote for him even if he's a convicted felon?

SWISHER: I think -- we'll wait to see if he's a convicted felon. I think when people do change their mind, this E. Jean Carroll thing is, people will go, oh, the next one he loses, oh, oh, oh. I think ultimately, many people, the penny will drop. Not everybody, but the initial thing is, well, they're coming after him. But if he keeps losing, it could --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think it's what they like about him, too, though, the fact is that he seems to just be able to flout the law, do all the things that everyone wishes that they could do in the sense of just like not having to pay any consequences. We've seen what happened on Friday, but generally speaking, this is --

SWISHER: Generally speaking -- that's what happened on Friday. There's no generally speaking. This jury probably was like what is this guy doing, sighing and making things in court. And then they handed this woman $83 million. So I think people do respect courts, most people do, no matter where they're from. And I think eventually they will add up, this will add up with people.

WALLACE: I want to pick up on that, Reihan. As much as you can buy the weaponization argument, trials, assuming that one of the Jack Smith special prosecutor trials, election interference or the classified papers, takes place, a trial happens, there's witnesses, there's evidence, if that all proceeds, and if he's convicted, I repeat if, you don't think that's going to have an impact and that some people who were -- who raised their hand to Gary Tuchman on Tuesday might suddenly say, well, I'm not so sure if I want to vote for this guy?


SALAM: I think it will have an impact. And here's the thing. It doesn't have to have an impact with a 31 percent of voters who say it would affect their decision. It can be five or six when you're in a game of inches. So I think that that is something he needs to be concerned about. But again, the answer to that for him is to try to irradiate the incumbent President Biden. And if you do that enough, then you can keep that five or six percent on side.

WALLACE: I don't want to miss talking in the segment about the Georgia election interference case, Lulu, and this is just extraordinary, in which the district attorney, the Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is going to have to have her own hearing because of allegations that she hired her boyfriend as a special prosecutor in the case, and then the boyfriend paid for the two of them to go on trips. I mean, that -- how much could that endanger that whole prosecution?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think it can endanger it. I also have to say this -- oh, my God, if this is true. First of all, we don't know if this is true. But this is the most important case of your life. You are bringing it against a former president at a state level. You are a state-level -- this isn't a federal case, this is a state case. And you decide, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to get my boyfriend on this case. I mean, we don't know if it's true, so, again, she hasn't actually responded to this. But it does strike me that if it's true, it shows a massive, massive, massive error in judgment.

ANDERSON: To the extent she has responded, her response is, frankly, out of the Trump playbook to not actually address the allegations but to just say, well, they're just coming after me because they don't like --

SWISHER: She responded in church, which is different.

ANDERSON: To me, it is -- I concur with everything you said about how it is baffling to me that you would potentially put something like this in jeopardy by being reckless. But also remember, Donald Trump doesn't view these things as legitimate parts of the legal process. He views this as television. And what is more salacious and television- ready than a scandal of this nature. It plays exactly into his hands.

SALAM: Exactly. It reinforces his narrative about many of the cases that are being leveled against him. So it's --

SWISHER: That said, from what I understand from actual lawyers, none of us are -- it will go forward. It may be salacious, it may be interesting, but there's nothing that will disqualify the case. It might disqualify this particular prosecutor.

ANDERSON: It might taint it.

SWISHER: She looks like an idiot, right. There's no question. Love is blind, however reason she did it, I don't know. If she did.


SWISHER: Allegedly.


SWISHER: It's like ridiculous.

WALLACE: I love the if she did, but she looks like an idiot.

SWISHER: The whole thing is bad for her, but it doesn't disqualify the case. It disqualifies her. Most lawyers I talked to do say that.

WALLACE: But it could delay the case.

SWISHER: That is absolutely 100 percent.

WALLACE: If she gets taken off it and Nathan Wade gets taken off, the special prosecutor slash alleged boyfriend, then --

SALAM: It's a political plus.

WALLACE: Pardon me?

SALAM: And it goes from being a political minus to being a political plus for the president.


SALAM: Because, again, this idea that this was kind of corrupt Keystone Kops prosecution, that becomes the story line, as Kristen was saying, that becomes what's made for TV, that can only help him.

WALLACE: Now, to a post-pandemic problem, empty office buildings leading to desolate downtowns. So, is it time to push back harder to get workers back to the office? That's next.



WALLACE: It's time to get back in the office. That's what White House chief of staff Jeff Zients is telling federal workers according to "Axios." The report says Zients is convinced the federal government is more efficient when employees are in the office at least half the time.

Now, we looked it up, and the numbers are all over the place when it comes to productivity working from home. The numbers that are clear show that employees are not in the office as much as they used to be. Before COVID, about a quarter of employed Americans worked from home. That number obviously spiked in 2020, but about a third of us are still WFH. Kristen, you run a business. Is it time for workers to go back to work, meaning back to the office?

ANDERSON: This is a very tough one for entrepreneurs, business leaders because on the one hand, I do believe people are more productive when they're in the office. I think there's something that you lose when everybody is just engaging with one another on Zoom, on Slack. I think there is benefit to in-person collaboration.

But at the same time, I want to attract young talent who have come of age in an era where working from home in your pajamas is the norm. And so in order to convince them to come back to the office, and at my company, we say OK, Mondays and Wednesdays, we've all going to come in together, you've got to give them a reason to be there. It can't just be you have to sit at a desk because that's just how it's done.

WALLACE: So what's the reason?

ANDERSON: I think the reason is you get to come in, see your colleagues, have meetings and discussions that would be more awkward and uncomfortable over Zoom. We try to do trainings, let's bring in lunch. Let's try to make it a little bit of fun so that enduring the commute has some kind of a purpose.

WALLACE: Lulu, where are you on WFH?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, I WFH, so I'm clearly in favor of WFH. But I will also say that in this country we get so few benefits. There is no paid family leave, there is just absolutely nothing for the working stiff in this country.


And while we're still talking about working from home, of course, this is about white-collar workers primarily, but it is something that allows some flexibility. I'm a parent. I can't tell you that for the first time when the pandemic happened, the only silver lining was, oh, my goodness, I have some flexibility now to go pick up my kid. I have some flexibility now to go and do some things during the day. It really made my life a lot better. And so I don't think we're going to want to give this up.

WALLACE: How do bosses feel about people working from home, beyond the very --

ANDERSON: Benevolent?

WALLACE: Benevolent, that was the word I was searching for. I knew it was a "b" word. Kristen Soltis Anderson, I'm going to put up some numbers about how they feel about it. A survey of 500 executives last year found 62 percent say in office time is somewhat or very important in who gets a promotion. Another study found remote workers were 38 percent less likely to receive bonuses than colleagues in the office. So Reihan, I want to look at this not from the boss's point of view, but the workers. Are young workers who insist on staying at home, are they wrecking their careers?

SALAM: I think they're absolutely missing out. But there's actually a bigger issue here, which is that if you can do the job from your home in the burbs, and the exurbs, that job can also be done from the Philippines or from Ukraine or from Bangladesh or South Africa or wherever else. This is what people don't understand. There's something unique about certain jobs that are in-person. There's a collaboration, there's a training, there's a cohesion that you get, which is why when immigrants move from one country to a higher productivity country, they actually are paid higher wages. There's something really there.

But if you're saying I'm going to commoditize myself. I'm just going to be a bunch of lines typed into some machine into the ether, then guess what, that can be done by anyone. One thing that's happening right now is a lot of start-ups are saying we're going to be remote first, even if that means that we're crappier, even if that means we're less productive, because you don't want to give that money away in the form of office rent if you don't have to.

But those companies are companies that are more explicit. They have things written down. They're not companies generating soft skills, and there are companies that, themselves, could get commoditized. So that's what's happening now.

SWISHER: I'm enjoying this visit to the 1950s, everybody, but it's over. Work from home is here to stay, and it's not going away. I think what you're talking about is intentional meetings, which a lot of people are innovating on, whether you come in on a certain day, you have certain things, or you bring people in. But this has happened. This is over. It's like Amazon delivery, it's like all these things. It's done.

WALLACE: But you don't think there -- and now I'm talking, as I'm asking you the question, I'm talking to my kids. Is there a career cost to working from home and not being either in the boss's vision, or maybe necessarily in his mind?

SWISHER: This has to be done by bosses. I've been doing work from with my employees for 20 years now. We always do that. But if they wanted to see me, they had to come see me. And that was the very difference. I wouldn't do calls on the phone, or we would do these intentional kinds of things.

The way technology is going, and you can do work from anywhere, and that's very exciting because now, suddenly, investments, there's a new thing about the unicorns 10 years ago, the woman who coined the phrase is talking about this. Now there's more investments in St. Louis, in Austin, in Detroit, wherever it happens to be. It is so important for innovation across this country to understand work from home changes all --

SALAM: Offshoring wasn't a thing in the 1950s, and services offshoring, this is going to be a massive --

SWISHER: It's already been that. Reihan, where do you they developed it?

SALAM: Kara, we're entering a new phase. And this is something that workers need to understand, you're going to have to be a heck of a lot more competitive. And by the way, if you're working remotely from a lower cost place, expect to get paid less as well.

SWISHER: Which they already do. It happens at all the places --

SALAM: That's going to intensify and deepen --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: This is -- Reihan, Reihan there is -- you're talking about this from like these very serious kind of costs for the company, and productivity. SALAM: And for workers, and for their wages.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But this is about also, people. People, you know, have things that they want to do.

SALAM: Absolutely.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: They have demands on their time. They don't want to commute. They don't want to spend hours in their car. Americans spend more time commuting than any other country. They spend more hours working than any other country almost. And so this actually offers flexibility. And I really am with Kara on this. It allows for innovation in other parts of the country.

ANDERSON: I totally hear you there is a human side to the benefit, but there is also a human side to the costs. Set aside the productivity and the bosses and all of that. I think it's sad for people who are 22, 23 to not have a culture of getting to know their colleagues in the same way that they did when they had to come to that very first job and show up at 9:00 a.m. and all of that. I do think that's also --

WALLACE: I also think that there's a benefit to being -- having the meeting and then you walk out in the hall, so many things that happen --


SWISHER: I really like churning butter, but we're not doing that anymore.

SALAM: I'd love to see the offshoring of a lot of these government jobs. Let's do it.

WALLACE: It doesn't matter where you work, chances are you've talked about our next story with colleagues. The "Barbie" snub.

Plus, the new push to replace Punxsutawney Phil with a penny. Our panel gives its yea or nay on both. That's next.


WALLACE: Once again, it's time to get our groups yea or nay on some watercooler stories.

Up first, the snub everyone's talking about, the Oscars dropping a "Barbie" bombshell when it announced this year's nominees, and both the star and the director of the year's biggest movie didn't make the list. That's actress Margot Robbie and director Greta Gerwig.


But ironically, given the movie is about the patriarchy, Ryan Gosling was nominated as best supporting actor for playing Ken. Kara, I have a pretty good guess where you are on the "Barbie" snub, but on a level of one to 10, 10being volcanic, how outraged are you? SWISHER: There's a snub every year. You'd be surprised. Let me just

say something. She can comfort herself with the fact that she made billions of dollars and is one of the highest earning directors in history. So I think she's going OK. The question is, are Oscars relevant anymore? And I think that's a bigger question, whether they matter.

I interviewed Ava DuVernay today who has an amazing movie who was snubbed.

WALLACE: "Origin."

SWISHER: "Origin," astonishing movie. And she's like, well, we'll try something else. But it's not -- she wasn't quite as exercised about it. Obviously, Greta Gerwig deserved an Oscar nomination at the very least, and Margot Robbie was brilliant in this movie.

WALLACE: So you're upset.

SWISHER: I'm OK, I'm OK. And I thought Ken deserved it, because he's Kenuff.


WALLACE: And he got one.

Kristen, yea or nay on what happened -- well, I know what you're going to be a nay, but why?

ANDERSON: I am also of the mind that I think it's ironic that the "Barbie" movie, it is true that Ken was probably the best part of that movie. And sure, they can cry themselves to sleep on their bed of money from all of the money that this movie made. But I also think the Oscars have a big problem in terms of relevance to the average consumer as well. I'm not saying Robert Downey Jr. should have gotten an award for "Iron Man." I'm glad that he seems likely to get one now. But the Oscars can't just keep awarding things to no one has any interest in seeing.

WALLACE: Next, hey, Siri, be more like me. A new study indicates we would like and trust voice assistants like Siri or Alexa more if they sounded and acted like us. So, Lulu, would you like Alexa more if it sounded more like Lulu?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Hey, Siri, no.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Mine sounds like a British butler, and that's the way I like it. I want my -- in fact, my daughter and I have this game that we play that we change sometimes an Australian accents, sometimes -- but we settled on the British butler because it just feels authoritative. It feels kind of servile, and we like it.

WALLACE: And you're kind of an upstairs, downstairs kind of girl.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yes, exactly.


WALLACE: Reihan, would you like it to sound more like you, act more like you?

SALAM: I know this sounds very creepy, but I do think that would be delightful. Even more delightful would be if my Google home device sounded exactly like you, Chris. I wonder if you're going on the market, because that could be a nice little revenue stream for you.

WALLACE: Why would you like the Google home device to sound like me?

SALAM: Here on the show I've got to kind of obey your direction, and I do it to the best of my ability. And if the Google device were just going, hey, I get it, wake up, it's 5:30 a.m., just kind of get out there, up and at them, Reihan.

WALLACE: All right, finally --

SWISHER: I want Christiane Amanpour. I'm just saying, if I had to pick.

WALLACE: Would you just give me a break?


WALLACE: Finally, a push to replace Punxsutawney Phil. This I love. PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is out with an ad ahead of next week's Groundhog Day. They claim, believe it or not, that Phil can't actually predict the weather and should be replaced with a coin toss. And who can forget that awful day 10 years ago when then New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped a groundhog that later died. So Reihan, yea or nay on saying goodbye to the groundhog?

SALAM: Oh, ferocious, intense nay. This is a sign of man's mastery over nature and our partnership with the animal kingdom. We must keep this going.

SWISHER: Oh, my lord.

SALAM: And a coin toss would be sacrilege. Absolutely not.

WALLACE: Lulu, I have a different take on this. Punxsutawney Phil is one of the central characters in a great movie "Groundhog Day." So where are you on getting rid of poor Phil?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Poor Phil. Well, I did some research about this story, you'll be happy to know, and they used to eat poor Phil. This goes back into the -- yes -- into the 19th century here in the United States. It's got a very long, and storied history, and they used to eat poor Phil. So I think he's better off now than he used to be. And so I actually am also on the side of, you should just keep Phil. I think he's probably OK.

WALLACE: Up next, a story for all parents, teens turning to an old and dangerous trend that's gone under the radar.



WALLACE: Now to a story that's gone Under the Radar, the resurgence of an alarming trend among teenagers. With all the focus on Ozempic and other weight loss drugs, people who can't afford them are turning to so-called budget Ozempic, like laxatives and nonprescription diet pills which doctors say can have serious health effects. A new study shows one in 10 teenage girls are now taking them, and it's partly due to TikTok videos like this.




WALLACE: Kara, obviously the concern of teen girls and a lot of other people about weight has been going on for a long time. How toxic is it now that it's amplified so much on social media?

SWISHER: Completely. The statistics on self-esteem in girls are so disturbing, and the changes in terms of self-esteem going down so far, and it's because of this. It's not the beginning of it. It's always been around. And it's also bad science that these -- there's a lot of promise in a lot of these weight loss drugs, and if administered correctly, like a lot of drugs.


In this case, there's even -- there's even memes around people who are extremely thin where the comments are so disturbing, keep not eating, hurt yourself. It's something that these platforms have got to address, because it moves very quickly over into something very toxic and dangerous for young women.

WALLACE: Kristen, I think there is one thing that's new, and that is that you've suddenly got all of this focus on Ozempic and these other new drugs, which are apparently remarkably effective in weight loss. You've got a daughter, a little girl, and one on the way. How concerned are you about this focus? And does this all move us, particularly the real Ozempic and all of the talk about, to budget Ozempic?

ANDERSON: All of this terrifies me, right. The idea of when do you give your child a phone, when do you let her be exposed to this -- it's all terrible. This is just another horrible cherry on top of this disaster sundae. And it's coming at a particularly -- "ironic" is maybe not the word, but think about how our society, the conversation around body image has actually changed for the better so much since I was a teenager, right. You go back and you look at things like "Us Weekly" magazine when I was in high school, and the headlines about celebrities who put on two pounds and suddenly, oh, they've gotten fat. Now, we have brands like Victoria Secret that have changed their marketing because they get that the public does not want this perfect body image, and yet TikTok trends combined with this drug are just continuing to push this thing that I thought we had begun to turn back the clock on.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: As someone who was a fat person for most of their life and took Ozempic because I was obese, I would say that we're conflating, I think, two different things. There is a medical condition where people who have the condition, this is a very promising drug and it helps for health reasons. And then there's the second part of this, of course, which is the very toxic nature of the way that we talk about women and the way that we talk about women's bodies, and the way that that affects young girls. And this is a terribly pernicious trend.

WALLACE: The panel is back with their predictions for next week's big stories. That's right after the break.



WALLACE: Welcome back. It's time for our panel's special takes on what's happening, or predictions of what we should be looking out for. So, Kristen, hit me with your best shot.

ANDERSON: Who says nothing happens in Washington these days? Congress may be on the verge of passing a bipartisan tax deal that would do some really exciting and interesting stuff that bridges things that the Democrats want and things that some Republicans, particularly Republicans worried about the state of families in America, have been concerned about, the affordability of raising a family. The child tax credit may get expanded or at least extended through new legislation. Keep an eye on what happens on the hill.

WALLACE: That can really get a lot of people out of poverty.

Kara, you're watching the streaming side of our business?

SWISHER: I am. I'm actually going to take some numbers. This week, Netflix added 13 million new subscribers. They're the king of streaming video. They brought in -- they're now at 260 million people. The revenue grew 12 percent year over year. And they signed a big $5 billion deal with WWE.

WALLACE: Wrestling.

SWISHER: Right, which is fantastic. They're moving into areas. By the way, news is probably next, FYI. I think it's really important to show that you can get through this valley of death of streaming, like with a lot of things, and then it becomes very lucrative. It will only be lucrative for a few people. I would say, if I had to guess, Disney because it's a must have for families, and probably Max. And the others are going to be in a world of hurt.

WALLACE: Reihan, best shot.

SALAM: President Biden is desperate to get the border under control and demonstrate that he's willing to talk a hawkish stance on border enforcement. Republicans have recently said, look, we're not going to cut a deal with you. You have all the authority you need to get the border under control. And Texas has been in basically open revolt against the federal government over the border. The Supreme Court recently said to Texas, hey guys, you've got to subordinate your position to that on the feds, and they've said, nope, we're not going to do it.

My prediction is that President Biden is going to reach an accommodation with Governor Abbott of Texas. He's going to say, look, we're not going to try to blow up your spot. We're going to try to come to an agreement because I don't need this noise. It's going to undermine his chances for reelection.

WALLACE: Lulu, you're focused on something being in New Hampshire this week that was a big deal up there, which were A.I.-generated fake robocalls to Democratic voters saying not to vote in the Democratic primary. And I think you'll recognize the voice. Here's a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's important that you save your vote for the November election. Voting this Tuesday only enables the Republicans in their quest to elect Donald Trump again.


WALLACE: I've got to say, that really does sound like Joe Biden, doesn't it?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It does sound like him. And of course, what the A.I. robocalls were trying to do there was dissuade Democratic voters from showing up at the polls. And it is incredibly concerning. I think this is the beginning of what we're going to see in the next year and beyond. But especially in this election, A.I. is very dangerous when it comes to misinformation, the way it can mimic voices. And what it does is it pollutes our information system. People don't know what they're listening to. People don't know who to trust anymore, and that is going to, I fear, have a very, very terrible impact on our politics.

WALLACE: And very briefly, because we always mention Taylor Swift, these awful, fake pornographic images that are out of her that she's outraged about it, everybody is outraged about.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That came out on "X," formerly Twitter, and it's been, again, something that is really, really dangerous, and very difficult to control.

WALLACE: Thank you all for being here, gang. Thank you for spending part of your day with us. We'll see you right back here next week.