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The Chris Wallace Show

President Biden's State of the Union Speech Reviewed on Substance and Style; President Biden Attempts to Place Blame regarding Immigration Crisis on House Republicans Not Voting on Bipartisan Senate Immigration Bill; Donald Trump's Political Comeback May Be Derailed If He is Convicted of a Crime According to Voters. Aired 10- 11a ET

Aired March 09, 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, facing stiff headwinds from bad polls, a border crisis, and rowdy Republicans, what did the president's big speech tell us about the state of Joe Biden?

Then Donald Trump's remarkable political comeback, but will a jury of his peers stop him in his tracks?

And the March Madness at one university that has everything to do with the basketball team but nothing to do with the game itself.

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

Up first, President Biden spending the weekend on the campaign trail, trying to build on whatever momentum he gained from this week's State of the Union address. A speech before tens of millions of Americans that Biden used to launch his campaign for reelection.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The state of our union is strong and getting stronger.


WALLACE: Joe Biden turned the traditional State of the Union speech into a campaign.

CROWD: Four more years! Four more years!

WALLACE: Barely taking the podium before he ripped the bark off Trump and Republicans --

BIDEN: My predecessor, a former Republican president, tells Putin, quote, do whatever the hell you want.

WALLACE: -- on Ukraine, January 6th, and abortion. Biden said voters face a clear choice in November.

BIDEN: Many of you in this chamber and my predecessor are promising to pass a national ban on reproductive freedom. My God, what freedom else would you take away?

WALLACE: The president also played defense, trying to shift the blame for the illegal immigration surge, challenging Republicans who killed a bipartisan border deal at Trump's urging

BIDEN: The Border Patrol union his endorsed this bill, the federal Chamber of Commerce has -- yes, yes. You say no. Look at the facts.

WALLACE: But in their response, Republicans pushed back.

SEN. KATIE BRITT (R-AL): President Biden's border policies are a disgrace.


WALLACE: Here with me today, podcaster and author of the bestseller "Burn Book," Kara Swisher, Sarah Longwell, publisher of "The Bulwark" who also runs The Focus Group Podcast, "New York Times" journalist and podcast host Lulu Garcia-Navarro, and senior editor at "The Dispatch," John McCormack. Welcome back, everyone.

So let's take a trip around the panel. On a scale of one to 10, 10 being "The Gettysburg Address," I want you to give me a score for how Biden did in his State of the Union speech, one on substance. two on style.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: OK, "The Gettysburg Address" was not popular when it was said at the time, people didn't like that speech at all, but it's also the greatest speech in history. I would give him a nine on style, and a seven on substance.


SWISHER: Well, a nine because I think he did what he was supposed to do. The GOP had set the bar at corpse, and therefore, he looked fantastic. So he gets a nine, not 10 because it's not "The Gettysburg Address." For seven is because he didn't he didn't say a lot. There wasn't a lot. It was a campaign speech, essentially.

WALLACE: Thats exactly what it was. Sarah, what are those scores?

SARAH LONGWELL, PODCAST HOST, "THE FOCUS GROUP": So on style, I'm going to go with nine as well, but again, it's because of the low expectations. If it was "The Gettysburg Address" is the bar, I'd go with like a four because that's not where the bar was. On substance, I'll probably go with a six. I'm more to the center right than Joe Biden, but his positions on Ukraine and starting out on foreign policy, that was right up my alley.


LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, JOURNALIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": I would do a solid eight for style. I thought he seemed forceful. He seemed energized. As we say in Spanish, "ponerse (ph) las (ph) pilas (ph)" he had his batteries in. And so you could really see that he was energized. And I would also give them a solid eight for substance simply because I think he addressed the things that he needed to address. He needed to rally his base and he did it. He was talking about issues that were very important to them, like reproductive rights, and he did bring that home.


JOHN MCCORMACK, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE DISPATCH": I'd only give him a five on style because I wasn't that impressed that he spoke quickly and loudly.


I think someone pointed out that there were zero exclamation points in last year's address. There were 80 in this year's address.

WALLACE: You're talking about the actual script which had 80 exclamation points.

MCCORMACK: Actual script had 80 exclamation points this year. And on substance, as a conservative, I'd give them a three. He started out strong on Ukraine, but then went on to a laundry list of Democratic talking points. The only two new policies I really heard were a $10,000 credit for homebuyers. That's not going to solve the problem. Then he talked about a Gaza humanitarian aid pier. I'm not quite sure how that's going to work.

WALLACE: Kara, as our queen of snark, I'm going to give you the opportunity. What was your grade, your score for Senator Katie Britt's GOP response?

SWISHER: Less than zero. It was as if someone put into ChatGPT Stepford wife meets weird kitchen meets someone who failed at getting the lead in a high school play. It was terrible.

WALLACE: So we always make too big a deal, overemphasize the importance of these speeches. It's a speech, it's given, and it ends. Two weeks from now, how big a deal with this speech be?

SWISHER: It's a big deal. Its creates momentum around Joe Biden and gets rid of that idea that -- I know the Republicans are attacking him for being too energetic. But before he was too slow. So too bad. He looks like he can do it, and it gets people excited.


LONGWELL: Yes. Look, I think that this is going to stop the drip, drip, drip of people writing op-eds telling him he needs to step down and that somebody needs to replace them or that they need to replace Kamala Harris on the ticket. Like he put to bid the fact that he's going to be the nominee and that he's up to it.

WALLACE: John, as somebody who was the least impressed by the speech, let me give it to you in a more negative spin. Did Joe Biden stop the bleeding of his presidential candidacy by his performance this week?

MCCORMACK: I think Sarah is exactly right that he shored up Democrats, and I think that if that was his objection, he definitely succeeded. You had prominent Democrats calling for him, hey, we're going to replace him at the convention. I think that's dead, at least for another month. If his polls started tanking even more, maybe that comes back. But for now, he's bought himself a month.

WALLACE: Now, last week, I asked all of you whether or not Biden could flip the script on immigration by talking about Republicans killing the border. Lulu, did he succeed in flipping the script?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, it depends what you mean by that, because the big problem is that he really annoyed Democrats with the way that he spoke about immigration because he used the word "illegals" to describe people. We normally don't use that word because people are not illegal. Their actions might be illegal. So I think on the one hand he annoyed Democrats. And on the other hand, he still has a problem with the numbers. The numbers are not in his favor. The border is still in crisis and nothing has quite been done about it.

WALLACE: Yes, I want to pick up on that because the president can talk about some bill. But the fact remains more than three times as many migrants have been encountered at the border under Biden as during the same period under Trump. So John did Biden succeed in any way in flipping the script on immigration and making it less of a vulnerability for him and a strength for Trump.

MCCORMACK: I wouldn't say flip the script, but he can definitely bracket. Trump is going to go hard saying, look at all the executive orders that I had an immigration that you undone. Biden will say, hey, look at this compromise. There were pieces of the law that needed to be fixed regardless of executive authority. So I do think he has helped himself. I think it'll be a real debate.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But I think one of the things that really matters here is that when you look at Trump, he uses words like poisoning the blood of our nation when he's talking about immigrants. He's saying all immigrants are criminals, that they're bringing crime into this country. I think when you look at that contrast, I think Biden does a lot better because he's trying to show, hey, this is a problem, but I have a policy solution. I have a humane solution that isn't xenophobic.

WALLACE: But does he do better or does he do worse, John, in the sense that if you're really concerned about people coming over the border -- not saying that I'm endorsing Trumps language -- doesn't Trump have more credibility he's going to stop the border?

MCCORMACK: If you look at the polls, Trump clearly has an advantage. Now, do I think that this bill helps Biden shrink it if there's debates and he can point to this bill? Yes, I do think it marginally helps him. But this is going to be a winning issue for Trump.

SWISHER: He's got to do something about it, that's all. He's got to actually do something, and they can argue about who is fault here. But he is holding the bag right now, and it's his job, and therefore --

WALLACE: It is interesting. Remember, before the speech, we were all talking about executive action that he might take to unilaterally try to do something about the border, not talk about it, but do something. He didn't do that.

Sarah, I want to talk to you about something. I've been hearing a term in the last few days that is new to me -- "double haters." I want to put up a poll. I have to say, I like this. It fits the campaign perfectly. In a "New York Times" poll, 19 percent were described as double haters because they disapprove of both Biden and Trump. And Biden is currently leading among the double-haters 45 percent to 33 percent. So Sarah, are the double haters a real thing, and who is going to end up winning the double haters?

LONGWELL: So I conduct focus groups all the time, and the double haters are absolutely a real thing. In fact, because we have this phenomenon here where you essentially have two incumbents running against each other, the persuadable chunk of voters is different this time. It is people who have, they know both these guys and they don't like either.


And so that's why this is going to be a really negative campaign, because persuadable voters to bring them over, you're going to have to make them hate the other guy more. The phrase that we hear in focus groups all the time, and if it was a drinking game, we'd all be dead is, the phrase "lesser of two evils." And what they mean is I'm basically to make my decision on who I hate slightly less. And Biden usually cleans up on that front cause people hate Trump a little bit more.

WALLACE: OK, that's, that's his claim to fame. They hate me.

SWISHER: America.

WALLACE: There you go. That's a bumper sticker.

Speaking of Donald Trump, an insurrection, two impeachments, and dozens of criminal charges couldn't stop his historic political comeback. So is the country suffering from a case of Trump amnesia?

Plus, that didn't last long. Some liberal cities dropping progressive policies to solve a growing problem.

And later, lighter grab your popcorn and your watches. The Oscars are doing something they've never done before. And it's making people like me very happy.



WALLACE: This week, any notion we might be spared a Biden-Trump rematch disappeared. But as historic as the first race between two former presidents since Taft and Teddy Roosevelt back in 1912 is the journey former President Trump has taken since he left the White House under a cloud of shame and rejection.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They call it Super Tuesday for a reason.

WALLACE: A comeback that was unimaginable three years ago, Donald Trump wrapping up a GOP nomination and rematch with Joe Biden.

TRUMP: There has never been anything so conclusive.

WALLACE: In the carnage after January 6th, Trump was all but run out of Washington by Democrats and Republicans.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): There's no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible.

WALLACE: And the public's view of Trump was the worst of his presidency, only 33 percent favorable.

Fast-forward to this week, and things have changed.

MCCONNELL: I said, I would support the nominee for president, even if it were the former president.

WALLACE: But there are the four criminal trials and 91 charges, which seemed to boost support for Trump in the primaries.

TRUMP: I'm much more popular than I was before weaponization.

WALLACE: That could change in November, with large numbers of Republican primary voters in six states saying Trump is not fit to be president if he's convicted.


WALLACE: Kara, how did Donald Trump do it? How did he overcome January 6th, a disappointing midterm, a big field of Republican opponents, and win the Republican nomination?

SWISHER: Well, one, he's incredibly well-known. Two, he's an incumbent. And three America, has a memory drop on almost everything in the last 15 minutes. That's what we do.

That said, I think people will remember very quickly as he starts to appear on the scene all the time, and I still believe he's going to lose badly.



WALLACE: I don't know. It seems to be a 50-50 nation.

John, how do you explain it? How despite all of these problems -- I mean, it would be comparable to Richard Nixon leaving after Watergate and then a couple of years later, he's back as the nominee of the party. How did he keep his grip on the Republican base despite all of the problems over the last four years?

MCCORMACK: Even at his lowest moments after January 6th, when his poll numbers overall were down at 30 percent, there was still a majority of Republicans who supported him. So I think he was always a frontrunner. The closest he ever came to not winning the nomination was when the Senate failed to convict him three years ago. Ron DeSantis, I think someone in his position could have beaten Trump, but again, you had to be a very uniquely talented politician to be effectively an incumbent Republican president.

WALLACE: On the other hand, as I pointed out in the piece, Trump still does face those four criminal trials, those 91 charges. And we got some interesting results in the Super Tuesday exit polls. In Virginia, 37 percent of Republican primary voters said Trump is not fit for the presidency if he's convicted of a crime. In North Carolina, 30 percent. In California, 20 percent.

Sarah, I know there's a real question whether any of these trials are actually going to take place before November. But if they do, and if Trump is convicted, is it going to have more of an impact than the, quote, weaponization, all the indictments, all the civil trials had during the primaries?

LONGWELL: Yes, well, it's a two-tier process, right? So the indictments made him stronger in a Republican primary. But they are going to make him weaker in a general election. And the reason is, is that there's a 70-30 split in the Republican Party -- 70 percent thinks the election was stolen, 70 percent is more or less all in for Trump. There's a reason you see this 30 percent number over and over again. It's the number for Nikki Haley, it's the number, roughly, of if he's convicted people who won't support him.

And so I think that if he is convicted, or even if these trials are going on while he's trying to run, there is a significant chunk of these right-leaning independents, soft GOP voters, never liked to Trump, who it's just going to make them feel more, it's how they decide they hate him more.


WALLACE: But you know, Lulu, I'm not so sure about this because, look, Trump was found in a civil case to have raped a woman, E. Jean Carroll, and it did it didn't slow him down a bit, something that I think would have blown any political candidate that we could ever have thought of out of the water. Do you really think that suddenly these trials, these charges are going to make a difference in the general election? GARCIA-NAVARRO: I do. I think that Donald Trump has a lot of baggage.

I don't subscribe to the idea that there is amnesia, that somehow everyone has forgotten who he is. I think Biden has made missteps. One of the poll numbers that I found fascinating was the poll number that said that Donald Trump was better on infrastructure. I was like, I'm old enough to remember that there was like a weekly infrastructure week that never happened under his administration. And Joe Biden actually made it happen. And yet polls say that somehow they think that he is the stronger candidate on that issue.

WALLACE: Wait a minute. Didn't you just make the case for Trump amnesia?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: No, I'm no I'm not making the case so Trump amnesia. What I'm saying, though, is that I think there was missteps by Biden in that Biden has not until now shown forcefully who he is and what he stands for and really made the case to the American people. And so therefore in that vacuum, people have managed to have nostalgia over Trump, a nostalgia that I don't think has any real bearing on his record.

WALLACE: Sarah, have some of these focus groups -- this is a phrase that is gaining currency among pundits, "Trump amnesia," the idea that a lot of people just forget all the things that happened in his four years in office.

LONGWELL: Yes, I think "amnesia" just may be slightly the wrong term. Here's how it is. It is that people, Biden is right in front of them right now. They blame Biden for the economy, for immigration, and so they have frustrations with him because he's the president. They've just sort of -- Donald Trump is out of frame for a lot of people. He's over there on social bleeding things off, but he's not in front of people. And when he is, and when candidates like him are, like in 2022, and people think, man, these people seem awfully extreme, that's when, when push comes to shove, people go with the milquetoast Democrat over the two extreme Republicans.

SWISHER: In that regard, if he's going to be shameless, which is his greatest asset, the shamelessness of him, then Biden has to get in there very hard and go rapist, racist, fascist, over and over and over again. And then the trials are happening at the same time. He's just had to pay -- he's just $93 million poorer right now, and just hammer it in with those three things -- rapist, racist, fascist.

MCCORMACK: But here's the thing, voters haven't forgotten what the economy was like in 2019. They remember it. And I don't think president's deserve credit. They get blame or credit for what happens on their watch. And voters aren't thinking, oh, well inflation is cooling. They are comparing the numbers today to the numbers four or five years ago.

WALLACE: So what you're saying is maybe they remember some things that were better in -- that's one of the questions is whether they're going to be able to separate 2019 from 2020 when COVID and things went to hell. There's one issue that's forcing liberal cities to turn to

conservative solutions. Up next, the political pendulum swings to make streets safer. But will it work?



WALLACE: Now to a course correction some say may save lives. Liberal cities and states looking to reverse some progressive policies after a surge in crime and drug use. San Francisco, the city of peace and love, this week voted for drug screenings and more police surveillance. And Oregon's Democratic governor says she'll sign a new bill which recriminalizing possession of hard drugs which were decriminalized just four years ago.

CNN went to Oregon to find out just how bad it is.


OFFICER DAVID BAER, PORTLAND POLICE: Fentanyl came on the scene at the same time as Measure 100, so all drugs were decriminalized, and we saw fentanyl just take over. Essentially what's happened is drugs in Oregon are the same as a traffic ticket.


WALLACE: So let's start in Oregon, where as we said, voters ended criminal penalties for lots of street drugs. But take a look at this. Last year, overdose deaths in the state rose 42 percent as compared to the national average, a two percent increase in overdose deaths. Lulu, did some cities and states go too far?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I have to sort of push back on the framing, which is that somehow this is progressive or leftist policies that have run amuck. I'm not a big believer in decriminalizing hard drugs. I'm from Latin America. I've seen the devastation that it causes an entire region when hard drugs get pushed up here. Fentanyl is a catastrophe. We know that. So I don't believe that that ever should have happened.

That said, the war on drugs haven't worked. Mass incarceration hasn't worked. And so when we look at policies that are trying to change things and try to make it better, what we might say is that maybe this was a failed experiment.


WALLACE: Then there's San Francisco well, where billboards like this went up that seemed to promote drug use. But now the liberal Mayor London Breed back a measure that welfare recipients must undergo drugs screening. That was approved by voters. And in November, California voters may increase penalties for drug possession and property crimes. Kara, as someone who lives in San Francisco --

SWISHER: I was just there last night.

WALLACE: -- how do you explain all of this?

SWISHER: Because I think we have a monoculture. Democrats for example, they try different things, and then they change. And then a lot of citizens were tired of it and they're shifting. Now, London Breed is not considered liberal -- she's going to liberal here, but not in San Francisco. She's moving more to the center. She's facing challenges from much more centrist people. And I think the populace is like, OK, this didn't work. Let's try something else, because it's been very difficult, just like Lulu was saying, around homelessness, drug use, and things like that. And so it's time for a crackdown.

WALLACE: Then there's New York City, which has seen a 13 percent increase in major crime in the transit system in just the last year. This week, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said she is deploying 1,000 members of the National Guard and state police to patrol the subways.


GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): These brazen, heinous attacks on our subway system will not be tolerated.


WALLACE: John, are more boots on the ground, or in this particular case, more boots underground, is that the answer?

MCCORMACK: I think it'll certainly help, and I think maybe this could have been avoided if they had enforced the law a little more strictly early on. Back in 2018, the Manhattan district attorney at the time, Cy Vance, said he's not going to prosecuting any of these low-level turnstile jumping. We're not going to care about this in most cases.

I really do believe in the broken windows theory, that tolerance of low-level crime, it just does lead to a greater level of lawlessness. And I think that this is, while a big step to put National Guard down there, especially after people freak out when Tom Cotton said we should have National Guard put down riots. Now they're using them to monitor the subways. I do think it will help, but it's an extreme step.

WALLACE: But here is what makes this whole tough on crime wave so interesting. I want you to look at these numbers. Crime in fact, dropped dramatically in the last year. Violent crime down eight percent across the country, property crime down six percent to the lowest levels since 1961, and homicides in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago all down more than 10 percent. And yet as we said, 77 percent of Americans think crime is spiking. So Sarah, as our public opinion expert here, why do we think crime is worse in our cities than it really is?

LONGWELL: Well, I think part of it is that there are still a lot of low-level crimes like carjackings, people getting their stuff stolen --

WALLACE: Particularly here in D.C. LONGWELL: D.C. it's really bad, it's really bad. And I think coming out of the pandemic people just felt like something was off. Homelessness was a big problem here in D.C. and in other cities. I will say, listening to voters, they think the cities are third world countries. Like some of this also comes from the political culture right now where crime is a big issue, Republicans have been talking about it, and it has been I think talked about in such a hyperbolic way --

SWISHER: By whom, by whom?

LONGWELL: Yes, no. By FOX News.

SWISHER: If you went to San Francisco, you're like, what are you talking about? This is just -- we have problems, but it's not this. They just made it into a ratings thing. They just kept saying this and --

LONGWELL: I think that's true.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But I also think there was a carjacking on my street.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yesterday, D.C. is -- there are cities where there are problems. And also, by the way, we talked about carjackings is if like, oh, well, it's not murder. Nobody likes to have a gun put in their face and their car stolen.

MCCORMACK: And D.C. in particular did have its highest homicide rate in 26 years in 2023. There's been I think a slight improvement. We're only --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: D.C. is an outlier, but yes.

MCCORMACK: We just had the D.C. attorney general say you can't prosecute or arrest your way out of this carjacking problem. Well, I think you can, actually.

WALLACE: So I mean, John, are folks making up, are people imagining a crime situation? When 77 percent of Americans say crime is a problem and it's getting worse, but the FBI numbers indicate it actually isn't, with some exceptions, how do you explain it?

MCCORMACK: Well, again, it depends on the city you're looking at and what's your baseline. I think again, if we're talking or talking about 2018 or 2024 or, yes, in the last year. So I think it just depends on your baseline. And again, there's in media, obviously social media, we're seeing everything --

SWISHER: This is the American carnage. Last night, Senator Britt was the same thing. The country is scary, it's a nightmare. Come on. It's not true. It's right in the middle of lots of things.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And I think one of the things that you can do is say you can have more cops. That's fine. You just have to have them police better. I mean, it doesn't have to be that they have to be armed with tanks and machine guns and moving everyone down. You can have them police better.

WALLACE: All right, some Ivy League students are trying to do something that could radically change college sports, and it's gone under the radar.


Also ahead, the big change to Hollywood's biggest night. We have an Oscars edition of the Yea or Nay. That's next.



WALLACE: It's time to get our panel's yea or nay. And this weekend, it's all about the Oscars. The Academy Awards are still Hollywood's biggest night, but they're not the must-see TV they used to be. For decades the show reliably hooked more than 40 million viewers. The highest rated year was 1998, when "Titanic" won best picture, and more than 57 million people tuned in. But the past three years, the show has an even cracked 20 million.

Lulu, yea or nay, are the Oscars over?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I am such an Oscars afficionado. When I was a little kid, I would sit and stay up watching it, and I have watched it every year. It is not over. I refuse to accept it. I don't care. There are no big convening moments anymore, and the Oscars still rocks.

WALLACE: Well, I mean, that's one of the points though that you talked to. I mean, we all used to, a lot of people, watch the big movies of the year in theaters. Now, a lot of them aren't even in theaters. They're in streamers. And if you don't own the streamer that is airing that particular movie, you don't even see the movie. So Kara, are the Oscars over as the big convening event that Lulu --

SWISHER: They are. I'm sorry, Lulu, they are over. The numbers are way down. The Internet has dismembered media, and people watch it in clips, they watch it in pieces, they hear about it. But as an event, it's not a unifying event.

LONGWELL: But Barbenheimer was big. We had -- movies are back.

WALLACE: That's not the Oscars. That's a movie.

SWISHER: That's a movie.

WALLACE: People went to the movies.

LONGWELL: People who watched the movies then care about whether or not they win the awards, especially if they --

SWISHER: The youngs are not having it.

WALLACE: Guys, this was a yea or nay. It's not a conversation.

There's some good news this year for early birds like me. For the first time ever, the show is starting at 07:00 p.m. eastern, an hour earlier than usual, which should mean they won't be giving out best picture after midnight, which sometimes they do. John, are you yea or nay on staying up to watch the whole darn thing?

MCCORMACK: I'm a nay now and I've always been a nay, so I really shouldn't be the target audience here.

WALLACE: So are you going to watch any of it?

MCCORMACK: I'm excited to find out if Oppenheimer wins, but I'll find it out the next today. I thought Oppenheimer was a great show and I think that will win.

WALLACE: Will you tune in the Oscars at 07:00 p.m.?

MCCORMACK: If my wife does, yes.

WALLACE: And if she doesn't.

MCCORMACK: I'll follow her.

WALLACE: Good husband.

Lulu, given -- I want to explore just how --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Committed I am?

WALLACE: Exactly. I mean, are you in at 7;00 and there for the duration?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Not only am I in at 7:00, I am in for the pre-show on E! The red carpet. My 11-year-old daughter, she now is into award shows, too. We have a whole text chain with my siblings where we critique what people are wearing. Oh, I'm in it, my friend.

WALLACE: Well, Can I get in on the text chain?


WALLACE: Who are you wearing, I guess you're not allowed to ask that anymore.

Finally, summer blockbuster "Oppenheimer" is the odds-on favorite to win best picture, but there are nine other films in the category, including "Barbie," "Maestro," and "Killers of the Flower Moon." We're just going to assume for the purpose does this discussion that "Oppenheimer" will win tomorrow night. But I want to ask all of you, which movie should win tomorrow night. Sarah?

LONGWELL: "Anatomy of a Fall." It is one of the foreign films, and it is awesome. Everybody should go see it.

WALLACE: OK, you can expand a little bit more on. LONGWELL: OK, I'll tell you, you know what, you're going to know

whether or not she did it, and you will think about it for a long time afterward. Also, my brother-in-law is writing for the Oscars, and so do a good job. It better be funny, or you're out of the family.


WALLACE: Kara, what movie should win best picture?

SWISHER: "Barbie." "Barbie" should win best picture. It was the most important movie financially, and it was a wonderful movie that got kicked to the curb. The director got kicked to the curb, and she deserved --

WALLACE: And so did Barbie herself.

SWISHER: Barbie herself, she was fantastic. It's a very heartfelt movie. There's a lot of seriousness at the heart of it.


MCCORMACK: "Oppenheimer" deserves it. It told the story very well of a hugely consequential scientific advancement that ended World War II in a very morally and ethically fraught context.

WALLACE: And quickly, Lulu?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I loved "American Fiction." I thought it was hilarious. I thought it was clever. And, you know, but I think "Barbie" for the win.

WALLACE: OK, up next, a fast break from tradition by some college basketball players that's under scrutiny and under the radar.



WALLACE: Under the radar this week, March Madness in New Hampshire. Dartmouth College's Men's basketball team voted to unionize after a National Labor Relations Board director ruled team members are employees or the school. Here's one of the players.


CADE HASKINS, DARTMOUTH BASKETBALL PLAYER, LED UNION EFFORT: We knew it hadn't been done, but it became more real after we signed cards and went to trial, won. And now today with all the media attention, it becomes even more real.


WALLACE: The historic decision which university administrators are appealing and could take years to sort out, would give players the ability to negotiate such matters as pay, length of practice, and travel conditions, leading to big changes in the world of college sports.


So Sarah, should student athletes let's be treated as union employees.

LONGWELL: No. They should be able to go make money from endorsements. They should be able to own their likeness, but they're students. They are not employees. It's just not what they are. They're students.

WALLACE: Well, interesting that you should say that, because here is the counter from the quite upset president of Dartmouth University.


SIAN BEILOCK, DARTMOUTH PRESIDENT: We believe our athletes are students. We don't give athletic scholarships. We are student athletes here, and we believe our students should be thought of in that way.


WALLACE: Lulu, there are a number of arguments beyond Sarah's definition against the idea of unionized student players. And one of the biggest ones is if you have to start paying every student athlete, a lot of these sports that a lot of colleges have don't bring in money. And you may have to drop them. And the area that could get hit the hardest is women's sports. So are you still OK with the idea of unionized student athletes?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I am, and I'll tell you why. I think that student sports has gotten, especially in college, has gotten sort of wildly out of control. It's a huge money-making business. There's billions of dollars at stake here. And the fact of the matter is you have a few very high-profile student athletes, but the vast majority of them don't actually get very much money, as you mentioned, don't have stakes. Unionizing actually allows for more equitable distribution of money and also of how they get treated.

WALLACE: So John, as the traditionalist in our panel here, any concerns about just blowing up the idea of student athletes?

MCCORMACK: No. I think that they deserve to get paid. I would be a little paternalistic and maybe not give them these checks right up front, maybe structured as a trust and they can use it after they graduate. But they bring in a lot of money. And why should the coaches make $1 million and the students who are never going to have shot the pros make nothing?

WALLACE: Some of the coaches make more than $1 million.

The panel is back with their takes on hot stories and what will be in the news before it's news. Thats right after the break.


[10:57:01] WALLACE: It's time for our panel special takes on what's happening or predictions of what we should be looking up for us. So John, hit me with your best shot.

MCCORMACK: A big news story this week was that Nikki Haley finally dropped out and did not endorse Donald Trump. I predict that she will continue to hold out, and I don't know that anything can really change that.

WALLACE: So what does that mean?

MCCORMACK: I think that she will not endorse Donald Trump unless I think --

WALLACE: Until the convention? Through the election?

MCCORMACK: I think there's a slight chance, a slight, slight chance that Trumps tanks in the polls. He's going to go to Nikki Haley as the only possible person who can save him, ask her to be V.P. I have no idea what she would say.

WALLACE: I would -- I'll take the under on that possibility.

Kara, you're focused on two of your favorite people.

SWISHER: Which is that, which is Elon Musk and ChatGPT?

WALLACE: No. And Donald Trump.

SWISHER: And Donald Trump. Yes, I am. I'm actually looking at ChatGPT in general. Elon Musk sued ChatGPT this week in a nonsense lawsuit. He also sidled up to Donald Trump. He has to sidle up to Donald Trump because if Biden wins, I think he's going to be in a little more trouble, especially around SpaceX and national security clearances. At the same time his attack on ChatGPT is going to be problematic because they're going to be announcing their board very soon, and they're getting some big names, they are talking to some very big names in media and tech.

WALLACE: And Donald Trump needs the coin.

SWISHER: He needs the coin. Oh yes, he's the richest man in the world. Donald Trump needs the money, and he will trade influence for it.

WALLACE: Sarah, best shot?

LONGWELL: OK, so there is a third party group called No Labels that has been trying to field this third unity ticket, and they just announced that they are going forward with this despite the fact that Joe Manchin has turned them down, Hillary Clinton has turned them down, Larry Hogan has turned them down. And I'm going to predict that they get nowhere with this. Nobody runs on that ticket. If they did, it would be enormously damaging. It would reelect Donald Trump. It would not win a single state. And I think no candidate is going to join up with them despite they're saying they're continuing on. WALLACE: Literally, you're not saying that it's not going to be one of

these names that we've talked about. You're saying that no one is going to end up on the No Labels ticket?

LONGWELL: They have said that it would have to be somebody serious. And I don't think anybody serious is going to look at the polling and not understand that the only thing they would do by joining No Labels is reelect Donald Trump.

WALLACE: I have generally founded life as you get closer to the edge of the cliff, things get more serious, and you change your, your ideas about who they would consider are an acceptable candidate. It's kind of tough for them if they don't take anybody.

LONGWELL: Yes, but they have proven that they are -- it's just, it's really been amateur hour.

WALLACE: Lulu, I understand that you took a trip off the Taylor this week.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I did. Goodbyes, Swifties. Hello, Livies. I went to the Olivia Rodrigo concert in Miami with my 11-year-old daughter and it was amazing. And she is fabulous. And I am now her biggest fan.

And I wanted to bring you back, because Kara constantly is bringing you back gifts. I wanted to bring you back a bracelet. I have come though, not bearing gifts. This is not for you because my daughter said you are not going to give our bracelet to that Swiftie man that loves Taylor Swift on television. So I had been told explicitly that this beautiful, beautiful, beautiful bracelet is not for you.


WALLACE: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It says, "Big Fan."

WALLACE: Big fan. Wow, bestselling author.

Thank you all for being here, except for Lulu.


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