This partial transcript of The Beltway Boys, November 24, 2001 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.

MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST:  Here's our "Tip Sheet" for next week's action.

Item one: The U.N. will host Afghanistan's four largest ethnic groups in Germany next week to try to hammer out a power-sharing deal.  Will they succeed?

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST :  Hardly -- hard to keep a straight face on that one.  Of course they won't succeed.  They don't agree on much of every -- of anything.  They all want to be the head, even though they represent some small ethnic group.  Why don't they just wait until there's a post-Taliban to try to set up a post-Taliban government?  And when we have a post-Taliban, we need American troops or British troops or NATO troops there on the ground for leverage to make sure they do the right thing.  It's important.

KONDRACKE:  Well, they got to start talking sometime, they may as well start talking in advance.  OK.

Item number two: The U.S.'s new Middle East envoys, retired Marine General Anthony Zinni and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Burns go to the Middle East for talks with the Israelis and the Palestinians.

BARNES:  Yes, look, this is window dressing just so the Arab countries will think that the U.S. is really pushing something there.  There is no deal to be made.  You know, in that speech last Monday that Secretary of State Powell gave, he seemed to forget the Camp David summit with Prime Minister -- then-Prime Minister Barak and Arafat and President Clinton, where the greatest deal that the Palestinians could ever hope for was offered to them.

They rejected it.  I mean, there's no deal to be forged now.

KONDRACKE:  Yes, but -- well, that was then, and Powell has to deal with the future, and basically look...

(CROSSTALK) 

BARNES:  Forget the past.

KONDRACKE:  ... what we're trying to do --  OK, but what would you try -- what he's basically trying to do is to look busy, you know, saying, We're trying, we're trying...

BARNES:  Yes, look...

KONDRACKE:  ... and if we're going to go after Iraq, it would help that we're at least looking like we're trying to solve the Middle East problem.

BARNES:  OK.

KONDRACKE:  Item three: The National Bureau of Economic Research could officially declare the U.S. in recession next week.

BARNES:  Yes, they will.  We are.

KONDRACKE:  And?

BARNES:  And it feels like it.

KONDRACKE:  Yes.

BARNES:  And, well, you know...

KONDRACKE:  And when are we going to get out?

BARNES:  Well, that's a big question.  If it's a light recession, then it'll be next spring.  If not, it'll be later.  I think it'll probably be light, but who knows?

KONDRACKE:  And, and it will be -- not be good for the Republicans in the 2002 elections, if it's the second quarter or later.

Item four: President Bush will resume coalition-building efforts next week, meeting with the leaders of Spain and Yemen.

BARNES:  Yes, Spain's fine, but why do you bring the leader from Yemen?  I mean, I remember the USS Cole that was bombed there and, what, 17, 19 American soldiers were killed.  Did Yemen help the investigation to find out exactly who was behind it?  I think they impeded the investigation.

Now we're inviting this over?  What, you know -- what do you talk to this guy about?  Pretend like he's really against terrorism?  I'm tired of this.  I was a -- I think it was wrong for the president when he had that Ramadan dinner last Monday night to invite the PLO representative.  He's not against terrorism.  The representative from Syria, they harbor terrorists like crazy.  He was there.

KONDRACKE:  And Spain, don't forget, is refusing to send over -- to extradite criminals, terrorist criminals, because of the military commission.

BARNES:  Yes, but they arrested them, and they're going to spend a lot of time in jail.

KONDRACKE:  I hope so.

And item five: After a spate of anthrax incidents, mail service to Congress is finally expected to resume next week.

BARNES:  You know, that means these lobbyists that get paid so much actually have to go up there and lobby.  They can't organize these letter-writing campaigns from home because who knows when the letters will ever get there?  That's been the big thing, you know, grass roots -- stir up the grass roots.  And that won't work any more.

KONDRACKE:  Yes, well, the mail's all been irradiated.  I will bet you that there is all...

(CROSSTALK) 

KONDRACKE:  ... well, that there is a -- that there is more mail than just the Leahy letter and the Daschle letter.  I think that there have been several other pieces of mail.  Can't prove it, though.

BARNES:  You mean with anthrax.

KONDRACKE:  With anthrax in it.

BARNES:  Yes.

KONDRACKE:  I mean, you know, how else to explain the proliferation of anthrax -- various places, especially even in the Hart Building.  I mean, the Hart Building cannot be simply accounted for by a Daschle letter and a Leahy letter.

 

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