This partial transcript of The Beltway Boys, Feb. 2, was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.
MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: OK, let's go to the Ups and Downs.
Up: President Bush
KONDRACKE: Bush gets high marks for his State of the Union speech, both in the polls and in the ratings.
FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Well, you know, I have seen now 27 – I've covered 27 State of the Union addresses, and only a couple of them were memorable before President Bush's last week. The first one, President Ford, you know, when he said in 1975, "The state of the Union is not good," and it wasn't good then. And then President Clinton's in 1998, right after the Monica Lewinsky story broke, and then you wondered whether he could get through it, and of course he did get through it dazzlingly well.
This speech by Bush, though, was the most riveting, the most important. And it revealed what Bush has decided what his presidency is about. It's about making the world safe for Americans and for freedom- loving people everywhere, that it's, it's really as simple as that.
And you know, a lot of the press didn't understand how uniquely Bush the speech was. But a couple of reporters did. Michael Gordon of The New York Times, for instance, said this in his piece. "Mr. Bush's speech was not one that the State Department would have drafted, that's for sure." And Dan Henninger, the columnist for The Wall Street Journal, wrote, "There isn't a single Democrat holding elected office now who would have spoken those lines."
Boy, that's right.
KONDRACKE: Well, Joe, Joe Lieberman might have come close.
BARNES: Well, he might have come close.
Let's move on to...
KONDRACKE: Wait, whoah, just...
KONDRACKE: ...let me stop you here. We're going to – I want to play a piece of...
KONDRACKE: ...of, of what Bush said, and, you know, I think, in, in, in the main – and by the way, I've covered 33 of these, I'm a little older than you...
KONDRACKE: Thirty-three. That, you know, I think it was one of the most eloquent and most – one of the most meaningful...
KONDRACKE: ...of all State of the Unions, as – as – and it had echoes of Teddy Roosevelt...
KONDRACKE: ...and Woodrow Wilson and FDR and Lyndon Johnson a little bit...
BARNES: And, and, and, and, and, and, and, and...
KONDRACKE: ...what, what, what I'm worried a little...
BARNES: ...and Ronald Reagan.
KONDRACKE: ...a little worried about – and Ronald Reagan, lots of Ronald Reagan...
KONDRACKE: Little Bill Clinton too on volunteerism, but listen, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: September the 11th brought out the best in America and the best in this Congress. And I join the American people in applauding your unity and resolve. Now Americans deserve to have this same spirit directed toward addressing problems here at home.
I'm a proud member of my party. Yet as we act to win the war, protect our people, and create jobs in America, we must act first and foremost not as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KONDRACKE: I hate, I hate to say this, I hate to say this, but there was a little whiff of Richard Nixon there. Be – just...
KONDRACKE: ...you know, if you...
BARNES: Ah, ah, ah. Oh...
KONDRACKE: ...raise a question about how...
BARNES: ...come on, oh...
KONDRACKE: ...I'm doing anything, including creating jobs...
BARNES: ...please, oh...
KONDRACKE: ...you know, you're being unpatriotic.
KONDRACKE: ...the implication.
BARNES: I'm going to move on.
KONDRACKE: All right.
BARNES: ...I, I, I – let's move on.
BARNES: Down, Enronitis. Democrats are suffering from a bad case of it, doing everything they can to hang the Enron collapse around Republicans' necks. And if you don't believe me, listen to Tom Daschle and Joe Lieberman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
U.S. SENATOR TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: We are slowly Enronizing the economy, Enronizing the budget.
U.S. SENATOR JOE LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: I worry about Enronitis shaking our economy in a way that retards the recovery.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BARNES: You know, Democrats, Mort, as you've heard me say before, just don't understand this particular political moment right now after 9/11. There is one thing more than anything else that the American public passionately wants, and that's to keep alive the spirit of 9/11, that spirit of unity, that spirit of patriotism, that spirit of a mood, a people working together and so on. The one thing they don't want to return to is politics as usual, attacks and counterattacks and so on.
Democrats show they don't get it in this ad, which I'm going to show you in a minute, and or in a couple seconds, and you can even argue, I guess, that the response by Republicans is over the top too. Watch these.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NORTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC PARTY AD)
ANNOUNCER: September 11. Elizabeth Dole promises she'll put her campaign on hold, but then on September 20 flies to a secret fund raiser hosted by Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron. The Winston-Salem Journal says, quote, "While Dole's campaign was publicly stating it had put its activities on hold, it was conducting fund raisers at the house of a scoundrel."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NRSC AD)
ANNOUNCER: America must be one nation, and President Bush is bringing us together. Yet some politicians are trying to tear us apart.
The Democrats have launched another negative smear campaign, this time attacking Elizabeth Dole, former head of the Red Cross, questioning her patriotism. It's ugly politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KONDRACKE: See, there you go. I mean, what, what – that's Nixonian, that Republican ad...
BARNES: Oh, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), oh, it is not. It is not.
KONDRACKE: It is, it is saying, it – look, it is the duty...
BARNES: That's (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KONDRACKE: ...of the opposition party to oppose. And if the – and as long as they do it in a, in a, in a, in an responsible manner...
BARNES: That wasn't responsible.
KONDRACKE: ...then I think...
BARNES: That was negative, that was ridiculous...
KONDRACKE: The Demo – baloney. I mean, she...
BARNES: ...I mean, it was not even true.
KONDRACKE: ...said that she was canceling...
BARNES: Oh, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KONDRACKE: ...and she went out with Enron with the fund-raiser.
BARNES: Let me ask you this. I got one question.
BARNES: Which ad, which of those two ads do you think will go over better with the public?
KONDRACKE: I'm afraid the Republican ad.
BARNES: Yes, there you go.
Down: Roman Catholic Church
KONDRACKE: Down, down, the Roman Catholic Church. Not only did it turn a blind eye to evidence that a Boston priest allegedly sexually molested dozens of boys in his pastoral care, it discouraged the parents of the boys from taking action and pursued secret out-of-court settlements. And not only Boston. I mean, this is a nationwide, maybe a worldwide problem for the Roman Catholic Church.
There are reports that the Catholic Church has quietly paid up to a billion dollars in settlements, out-of-court settlements with parents and, and victims of molestation. And I think there's a systemic problem here that the Catholic Church ought to be addressing by allowing priests to marry or inviting married priests in, and also ordaining women, so that you get a broader pool of priests.
BARNES: Mort, this is an aberration on the part of a few Catholic priests. Don't join that group of secularists and feminists who are trying to use this to bring down the Catholic Church, one of the greatest institutions in the history of the world. Don't – and, and look, these people are the enemies of Christianity as well. They're trying to use this thing. Be careful.
Down: former President Bill Clinton
BARNES: Down, former President Bill Clinton. He touched off a controversy in Israel when he kept Foreign Minister Shimon Peres cooling his heels for about 15 minutes while he took pictures with the young women of the office. Now, Mort, you've heard that expression: A picture is worth 1,000 words? This one sure is.
KONDRACKE: You love it, I know.
BARNES: Well, you must have some comment.
KONDRACKE: Well, I do have some comment. I, I have some comment that, you know, Bill Clinton is a, is a chronic low-life. I admit that. But don't forget that he is the guy on whose watch all these wonderful weapons that we, that we expended in, in Afghanistan to such great effect...
BARNES: Right, yes.
KONDRACKE: ...were procured, and he also is the guy...
KONDRACKE: ...who appointed Tommy Franks. So you got...
BARNES: Yes, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
KONDRACKE: ...to give him a little credit.
KONDRACKE: ...look, all the weapons decisions, important decisions, were made under Reagan.
KONDRACKE: Oh, come on. Under Reagan?
KONDRACKE: He's not been president for years.
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