Ups and Downs for the Week of March 18-22

This partial transcript of The Beltway Boys, March 16, was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.

MORT KONDRACKE: Now for the ups and downs.

Up, racial profiling, actually ethnic profiling.

Attorney General John Ashcroft announced plans to call in an additional 3,000 Middle Easterners for questioning in the war on terror, causing civil libertarians and Arab-American groups to denounce it as racial profiling.

Now, I'm against racial profiling on the streets, on the highways, and all that. You know, dragging black drivers off and interrogating them. But here you have a case where 100 percent of the people who carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks were young Middle Eastern men.


KONDRACKE: Now, it's simply, in view of that, ridiculous to start frisking little old ladies of any color, you know, at airports and so on.

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: And these people, who are not going to be tortured, they are not going to be given the third degree, they are going to be merely questioned, and some of them actually want to give information about, about possible terrorism.

BARNES: Yes, you're preaching to the choir on this.

I actually have experiences, I think most people who fly have experienced one of these incidents where a 90-year-old man dressed up in a suit with a cane comes along and he's frisked, you know, they insist on going through all his luggage and frisking him, while a couple of guys who look like Mohammed Atta get on the plane without being examined more thoroughly.

But there's another aspect to this whole question of ethnic profiling and these interviews that Ashcroft talked about the other day. Listen.


JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: While it's impossible to gauge definitively, this disruption is a critical component of our prevention strategy, and it may well have contributed to the fact that we have not suffered a substantial terrorist attack since September the 11th of last year.


BARNES: Yes, you see what he's getting at there? In other words, he's telling these, these young Middle Eastern men who are interviewed that, you know, we know you're here, we know where you are, and, and you better be careful.

And the other thing, of course, is, I mean, should we be frisking Swedes when they get on the plane? I mean, you're absolutely right, this thing, I mean, it is young Middle Eastern men who are the problem. OK.

Up, Republican candidate for Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney.

The former Olympics boss spooks current Governor Jane Swift into dropping out of the race, and Republicans love it. A Boston Herald poll last week showed primary voters favoring Romney over Swift by a whopping 63 points. That's enough to make anybody drop out.

You know, the amazing thing to me is not that Swift dropped out -- she's a very weak candidate anyway -- but the Democrats are really terrified, at least at the moment, of Romney as a candidate against whoever they wind up nominating. He ran in 1994 a very respectable race in this most Democratic of states against Teddy Kennedy, the senator, who was running for reelection.

And I tell you one thing, whoever is the Democratic nominee, it will not be a Teddy Kennedy, that's for sure, in stature, money, anything.

KONDRACKE: All right, here's what Miss Swift had to say about why she did all this.


GOV. JANE SWIFT (R), MASSACHUSETTS: The only pressure was from the inside. I have never done anything in my life without giving it 100 percent. And the reality, that I'm sure there isn't a working parent in America that hasn't faced it, that when the demands of the two tasks that you take on both increase substantially, something has to give.


KONDRACKE: She's talking about family. Now, something doesn't add up about this. Absent Mitt Romney, she was fully prepared to continue being governor. She was prepared to fight the Democrats and be governor for another term. Suddenly Mitt Romney comes along, you know, and is obviously going to wipe her out, so she quits. That's the reason, that's the reason.

BARNES: You are such a cynic, such a cynic...


BARNES: ... such a cynic.

KONDRACKE: Up, Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Independent counsel Robert Ray issues the final chapter in the Whitewater case. The verdict, the Clintons benefited from criminal activity related to Whitewater and gave factually inaccurate testimony, but there's not enough evidence to prove that they did anything wrong in court.

BARNES: Now, I'm not disputing any of the thing in this report, but it should never have been issued, written or issued. The fact is, reports like this are a reason why we got rid of the whole independent counsel statute. I think that was a good idea.

Look, prosecutors have a job. They go in and investigate a case and decide whether to indict or not. If they don't indict, they ought to just shut up. I mean, coming out with some report trashing these people who they didn't indict, I think, is improper. I'm glad that IC law is gone.

KONDRACKE: Well, you've got three special prosecutors who spent $64 million investigating the Clintons and came up basically empty-handed. I'm sort of actually glad that they, that they published this report...


KONDRACKE: ... just to show -- wait a minute -- just to say, OK, here's what we spent the money on. And the fact of the matter is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) at the other end, the evidence against the Clintons in the Whitewater case, at least, is totally thin.

BARNES: All right. Down, the Catholic Church.

The Pope finally speaks out on the toll the spate of sex scandals is having on the church, and just in time, too. A recent Pew Center poll shows a stunning 56 percent of Catholics say church leaders have mostly tried to cover up child abuse cases by clergy. Only 32 percent say leaders are trying to address the problem.

KONDRACKE: You know, 20 years ago there was a reporter in New Orleans named Jason Berry who began to un, uncover this national scandal. And it got shoved back under the rug because basically the media around the country were too scared of the power of the Catholic Church in, in their communities. And as a result, pedophilic priests were allowed to, to victimize children, you know.

So now it's coming out. The press is not so scared any more. And it's, it is absolutely about time for Pope John Paul to crack down on pedophilic priests and get rid of them, get them out of the priesthood.

BARNES: Yes, no, I agree with that. As much an admirer I am of the Catholic Church, not being a Catholic myself, I think this is the greatest crisis for the Catholic Church in America probably ever. And they're going to have to deal with celibacy and the problem of homosexuals in the church, in the seminaries, where active, sexually active homosexuals are in, are about to become priests.

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