Tip Sheet for the Week of May 13 - 17

This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, May 11, that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order the complete transcript.

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BILL SAMMON, GUEST CO-HOST: Welcome back to The Beltway Boys.

Mort's in the hot seat, and here's our Tip Sheet for next week's action.

Item number one, President Bush will be in Illinois Monday to talk welfare reform.

MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Well, Bush wants more work out of a higher percentage of poor people who get a, you know, get, getting welfare. Coming out of a recession, this sounds very Republican, not terribly compassionate.

SAMMON: It also signals a return to domestic issues in an election year.

Item number two, former President Carter will visit Cuba this Sunday.

KONDRACKE: Well, you know, Fidel Castro helped defeat Jimmy Carter in 1980 by sending thousands of misfits across the, the water to invade the, the United States. Now, I'm sure that Jimmy Carter, being the kind of person that he is, will forgive Fidel Castro all of that, and he probably will say it's time to end the trade embargo against. But I hope he will say it's time for Cuba to become a democracy.

SAMMON: I hope he will serve as a weapons inspector at what this administration believes is a germ warfare plant that he's going to tour in Cuba.

Item number three, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill warns that Congress — warns Congress that their spending could hit the debt ceiling as early as next week.

KONDRACKE: Well, O'Neill has the capacity, as his predecessor, Bob Rubin did the last time there was a big fight over the, the debt ceiling, to juggle trust funds in order to make — to extend the, the time when, when the debt ceiling has to be extended.

But eventually there's going to be a big fight in Congress, and the Democrats are going to be able to say, Whatever happened to that $5.6 trillion surplus that we came in with? And their answer is, tax cuts.

SAMMON: Yes, but it's a dangerous game of political chicken. If they push it too far, we'll technically go into default.

KONDRACKE: We're not going to go into default.

SAMMON: Item number four, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee next week to explain why he cut the Crusader artillery system.

KONDRACKE: Well, Rumsfeld can make a pretty good case that it's too expensive, it's too heavy, and it's old technology. The problem is, is that Rumsfeld waited to the very last minute, and just as the House was about to vote, in order to say that he was going to cancel the Crusader.  That's what he's going to have to explain about.

SAMMON: Interestingly Bush supports Rumsfeld decision, even though Bush's father is the senior adviser to the company developing the Crusader.

KONDRACKE: The Carlyle Group, right.

SAMMON: Item number five, Star Wars, Episode 2 opens next week.

KONDRACKE: Well, you know, as a matter of fact, I saw The Phantom Menace. I put myself through the ordeal of watching Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, which was the last version of the, of the show. It was dreadful. I mean, it was all special effects, you know, costumes, lavish expenditures, no plot...

SAMMON: Awful dialogue.

KONDRACKE: ... nothing, no — awful dialogue. The kid, the little kid, you know, Anakin Skywalker, was, was dreadful. And, you know, I think that George Lucas has just lost it. You know, and the reviews of this new movie aren't very good either.

SAMMON: And yet it's a spectacle of special effects that you can't ignore. The critics are going to hate it, the fans are going to love it.  As the father of five kids, I can't escape it, so I'm sure I'll see it.

KONDRACKE: No. I think I'll go see it too.

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