This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, July 27, that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order the complete transcript.
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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Let's go to the Ups and Downs.
DOWN: Vice President Dick Cheney
KONDRACKE: He's hiding once again, this time from the media. At the urging of his lawyers, Cheney will not be talking to reporters or doing any TV interviews until after the Securities and Exchange Commission finishes its probe into Halliburton's accounting practices.
FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: You know, this hibernation was Cheney's choice. His lawyers recommended it. But it was his choice. Bush doesn't like the idea, because the fact is, right now Cheney needs to be out front as the best economic spokesman for the entire Bush administration.
Now, the Halliburton, Cheney in the '80s and '90s was the, was the head of Halliburton in the '90s, I guess, the head of Halliburton, the oil services company, and they claimed as revenues, and which added to their earnings, these paid cost overruns on projects they were doing. It turns out that this is an acceptable practice. Halliburton didn't do anything wrong.
I think Cheney's going to be entirely vindicated. And despite all the stories we read in the newspapers, Cheney is not now and never will be a liability politically for Bush.
KONDRACKE: Yes, listen, if, if Cheney is Bush's only economic spokesman that he can trot out, then Al Gore has something to be said for him. Maybe, maybe Bush ought to try to find himself a better economic spokesman, more dependable. Anyway...
BARNES: I agree.
KONDRACKE: OK. Look, if there's anybody in this administration or in politics, in fact, that I would trust to be a straight shooter and be on the up and up, it's, it, it's Dick Cheney. I do not believe that the SEC will find it that he did anything wrong, and, and, and I think he's now in a tough spot, though...
KONDRACKE: ... because as vice president of the United States, if he says anything to defend himself about the Halliburton case, it'll look like he's putting pressure on the SEC, which he shouldn't be, or shouldn't do.
BARNES: Yes. All right. I'm moving on here.
UP: Senate Banking Committee Chairman Paul Sarbanes
BARNES: Sarbanes displays his behind-the-scenes tactical skills to get a broad bipartisan support for his corporate reform bill. Impressive.
KONDRACKE: Yes, Paul Sarbanes is the, the last person you would label Mr. Charisma. And in fact, I mean, he did work, work this bill up, but it would have gone nowhere during the Enron days...
KONDRACKE: ... had it not been for the WorldCom disaster, which reignited everybody's interest in, in corporate irresponsibility. So since WorldCom, the, the bill got pushed, the Republicans could not resist it, even though they, a lot of them didn't like it...
KONDRACKE: ... so now it's law, and he gets the credit.
BARNES: Well, he did a great job, Sarbanes did, in the negotiations with Mike Oxley, the leading Republican from the House. He got most everything that was in the Senate bill except for one thing, the Republicans wanted stiffer criminal penalties for wrongdoing CEOs. They won on that, and you know what? Sarbanes was...
(INTERRUPTED FOR COVERAGE OF A LIVE EVENT)
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