This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, August 24, that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order the complete transcript.
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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Welcome back.
Let's see if Ceci's up to the challenge of this week's Tip Sheet, which is harder than the SATs, by the way.
Item number one, President Bush continues to stump for GOP candidates. Next week he's off to Arkansas to campaign for Senator Tim Hutchinson, who's in trouble, and then it's Oklahoma to attend fund raisers for Congressman Steve Largent, who's running for governor, and Senator James Inhofe. Primaries are being held there next Tuesday.
CECI CONNOLLY, THE WASHINGTON POST, GUEST HOST: Well, Fred, despite the timing, this is not about primary fights. President Bush is doing his good duty by the party, going around raising some money, ginning up a little excitement among the faithful.
The real hot races are going to come in November, especially that Arkansas contest. The polls right now have got them about 3 points apart, former Senator Pryor's son is running against Hutchinson for that Senate seat.
BARNES: Yes, that's a key race, Republicans have to hold that if they're going to have a chance of taking over the Senate.
What I think, though, is, we shouldn't begrudge a president a real vacation. Why doesn't he just stay in — at the, at the ranch, and at — you know, he doesn't need to go all over. Take a week or two off. I suspect he's not, but he should.
Item two, this Tuesday, former attorney general Janet Reno, Tampa attorney Bill McBride, and Miami State Senator Daryl Jones will take the stage in Florida's only televised Democratic gubernatorial debate.
CONNOLLY: Fred, Bill McBride is counting on a $2 million television buy to really kind of bump up his polling numbers. Right now, he's trailing badly, despite all the talk.
BARNES: Yes, yes, 19 points, yes.
CONNOLLY: There's a lot of talk about momentum, but I, I don't think you can really see it right now, Fred. He's got to hope that he can come up with something in the next couple weeks.
BARNES: Yes, I think Reno wins. OK.
Item three, Undersecretary of State John Bolton will visit Seoul, South Korea, next, but there is some debate over what he should or should not say while he's there.
CONNOLLY: This is a behind-the-scenes struggle within the and administration it comes down to whether or not they're going to be true to President Bush's State of the Union comments when he discussed that axis of evil...
CONNOLLY: ... or are they going to try a more delicate form of diplomacy over in a region which is very tense? But interestingly enough, they're trying to talk.
BARNES: Yes, I think Bolton's going to be very, very tough. He's a Reaganite, Bushite mole in the State Department.
Item four, the pharmaceutical industry and the government go head to head in a series of court cases next week.
CONNOLLY: Fred, this is a surprisingly hot one, and it's because you have got a number of states with their Medicaid budgets are trying to get real tough and negotiate lower drug prices. Pharma is putting up a big struggle in the courts, including one right here in D.C. district court coming up this week.
It's all about money. The industry got paid $20 billion, that's B as in beltway boy, Fred, for its Medicaid drug coverage.
BARNES: Yes, I just worry about the drug in being attacked and, and wind up killing the goose that lays the golden egg, all the wonder drugs, all the wonder drugs.
Item five, August 30 is the deadline for major league baseball players and owners to make a deal, or, or the players to walk out. Strike or not?
CONNOLLY: All I can say is, good riddance either way. Golf has gotten much more exciting. That's what I'm going to be watching.
BARNES: I say no strike.
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