This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, Jan. 18, 2003, that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order the complete transcript.

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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Let's go to the ups and downs, if it's...

MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: ... go right ahead.

BARNES: ... permission. All right.

UP: Pro-lifers

BARNES: Thirty years after Roe v. Wade, public support for abortion is starting to wane. A Gallup poll released this week shows 60 percent think abortion should always be illegal, or legal only in a few circumstances, while 38 percent think abortion should be legal in all or more circumstances.

Mort, there has been a shift, as I think your recognize, and most people do. It's not a shift that makes a ban on abortion politically possible now or even overturning Roe v. Wade politically possible. But it does mean that, that a majority of Americans think abortions should be harder to get, and some restrictions, some really sharp restrictions need to be applied on abortions and who can get them and when they can get them and so on.

The problem politically for Democrats is that they're -- they still want no restrictions, for the most part, not all of them, want no restrictions on abortion, something that is now the unpopular position in America. And when you look at the agenda for 2003, there it's banning partial birth abortion and cloning are the two big issues.

KONDRACKE: Yes, but I think Bush is in awkward position himself, because he's basically hiding his, his true feelings. I mean, he has said in the past, and I believe him, that he would like to overturn Roe v. Wade.  But when the big antiwar -- anti, antiabortion demonstration took place this week, which he did not address in person...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... but rather by, by speakerphone, he did not even mention Roe v. Wade. I'm they're going -- the, the administration is going to go for a ban on cloning, which I, you know, on therapeutic cloning, I think is a bad idea, and also on partial birth abortion, which I think is a good idea.

But, you know, what, what, what's happening here...

BARNES: You want to...

KONDRACKE: ... is that Bush is, Bush is hiding his real...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... his real impression. And if he could overturn Roe v. Wade...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... he would, but he, but he won't own up to it...and when you asked Karl Rove about all this...

BARNES: Yes, yes.

KONDRACKE: ... he could -- he had no answer...because...

BARNES: ... hiding it like Democrats are on the war, when the fact is, they're really against a war with Iraq, but they won't admit that. I mean, the same thing...

KONDRACKE: Something like that.

BARNES: ...All right.

UP: Civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton

KONDRACKE: He may or may not -- he may not be in the top tier of Democratic presidential hopefuls, let's hope, but Sharpton is shaking up the field with his no- holds-barred left-wing rhetoric and is getting, so far, an enthusiastic reception.

I mean, what, what happens with Democratic candidates is that they have to give any black candidate a respectful treatment...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... even if he's a demagogue...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... and, and, and, and Sharpton is. I mean, famously, he defended this girl, Tawana Brawley, who falsely claimed that she'd been raped by, by cops, and it went on and on, and it went through court cases and...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... and all that.

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: Now Sharpton is saying, quote, "The next time anyone know -- wants to know about Tawana Brawley, I'm going to say, Do you ask them about Teddy Kennedy -- do you ask Teddy Kennedy about Chappaquiddick? Do you ask Hillary Clinton about her husband?"

Well, the fact of the matter is, is that when Kennedy was running for president, he was asked about Chappaquiddick, and when Hillary runs in 2008 or 2004...

BARNES: ...yes, yes.

KONDRACKE: ... or whenever, she will be asked about Bill.

BARNES: Yes. You know, Democrats and the press have legitimized Al Sharpton. And they really did it in 2000, when there was one of those Democratic presidential debates, Al, Al Gore and Bill Bradley, sponsored by  Sharpton. He got the first question. You know, he's not, he's not a journalist, Mort, he's a lot of things, he's not a journalist. I don't remember your complaining about that.

But think...

KONDRACKE: ... you should try to remember. Your, your memory needs refreshing. I did complain.

BARNES: All right, good for you.

But you would have complained even more had Republicans had some presidential debate sponsored by Bob Jones University...

KONDRACKE: I certainly would.

BARNES: ... in South Carolina...

KONDRACKE: I certainly would, you're...absolutely right.

BARNES: ...I'm moving on.

UP: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist

BARNES: Rookie Frist gets a string of big legislative victories this week, culminating in passage of a $390 billion spending package. Pretty impressive, right?

KONDRACKE: This was impressive. I mean, there were 25 straight votes, and the leadership, Frist and company, won all of them. I mean, this was...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... a, a performance akin to what happens in the House with your hero, Tom DeLay...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... except that Bill Frist did it without a hammer.

BARNES: Look, Frist has been impressive. I thought he was impressive particularly in getting most Republicans together on an environmental vote backing the president against the whole environmental lobby. That was good. And The New York Times said, they didn't mean this as a compliment, that it was almost an assembly line passing legislation. That means Frist is in charge. You agree?

KONDRACKE: I agree.

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