Hot Stories for the Week of May 5-9

This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, May 10, 2003, that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order the complete transcript.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Well, the hot story is, jobs and growth. I mean, everybody agrees that the economy (search) is sluggish, at, at a minimum, and that the economy's -- needs a jolt. Even the Democrats are in favor of a tax cut, a small one, $155 billion, most of it to take place right away.

The president wants a big one. Let's watch him.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The good news is that the debate has shifted from no tax relief to how much tax relief (search), and I've got an idea, we need robust tax relief. We don't need a small tax relief package, we need a tax relief package that meets the needs of our workers. We need a tax relief package that stimulates the entrepreneurial spirit. We need robust tax relief in order to make sure those who are looking for work can find a job.


FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: He's really got that down now, that was good...

KONDRACKE: Yes, right. Robust, that's what he wants.


KONDRACKE: Well, even Nancy Pelosi (search), the House Democratic leader, wants a tax cut, although you would not know it to listen to her. Watch. Here.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: The tragedy of it all is that even though the president's own proposals may not even be well received by his colleagues in the Congress, the feeding frenzy for tax cuts that do not grow the economy or create jobs, the feeding frenzy that he has created is a grave disservice to our country and to our economy.


KONDRACKE: Let's be clear about what's, what's happening here....The House Republicans are going to come up, are, have the bill for...

BARNES: Right, right, right.

KONDRACKE: ... $550 billion over a 10-year period, the Senate Republicans are going to have $420...

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: ... billion. That's not a feeding frenzy. I know feeding frenzies. I've seen...

BARNES: have I.

KONDRACKE: ... this is not it.

BARNES: This is a dieting frenzy, it's not a feeding frenzy. It's been going down steadily big the tax cut is. Of course, I, I agree with the president, we do need a robust tax cut. What do you -- what does it need to do? It needs to stir investment, particularly business investment. That's what we have a dearth of. And also jack up the stock market.

Now, of course, the Democratic bill doesn't count, it wouldn't do anything but, but, but hand out money and have a momentary small impact. The, the best bill is the one in the House now. I mean, the president's bill is dead. The bill in the House by Congressman Bill Thomas of the Ways and Means Committee would do the, would score on both counts. It would help the stock market, and it would give a jolt to in -- investment.

The Senate bill would, would do a lot less. It, it, it probably wouldn't help the...a stock market, give only a little jolt to the economy. I think they ought to get behind the, the White House ought to, ought to get behind the House bill, or at least work to get it changed on the Senate floor, so...

KONDRACKE: The Senate...

BARNES: ... that they could, they could come together.

KONDRACKE: ... is going to ensure that there is aid to the states...


KONDRACKE: ... which is important. I know you don't think so, but I do.

BARNES: Well, it's not important. The states are spending at record levels, hoping that the federal government will bail them out. If they were paring down and cutting spending, they'd have an argument. But they have no argument. They're profligate, most of them, whether there's a Republican governor. Actually some of the Democratic governors have been better in holding down spending. OK.

Hot story numero uno, judicial restraint or restraining judicial nominees, as Democrats are doing. And Bush is fit to be tied, along with other Republicans, at how successful Tom Daschle has been at through filibuster blocking the nominations of Miguel Estrada and, and Priscilla Owen to the federal appeals courts, and slowing down the nominations of a live, a lot of others.

The president held an event Friday at the White House to play up his unhappiness, the way judicial nominees have gone. Watch this.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: More appeals court nominees have had to wait over a year for a hearing in my presidency than in the last 50 years combined. This is not just business as usual. This is an abdication of constitutional responsibility, and it is hurting our country.


BARNES: Did you like that dramatic pause right in the middle there? And then it sounded like he said "abnication." But anyway, that's, that's all right.

Now, he obviously, as he said on Friday, wants a fresh start for the whole judicial nomination process. Now, listen to Tom Daschle and tell me whether you think he wants a fresh start.


SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It ain't broke. Any time you can confirm 124 judicial nominees in the course of two and a half years, I don't see much broken.


BARNES: No fresh start from him.

KONDRACKE: Yes, right.


KONDRACKE: Well, look, this all started way, way back, but, but fundamentally it started with the Republicans blocking Clinton nominations, nominations, not by using a filibuster.

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: I mean, that is an escalation of...

BARNES: That's the nuclear weapon.

KONDRACKE: ...of the...that is the, that is the new, that is the new thing, and it's, and it's a bad thing for the, for, for the Senate, because -- and it will come back to haunt the Democrats.

But various people say, and the, the Republicans are trying to say that the, that the Democrats are somehow anti-Hispanic...

BARNES: Yes, right.

KONDRACKE: ... well, that's wrong, because most of the, the, I'll bet you the most of the Hispanic judges on the, on the, on the federal courts...


KONDRACKE: ... were put there by Democratic nominees. But it is true that what the Democrats are doing is trying to block Bush from being the, the first president to put a Hispanic on the Supreme Court...

BARNES: Yes, right.

KONDRACKE: ... namely, Miguel Estrada...


KONDRACKE: ... and I, I'm afraid they're, they're going to succeed...


KONDRACKE: ... because the filibuster's going to work.

BARNES: Well, the filibuster's working. But if Estrada were not Hispanic, they'd, they'd probably approve his nomination to the appeals court. But because he's a Latino conservative, they don't want him on the appeals court, where he'd be hard to block moving to the Supreme Court. OK.

Up and, up and...

KONDRACKE: They'll have to, they'll have to find some other Hispanic, right.

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