Ups and Downs for the Week of October 6-10

This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, October 11, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: OK, let's go to the ups and downs now.

UP: President Bush

KONDRACKE: After months of bad press Bush takes control of post war efforts in Iraq, shifting coordinating activities from the Pentagon to the White House. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (search) is now in charge of the newly created Iraq Stabilization Group (search).

Now the worst press that Bush got last week actually comes from our friend Tom DeFrank (search) in the New York Daily News. Tom wrote an article that said, quote, "Bush's displeasure means that neither Powell nor Rumsfeld will keep his job in a second Bush term...(Condoleezza) Rice has the closest personal relationship of any staffer with Bush who has told friends for more than a year that he intends to appoint her the next secretary of state."

Now, everybody sort of expected that Colin Powell would be leaving but Tom DeFrank quotes well-placed sources as saying that…that Powell has been trying to undermine Rumsfeld but he also says this, quoting the same source about Rumsfeld. "The President feels let down. He feels as if Rumsfeld was unwilling to come and get help for the postwar effort and thinks his inability to trust anyone other than his immediate subordinates created a serious, ongoing problem in both Afghanistan and Iraq."

Now what this means is that people in the administration are beginning to rat on each other and that indicates an administration in disarray if not chaos.

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Yes, no, I give great credence to any story by Tom DeFrank who is a friend and a great reporter as well and has been for years.

Now meanwhile the Bush team has been going around the country giving speeches trying to…not trying to…arguing or repeating their case for going to war in the first place and trying to explain of how…how much better things are in a post war Iraq than we hear from other reporter from over there.

Listen to Bush:


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're rebuilding schools; a lot of kids are going back to schools. We're opening hospitals; thousands of children are now being immunized. Water and electricity are being returned to the Iraqi people. Life is getting better. It's a lot better than you probably think.


BARNES: It is a lot better and it's become a cliche that the reporters over there are just relying on bad news and don't tell you what's really happening that's good although most of Iraq but with the president and Vice-President Cheney, even Condoleezza Rice, your hero…have given speeches that are just not good enough.

Jerry Bremer, when he comes over, tells a better story about what's going on over there. So look if they're going to really make the case strongly they've got to do better than they did this past week. All right.

DOWN: Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark

BARNES: His campaign manager quits this week sparking a fierce and public battle between his grass roots supporters and the Clinton-Gore guns for hire and then gets slammed at this week's debate over his war stance. Check it out.


SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-Mass.), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The fact is that last year General Clark did say he would vote for the resolution that was in the Congress.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: General Clark a year ago today advised the…to support the resolution.

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D-Conn.), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I must say that I've been very disappointed since Wes Clark came into this race about the various positions he has taken on a…on the war against Saddam Hussein.


BARNES: I kind of thought General Clark was going to accuse his opponents of insubordination or disobeying an order and send them off to the stockade, but obviously can't do that now. Look, his campaign does have problems.

It's not just his campaign manager who's left, Donny Fowler, but you know he was delivering paid speeches and touting his campaign in them, and then had to give the money back.

That doesn't look good, he should have known better than that. I think his real problem is he doesn't have a set of beliefs. And ambition isn't just enough, it helps to have a set of beliefs and not change those every week.

KONDRACKE: Well, you know, I thought he actually handled himself pretty well in that debate, but fundamentally I agree with you that look you…if you're a Democrat, you do not go speaking at Republican fund- raisers, you just don't do that, you know.

And, furthermore, if you are against the war and you know it deep down that you're against this war you do not advise Republican Congressional candidates to support the war.

UP: House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

KONDRACKE: After months of bickering that sent Democratic legislators fleeing to neighboring states in protest the Hammer finally nails down a redistricting deal in Texas.

The plan could potentially give the GOP an additional six or seven seats in the next Congress. Now, your pal Tom DeLay (search) is an enormously effective, devilishly effective I would say politician and he got the Texas legislature to do what he wanted to do, to come to an agreement and you know it's going to probably ensure that he is the Majority Leader for as long as he wants to be until he wants to become speaker, perhaps.

I just hope, however, that he's made one mistake and that somehow Martin Frost who is a major target of his survives. It would serve him right.

BARNES: Yes, his chance is not very good. I mean they've splintered his district into a number of pieces. Frost and seven other Democrats are vulnerable and Republicans expect that to win six or seven of those seats and maybe all eight.

I think the hard ones to beat are going to be Stenholm and Doggett but, in any case, the victories in Texas are going to be the Republicans are going to hold the House for another decade.

UP: Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox

BARNES: The perpetual underdogs are in the thick of the pennant race…the Red Sox (search) haven't won a World Series since 1918 with Babe Ruth (search) as their star and the Cubs (search) haven't won a championship ring since 1908.

You know, I've been a Red Sox fan for many years, Mort and you know, once you're a Red Sox fan you never become a former Red Sox fan.

It's kind of…it's kind of an addiction. Now the Red Sox have to beat the Yankees, which they should be expected to do if they're going to get to the World Series and I think this is the year.

The Yankees have the pitching but the Red Sox have the moxie.

KONDRACKE: I am rooting for a Red Sox Cubs World Series, it will divide the Beltway Boys…go Cubbies!

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