Hot Stories for the Week of October 13 - 17

This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, October 18, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Well, the hot story is, bug out. And I'm talking about the Democratic strategy for Iraq. The president's $87 billion (search) request was for two things, one, to support the troops who are fighting and dying in Iraq, and two, rebuild the country so it doesn't become a haven for terrorism.

Now, this is the way the Democratic candidates stand on, on those two issues. Clark, no. Dean, no. Edwards, no. Kerry, no. Gephardt, yes. Lieberman, yes. Kucinich, no. Moseley Braun, no. Sharpton, no.

You know, Gephardt and Lieberman passed the, the test of what it takes to be the president. All these guys are saying, and Moseley Braun too, that they support the troops and that they want to reconstruct Iraq. But when it comes to actually voting for the money, they're voting, they're voting no, most of them.

Now, here's Clark's lame statement, "Congress should send the president's request back to the drawing board. As a career soldier, I believe strongly that the president should not be playing politics with the safety of our troops and should immediately put forth a separate bill for the funding of the men and women serving, while we work with our allies to, at the, in, and the United Nations to international -- internationalize the mission," whatever that means.

And here is Dean's perfectly disgraceful statement insofar as he's the front-runner in the party, "I would oppose President Bush's latest request for a blank check unless the president submits a new plan that is paid for out of a tax cut."

Now, I believe that the money should be paid for out of the tax cut. But when push comes to shove, you either pay the money or you don't pay the money. And Dean, what Dean is basically doing is saying that it's OK to let Saddam Hussein come back and rule Iraq.


KONDRACKE: And shoot American troops, as well.


Well said, Mort. Look, you know, Dean will probably now accuse you of saying he's unpatriotic. That has become a very constant refrain of all of the Democrats who have now moved into McGovern land, as many of them have, on Iraq.

Now, you mentioned Lieberman and Gephardt. They stood tall. A couple other Democrats did too, Senator Joe Biden, the leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Stenny Hoyer, the Democratic whip in the House.

Now, Republicans didn't have a cut-and-run caucus and -- as Democrats did, but eight Senate Democrats, Republicans, rather, did insist that half of the money going for Iraq reconstruction, in other words, $10 billion, had to be a loan rather than a grant.

This is a frivolous and, and extremely unhelpful idea, and it amounts to pandering to those voters who supported the war but now don't want to fully support the peace and say, you know, we, we want to pay a smaller price and bear a smaller burden for ensuring that Iraq becomes a democracy.

I…eight of them, they have nothing to be proud about.

BARNES: Now, hot story number two is the superpower summit. And, of course, I'm referring to Dubya and Arnold meeting in California as they did last Wednesday. Here are the two of them, the two bosom buddies, now, when they got together in San Bernadino.


ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), GOVERNOR-ELECT OF CALIFORNIA: This state is also facing right now some serious challenges. But after speaking with the president this morning at great length about the problems of California, I can tell you one thing, that there is no greater ally that this Golden State has in Washington than our president.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was able to reflect upon how much we have in common. We both married well. Some accuse us both of not being able to speak the language. We both have big biceps. Well, well, two out of three isn't bad. We both love our country.


BARNES: He can think of many movie allusions, "Twins" or whatever…you can think of. But look, I think something good is going to come out of this relationship between President Bush and, and Governor-elect Schwarzenegger. Bush has a lot to offer Schwarzenegger, not a lot of money, but he can certainly help him out on illegal immigration and other things.

And Schwarzenegger can offer a lot of help to Bush by being a socially liberal Republican moderate. He makes such people in California feel a lot more comfortable being in the Republican Party. They might possibly vote for Bush in 2004. California, Mort, is now competitive. Oh, of course it is competitive.

KONDRACKE: You're dreaming.

BARNES: And -- no, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not dreaming at all. And the truth is they don't have to be spiritual and ideological brethren completely to work out a very productive relationship. You watch. It's going to happen.

KONDRACKE: Look, you're dreaming. First...

BARNES: No, I'm not.

KONDRACKE: ... first, Bush, in order to give any money to Arnold Schwarzenegger, would have to give it to all the states, and he has specifically said that he's not going to do that.


KONDRACKE: He's very stingy when it...comes to the state. Secondly, the, the voters of California know that George Bush is not like Arnold Schwarzenegger, he's not pro-choice, he's not pro-gay, he's not pro-gun.

They know that, that he's a conservative, that this compassionate conservatism that he put on in 2000 was nothing but a Halloween costume. They're not going to vote for him, they're going to, they're going to reject him just the way they did in 2000.

BARNES: Mort, Mort, Mort, there are much bigger issues than abortion and gun control and so on in, in California.

KONDRACKE: But, but Bush could overturn...Roe v. Wade (search), whereas Schwarzenegger has nothing to do with it.

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