Ups and Downs 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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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: All right, all right. Can I go to the ups and downs?

MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Yes, please, go.

BARNES: With your permission. Thanks.

UP: Secretary of State Colin Powell

BARNES: One week after threatening to pull the plug on a U.S. resolution on Iraq, Powell pulls out a huge diplomatic victory at the U.N. Security Council. Germany, France, Russia, even Syria voted yes on a U.S. resolution aimed at getting more troops and money for Iraq. Here's Powell Thursday after the vote.


COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: There will be new disagreements, and it is not as if every, everything is behind us. But I think the major disagreements of the early part of the year to go to war, not to go to war, that's over.


KONDRACKE: Now, that's dreaming. No, the -- you know, it was good, that, that we got this...U.N. resolution, and especially it's good because it undercuts some of the opposition at home that Bush faces to, toward his Iraq policy, the statement, you know, that we don't have allies, and boy, we haven't gone to the U.N.

But, you know, France, Germany, and Russia are not going to give us a penny, they're not going to send one troop. India and Pakistan aren't going to send any troops.

And the next time the French have an opportunity to screw us at the U.N....they will take it.

BARNES: Yes, of course, you're right on all counts. And Americans, my advice for the American public is, get over it. Get over the idea that we're going to get a lot of help in Iraq from other countries. Get a little, but not much.

Now, I happen to think that what America is doing in Iraq is one of the greatest things and most honorable things that this country has ever done anywhere in the world. But we're not going to get, we're not going to get much help from others in turning Iraq from a murderous dictatorship into a, into a free market democracy, that's what's going to happen.

UP: The Economy

KONDRACKE: It seems to be finally pulling out of the doldrums. Ten out of 12 Federal Reserve districts this week reported bullish growth in September and early October, and check out these latest economic indicators, positive growth in gross domestic product (search), housing sales, consumer spending, industrial production, retail sales, and 50,000 jobs were added to the rolls last month.

BARNES: Well, and, you know, a lot of good things have happened. You didn't mention the drop in jobless claims, you didn't mention the rapid rise in capital investment. Mort, the truth is, the economic recovery is already here.

And you should recognize, as I don't think you do, that the tax cuts are all, are already working, they're incentives, the stimulus is out there, economists are quickly ratcheting up their projections of growth, not only for next year but for the rest of this year.

The Federal Reserve (search) has a study predicting 300,000 jobs being created every month in 2004. That's a whopping change in what we have now. And, you know, it's amazing to me to see Democrats still with the same ideas about, about the economy that you have to somehow raise taxes in order to get the economy going again. That's ridiculous.

The economic recovery requires tax cuts.

Now, I forgot to mention, Bush's approval rating is also doing better as a result of this. You can see he jumped a couple of points. I think he's back on the rise again, and that's important.

KONDRACKE: OK, look, this is all very good news for Bush. But what's important is that he avoid the fate of his father. He's got to go bypass the media, which, you remember...told the country while there was an...improvement in the Bush one economy...that we were still in the middle of a recession.


KONDRACKE: He's got to get the word out. And he has so far 2.7 million jobs lost on his watch...

BARNES: Yes, yes.

KONDRACKE: ... that's got to come way down in order for him to be assured of election.

BARNES: Yes, Mort, trust me, it will.

DOWN: The National Media

BARNES: President Bush shows his displeasure over what he sees as the national media's overly negative coverage of Iraq (search) by granting exclusive interviews to five regional broadcasting companies this week. Here's President Bush explaining the shift in strategy in an interview…


PRESIDENT BUSH: I'm mindful of the, of the filter through which some news travels, and sometimes you just have to go over the heads of the filter and speak directly to the people, and that's what we will continue to do.


BARNES: Ah, the president has a point there, Mort. According to the latest Fox News poll of American citizens, 46 percent disapprove of news coverage on military operations in Iraq, 60 percent in the poll say it focuses too much on negative developments, which, in fact, it does.

KONDRACKE: Well, you know, the president is having some effect. You know, David Westin, who's the president of ABC News, which is the most negative of all the networks, has decided that, that they're going to form a partnership with TIME magazine, also a big naysayer, to actually go find out...


KONDRACKE: ... what's happening to ordinary Iraqis.

BARNES: Right. Right. Mort, one of the criticism which you've made, you make every week, is that the Bush -- and correctly, correctly -- that the Bush administration has done a poor job of publicizing the progress that's being made in postwar Iraq. On the other hand, that doesn't excuse the news media.

DOWN: Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox

KONDRACKE: Sad to say, it's wait till next year time for the Cubs and the Red Sox as their Cinderella seasons come to an abrupt and, for us, heartbreaking end.

BARNES: Mort, there is no curse on either the Cubs or the Red Sox. The Cubs lost to the hottest team in baseball, the Florida Marlins. The Red Sox lost to the best and most experienced team, the New York Yankees.

Now, both managers made the same mistake in the seventh inning, or in the seventh game, with five outs to go, and by leaving in their star pitchers, Kerry Witt for the Cubs and Pedro Martinez for the Red Sox, in longer than they should have.

On the other hand, Dusty Baker (search) of the Cubs and Grady Little (search) of the Red Sox are two great managers, and they're, and I don't know anybody who thinks that those teams would have gotten that far without those managers.

KONDRACKE: Yes, I, look, there's no such thing as a curse, but there is such a thing as being spooked, and I think that that's what happened to both of our, both of our teams.

Now, it's perfectly ridiculous to, to be blaming this guy Steve Bartman...who you saw reaching for, reaching for the ball there...


KONDRACKE: For the loss. I mean, at, that was game six...

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: ... and the, the Cubs lost game seven too.

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