Ups and Downs for the Week of November 3-7

This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, November 8, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

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

UP: The Right to Life Movement

KONDRACKE: President Bush signs into law a ban on partial birth abortion, the most significant federal restriction on abortion in 30 years. Here's what Bush said at the signing ceremony.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth while the law looked the other way. Today at last the American people and our government have confronted the violence and come to the defense of the innocent child.


FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Mort, this was an important breakthrough, because it's the first rollback, even though a partial one, of the Roe v. Wade (search) decision legalizing abortion, which came 30 years ago. Now, it's in line with public opinion. The public does not support abortion on demand. The public does not want a ban on abortions, but it wants them to be sharply restricted.

I think the next step ought to be, in the right to life movement, to seek a ban on second or and third trimester abortions, or if you think that the, the Supreme Court's not ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, which they may not be, they certainly haven't been in the last few years, then seek a ban on...all abortions after viability, and that may work.

KONDRACKE: Well, I, I'd support a third-trimester abortion ban provided that you had a -- you protected the life and the health of the mother.

But now look, there's something else that Bush is doing in deference to the pro-life movement that is really odious, and that is, trying to get the United Nations to ban all therapeutic cloning all over the world, which will inhibit medical research.

And on his own, you know, when he announced in August 2001 that he would permit some federal funding of stem cell research, and he said that there were 12 stem cell, 60 stem cell lines around the world, in fact, there are less than 12.

And, and it was just a big fib on his part. And this is not a pro- life thing to do, this is a pro-disease kind of thing to do.

BARNES: Mort...

KONDRACKE: In fact, a pro-death kind of thing to do.

BARNES: No, Mort, Mort...

KONDRACKE: Yes. Yes. Yes.

BARNES: ... you have so overstated that that I'm going to go to the next issue.

DOWN: Vice-Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Jay Rockefeller

BARNES: He gets big-time flak over a leaked memo written by one of his committee staffers. The memo maps out how Democrats can benefit from the investigation into pre-Iraq war intelligence. Rockefeller says he knew nothing about the missive, but he didn't exactly distance himself from it, either. Watch.


SEN. JOHN ROCKEFELLER (D-WV), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It clearly reflects staff frustration that the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation has not tackled all of the tough issues and frustration with the difficulties we have had in obtaining information from the administration.


KONDRACKE: Look, the job of the Intelligence Committee is to give unvarnished oversight of both the Intelligence Committee and what's been done with it. Now, Rockefeller is complaining that he has not been getting help from Republicans to go look at what the White House did with the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction during the Gulf War.

I got to say, though, that this memo shows that the Democrats are not exactly trying to get unvarnished, objective material either.

Here's the quote from it. "We," that's the Democrats, "have an important role to play in revealing the misleading, if not flagrantly dishonest, methods and motives of the -- of senior administration officials who made the case for unilateral, preemptive war. The approach outlined above seems to offer the best prospect of exposing the administration's dubious methods and motive."

That, that's not what I' objectivity.

BARNES: Yes, you picked out the right quote. This was an attack memo. This was a proposal for Democrats, a strategy for Democrats to exploit the information discovered, any information dredged up by the Senate Intelligence Committee to use politically against President Bush. That violates the spirit, the purpose, and the bipartisan tradition of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

UP: Senator John McCain

KONDRACKE: When McCain speaks on military issues, people, mostly the press, listen. Here's McCain issuing a stern wakeup call to the Bush administration Wednesday.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The United States will fail in Iraq of our adversaries believe they can outlast us. If our troop deployment schedules are more important than our staying power, we embolden our enemies, who make it harder for our friends to take risks on our behalf.


BARNES: You know, I listen when John McCain speaks. He's a big supporter, supporter of the war in Vietnam (search). He's, well, he was a prisoner of war in that war. But in Iraq, I think, his proposal of 15,000 more troops there ought to be looked at by Don Rumsfeld, and not just get a knee-jerk answer from him.

Fifteen thousand troops more can help win that war in Iraq against these Ba'athist remnants. Send them.

KONDRACKE: Look, Bush keeps saying, We're not leaving, but somebody in this administration looks like they're trying to repeat for George Bush in the next election what Richard Nixon did in 1972, Iraqize, instead of...Vietnamize...

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: ... and then pull our troops out. And we all know what happened in Vietnam...because we weren't there. And the -- we dare not have that happen in Iraq.

BARNES: Yes, it was mainly Democrats who pulled the plug on Vietnam, though. OK.


BARNES: Calling it too biased for broadcast television, CBS president Les Moonves (search) does the right thing and pulls the plug on the controversial Reagan miniseries. Instead, CBS is pawning it off on the sister network, Showtime, which has about one-fifth CBS's audience.

KONDRACKE: Well, I mean, this was, the leftists screaming censorship, but this was a, just a wise decision. This was fiction, it was phony. It, it made stuff up about, you know, things that Reagan absolutely would never say.

BARNES: Yes, infuriated Democratic strategist Barbra Streisand, who on her Web site...said it was a sad day for artistic freedom. She wrote, "One can only imagine the kind of pressure that would compel CBS to take such extraordinary action. This was an organized Republican spin machine at work. Honorably Democrats, if ever, would try to muscle the First Amendment like this." She didn't mention that her husband played Reagan in this movie, and it was no Republican spin machine at work.

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