This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, November 29, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

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UP: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Frist passes the toughness test by keeping his troops in line on tough votes, notably the recent Medicare (search) bill, and also the accomplishment test. Take a look at some of the major items passed in the Senate this session, the Medicare list, of course, topping the list, and then there are some items the Senate didn't get to, notably, a majority of the appropriations bills.

You know, The Washington Post, Mort, said that this record in Congress and in the Senate with Bill Frist (search) as the leader for the first time was a mixed record, it was a spotty record. That is such nonsense.

I mean, there was one hugely important measure that passed, that was the prescription drug benefit that may be the most important domestic measure passed in, in decades with the possible exception of welfare reform under Bill Clinton (search). And secondly, a tax cut which passed that obviously has had a big role in spurring this economic boom we're already seeing.

So I think Frist, you know, Frist had a lot to do with it. He gets the credit.

MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Frist does deserve credit for helping fashion the final Medicare deal that passed. But by cutting out all but two Democrats from the conference ...


KONDRACKE: ... that was supposed to put this thing together, including cutting out Teddy Kennedy ... he contributed to the absolute war that is going on ... between Democrats and Republicans ... that you've got the -- he's not entirely to blame for it, because the Democrats...

BARNES: Oh, good, well, thanks for that.

KONDRACKE: ... filibustering perfectly qualified Bush judicial nominees. And but over in the House side, what you've got is the Democrats, the Republicans treating Democrats just like dirt. And, and unfortunately ...


DOWN: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

KONDRACKE: He got a rare rebuke from the White House this week, nearly $290 million in American- backed loan guarantees was rescinded to punish Sharon for illegal construction in the West Bank. That is a fence, mainly.


KONDRACKE: In addition to that, Sharon was rebuked by four former heads of the Shin Beth, which is the antiterror domestic security agency ... and his army chief of staff for brutalizing Palestinians. And they said that Sharon ought to negotiate with Yasser Arafat. I think these are tough guys ... these are not doves. And I think they're wrong about, about Arafat. But it does bother me that the Israelis soldiers tend to be careless about ... collateral damage and against Israeli civilians ... I mean, Palestinian civilians.

BARNES: ... as you were suggesting, Sharon is in some political trouble. I think the polls now show him nearly two to one unfavorable over favorable in the opinion of average Israelis. But I would say something again that you and I have said many times, Sharon is not the main problem. The main problem is the president of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat (search), who remains there.

Now, if Arafat wanted to crack down on the terrorists and stop the terrorism against Israel, Sharon would have no excuse for not moving ahead with concessions and serious talks. But he hasn't done that.

UP: Axis of Evil Member Iran

It gets the diplomatic equivalent of a slap on the wrist from the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency for its nuclear activities without the threat of sanctions the U.S. wanted. Here's Colin Powell on the resolution, which probably won't have Tehran shaking in its boots.


COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: If Iran does not now comply with its obligations and the other agreement it's entered into, then this will be a matter that will be immediately referred to the IAEA board of governors for action as appropriate under the various statutes.


KONDRACKE: Well, the Democrats ought to notice that the Bush administration is not engaging in unilateral conduct when it comes to both Iran and North Korea. The question is, will this be successful as a policy? What counts now is whether the IAEA is going to be able to conduct full inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities, and whether, if it's not, there will be a crackdown, real, real hard U.N. sanctions. I don't know.

BARNES: Yes, here's my fear, that we have another North Korean situation, where the Iranians, like the North Koreans, say, Oh, we will not develop nuclear weapons, they'll have inspections and so on. Then about eight or nine years later, they say, Oh, we were at other sites that, other than the ones you were inspecting. We have actually developed nuclear weapons. I fear that.

KONDRACKE: That will be a failure on Bush's part.

BARNES: Yes, sure.

UP: The Bold Championship Series

KONDRACKE: Despite congressional hearings and threats of antitrust litigation, the BCS is going strong, and it got some much-needed good news last week. Texas Christian University lost last Saturday, and that eliminated the possibility that an undefeated team from a minor conference could be shut out of a BCS game.

BARNES: Yes, well, worse things could happen. But, you know, the BCS, the less important conferences are the ones who are mad, because they don't get automatic bids to the BCS, eight, I mean, five conferences do, you know, the big ones, like the big 10...


BARNES: ... and there are three at-large bids. Now, you know, TCU, if it was unbeaten, probably would have gotten one. I think the BCS is fine, but there's a better way to do this. Have an eight-team playoff series and work it down to a real national champion. That, that would work better.

KONDRACKE: Yes, I favor that too. There -- it -- one should not be too unsatisfied for the other teams, though. There are 28 bowl games.

BARNES: I know ...

KONDRACKE: You're, you're going to the Humanitarian Bowl, that's your assignment.

BARNES: In Boise, Idaho. All right.

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