Hot Stories for the Week of February 2 - 6

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", February 7, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: And the hot story is hot Kerry, by which I mean hot John Kerry, who is hot in both of the Democratic presidential contests today.

In the state of Washington, with 32 percent of the precincts in, Mort, he is winning 50 percent of the delegates, way ahead of Dean, and even farther ahead of Kucinich and Edwards.

In Michigan, he was way ahead in polls leading into it, so he's expected to win there as well.

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Mort, you know, if he wins these two caucuses today, which we think he will, that'll give him nine of 11.

He'll have won a farm state, Iowa, a New England state, New Hampshire, one in the Southwest in Arizona and New Mexico, an industrial state, a key one, Michigan, a West Coast state, Washington, Missouri, a Midwest swing -- well, you get the drift.


BARNES: Well, what about the other candidates? You know, John Edwards (search) has said he's the positive candidate. And yet in a subtle way, he's trying to sort of stick it to Kerry. Watch this.


SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And they're going to get a clear choice as we go forward in this nomination process. They're going to have somebody who's not ... somebody who's spent, you know, 10 to 20 years in Washington, somebody who's more of a Washington outsider and who sees things through their eyes, you know, and I think that's what I give them.


BARNES: Yes, you're a Washington ... insider.

KONDRACKE: Yes, I've been here longer than ... even John Kerry has.


KONDRACKE: The, look, Edwards is one for 11, if assuming ... tonight ... goes as we expect. He is not hitting Kerry very hard. I mean, he's still ... basically Mr. Nice ...

BARNES: ... subtle.

KONDRACKE: Subtle, yes.


KONDRACKE: And, and he, and I think he would like to be the vice presidential nominee. So you, you can't expect a lot of bashing.

Now, Wesley Clark (search), who is also one for 11 at the moment, has been hitting Edwards hard in an attempt to get ahead of him and become the alleged alternative to ... to John Kerry. Look, I don't think after next Tuesday either one of them is going to be an alternative, and they're going to drop out, leaving only your pal Howard Dean (search), now zero for 11, to contest in, in Wisconsin.

Here's Dean talking about what, what he plans to do.


HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's a really clear difference in our record here, a really clear difference in our characters here. And we're going to have this fight, and it's going to be in Wisconsin, and we're going to win it.


BARNES: Why am I laughing? Look, all three of these candidates, as you refer to them, the alleged alternatives to Kerry, are running one-state strategies, I mean, one-state campaigns.

Edwards is in Virginia, where Kerry is favored. Clark is in Tennessee, where Kerry is favored. And now Dean is in Wisconsin...

KONDRACKE: Where Kerry is favored.

BARNES: ... where Kerry is favored.


BARNES: I mean, that is not the path to the nomination. So I think, I think we can say about Edwards, he turns out to have been a very good candidate this year, and I'm sure he will be again in 2008, assuming Kerry doesn't win the presidency this year as the Democratic nominee.

I think you wouldn't say that about Wes Clark. He's not a very good candidate this year, and in fact, his son was saying the other day, suggesting, and maybe I'm overinterpreting this, but I thought he was suggesting that, because his father had spent 34 strong years in the military, he's owed the White House.

Yip -- that's not the way to get to the White House.

And then there's Howard Dean, who, I think, is partly his early success before the primaries is one of the reasons he's doing so poorly now, because it showed Edwards and Kerry, what they had to adopt, they had to be antiwar, they had to be anti-special interest...

KONDRACKE: Special interests.

BARNES: ... and so on if they were going to get anywhere toward the nomination.

KONDRACKE: Yes. Well, I, that's basically the situation, and poor old Dean led the way, but was perceived by Iowa voters, even before the I have a scream speech ... as being temperamentally not suited ... for the presidency ... and not capable, not electable.


KONDRACKE: So, you know, Kerry is tall, thin, you know...


KONDRACKE: ... war hero, is perceived as electable.

BARNES: Yes. Iowa voters are very smart. OK.

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