This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", February 28, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.
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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: And the hot story is, two campaigns. I'm talking about John Kerry waging two campaigns in ... in the Democratic presidential campaign, where he's the front-runner, he's doing swimmingly well, Mort.
Look at these poll numbers in the major states on Super Tuesday (search), which, as you know, is next Tuesday. There are 10 primaries. But, I mean, look at those four. Those are -- I mean, Georgia should be John Edwards' (search) best one, and he's down by 16 to Kerry.
So it really is remarkable how well Kerry's doing. He has had, going into Super Tuesday, he's won 20 primaries and caucuses to one for John Edwards. It'll probably be 30 to one coming out of Super Tuesday.
So no wonder, when John Edwards, John Kerry gathered with John Edwards and the other two candidates still in the race at that Los Angeles debate last Thursday, he was smiling through most of it. See him gazing there at John Edwards? He, he was a happy man.
Now, listen to John Kerry warning his campaign, for some reason, against complacency, but also touching on the second campaign he's involved in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Don't believe the polls. Don't ever let anybody put a label on me. We're going out there and doing the work over the next few days, because we're not just talking about this primary, we're talking about the beginning of the end of the Bush presidency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNES: Well, that's his second campaign, which is already on now, against Bush. Kerry isn't quite as happy-faced about the second campaign. You know, he complained that Bush had begun campaigning against him, as if the president shouldn't be doing that yet, even though he's been attacking Bush for a year, has run 15 television ads, negative ads, directed at Bush.
And then he also accused Bush and the Bush team of criticizing his, his record of service in Vietnam (search), and raising doubts about his patriotism. Now, they didn't do either of those things. That's ridiculous.
What the Bush people have started to attack is his very, very vulnerable and weak national security record.
MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Yes. Well, I agree that on a smear count, the Democrats would be way ahead of the Bush campaign, which has really not smeared the Democrats at all, in fact.
But, back to the main, the ... events of this Tuesday, the big question afterwards is going to be, you know, what is John Edwards going to do if he loses another 10? Here's what he says he's going to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These are not winner-take-all states. The delegates will largely be apportioned according to the vote results. And I'm very much in this for the long haul to be the nominee, and I intend to stay in it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KONDRACKE: Well, Edwards's, Edwards's problem is that right now the delegate count ... is 660 for Kerry and about 200 for him. If Edwards were to get 40 percent of the delegates out of Super Tuesday, which is ... doubtful ... the score afterwards would be 1,300 to about 600, and, and Kerry only needs ... 2,100 and something ... in order to get the nomination, and he's well more than halfway there. So Edwards is way behind.
At some point, if Edwards keeps this up, he's going to be like Harold Stassen, you know, the guy who keeps on running.
BARNES: Yes ... running, though, in 2008.
KONDRACKE: Yes. Well, he's running in 2008, but, you know, after a point, if you don't start gaining ... something, you know ... you lose credibility for, for ... 2008.
Now, the other race, the Bush race, Bush is finally going to go on the air with ads next, at the end of next week, positive ads. He's attacking Kerry legitimately on, on policy grounds. And he got a boost from Ralph Nader (search).
The Democrats are reacting with such horror that you would think that Ralph Nader was a real threat the way he was in the year 2000 to the Democrats' candidate, which I doubt that he's going to be this time. But, who knows?
Now, second hot story is, and it's -- it could, could play much bigger than Nader in the fall election, and that is gay marriage (search). President Bush finally decided, you know, as we were all anticipating, that he was going to come out in favor of an amendment to the Constitution to block gay marriage.
But I want to get into, you know, the world has been waiting for this ... my case to you on why ... civil unions or, as an institution that I would prefer develops, one would think democratically, called civil marriage, is not the end of civilization.
One, gays represent about 2 percent of the entire American population, which means that any, anything that happens with respect to them is not going to change an institution fundamentally.
Two, heterosexuals by themselves are already messing up the institution of marriage in America. I mean, there are tens of millions of children who are living in single-parent households.
Three, if two gay people want to commit themselves to each other for life, seems to me that affirms the institution of marriage rather than destroying it.
Four, you know, it, it's un-American, it's ill -- it's unequal, and I think inhumane, to deny committed gay couples rights that other people have, like Social Security (search) and hospital visitation and so on.
And lastly, I mean, well, no fifth, as a religious person ... I would say that churches can either choose to recognize and to perform gay marriages or not, as, as they see fit ... and finally, your idea that somehow civil unions or civil marriage is going to lead to polygamy is simply ridiculous. The state ... Wait a minute.
KONDRACKE: The state has an interest in maintaining equality in institutions. And harems, which is what, polygamy ... generally is, are inherently unequal institutions, so the state ... can, can...
BARNES: Yes, but I didn't say...
KONDRACKE: ... can combat them.
BARNES: I didn't say polygamy, I said group marriages ...
KONDRACKE: That's what polygamy is.
BARNES: No, well, over that's one definition, I mean, that's one type of group marriages. By your definition, the, all these people getting together to marry would affirm marriage.
But you're right, I agree with you about number two, divorce and out- of-child -- out-of-wedlock children is a bad idea.
Now, let's turn to John Kerry. He said Bush's gay marriage amendment would put a divisive wedge issue in the Constitution. But then Kerry turned around, in one of his typical flip-flops, and said he wants to put such an amendment in the Massachusetts constitution. Listen to his explanation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY: If the amendment provides for partnership and civil union, which I believe is the appropriate way to extend rights, that would be a good amendment. I think that you need to have civil unions. That's my position. Everybody has known my position. There's nothing new about my position. It's been my position all the time that I've been in the Senate and throughout this race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNES: ... both of his positions, or sometimes more than two.
Look, his biggest supporter, Teddy Kennedy, senator from Massachusetts, says that an amendment, a gay marriage ... bar gay marriage in the Constitution would be divisive, it would be biased, and so on. Now, do you agree with him that all people who are opposed to gay marriage and want to preserve traditional marriage are biased...
KONDRACKE: No ...
BARNES: ... or discriminate and so on? I mean...
KONDRACKE: Some, some are merely traditionalists...
KONDRACKE: ... but as, as I've said before, Bush did not have to do this. I mean ... poor old John, poor old John Kerry...
BARNES: It was forced on him.
KONDRACKE: ... poor old...
BARNES: Forced on him.
KONDRACKE: ... poor old John -- No, no. It's not forced on him until the Supreme Court rules on, on this issue. Poor old John Kerry is trying to juggle a hand grenade, and the fact is that...
KONDRACKE: ... Bush pulled the, pulled the pin.
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