This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", May 15, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: All right. Let's go to this week's ups and downs.

DOWN: Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy

John Kerry's attack dog went way too far with his comments on the Iraqi prison scandal this week, even for Kerry himself. Here's Kennedy on the Senate floor Monday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

U.S. SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management, U.S. management.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Shamefully...

BARNES: Jeez.

KONDRACKE: ... Teddy Kennedy is implying that, that the abuse by American soldiers in, in Abu Ghraib is the same, which has been apologized for by everybody from the president on down, is the same as, as systematic torture ordered and rewarded under Saddam Hussein, Hussein's regime. I mean, that, it is shameful for Kennedy to make that analogy.

And, you know, Kennedy, ironically, was one of the senators who voted down the $400 million that Bush asked for to build new prisons, complaining that, that it was too expensive at $50,000 a bed.

BARNES: It's a good point. I'm glad you brought that up.

But, you know, Kennedy did more than imply that there was moral equivalence between the way the U.S. is acting in these prisons and Saddam's prisons. You know what Saddam, you know, how he, how he would solve the overcrowding problem at prisons?

KONDRACKE: Shoot them all.

BARNES: Execute everybody in the prison to make space for new prisoners to come in. He did that any number of times.

Now, you know, Kerry did try to separate himself a wee bit from Kennedy, but he said this problem was the way that Kennedy had framed his comment. Framed it? It, it was the substance of it that was wrong. And, and Kennedy ought to be apologizing for that.

KONDRACKE: OK.

UP: 527

Those independent political groups that raise soft money, in spite of the new campaign finance law. You've seen the ads like these from the Club for Growth (search) or Moveon.org. Well, you're going to see a lot more of them in the next six months. The Federal Election Commission this week refused to set restrictions on these groups, meaning that it's going to be a lavish free-for-all all the way until election day.

So this was a massive gift to the Democratic Party and John Kerry. I mean, they are spending far more in soft money on these ads than the Republicans are...

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: ... so far.

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: Now, this is ironic and hypocritical on the part of the Democrats, who were the leaders in the movement to ban soft money. And here they are wallowing in it.

BARNES: Yes, I know. But Republicans are pretty hypocritical about this whole soft money question as well. You know, they were in favor of soft money and defended it, and then, after the campaign finance law came out, then they said Democrats, they went to the Federal Election Commission to block Democrats, these independent groups, from using soft money. Now, having lost there, they're going to try and raise all this soft money.

And so the -- I think they get a hypocrisy prize as well.

Now, there is a simple solution to this whole fund-raising problem, and I don't know why people like you, who are still demanding new laws and everything that people always find a way around, don't realize the best way is freedom, deregulation, let people give the money they want, as long as they have to instantly report it.

We're going to be much better off that way if George Soros, if he wants to give his money, gives it to the Democratic Party, and not to some group that will actually, that may actually undermine the party being an independent group. OK.

DOWN: The Boston Globe

It got duped into running a photo containing sexually graphic images that purported to show U.S. soldiers raping Iraqi women. Turns out the photo that was not clearly vetted for sure came from a pornographic Web site.

Now, Mort, I think the gullibility of the Globe is very, very telling. You know, with, I mean, without seriously checking, they ran the photos. They also ran a story with these charges that American soldiers were raping Iraqi women. They bought the line of a couple of radical black racists who said they'd gotten the photos in e-mail from some member of the Nation of Islam.

That doesn't seem like a very good source.

So why did the Globe fall for this? I think because they wanted to believe, this is what Americans are up to in Iraq, so they willfully suspended disbelief.

KONDRACKE: I don't...

BARNES: And this is the result, a huge embarrassment.

KONDRACKE: Yes, I don't, I don't doubt you as to ... the ideology of The Boston Globe.

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: But, it's a violation of journalism 101, which is to check, and secondly, it's a terrible violation of taste, because in the first edition of this thing, you could really tell that this was graphic pornography...

BARNES: ... did you go and get a first edition, is that...

KONDRACKE: ... no, but, no, but I heard about it. OK.

BARNES: Yes, well, I know. Look, it is just amazing. I mean, this shows once again how far the press wants to go to overplay the whole prison scandal story.

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