This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", June 19, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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FRED BARNES: Let's go to this week's ups and downs.
UP: Bill Clinton
His media blitz is in full swing, and book sales are brisk. His memoir set a record for first-day nonfiction sales, with 400,000 copies sold in the U.S.
And Juan, you were there talking to him the first day, that was last Tuesday, when the book went on the market. And you talked to him for a long time. What did he have to say?
JUAN WILLIAMS, GUEST CO-HOST: Well, you know, it's always amazing to talk with Clinton. It's like being in a seminar.
WILLIAMS: He has so many ideas and just impressions.
WILLIAMS: But you know what...
BARNES: ... wind tunnel.
WILLIAMS: ... one thing I said to him was, You have called this the effort to impeach you and your fight against impeachment a badge of honor. How does it get to be a badge of honor, the kind of disgrace that took place in the Oval Office? He said he didn't say that, he didn't say that, he told me, he said what he said was that it was a badge of honor to fight against Tom DeLay (search), Newt Gingrich, and the Republican conspiracy to oust him from office...
WILLIAMS: ... and he points out, he says that if you look back, Tip O'Neill could have tried to impeach Ronald Reagan (search), but he says, You know what? Democrats don't stoop to those depths ... it's just those nasty Republicans.
BARNES: Reagan, doing the kind of things that Bill Clinton did. But in any case...
WILLIAMS: Now, he's talking about ... Iran-contra, you know...
BARNES: They wouldn't impeach him. But look, in any case, I mean, I've, do you think Bill Clinton understands one thing, and that is that presidential memoirs are usually not very interesting, and hers, and his, for the most part, at least parts I've read, are not very interesting? And, and, and nobody pays much attention to them.
But there's only one thing that interests people about his memoirs, and that's why he sold so many copies, Monica. Does he understand that?
WILLIAMS: Oh, I think he...
WILLIAMS: ... I think, well, look, he was on "Oprah," every show he gets asked in that time and again ...about Monica.
WILLIAMS: But you know what? I got to tell you something, Fred, This guy is popular. He stops traffic on Fifth Avenue. I'm not talking about ... Secret Service...
WILLIAMS: ... stopping traffic...
WILLIAMS: ... he comes out, people are leaning out of windows ... honking horns for him. He's really something.
WILLIAMS: It's unbelievable, really.
BARNES: Well, yes, he's a star. That doesn't mean people want him to be president again. Anyway, you go ahead.
WILLIAMS: All right, all right
DOWN: Illinois Republican Senatorial Candidate Jack Ryan
Jack Ryan (search) was forced to drop out of the Senate race after allegations he took his ex-wife, actress Jeri Ryan of "Boston Public," to various sex clubs and attempted to have sex with her in public. What do you say to that, Fred? That's unbelievable.
BARNES: Well, it's the kind of thing that if it happened, you don't want it to get out, because if you're a candidate for office, you're dead.
WILLIAMS: Well ... the thing about it is, here we have Usama -- Barak Usama ... who now, now, who -- Obama...
WILLIAMS: ... who seems to me ... to have everything just fall like a domino ... in front of him...
WILLIAMS: ... he's going to be a United States senator...
WILLIAMS: ... and he's going to be the only black senator in the U.S. Senate.
BARNES: And he will be a, a major national figure as a result of that.
You know, I talked to Jack Ryan, oh, some weeks ago, six, eight weeks ago, and he certainly led me to believe that there was nothing in this hearing transcript of this hearing from a custody hearing in his divorce case that would be embarrassing and would cause him to drop out of the race or people to turn against him.
He was wrong about that. Now he says, Well, there's nothing in there that would affect my ability to be a senator. Well, I don't know about that either. But it sounds a little like your buddy Bill Clinton, who's saying, Well, all that sex stuff with Monica didn't affect my ability to be ... president. I think that's a pretty lame argument.
WILLIAMS: I think... Jack Ryan hurt himself...
BARNES: Yes, yes.
WILLIAMS: ... by not getting this stuff out ...early ... and making it -- well, at least he could have put a front on it...
WILLIAMS: ... by, by, by trying to ...hide it, I think...
WILLIAMS: ... it made it all -- the allegations ... all the more explosive.
BARNES: Well, there wasn't going to fly anyway, though, I don't think.
DOWN: Former Vice President Al Gore
BARNES: Not only did he accuse President Bush of lying about the connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, Gore also says the greatest danger facing the U.S. isn't terrorism but Bush's personal power grubbing. You know, some of Gore's charges were completely outrageous. He accuses the administration of dealing with Nazis. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: The administration works closely with a network of rapid responders, a group of digital Brown Shirts who work to pressure reporters and their editors and publishers and advertisers and are quick to accuse them of undermining support for our troops.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNES: Brown Shirts, digital Brown Shirts. I don't know who he's talking about, but that's a serious charge.
And then, and then he can't get his facts right. I mean, listen to this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORE: When the bipartisan 9/11 commission issued its report last week, finding no credible evidence of an Iraq-al Qaeda connection, it should not have caught the White House off guard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNES: If they had said that, it would have caught the White House off guard. But that's not what the commission said. It said they didn't find any connection between Saddam and al Qaeda on 9/11, the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center on 9/11. They didn't say there was no contact or no connections at all between al Qaeda and Saddam, quite the contrary.
WILLIAMS: But you know what, Fred? You're really cutting the margin pretty close here...
BARNES: No, I'm not.
WILLIAMS: ... because ... what you got here is, there was no collaborative relationship...
BARNES: Well, that's what the...
WILLIAMS: ... is what the, is what the commission said.
WILLIAMS: But the idea that there was a relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein is really sort of tentative. They say there's no ...the president says there ...it, there were eight points of contact. But there was no real ...contact that would suggest that there was a terror network based there. And then you hear, this is what, this is what Al Gore said...
WILLIAMS: ... he says a deceptive mantra ... that has led so many of the ... American people to believe that somehow Saddam was involved in 9/11.
BARNES: You know, we have a reporter at The Weekly Standard, Steve Hayes, who's written about this, who knows a lot about it. So I know a lot about it. Gore could not be more wrong. There was a long-term relationship. The CIA says so, George Tenet, the president, the vice president, Colin Powell, and many, many people.
WILLIAMS: And you think, you think ... the American people are just, have been distorted and for no reason, they think there's a connection between Saddam and al Qaeda.
BARNES: No, no, I think they should believe that, because it's true...
WILLIAMS: All right.
BARNES: ... that's what President Bush says, anyway.
UP: Majority Leader Bill Frist
BARNES: He played havoc with Kerry's campaign schedule this week. Kerry was forced to cancel a big money fund raiser in New Mexico and rush back to Washington to cast a vote on a veterans' health care measure. That vote was ultimately delayed.
Here's Kerry, complaining about the incident the very next day, and Frist's response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I canceled everything for the day and went back to Washington in order to vote. But these people are so petty, so sad, so political that all they could do was spend the whole day finding a way not to let John Kerry vote.
SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: Senator Kerry, who hadn't been here all year, who's missed 80 percent of all votes this year, parachutes in for a day, and then will be taking off once again.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
WILLIAMS: You know, this is the kind of tough hardball politics...
BARNES: Oh, right.
WILLIAMS: ... that Bill Frist plays...
BARNES: Right, yes.
WILLIAMS: ... to appeal to his Republican base. He did the same thing to Tom Daschle, campaigning against his fellow leader.
BARNES: Well, that's, there was certainly nothing wrong with that, or even unusual about that.
Look, if Kerry doesn't like it that he has to vote, that he's still in the Senate, you know, he has an alternative. He can revise, resign from the Senate while he's running for president.
WILLIAMS: Well, he -- no...
BARNES: Why couldn't he do that...
WILLIAMS: ... come on, that...
BARNES: ... instead of whining about, Oh, they brought me in for one day...
WILLIAMS: You know, that's...
BARNES: ... that's pathetic.
WILLIAMS: ... tough...
WILLIAMS: ... he's -- I think, I think it's petty, to be quite honest.
BARNES: Well, it's petty the way Democrats have been acting, blocking all legislation this year too.
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