This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", July 10, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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KONDRACKE: Let's check out this week's ups and down.
UP: President Bush
The highly anticipated Senate Intelligence Committee report came out Friday on prewar, pre-Iraq War Intel, and it lays the blame squarely on the CIA (search) and not on the White House for faulty claims about Iraq's WMD.
BILL SAMMON, GUEST-HOST: This is why former CIA director George Tenet (search) timed his departure so beautifully. He left a couple weeks after the 9/11 commission hearings died down, but a couple weeks before these highly critical reports started coming out. And of course, this is the first report.
I predict Democrats will try to blame Tenet, even though he's gone, for the, these shortfalls, and by extension, blame President Bush.
The question is, how much resonance is this going to have moving forward through the campaign? Already, since the June 28 handover of sovereignty in Iraq, we're starting to see Iraq start to fade from the headlines. I know it's still going to be a big campaign issue. I'm just wondering how much resonance it's going to continue to have.
KONDRACKE: Well, the best part of this, this whole report was that President Bush was the White House was absolved of the charge that the Democrats had been making that they pressured the CIA into, into cooking the books and finding WMD. But, I disagree with you about the whole WMD issue.
Look, Bush, Bush's major justification for going to war was WMD in Iraq. There isn't any there, and it seems to me that the Democrats are still going to hammer on that and, and going to, and, and are going to say that he deceived the country. I think he believed what the CIA told him, did not deceive the country, but still, the, the, the Democrats are on the case.
DOWN: Whoopi Goldberg
SAMMON: The comedienne delivered an X-rated rant against President Bush at a Kerry-Edwards fundraiser in New York Thursday night. According to witnesses, Whoopi waved a bottle of wine and fired off a stream of vulgarities, including a sexual wordplay on the president's last name.
KONDRACKE: Now, other people at this event, where Kerry and Edwards were both present, called President Bush a thug, another one called him a killer, and it, and there are two scandals here. One is that Kerry and Edwards not only did not disavow what was said about, about Bush, which Howard Dean previously had the wisdom to do, but they actually praised, lavished praise on the performers, who blasted Bush.
Now, the second scandal is that the media, except for The New York Post, practically ... completely ignored the story. It was played way down ... page A-6 of The Washington Post, midway into, in, in the story, for example. And, you know, if a Republican had said anything similar to this about any Democrat, it would have been page one top of the news.
Now, I, as this campaign's dirt detector, at least The Beltway Boys' dirt detectors, have this to say. Shame on you, John Kerry and John Edwards.
SAMMON: Well, not only did John Kerry praise this performance, but he actually said, "It conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country." I mean, he's talking about these performers and their vulgarities were somehow representative of the values of his campaign.
It was extraordinary. I agree with you. When this kind of vitriol has been used at ... at past Democratic fundraisers, such as the one in the fall, which Dean then renounced, Democrats have been willing to at least profess their disapproval.
I remember back in 2000, I was covering the Bush — or covering the Gore campaign, and out in Hollywood, there was a party, and somebody made an off-color joke, and Joe Lieberman came out and apologized for it. But with Kerry and Edwards, not a peep.
UP: Arizona Senator John McCain
He's the man both campaigns want on their side, but it's team Bush that has struck first with this ad touting McCain's support, released the same day that Edwards was announced as Kerry's running mate. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: He has not wavered, he has not flinched from the hard choices, he was determined and remains determined to make this world a better, safer, freer place. He deserves not only our support but our admiration. That's why I am honored to introduce to you the president of the United States, George W. Bush.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAMMON: You know, Mort, I said this weeks ago when John Kerry was courting John McCain for the seventh and final time, that this was embarrassing for the Democrats that whoever he ended up picking from the Democratic ranks would invariably be called second choice. Sure enough, that's what they're insinuating with this ad.
You know, it's interesting that McCain himself is refusing to criticize either Kerry or Edwards, saying that they're his friends in the Senate. But he's also asking the Kerry-Edwards campaign to refrain from using his own words, that is, McCain's own words against George W. Bush, because in 2000, McCain and Bush were rivals and said some pretty nasty things about each other.
KONDRACKE: Yes, well, look, McCain is trying to, to urge everybody to get on the high road. But I got to say that that's not what's happening in this campaign.
The Bush campaign has been negative, albeit largely about the, the record of, of Kerry and, and Edwards, which is perfectly fair game. The Kerry-Edwards ticket has announced its program and has also criticized Bush on the issues. But then you have this dark side of the Democratic campaign with MoveOn.org, Michael Moore, Al Gore, and now Whoopi Goldberg playing dirty pool.
UP: John Edwards' Better Half, Elizabeth Edwards
Described by The New York Times as, "Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton rolled into one," Mrs. Edwards is getting an enthusiastic reception in the press and on the campaign trail.
Here she is Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH EDWARDS, JOHN EDWARDS'S WIFE: This has been an incredible year. It started out for us talking about two Americas, about the emphasis we wanted to put on the problems that were facing American — the American people today, and the effort to try to change this country, get it back on the course it needs to be on, and it's going to — we're going to end this year moving two great Americans, John and Teresa, into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KONDRACKE: I don't think she's Hillary Clinton, except insofar as she's a, she's a key adviser for her husband. Hillary Clinton can be mean and vindictive, and what I, from everything I know, and I've to Elizabeth Edwards, she's nice.
SAMMON: She seems very down to earth, very approachable. She actually describes her self as the anti-Barbie, which I think is a reference to her Ken doll husband. She's also a stay-at-home, which, stay- at-home mom, which actually might appeal to conservatives, believe it or not.
KONDRACKE: She's a campaigner now.
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