This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", July 17, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Let's check this week's ups and downs.

UP: Hillary Clinton

After initially getting snubbed in the prime time lineup, Hillary gets a speaking role at the Democratic National Convention (search). After all, she'll introduce her husband the first night of the convention.

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: You think that snub was inadvertent or on purpose? I mean, I think it was probably on, on purpose, you know, I mean, and that was one of the quickest schedule changes I've ever seen...

KONDRACKE: Smart.

BARNES: ... well, of course it's smart, to occur at a convention. But there's a lesson in it, Mort, if you're a Democrat. Don't trifle with the Clintons. You'll get in trouble.

Now, why would they have left Hillary off there? Obviously John Edwards fears her as an opponent, and maybe a stronger opponent, of, of him in a later presidential race, you know, 2008, if Kerry loses, or 2012 or whatever. Hillary will still be young enough to run.

And you know what? I don't think John Kerry particularly wants her to have a big role at the Democratic convention either, for the simple reason that she is more impressive and more formidable as a presidential candidate, if she were one, than he is. It's as simple as that.

KONDRACKE: Look, she's the first-night speaker...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... she is not the last-night speaker. There's no, nobody's going to be saying, Wow...

BARNES: ... have her the last night...

KONDRACKE: ... that's why, that's why ... they've got her on the first night. Look...

BARNES: Yes, yes.

KONDRACKE: ... look, what's going to be really interesting is to see whether there is a, "spontaneous" demonstration...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... for, for Hillary, "H-R-C, H-R-C," and, you know, how long the ... convention managers, who of course are Kerry people...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... will let it run.

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: But you're right, I mean, 2008 or 2012 ... it's, it's Edwards, Hillary, and, and probably Evan Bayh.

BARNES: All right. I'm for Bayh.

UP: The Urban League

Unlike the NAACP (search), the Urban League will hear from both presidential candidates at their annual convention next week. President Bush upset the NAACP leaders by skipping their convention this week, due to a scheduling conflict, Mort.

KONDRACKE: Yes, right. Well, the, Kerry went to the NAACP...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... convention, and... accused President Bush of dividing America by race. Now, the president is a polarizer, but he has, you can't say that he has divided America by race.

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: The, the fact is that he's appointed, you know, Colin Powell ...and Condoleezza Rice and, and two other black, black cabinet officers.

If anybody is dividing America by race, it is the NAACP itself, whose leadership has accused these, these estimable blacks in Bush's cabinet of being just ventriloquist's dummies and is also, and also was responsible for what I regard as one of the dirtiest ads in American political history. This was run against George Bush in the year 2000. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NAACP 2000 VOTER FUND AD)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Renee Mullins, James Byrd's daughter. On June 7, 1998, in Texas, my father was killed. He was beaten, chained, and then dragged three miles to his death, all because he was black. So when Governor George Bush refused to support hate crimes legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KONDRACKE: That's worse than Willie Horton...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... ever was.

BARNES: Yes, well, there was nothing wrong with the Willie Horton (search) ad in the first place. I mean, that, for one thing, there was a hate crimes law in, in Texas, and, and secondly, the perpetrators of the James Byrd murder both got the death penalty.

So in any case, look, Bush wouldn't do him any — do himself any good by going and speaking to the NAACP. He'd get booed, and reporters would play that up, not that he was brave in going there.

And secondly, the NAACP is an aging group, I think, without much influence, particularly on younger black voters who might at some point in their life become Republicans.

DOWN: Former Ambassador and Bush-hater Joe Wilson

KONDRACKE: The Senate Intelligence Committee and now a British inquiry both conclude that Iraq did in fact seek uranium from the African country of Niger, undercutting Wilson's claims to the contrary. Here's a quote from the British report.

"It's accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999. The British government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium." That's just what, that's what Bush ...said... in the, in, in his ...State of the Union message.

BARNES: Yes, they quote it, actually, in the British report, quoted what Bush said, and said it was well founded.

KONDRACKE: Right. Well, so, you know, Wilson is wrong, exploded, on about four different counts. One, he said that his wife, Valerie Plame (search), did not recommend him for the job, and the Senate Intelligence report said, says that it did.

Two, in fact, what he reported when he got back from Niger enhanced the CIA's belief that the Iraqis were trying to find uranium. He mentioned a forged document that he'd never seen before, and he said that the White House knew full well that the Iraqis...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... weren't seeking it in Niger...

BARNES: Yes, right.

KONDRACKE: ... and, and that's just false.

BARNES: Yes, of course it's false. Look, I think it's incumbent upon The New York Times, which started this whole Wilson flap by running a piece by him making all those charges, to come to grips with this publicly. I don't think they're going to, but journalist, journalistic ethics said, say to me, anyway, that they should...

KONDRACKE: ... the entire journalism profession ... I mean, you know...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... this, this is hardly, this story has hardly appeared except on page A-6 a week ago Saturday...a week ago... in The Washington Post...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... and The Washington Times and The Wall Street Journal.

BARNES: OK, you're right.

UP: Democratic Candidate for Illinois Senator: Barack Obama

Not only has he been tapped to keynote the Democratic National Convention, he has only nominal competition in his Senate race now that former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka (search) announced he won't run.

You know, I'm, I'm sorry Mike Ditka didn't run. He would be a great candidate. But look, Barack Obama, he's probably going to get elected, and he will become, I mean, right now he is the great black hope among white Democrats and white journalists, but I think he would become a black leader who transcends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. I'm sorry he's not getting a strong Republican challenger who can challenge him on his hard left views. But it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

KONDRACKE: Well, what I hope is that in two years, Harold Ford of Tennessee takes Bill Frist's seat, and then you'll have two black senators, and one will be, a liberal, and the other will be a moderate.

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