NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Reaction now from the Democrats, who are in their fourth day and will nominate their presidential candidate tonight. For that, we go to Barney Frank. He is perhaps the state’s most famous congressman, some say maybe a future senator in his own right.
Congressman Frank, thanks for taking the time to join us.
REP. BARNEY FRANK, D-MASS.: Glad to be here, Neil.
CAVUTO: What do you make of this Al Qaeda capture?
FRANK: I have no idea what has happened. I have been at the convention and I wish I could be more informed. To the extent that they caught one of the bad guys, I’m very happy. But I don’t know anything at all, other than the 10 seconds I just heard on the news.
CAVUTO: OK. I’m sorry. We kind of hit you broadside with this, Congressman. I’ll just cut to the chase. That an Al Qaeda bigwig who was behind the 1998 attacks in Africa that killed 200 people has been taken into custody in Pakistan. Do you think that we are making progress in the war on terror? How would you define it?
FRANK: Oh, yes. We are making some progress, clearly.
We’re making progress and getting some of these really evil people and that’s a good sign that the Pakistanis are cooperating, because that has been something that hadn’t always been the case. Unfortunately, you know, the terrorists are also making progress.
I mean, it’s not a one-sided thing. And nobody really knows exactly where we are overall. So it is very good news, first, that we caught one of these vicious murderers. And secondly, that it was with the cooperation of Pakistan, because that is something we very much need.
CAVUTO: Congressman, let me ask you, when John Kerry hits the podium tonight, he scores well in most polls, except when compared to this president on the terror issue. What does he have to do on that front during his speech tonight to impress Americans who might not score him highly in that area?
FRANK: Well, I think it is a mistake to think that you can do this in one speech, and there is, of course, this difference. Obviously, everybody in America, or virtually everybody in America is glad that someone has been caught. Now, when you are the president, you have the ability to catch people and others don’t do that. So to that extend, there isn’t, as there should not be, a competition.
I think what John Kerry can do is to continue to explain what his commitment has been. I do think his law enforcement experience and his work in the Senate in investigating, for instance, the misuse of money, money laundering, unfortunately that has been one of the factors. Terrorists don’t all work for nothing. They are supported by this very sophisticated money network.
John Kerry can talk about that. As a practical matter, when you get a capture of a murderer, then nothing is going to compete with that, and nobody should think that anyone was trying to compete with it.
CAVUTO: Do you think, though, that this is sort of the sort of volatile, unpredictable kind of stuff that happens up until a presidential election, if more Al Qaeda bigwigs are captured, if Usama bin Laden himself is captured, and that changes everything going into the full campaign? What do you think?
FRANK: Unfortunately no, I wish I could have that confidence. But, you know, the American troops caught Saddam Hussein, and sadly, we didn’t get not nearly as much benefit as we hoped.
I mean, many more American soldiers and Marines have been killed since Saddam Hussein was captured. The chaos increased. So we are beyond the point where the capture of any one person appears to end things. As I said, the Saddam Hussein capture did not bring us what we had been hoping.
And I don’t think the public is that easily dissuaded from talking about public policy. This isn’t cops and robbers.
Yes, it’s important for law enforcement to go forward, for international forces to work to get these people. But there is still the public policy question, including what I think is, frankly, with regard to Iraq — and I’m glad we’re catching some people now — whether you are for the war or not, I voted against going to war, but whatever you felt it has been in the period since May of last year very badly handled. And I think the incompetence, frankly, with which it has been handled is a legitimate issue, even as you catch other terrorists.
CAVUTO: All right. Congressman Barney Frank, thank you for taking the time to join us. Appreciate it, sir.
FRANK: You’re welcome.
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