This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Sept. 4, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, GUEST HOST: Let's take a look at the convention's ups and downs.

UP: Arizona Senator John McCain

Here's his speech. Watch it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Our adversaries are weaker than us in arms and men, but weaker still in causes. They fight to express, they fight to express a hatred for all that is good in humanity. We fight for love of freedom and justice, a love that is invincible. Keep that faith.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KONDRACKE: I, I didn't think that McCain's delivery was actually all that great. But I think he starts out as the front runner for the 2008 Republican nomination, basically because I have this theory that the Republicans...

FRED BARNES, GUEST HOST: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... are a primogeniture party, and the next guy in line usually gets the nod.

I do, I think that after the convention, McCain hurt himself a little bit among Republicans by trashing Zell Miller, who did go over the top in his speech attacking Kerry. But, but McCain said that he was worse than Pat Buchanan not in 1992. Wrong. In 1992, Pat Buchanan lusted for a religious war in America.

BARNES: Yes. You know, Mort, with all due respect, I don't want to talk about 2008. I, I think we got one of the greatest presidential elections in our lifetime this year, and it's just a bunch of idle speculation about who's doing well in 2008.

I think McCain was important, not because he didn't have applause lines in his speech, but because he laid out better than President Bush has, as you pointed out, why we're in Iraq, and what the real alternatives were. They were not good.

DOWN: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: Tax credits for the uninsured, electronic medical records, a just, fair, and fast medical liability system, these could be part of our future. But only one candidate will lead us there, President George W. Bush.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KONDRACKE: A friend of mine ... Frist sounded like the Stepford Man, and also that he talked down to, to the audience, as though he thought that they were people who spoke English as a second language.

BARNES: Stepford Man? I'm going to pass that along to Bill Frist. You're saying that about him.

KONDRACKE: OK.

UP: Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Here he goes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: In choosing a president, we really don't choose just a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or a liberal. We choose a leader. And in times of war and danger, as we're now in, Americans should put leadership at the core of their decision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARNES: ... what a great speech, though. Rudy's speech really was a great speech. And what he did was, he connected President Bush and 9/11 and New York City and the war on terrorism all in a powerful way. And then that line he had where he said, I mean, sometime shortly after the, the planes hit the World Trade Center and brought it down, he said, he quoted himself as having said, Thank God George W. Bush is president.

KONDRACKE: He said that that was his first thought...

BARNES: Yes, yes.

KONDRACKE: ... after 9/11. That would not have been my ... first thought ... my first thought would have begun with "Holy" and then an, an unprintable.

Anyway...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: I love this 2008 stuff ...  and I invite ...

BARNES: I know you do.

KONDRACKE: ... viewers...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... to comment on whether they're, they're interested.

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: What I want to see is a primary between McCain and Giuliani...

BARNES: Oh, oh, Mort.

KONDRACKE: ... mighty.

BARNES: More idle speculation.

UP: First Lady Laura Bush

KONDRACKE: Well, unlike, unlike Teresa Heinz, Laura Bush actually talked about her husband.

BARNES: Yes, well, good. And unlike the Kerry girls, the Bush girls talked about themselves. You know, I think it's a mistake to have the wives and the children and, and so on at the stage at, at a convention, not because I don't like them.

I think Laura Bush is a lovely woman. I just think that's not what we want in a democracy. That sort of smells of a, a monarchy, and it, it make, when I see that, it makes me think, Gee, maybe we ought to have a parliamentary government.

KONDRACKE: You know, some places have parliamentary governments and monarchy ...

BARNES: ... you don't have to have the monarchy.

KONDRACKE: OK.

UP: Our California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Fred's Hero

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: To my fellow immigrants listening tonight, I want you to know how welcome you are in this party. We Republicans admire your ambition. We encourage your dreams. We believe in your future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARNES: Well, now, that was another great speech. I loved that yellow tie too. He was great, Arnold, Dee-dee-doot-doot-doo. I mean, that was, no, he is really good. But you know what's so great about Arnold? Not only does he, and he didn't in this speech, I love him when he attacks the whiners. There are a lot of them around. They're mainly liberals.

But, but he talks about opportunity and how you can come to America and be successful. Democrats, all they do is talk about the barriers and, oh, we can't ahead, and the things that are holding us back, and, and you know, these gloom-and-doom types. And you know what Arnold calls them?

KONDRACKE: Girlie men.

BARNES: Absolutely.

KONDRACKE: OK.

BARNES: All right...

KONDRACKE: No, listen, now.

BARNES: OK.

KONDRACKE: I mean, look, what Kerry says that the rest of the world does not respect America. Schwarzenegger, I thought, had a great new kind of gloss on that, that all over the world there are tens of millions of immigrants who love America...

BARNES: Yes, yes.

KONDRACKE: ... who are pining to get in here, who will do anything ... to get to America.

BARNES: OK.

DOWN: The Protesters

You know, the police did their NYPD's did such a great job, they ran rings around those protesters. You know, I never even saw any of them. Where did they stash them away? I don't know how, I don't know how they did it.

All praise goes to Ray Kelly and the entire NYPD, and any and everybody who helped him. They made -- the protesters irrelevant, not a factor. A lot of people in the media would like to have made the protesters the story. They couldn't do that.

UP: NYPD

KONDRACKE: Well, and the media really wanted to glorify these protesters...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... as though a couple hundred thousand people in the city of New York, with all its...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... millions, amounts to a, a, a major national event.

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: But by the end, all the, the media was reporting was the arrest statistics...

BARNES: Yes.

KONDRACKE: ... which is ... appropriate.

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