Ups and Downs for the Week of September 6 - 10

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Sept. 11, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

Watch "The Beltway Boys" Saturday at 6 p.m. ET and Sunday at 1 and 6 a.m. ET

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Let's take a look at this week's ups and downs.

UP: The National Rifle Association

That's the NRA (search) to you, Mort. The Republican Congress will boldly let the assault weapons ban lapse this Monday, and the NRA is running this infomercial against Kerry in several battleground states. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says he supports gun rights, but he never has. That's why John Kerry has a 100 percent record with antigun groups like the Brady campaign. He even has a 100 percent rating by  (search), the same PETA that wants to ban all hunting. Now, maybe you don't own a firearm today. But tomorrow or next month or next year, do you want the freedom to make that choice? If you do, be wary of Kerry.


MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Fred, soon you will have the freedom to go out and get an assault rifle with a...


KONDRACKE: ... 30, with a 30-bullet clip, and you can, you can blaze away as much as you want to ... thanks to these

BARNES: ... and sportsmen ...

KONDRACKE: ... baloney, sportsmen. Thirty, no, William Bratton, the Los Angeles police chief, pointed out the other day that a 30-weapon, a 30-bullet clip will fire all 30 weapons, 30, 30 bullets in five seconds.

BARNES: Yes ...

KONDRACKE: Now, if you were using machine gun, you'd fire them in two seconds.

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: You know, this is the functional equivalent...


KONDRACKE: ... of a machine gun. We do not need Uzis, AK-47s, Check-9s and stuff like that on the streets of the United States.


KONDRACKE: And, George Bush once said in 2000 ... that he would support extension of the assault ban. This is a flip-flop ... on his part. And good for John Kerry for calling him on it.

BARNES: ... no, no, no, no. This is a, a Congress that won't pass it regardless of what Bush said.

KONDRACKE: Come on...


BARNES: Hey. Hey, George W. Bush, he, he's president, he's not a member of the House or Senate, Mort. He couldn't get it passed...


BARNES: ... he couldn't get -- No, no, they follow the NRA on this, and they follow what people want, what sportsmen want, what gun owners want.

And the truth is, gun control in general is just a feel-good issue for liberals. I don't know why you share in that stuff, because, look, banning these guys is, has no effect on crime, has no effect on assaults on police. It just makes liberals feel good temporarily.

All right? You got that?

KONDRACKE: I got it...

BARNES: Good. All right.

KONDRACKE: ... but I don't believe it.

DOWN: Russian President Vladimir Putin

He's continuing to face a storm of criticism in the aftermath of the Beslan's school hostage siege. Among the complaints, that Putin (search) underestimated the magnitude of the crisis, didn't admit initially that Chechen rebels were the hostage takers, and forced members of the media deemed, "too inquisitive" to resign.

BARNES: That's what John Kerry and George Bush think about the media here, too inquisitive. But look, look, Putin did a terrible job. He, he mishandled the situation. But the situation involved not just hostage takers and Chechens but mainly they were led by Islamic jihadist terrorists. Those were the people who were there who take joy out of killing little children. A child asks for water, you stab him. You know, these were really horrible people.

They're, this is a chance for an opening for President Bush to, to offer help, because Putin needs it in dealing with terrorists, that's for sure.

KONDRACKE: Well, the, the question is, would Putin take it?

BARNES: Well...

KONDRACKE: You know, and would he, would he accept our advice? I mean, he's been siding with the French and the Germans that, on practically everything...

BARNES: I know.

KONDRACKE: ... everything else. I mean, I would hope that we would tell him, Look, if you want to solve the Chechen crisis, you've got to stop being utterly brutal toward ordinary Chechen civilians.

And the second thing is, you should tell the truth about, about what's happening. And the third thing is that you should stop acting like KGB agent, which he is increasingly doing as...


KONDRACKE: ... as the president of Russia.

BARNES: Yes, yes, I think we're stuck with that.

DOWN: Former Vice President Al Gore

His interview in The New Yorker magazine was way over the top, even for Al Gore. Here's what he said about President Bush's Christian faith. "It's the American version of the same fundamentalist impulse that we see in Saudi Arabia, in Kashmir, in religions around the world, Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim. They all have certain features in common. It's the vengeance, the brimstone."

KONDRACKE: I can't decide whether Al Gore has turned into a demagogue, or a lunatic, frankly, or an extremist. I mean, you, this is the guy who almost was president of the United States. And if, if Bush's victory in 2000 has unhinged him to this extent, I wonder what 9/11 would have done?

BARNES: Yes, you know, there are millions and millions of evangelical Christians like Bush in America, tens of millions of them, the impulse, and he likens their religious impulse to the impulse that led 15 Saudi Arabians to attack on 9/11, to fly planes into Americans and kill innocent Americans, to fly planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

What is he talking about?

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