Ups and Downs for the Week of Sept. 27 - Oct. 1

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Oct. 2, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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FRED BARNES: Let's check out this week's Ups and Downs.

Down: President Bush.

The television cameras at the first presidential debate ignored the campaign's no-cutaway rule, catching Bush at some inopportune moments and the requirements that the podiums be at equal height actually benefited Kerry.

MORT KONDRACKE: Well, I think Kerry hands down won the body language war. Bush was constantly seen looking annoyed and I think that the reason for this is that he very rarely faces a hostile audience.


KONDRACKE: Once in a while he'll have a press conference. But when he goes out in the country, he only has these adoring audiences. So the guy doesn't know how to handle, handle hostility.

BARNES: Wait a minute, when does John Kerry ever face a hostile audience? Certainly the press corps isn't hostile.

KONDRACKE: Anyways I think that, that, that, that they made a mistake too in having the podiums at equal height because then Kerry looked bigger than Bush and, you know, the bigger guy usually wins.

BARNES: Yes, look, Mort, the body language war, I mean, you're slicing this stuff awfully thin. Look, the only thing that could really hurt one of these guys badly would be if they said something dumb, it was a gaffe and then it's played on television for the next week or so, and I'm sure FOX will be glad to do that. We do it here.

But that didn't happen.

KONDRACKE: Down: Attorney General John Ashcroft

A key surveillance provision of the USA Patriot Act (search) was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge this week. A Manhattan district court judge struck down the provision allowing the FBI to gather phone and Web customer records. Ashcroft's going to appeal the ruling.

BARNES: Look, he may win the appeal, but there's another way to get around this. I mean, if they lose, is, they'll just have to go to a wiretap judge ahead of time and get approval to do the examine these records on somebody's Web site and so on.

And so look, they're not going to, they're not going to just sort of back away and not do this. The war on terror's too serious for that.

KONDRACKE: Well, that's, this is a pattern. In all of these cases where, where what Ashcroft wants to do is undone by the courts it's essentially saying, You can't do this without judicial review.


KONDRACKE: And I agree with that.

BARNES: I don't.

Down: CBS News

Despite repeated denials from the Selective Service -- that's the old draft board, Mort -- CBS News is perpetuating and advancing the rumor that a military draft is imminent. Pardon me for not keeping a straight face.

KONDRACKE: Yes, well, after, after basically trafficking in phony documents about Bush's National Guard service, here's Dan Rather, again, peddling this phony draft story. I think Dan Rather has a death wish, actually.

BARNES: Yes, what is it, is he oblivious to what's going on outside the newsroom at CBS? I mean, the truth is, the only people that have introduced legislation to restart the draft are Democrats and they were doing it just as a stunt. You know, I've always thought the draft was a good idea and partly for social reasons. When I went to Iraq, I learned that from talking to dozens and dozens of soldiers, men and women, that the volunteer Army is really working.

KONDRACKE: Up, Washington, D.C.

After a 33-year absence, baseball is back in the nation's capital after the Montreal Expos (search) decided to head south. The new D.C. team, which have, has led to be named, will debut next season.

BARNES: You know, I'm delighted a team's coming. Washington deserves one. We deserve one. And I think the team will be a financial success for this reason, 33 years ago, Washington wasn't the wealthy city that it is today with all these huge law firms and lobbyists and PR people and so on.  Washington's rolling in money, and they'll all buy skyboxes and season tickets, and maybe invite us. Except I think we're both going to get season's tickets separately.

The worry is, the team on the field. That's going to take a law to build a good one.

KONDRACKE: We are delighted, And you and I can get actually get season tickets together if you'd like, as long as this team is not called "The Beltway Boys."

BARNES: I think you're safe.

KONDRACKE: That, that, that, that name's already taken.

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