This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Jan. 15, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Let’s check out this week’s ups and downs.
UP: inauguration security (search). Officials say it won’t look like downtown Baghdad next Thursday, but security for the first post-9/11 inauguration will be heavy and noticeable. Here’s Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The security for this occasion will be unprecedented. Protective measures will be seen. There’ll be quite a few that are not seen. Our goal is that any attempt on the part of anyone or any group to disrupt the inaugural will be repelled by multiple layers of security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNES: That sums it up, multiple layers of security.
Now, I want to show you a bite from the 2000 Bush inaugural. This is just before he was sworn in as president. Watch this. Now, see, who is that guy? That’s just some guy out of the blue coming up and giving him a coin and talking to him. Now, where is the security? Where are they? Where’s the Secret Service? Where are the other people? They aren’t there.
BARNES: Mort, you will not see anything like this on Thursday.
MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Yes. Look, my theory about Usama bin Laden is that he is waiting to pull off a big spectacular, that that’s why we haven’t been attacked. He doesn’t want to do anything, you know, small. Now, obviously, an inauguration is about as spectacular an opportunity as you can.
KONDRACKE: Except that we’re prepared for this. And, you know, there are F-15s and F-16s flying overhead.
BARNES: Yes, good.
KONDRACKE: So we’re prepared for this. You know, I think the time to worry is when our guard is down.
DOWN: newly elected Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (search). Just days after his election, his party’s militant wing launches a fresh attack against the Israelis, and the result of that is that Ariel Sharon, who was supposed to have an early meeting with, with Abbas has now put it on hold pending Abbas’s fulfilling his promise to crack down on these militants in Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and Hamas.
Don’t hold your breath. The question I have is, is President Bush going to follow Sharon’s lead and sort of put on hold the invitation that Abbas had to come to Washington?
BARNES: That’s a good question, Mort. I don’t have the answer.
KONDRACKE: I don’t either.
BARNES: But, but it’s a very good question. Look, there’s only one thing that needs to be done now. And you suggested it. That is, Abbas has to end the terrorism, not have a pause, not have a moratorium with Hamas, some honors for a while, and, and the other terrorist groups, but it has to stop. Nothing else matters at this point.
DOWN: Dan Rather (search). He may have escaped the ax for the disputed Bush National Guard story, but he’s stuck with something far worse, a ruined reputation.
KONDRACKE: Well, you know, he was scheduled to leave his post at CBS Evening News in March, and then go to 60 Minutes Wednesday. Well, the, the president of CBS said that that’s the plan unless CBS News cancels the Wednesday show which may happen, leaving Rather without a home.
KONDRACKE: I, look, Rather is 73 years old.
KONDRACKE: It seems to me it’s time to leave, to write books. And I’m sure that he can get documentaries that he can, that he can work on, and keep himself very happy.
BARNES: Yes, he probably could, but he would be leaving under a cloud, but that cloud’s going to be there if he leaves in two years or five years or now.
Look, here, here’s what I was further upset by, about the report and the program itself last September 8, the investigative report, of course. Dan Rather’s response to it was, and the statement he put out was to accept no responsibility at all for these forged documents being used at the heart of the report, accusing President Bush, you know, falsely about his National Guard duty.
Rather obviously, it was as if Rather was sort of just a guy reading a script on the show, had nothing to do with the program. He’s the guy who was integrally involved or knows about a Texas Democratic and liberal politics. His daughter’s involved in it. He spoke once at a Democratic fundraiser down there. He would have to know that some of these fringe characters, left-wing characters that were behind this show and feeding stuff to CBS were exactly that, fringe and untrustable characters.
KONDRACKE: UP: Howard Dean (search). He officially entered the contest for the Democratic National Committee chairmanship this week, and it looks like it’s his race to lose.
BARNES: You know, Dean, well, he is the frontrunner, no question about that. And I have no better authority than Carl Cameron of FOX News, but it’s true. If Dean returns to his centrist and, and pragmatic inclinations that he used to have a few years ago before he ran for president, he might be a reasonably effective Democratic National chairman (search). That would be as you might put it, he’d start taking his medication again.
KONDRACKE: The tipoff on this is that Dean says that he is a centrist, and that the Democratic Party is centrist.
Dean is not a centrist, certainly on foreign policy.
BARNES: Yes, but the argument seems to me over whether the Democratic Party should stay left or go lefter. Nobody’s arguing for centrist policies.
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