Ups and Downs for the Week May 23

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", May 28, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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TONY SNOW, GUEST CO-HOST: Time to check out this week’s ups and downs.

DOWN: President Bush’s pick to be U.N. ambassador, John Bolton (search). He was dealt another setback after the Senate voted to delay his confirmation vote for at least another week or so. Senate Democrats want the White House to fork over more documents related to Bolton’s State Department days.

Mort, I’ll tell you what, I think this is all much ado about nothing. Bolton will be confirmed. And I’ll tell you what, I think he is going to be the most effective United Nations ambassador since Pat Moynihan (search). When it’s all said and done, people are going to say, What was the fuss about?

MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Well, what the fuss is really about is that the Democrats don’t like the fact that George Bush wants to nominate a believer in his and Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld’s foreign policy to the United Nations. I mean, I think the president is fully entitled to do that. This is not about whether John Bolton’s a mean guy or not. We’ll see whether he’s one of the great U.N. ambassadors. He’s got Jeane Kirkpatrick and Pat Moynihan –- these are big shoes to fill.

UP: stem cell advocates (search). They got a big win this week after the House voted overwhelmingly to approve a bill that would expand federal funding of stem cell research.

Here’s President Bush, who is vowing a veto for a — against the bill, and pro-life Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham of California, who’s for it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the complex debate over embryonic stem cell research, we must remember that real human lives are involved. Both the lives of those with diseases that might find cures from this research, and the lives of the embryos that will be destroyed in the process.

REP. DUKE CUNNINGHAM (R), CALIFORNIA: I’ve been here 15 years, and I’m 100 percent pro-life, 100 percent. This is a issue of life to me. I had a 6-year-old in the committee that said, Duke, you’re the only person can save my life. I am for life, and I’m for the quality of life. But I don’t want another 6-year-old to die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KONDRACKE: Good for Duke Cunningham (search), good for Orrin Hatch, good for Joe Barton and all the other pro-lifers who voted for this bill.

These embryos are destined for destruction as medical waste, and you know, I think the pro-life thing to do is to use those embryos destined for destruction to save human life.

SNOW: This is an issue on which reasonable disagree, and I disagree with you. I know you have a lot of personal experience with this, Mort, but an embryo is a human life. And it causes great moral problems.

The president hasn’t outlawed embryonic stem cell research, he’s simply said, there are a lot of Americans who have more qualms. We won’t use federal money. But there is nothing prohibiting the experimentation that’s going on all around the nation in the world.

This is one of the most misrepresented political debates in America today. The president doesn’t want federal money. But there’s no ban on embryonic stem cell research.

All right, also DOWN: PBS president Pat Mitchell (search). In what some are calling the PBS relevancy tour, Mitchell this week rejected criticism by conservatives that public TV is guilty to liberal bias. Here she is on Tuesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAT MITCHELL, PRESIDENT, PBS: PBS does not belong to any single constituency. No one political party, no activist group, no foundation, no funder, no agenda of any kind.

Our editorial standards ensure this, and public opinion polls verify it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: Oh, puh-leeze. I mean, come on, Pat Mitchell’s smoking rope here and she knows it. What’s going on is there’s a big fight between Ken Tomlinson, who’s the new president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (search), conservative brought in by the president. Ken Tomlinson has dared to put, count ‘em, Mort, two one-half-hour conservative programs on the air. One, a staid and sober Wall Street Journal Report, number two, something like that Tucker Carlson’s Unplugged or Unwired or something.

That’s going off the air. So exactly one-half-hour of conservative views on PBS, which is a half-hour more than they’ve had before. Of course, there’s liberal bias at the network. Of course, Pat Mitchell is in the middle of it. Good for Ken Tomlinson.

KONDRACKE: Well, exactly. Pat Mitchell has been in danger of losing her job at PBS, so she is doing with her constituency what Tom DeLay has been doing with his, to save his job, namely.

SNOW: The base.

KONDRACKE: Exactly. Rallying the base, find an enemy, you know, the enemy being Ken Tomlinson, who, as you say, all he wants is a little balance for Bill Moyers with some other shows on PBS, and I say good for Ken Tomlinson.

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