This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", November 19, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Let’s check out this week’s "Ups and Downs."
DOWN: special prosecutor in the CIA leak case, Patrick Fitzgerald, his case against former Cheney aide, "Scooter" Libby, may be unraveling. That’s because Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward revealed that he was actually the first person to learn Valerie Plame’s name from another government official, who was not Libby. Thus, undercutting Fitzgerald’s assertion that Libby was the original source.
Now, once again, Washington is buzzing about who is Bob Woodward’s source.
This does not reach the level of suspense that surrounded Deep Throat but, nonetheless, there have been an avalanche of denials by various people, that it was he. It wasn’t Bush. It wasn’t Karl Rove. It wasn’t Dick Cheney. It wasn’t Steve Hadley an NSC advisor. It wasn’t Condi Rice .
And what it appears is that this was a former Bush Administration official, which is important, because it blows the whole argument that there was a conspiracy in this White House to "out Valerie Plame and punish Joe Wilson."
Joe Wilson is perfectly furious about this whole thing. And it also wrecks the Democratic case about the conspiracy and the notion that Bush lied and tried to punish Joe Wilson.
FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Well, you know, the fact that there’s this big guessing game in Washington about this shows how frivolous Washington can be if they’re sitting around talking about this. And a lot of people are.
I mean, obviously there was no conspiracy to -- and Woodward believes this -- there was no conspiracy to punish Joe Wilson for what he had said about Bush’s claims about Iraq. And Wilson criticized him. It turns out his criticism was completely false and Bush was right.
So, you know, it was about Saddam seeking uranium in Africa.
So here’s how, I think, this can hurt Fitzgerald’s case against Libby, even though it doesn’t directly affect it. But it shows, once again, here’s another reporter that had heard about this. You know, will help the defense lawyer say, "Well look, it was just in the air." I mean, every -- and Libby doesn’t know exactly who he heard it from. He thought it was from these reporters that he talked to, who say they didn’t hear about it from him. But, you know, it shows it was in the air.
And secondly, it does undermine the prosecutor. I mean, he had said, at his press conference, that Libby was the first one to reveal to a reporter that Wilson’s wife was a CIA agent. It turns out that was false.
So indirectly, I think, it hurts the Fitzgerald case against Libby, who I don’t think is ever going to trial anyway because they’re going to seek so many documents that the government won’t want to release and, well, you know how it works.
All right. UP: House majority leader, Roy Blunt, after a very rocky week, the man who replaced Tom DeLay eked out a victory this week with the passing of the budget cuts. But it was a very raucous debate and this is just a sample.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARION BERRY (D), ARKANSAS: I cannot believe that you have the audacity to come to this floor with this assault on women and children and tried to portray it, as this other Howdy Doody-looking nimrod said, that he wanted to talk about family values.
REP. ADAM PUTMAN (R), FLORIDA: That was quite a performance, and I respect the gentleman’s passion, but I don’t respect the fact that he chose to personalize the debate, an important debate, about the future of our nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNES: Yes, Marion Berry, what a blow-hard. I mean, come on. I mean, Democrats’ really are cracking as well.
KONDRACKE: What’s a nimrod anyway?
I don’t want to know. But I’ll never call you one, believe me. And if anybody does call you one...
BARNES: You’ll fight them.
KONDRACKE: I will. You’re darn right I will.
BARNES: Look, I think, this spending cut bill was a win for Blunt, a win for conservatives and a win for Republicans, although, not a big win. I mean, look, this was only $50 billion over five years it was cut. And, I think, the budgets will be something like $12 trillion or $13 trillion over those five years. So it’s a pretty -- way less than one percent. I mean, it’s a really tiny amount.
If Republicans hadn’t been able to get that -- and, I think, all the Democrats voted against it -- they would have been the laughing stock.
And just think for a minute, though, Mort. I mean, because this is the way it’s never reported. As small as these spending cuts were, all the Democrats were not willing to even cut that much. I’m not sure about you either, but any case, I think, this does help Roy Blunt. And, I think, it keeps alive that prospect that one day he’ll be House speaker.
KONDRACKE: Yes. Well, first on Thursday, though, Blunt actually lost in a surprise and embarrassing vote when the Labor and Health and Human Services appropriation got voted down. So he did recover on this other vote.
But, Fred, I have three questions for you.
KONDRACKE: You can regard them as rhetorical or you can answer them.
KONDRACKE: First, what sense does it make for the Republican leadership to make its House members vote for $50 billion in cuts when the Senate won’t agree to any more than $35 billion?
BARNES: Yes. Well...
KONDRACKE: Question number two, all right...
BARNES: Well, OK, they made a statement anyway, although, you’re right, we’ll probably wind up with $35 billion in cuts.
BARNES: All of which, Democrats will still be against.
KONDRACKE: OK, and the reason that some Democrats voted against this, the blue dog Democrats exactly, leads to my second question, what is fiscally responsible about cutting $50 billion in spending when you’re about to cut taxes by $70 billion, thereby, digging yourself to $20 billion more in the hole?
BARNES: Mort, why do you think the revenues that were raised in fiscal year 2005, short by about $250 billion, because tax cuts spurred the economy and brought in all these new revenues? That’s why you do it. If you use static analysis you get nowhere.
KONDRACKE: All right, question three. How can you defend cuts in preparation for a pandemic, cuts in Medicaid, cuts in the Centers for Disease Control, at the same time that there are no cutbacks in pork barrel spending on highway bills or subsidies for oil companies? How can you do that?
BARNES: Well, I might have made them differently, but Democrats didn’t propose that. They didn’t want to do anything at all, Mort. You have to give this one up.
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