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Ups and Downs for the Week of January 9

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", January 14, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Let’s check out our ups and downs, Mort, if you’re ready for this.

MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: I’m ready.

BARNES: I suspect you are.

DOWN: Iran. It moved this week to resume nuclear production after a two-year freeze, making a referral to the U.N. Security Council all but certain.

Here’s President Bush Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A current president of Iran has announced that the destruction of Israel is an important part of their agenda. And that, that, that’s unacceptable. And the development of a nuclear weapon seems like to me would make them a step closer to achieving that objective.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KONDRACKE: Well, you know, the world’s leaders ought to be on notice that if the U.N. and the EU and the United States can’t stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power, then the Israeli are going to diplomatically, then the Israelis are going to do it by other means.

And if that happens, you know, it’s going to be the fault of the rest of the big, big-time leaders of the world, world community, and they shouldn’t complain about it after it happens.

BARNES: No, you’re right about that. And the other thing that would happen is, other countries in the region, like Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Egypt, would want to go nuclear as well, if they’re going to see the Iranians with nuclear weapons. Mort, I think you’ll agree on one thing with me on this for sure, that the time for talk and negotiations with the Iranians is over: tried, failed. At the very least, the U.N. has to, or at, at least the major powers have to place sanctions, serious economic sanctions on the Iranians.

KONDRACKE: Absolutely.

UP: for now, acting majority leader, or House Majority Leader Roy Blunt. He’s got an early lead to become the permanent majority leader, but it’s far from a done deal. Nipping at his heels, Republican Congressman John Boehner of Ohio, and a new entrant into the race, Republican Congressman John Shadegg of Arizona.

BARNES: You know, I’m biased when it comes to the subject of Roy Blunt, because I’ve known him a long time. I met him before he came to Congress when he was the president of a Christian college in southwest Missouri.

I happen to believe he will make and a very effective majority leader who has been pretty effective even in the time when he’s been the temporary one. And I suspect he’ll wind up being the elected majority leader, though it’s hard to know at this point. Secret ballot, you know, these Republicans can vote in different ways.

The truth is, he and Tom DeLay had already, he’ll be replaced. He and Tom DeLay had grown somewhat apart personally and on strategy. And I think DeLay, if elected, his strategy, number one, the most important thing for him would be preserving the Republican majority in the House.

KONDRACKE: Yes.

BARNES: Preserving the majority in the House, and only secondary to that would be getting President Bush’s legislation through the House of Representatives. I think DeLay would have had it the other way.

KONDRACKE: OK. Well, I confess to the same bias about Blunt, not as longstanding as yours.

But I think you, I think you’re right, Blunt was a creature of the DeLay system, was his chief deputy whip, and the two had grown further apart, in fact, were rivals to succeed Denny Hastert, should Hastert retire. And DeLay, of course, is gone now.

The, the moderates in the House, you know, think that Blunt is a guy that they can work with, whereas DeLay used to just beat him up with his hammer to try to get him to do what he wanted to do.

BARNES: Yes, I know.

KONDRACKE: DOWN: Democratic Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana. One of his top aides implicated the eight-term congressman last week in a bribery scandal. The aide, who faces up to 20 years in prison for abetting bribery of a public official, said that Jefferson demanded money in exchange for his help promoting a pair of business deals in Africa.

BARNES: Mort, what is the big story on Capitol Hill today? I’ll answer that, it is scandal, corruption, wrongdoing by members of Congress. We have the whole Jack Abramoff thing with one member of Congress named in the criminal information he agreed to, that’s Bob Ney of Ohio, who actually has some pretty good explanations on his side.

Now comes William Jefferson, a senior Democrat, a very likable man, who is implicated in a serious bribery scandal. How does the mainstream media play this story? Obviously, anything with Abramoff or Republicans, it’s all over the front page. The New York Times, a short little piece at the bottom of some page inside. The Washington Post inside the paper.

This corruption and scandal is the big story, yet Jefferson’s inside. Now, why do you think that is? It’s because he has a D by his name.

KONDRACKE: No.

BARNES: He’s a Democrat. And somehow the media, even with corruption and scandal being a big story, there’s media immunity...

KONDRACKE: Media bias...

BARNES: ... for Democrats to put it mildly.

(LAUGHTER)

KONDRACKE: Heaven forbid, heaven forbid.

Look, in addition to that, it does not fit the current story line, which is Republican corruption.

Republicans are in charge at the House of Representatives, and when corruption is systematic, as it is in this case with them, then they get blamed for it...

And Jefferson appears to be an outlier. But I agree, it should have been a front-page story.

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