Best and Worst Ideas of 2004

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Jan. 1, 2005, 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: The best idea of the year and that was emphasizing national security (search) issues over economic issues. Here’s President Bush during the campaign.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT UNITED STATES: Will we make decisions in the light of September the 11th or continue to live in the mirage of safety that was actually a time of gathering threats? And in this time of choosing I want all Americans to know you can fight on me to fight our enemies and defend our freedom.


BARNES: You know another great idea was having the Republican convention in New York. I thought that wasn’t going to work. Boy was I wrong.


BARNES: And late. Labor Day weekend.

KONDRACKE: Yes. I think the big idea of the Bush campaign was to understand that a presidential campaign regardless of whether an incumbent is running or not is always a comparison between two candidates.

The Kerry campaign thought it was a referendum on Bush and they got deceived by the fact by the polls showing that Bush’s approval ratings were down and all they had to do was make Kerry out to be some sort of an acceptable alternative and it didn’t work.

Now the other big idea of the year, which is going to be a lasting big idea is Google’s — not only their big IPO but also the idea that you’re going to be able to go online and through Google (search) get into the biggest libraries in the whole world and research anything you want right on your own computer. I think that’s a fantastic idea.

BARNES: You know the problem though is most young people want to play video games on their computer. They don’t want to go widen their library at Harvard.

All right. The worst idea of the year, John Kerry (search) focusing on his Vietnam service at his convention last summer. Watch.


JOHN KERRY, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: I’m John Kerry and I’m reporting for duty.


BARNES: You know, John McCain warned him about this. He said don’t bring up Vietnam it will just bring things out of the woodwork that you’re not going to want to discuss. There’s no way it can help your campaign. Please don’t do it. It will bring back all the wrong memories and feelings and it did.

KONDRACKE: I think my worst idea of the year personally and I think you may be guilty of it too was calling all my friends around the country who were dying for the exit polls on election day, which of course were all wrong. A lot of them — those of them who were Democrats were about to commit hari-kari when they saw the final results.

BARNES: But Mort, you gave them the thrill of the seven-hour Kerry presidency on Election Day before the actual votes started coming in. I only called one person and ruined his day.

Content and Programming Copyright 2005 Fox News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, L.L.C. and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.