This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", August 14, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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JUAN WILLIAMS, GUEST C-HOST: I'm Juan Williams. I'm in for Mort Kondracke.
FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Well, the hot story number one, Juan, is round one. And, of, I'm talking about round one in the presidential debate. And there were two encounters in round one, and the first was between President Bush (search) and John Kerry (search). Now, it was head to head, it was not face-to-face. We have to wait for the debates in the fall for that.
But, but the president last week challenged John Kerry to say whether, knowing what he knows now, that weapons of mass destruction would not be found in Iraq, whether he would have voted for the war resolution anyway that was actually passed in October 2002.
And, and here's what Kerry said and Bush's response to that. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have. But I would have used that authority, as I have said throughout this campaign, effectively. I would have done this very differently from the way President Bush has.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He now agrees it was the right decision to go into Iraq. After months of questioning my motives and even my credibility, Senator Kerry now agrees with me that even though we have not found the stockpile of weapons that we all believed were there, knowing everything we know today, he would have voted to go into Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power.
I want to thank my opponent for clearing that up.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BARNES: You know, that, that's not exactly what Kerry said.
WILLIAMS: I'm glad you said it.
BARNES: I think the president sort of mischaracterized that, because Kerry goes on with this long thing about, Well, I wouldn't have gone to war, I would have gotten more allies ... we would have used the resolution if the, to put pressure on the U.N. and to put pressure on Saddam Hussein, and on and on and on.
Now, the second encounter was between John Kerry and Vice President Cheney. And Juan, you'll remember earlier this week, you might have chuckled at it, I did, when John Kerry said he favored a more sensitive war on terror.
Well, here's what Dick Cheney said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Senator Kerry has also said that if he were in charge, he would fight a more sensitive war on terror. America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being sensitive. President Lincoln and General Grant did not wage sensitive warfare, nor did President Roosevelt, nor Generals Eisenhower and MacArthur.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNES: Well, well, you knew, of course, Juan, I'm sure when you heard John Kerry had said that, that Republicans were going to, were going to jump all over, and they did.
Now, I think while it's August, it's clear that round one was won by the Bush folks. Now, it, it may mean nothing, although it could mean, it's conceivable this could be a turning point in the campaign.
WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know about a turning point. But I have to agree with you, round one went to Bush-Cheney, because this is bumper-sticker politics. And it's really hard for Senator Kerry's position, which is a nuanced position -- Yes, I voted for the war resolution, but I really didn't want the president to go to war, I thought he was going to use it as leverage, I thought he...
WILLIAMS: ... have waited on the inspectors. It's hard for that message to get through. When he says, for example...
BARNES: It's hard for it to get through to me.
WILLIAMS: ... when he says, for example, this business about sensitivity, and again, he says, you know, We just need to be more sensitive about how America uses superpower status, something that President Bush himself has said -- again, there's Dick Cheney, right, you know, just the moment that Kerry jabbed, Cheney was waiting to throw that right hand and, and punch him out.
But the real frustration here, and you hear it from Senator Biden and others around town, is, you know what? How is it that Kerry's on the defensive when the one that didn't find the weapons of mass destruction, the one still searching for Usama bin Laden, is President Bush?
BARNES: It's a good question. Clever politics by the Bush folks.
WILLIAMS: All right. Hot story number two, Fred, secret agent. President Bush nominations a veteran spy to become the top spy, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency. Here's President Bush earlier this week in the Rose Garden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Porter Goss is a leader with strong experience in intelligence in the fight against terrorism. He knows the CIA inside and out. He's the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation's history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Now, here's the problem, Fred. Porter Goss is a good guy. I know him, like him very much. But I got to tell you, he's an insider, he's a former operative of the CIA, always been a defender of the CIA. Jay Rockefeller, the head Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, has said it's wrong to appoint someone who's so political to a position at this point needs consensus.
And so what you have here is a position where he's an insider, he's not a change agent. Everyone agrees, the intelligence community in this town needs to be shaken up. Do you really believe Porter Goss is going to shake anything up? Or is he going to go in there and defend his old friends?
In addition to which, as you may have heard, Michael Moore has some tape of Porter Goss saying, you know, he's not in the position, he couldn't even get a job as an operative...
WILLIAMS: ... these days in the CIA. So it's subject to a little bit of mockery.
BARNES: Yes, well, he's not going to be an operative. And, of course, if Kerry wins, he'll only be in there for a few months, and he probably wouldn't be able to unpack his bags.
But here, the politics of this, Juan, I thought were interesting, because again, the White House mousetrapped Democrats by, by leaving them in a position, if they block Goss, and a lot of them would like to, and they could, they have enough votes in the Senate to do that, if they block his confirmation, they'd be accused of, of ... denying the CIA a director at this critical moment in the war on terror. And I don't think that would work for them politically.
WILLIAMS: No, and I don't think that is going to work, and that's why you're not going to see the Democrats...
WILLIAMS: ... make any effort to block Porter Goss at this point. But I'd be surprised, actually, if Porter Goss was out if John Kerry wins.
WILLIAMS: CIA directors at this point, I think, with all the coming back and forth, maneuverings over how the intelligence community should work...
WILLIAMS: ... in this town...
WILLIAMS: ... people are going to want to keep someone in position. And the question is whether or not, whether or not this intelligence czar comes into being with real authority that might take away some of the clout from...
WILLIAMS: ... any new CIA director.
BARNES: You know, I think Kerry will remember some of those things Porter Goss said about him recently on the floor, very critical comments by Goss, a partisan Republican. So...
WILLIAMS: Well, that was exactly why Rockefeller...
BARNES: ... yes...
WILLIAMS: ... said...
BARNES: Right, yes, right.
WILLIAMS: ... we shouldn't get politics involved...
BARNES: Yes, yes.
WILLIAMS: ... with this and appoint somebody who is outside of the process. But he didn't.
BARNES: He wouldn't say the same thing if it were a Democrat.
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