This partial transcript of The Beltway Boys, August 4, 2001 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.

FRED BARNES, HOST: I'm Fred Barnes.

MORT KONDRACKE, HOST: And I'm Mort Kondracke, and we're The Beltway Boys.

BARNES: Mort, the hot story, in a word, is George Bush. Or I guess that's two words. Now, remember back three months ago when Bush was said to be politically crippled, and he'd lost control of the Senate, he'd lost control of the agenda, he couldn't govern? It was said he couldn't set things right unless he moved to the center, from governing from the right, or else if he didn't do that, he'd be off on a long and prolonged losing streak?

Well, I want to...

KONDRACKE: Now he's king of the world, right? Yes.

BARNES: ... no, no, I want to -- I'm going to ask you to answer something. I want you to look at the -- at what President Bush said on Friday, and what Tom Daschle said, I believe, the day before. And see who you think is winning now.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm grateful for the good will shown by Congress, and I'm pleased with the progress we've made together, progress that touches every American family.



SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: I want to express my disappointment at the setback that we've experienced in the last 24 hours on the patients' bill of rights. I'm also disappointed, of course, without -- about the lack of any communication, any coordination, any real effort to try to resolve this among those who've been so deeply involved for so long.


BARNES: Well? Well?


BARNES: ... who's winning?

KONDRACKE: Well, I'll tell you...

BARNES: No, no, no...

KONDRACKE: All right, you're, you're going to say it first, all right...


BARNES: ... no, I mean, who do you think? Obviously it's Bush.

KONDRACKE: Well, look...


KONDRACKE: ... Bush won some...


KONDRACKE: ... but that's not...


KONDRACKE: ... the end of the story...


KONDRACKE: Go ahead.

BARNES: ... no, I want to say one other thing.


BARNES: You know what people forgot or didn't recognize? That Bush, even when he lost the Senate, still controlled two thirds of the governing process. He had the White House and he had the House. And he has used that, particularly the House, effectively to really put his stamp on issues like cloning, a ban on cloning, the faith-based initiative, you know, just this past week, of course, on a patients' bill of rights, and on energy.

And it shows up in the polls. And "The Washington Post" poll, a new one came out this week, which shows Bush rising up to 59 percent job performance rating. That's pretty good.

KONDRACKE: Look, he controls the House of Representatives and he controls the White House. He does not control the United States Senate. Now, and he did -- the Democrats don't give him any credit, but he did move some on patients' rights. He tripled the, the amount of liability damages that, that, that he would accept.

And, you know, now the, the, the question is, what happens when all this legislation, having passed the house, different version passes the Senate, you know, gets to a conference committee...

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: ... and there's going to be either bargaining or gridlock. And the fact is that Tom Daschle, on this very same poll that shows, you know, Bush's popularity up, also indicates that on practically every issue that's coming up...


KONDRACKE: ... energy and Social Security and Medicare, that, that -- the public is with Daschle, and no wonder.

BARNES: You know what I'm going to say...

KONDRACKE: I know what you're, I know what you're going to say, but you're wrong.

BARNES: Sounds like Walter Mondale again. He said that through the whole 1984 election, but he lost by 19 points.

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