Published January 13, 2015
This is a rush transcript from "The Beltway Boys", August 16, 2008, that has been edited for clarity.
FRED BARNES, FOX CO-HOST: Coming up on the "The Beltway Boys," the Russian bear is back. We tell you how the U.S. and the presidential candidates are responding.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX GUEST CO-HOST: Also back, Bill and Hillary Clinton. Some say they're planning a hostile takeover in the Democratic convention.
BARNES: Stick a fork in John Edwards' political career, as new details of his baby drama continue to unfold.
WILLIAMS: And I'll fill you in on my whirlwind trip to Beijing, China, for the Olympic Games.
BARNES: That's all coming up on "The Beltway Boys" right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Its actions in recent days, Russia damaged its credibility and its relations with the nations of the free world. Bullying and intimidation are not accepting ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNES: I'm Fred Barnes.
WILLIAMS: I'm Juan Williams, in for Mort Kondracke. And tonight, we're "The Beltway Boys."
BARNES: Tonight's hot story, Juan, Russian roulette. The Russians have taken a huge risk in first sending send troops in the Georgian enclave where there is a lot of unrest, Ossetia and Abkhazia, and then invading part of Georgia proper, a sovereign nation. Now the push-back. Primarily, it's almost entirely the U.S. and President Bush who is pushing back. Maybe the Europeans are going to do something later but, so far, they have things under advisement. So who knows when they are going to actually do anything?
But here is President Bush. He's been touch. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: The Cold War is over. The days of satellite states and spheres of influence are behind us. The people of Georgia cast their lot with the free world and we will not cast them aside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNES: That's a pretty good statement, I thought.
BARNES: Then he said the Cold War is over. Relations between the U.S. and Russia at the moment are awfully chilly. They may not be cold, but they're awfully chilly. And Bush is demanding that Russia not only withdraw troops from Georgia but from the two enclaves as well. He's done more that that. It's not just pure soft power he's using. He said aid, humanitarian aid into Georgia that's been brought in by the American military.
And here's what is really significant, the arrangement, this agreement he made with Poland. The Poles worry about slaw and they want America on their side, not just NATO, but America. The deal was they would allow an anti-missile system aimed at Iran to be put on their soil by the U.S., but also the U.S. is giving them patriot anti-missile systems as well that would be aimed at missiles that the Russians might send in there.
The Baltic States, Ukraine, Poland are all on the side of the U.S. and backing Georgia.
President Bush, Secretary of State Rice, the Defense Secretary Gates are all saying the Russians must suffer consequences as a result of what they've done. All I can say is there have been all these critics of unilateralism, but thank heavens for it or no one would support Georgia at the moment.
WILLIAMS: You know what, Fred? Even a right winger sometimes gets it right. And you got this one right. I think this was a brazen power grab by the Russians. An effort to hold on to their former Soviet satellite. To my mind, what really is the evidence here is that Russians, under Putin, really act in terms of insecurity and impotence. That's why they get in the bullying of President Bush rightly said is taking place. This is bullying behavior.
Now as part of the cease-fire deal, Russia can keep the so-called Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia. And it's a bail from the continued military action by the Russians. And once that deal gets — goes through, again, we have no recognition of Georgia's territorial integrity or the facts that the Russians are the aggressors in this case. They have gone in and attacked a sovereign country.
To quote a former U.N. ambassador to the United Nations — former ambassador, John Bolton, he said there is blood on the bear's claws and that the Russians have created fear and that they wanted to create fear in terms of those other Soviet satellite countries in order to keep them in line, away from NATO and the U.S.
I think what we have here also is an attempt by Putin to make sure that Russia maintains control of all oil coming out of the Caspian Sea. Right now, only Iran and Russia, if they get control of Georgia, will have any access to that oil. That is going to drive up gas prices. I think Putin sees that as a good thing for Russia because it increases their power over the Europeans and the U.S.
The U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her aides have said, oh, you know what, Georgia was warned not to put troops near Russia, that it was not good for the U.S. You know what? That's not what they should be saying. They should say Georgia is a sovereign state. They feel really ignored because they've been denied the right to enter NATO. This is what they should be saying. Georgia should be allowed into NATO. That's what they should be saying. They should say Russia is the aggressor and we'll take them on.
This is getting worse, not better. It's time for the U.S., NATO and Europe to stand up to Putin.
BARNES: Look, there is only so much you can do to help Georgia. As far as joining NATO, it would obligate the U.S. if Georgia is attacked, that we and all these Western European nation have to stay there and defend them.
Georgia is such a remote place, it would be almost impossible to logistically carry out a military effort there for the U.S. And it always depends on the U.S., particularly when we're in Iraq and Afghanistan as well. And it depends on the American troops.
The Russians have been incredibly brazen, not only in their actions, but in what they've said. Charging the Georgians with genocide, when, of course, nobody has found any evidence of genocide by them. And then the statement by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov where he said, quote, "We just reacted because we didn't have any other option. Any civilized country would act the same way. I may remind you, September 11. The reaction was similar. American citizens were killed. You know the reaction."
Well, that's preposterous.
WILLIAMS: It is preposterous, Fred.
BARNES: It's not a good analogy there. Some dumb things were said back here, particularly by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, who is a rumored Obama vice presidential candidate.
Here is what he said, "I'm very, very happy that the Senator's request for a cease-fire has been complied with by President Medvedev."
BARNES: Well, look, everybody in the world were demanding a cease- fire, calling for one. I don't think he's responding particularly by Obama, who started out when Georgia was attacked with a weak statement, but as the days went on, he got stronger and stronger and put out this statement, which was pretty good: "Russia must back up its commitment to stop its violence and violation of Georgia's sovereignty with actions, not just words."
I'm glad Bush took actions.
WILLIAMS: To me, Fred, much of this problem emanates from the war in Iraq, the U.S. part. That was is stinker that continues to smell up the joint, in my opinion. And I'll tell you why because just what you heard from the Russian foreign minister, is what the Russians are saying and what all of their supporters are saying around the world. If you have a sovereign country like Georgia and it's invaded by Russia, it's akin to what the U.S. did in Iraq in invading another country to foil terrorists. That's clouded thinking, crazy thinking, because there is a false debate. A false debate. I don't see the analogy.
Here is Susan Rice, Obama's top foreign policy advisor. Here is what she had to say. She said essentially that McCain is belligerent and complicating the situation with all of his statements.
The real is issue is whether or not McCain is confusing Russia by sending Senator Lieberman, Senator Graham to Georgia, by his constant talks with Georgian president. He said he's one of his friends and they are on the phone every day trying to negotiate the situation. To my mind, McCain is trying to look presidential and there is only one president and his name is George W. Bush. He is still the president of the United States. McCain think he is can make hay and get some kind of political advantage by showing that he is a leader in a crisis — and by the way, that's what the polls show. Most Americans think he's the better of the two, Obama and McCain, McCain is better in a crisis. I think McCain is making a critical mistake. He's forcing himself into this situation and in such a way as to complicate it. He needs to butt out, Fred. This is not about politics. This is really about world safety and the potential for I think an explosive situation.
August is supposed to be a quiet month. Why do we get the news stories? I think if McCain is simply done concerned with — simply concerned with the people of Georgia — and that's what McCain had to say. Here's what McCain had to say. He said what he thinks is this is about the people of Georgia and protecting the Democratic society.
BARNES: That is what it is about. I think McCain acted properly. And the question is who looks presidential and who looks like a potential commander in chief? I think you know in this one who it is.
Coming up, Obama is trying to make nice with Hillary and the supporters at the Democratic Convention? Is he going too far? We give you our two cents next.
(FOX NEWS BREAK)
BARNES: Welcome back to "The Beltway Boys." Time for the "Ups and Downs" for the week.
Up, Bill and Hillary Clinton. Who would have thunk it? The dynamic duo will be racking up major face time at the Democratic convention. Not only will they each have a prime-time speaking gig, but Hillary Clinton got her name placed in nomination along with Obama.
WILLIAMS: I'm telling you, Fred, this is interesting. Senator Clinton will speak Tuesday night and then former President Clinton will speak Wednesday night. In addition to which Senator Clinton's name will be put into nomination on Wednesday night to prompt some kind of demonstration by her supporters on the convention floor. We don't know how long it will go on for. It will be a major media event.
You know what is interesting about this is it's not only all about them. Here is what "New York Times" columnist Maureen Dowd said this week. She writes — "Now they made Obama's convention all about them, their dissatisfaction, revisionism and barely disguised desire to see him," — she's speaking of Obama here — "fail. Whatever insincere words of support the Clinton's muster, the primal scream gets louder. He can't win, he can't close the deal. We told you so!"
You know what — here is the thing. I think that what you've got here is a situation where this is Obama's show. And Obama and his campaign manager, David Plouffe, decided that they wanted to absolutely drain any remaining tension by having Hillary Clinton get her moment in the sun. About a quarter of Clinton supporters have not gone to Obama. They want to get them on board. They have promises from Senator Clinton and President Clinton that they'll say the most full-throated support of things about Obama. That is the price that Obama is willing to pay.
BARNES: Juan, this was the surrender in Denver by Obama. This demonstration you're talking about will probably go half the night. They've given Hillary practically everything. In addition to this, everybody will have a little video that perceives them when they come up to speak. The Clintons are having their own video made by the Thomason of Arkansas, who do television shows in Hollywood. You can imagine what it's like. Trusting the Clintons to do the right thing, to say wonderful things about some other politician who is a political opponent?
WILLIAMS: We'll see what happens. We'll see.
Down, John Edwards. Tawdry details of his affair are dripping out, including the latest bombshell that Edwards' political action committee paid his mistress, Rielle Hunter, $14,000 after she stopped working for his failed campaign.
BARNES: I give credit to the "National Inquirer" who rarely gets credit, about breaking the story about John Edwards, who may not have been set up to be a running mate for Barack Obama, but might have gotten an big job in his administration. And then for Mickey (inaudible), the blogger, who we both know, who has kept the story alive now. The mainstream media is there and they're beginning to deconstruct Edwards' story. And we find out that his campaign and his political action committee had sent money to this woman. And, you know, I think doubts will be raised by the question that the child is not his.
And the best reaction was Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show." Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN EDWARDS, (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All of my family knows about this. And just to be absolutely clear, none of them are responsible for it. [Laughter]
JON STEWART, HOST: Nobody thought they were.
There is a big theory going around because you did it because your kid's double dog dared you to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: That's good. Hail, Jon Stewart. That was terrific.
I have to tell you something, I once admired John Edwards, especially his attention to political issues as they pertained to the poor in this country.
But what you just saw, I thought was insufferable. He made some statement about his narcissism. This lacks soul to me. I think what we've got here — the only thing worse, he said that he did it only after her cancer was in remission, as if somehow that was a reason for him go off and do this. I don't think there are any excuses now for John Edwards.
BARNES: That's pretty bad.
WILLIAMS: Coming up, China's Olympic coming-out party. I was there to witness it. We'll take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly, next.
WILLIAMS: Welcome back. We're continuing with our "Ups and Downs".
Up, China. The Olympic Games have not been without controversy, but there's no question, China has made the most of its so-called coming-out party.
I have to tell you, Fred, I was there, just a wonderful experience. But the highlight for me was the Bird's Nest and going to the opening games, just the opening ceremonies.
There I am in this picture with my wife, Elise (ph), my son, Rafe (ph). We had a great time. I'm in the Bird's Nest. This is just as we're about to start the opening ceremonies. President Bush's staff seated behind me. Josh Bolton and the likes. Just an amazing moment. We also went over to the great wall, as you can see right here. Not far from Beijing. Again, just one of the things where you feel like you're having a lifetime experience. And the Chinese just so wonderful.
Here is the American team coming in, the American flag. Americans were one of the last teams introduced. And I got to tell you, the stadium rocked, Fred. You know, you worry about how people view Americans, especially after the war. Man, I tell you, people just celebrating America's presence. You know who got booed? The Iranians got booed. I was taken by that, that they got booed.
Here is my son, Rafe, with the first President Bush. He's inside the Forbidden Palace there, you know, the imperial palace. President Bush was there, the first President Bush was there. Henry Kissinger was there. Quincy Jones was there. Chris tucker, you know, Chris Tucker who was in the movies "Rush Hour." He was there as a guest of Jackie Chan. Just an incredible lineup of Americans you would never know. Bill Gates from Microsoft was there at the time. Americans really had a moment in China this week.
BARNES: That's great. I envy the fact you were there. I would have loved to have gone. I certainly would have booed the Iranians if I was there and I hope you did.
What I like about it is I wouldn't have given the Olympics to China. It's an autocratic, dictatorial country and they do horrible things. But now we're concentrating on the athletes. I'm all for that. The one that stand out with me? We're both basketball fans. The Washington Wizards. And who is the big rivals? It's the Cleveland Cavaliers with Lebron James who has been the man in basketball.
WILLIAMS: Lebron James.
BARNES: Lebron James.
BARNES: Absolutely. Wonderful to see them play.
All right, down, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She's cracking the door open on a vote to allow offshore drilling, but she is still getting hammered for adjourning Congress without acting on energy legislation.
Here is Pelosi this week and the GOP's response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: So there are things that congress can do and we have voted on this over and over again. But the Republicans and the president have resisted. Instead they had this thing that says drill offshore in protected areas. Well, we can do that.
REP. JOHN KUHL JR., (R), NORTH CAROLINA: It's outrageous that Speaker Pelosi, a multi-millionaire, travels around the country promoting a book when we, members of Congress, are receiving letters daily and phone calls, people pleading for help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNES: Well, if it makes the congressman feel any better, her book is not selling like hot cakes. Far from it. On Amazon, it's 1,500 or 1,800 on the list.
Pelosi had to give in to public pressure, the pressure from these Republicans, even though the House is in recess, they're still there. But she's not promising, Juan, a separate vote on drilling, offshore, ANWR, in the Rocky Mountains where there's all that oil shale. She says it will be a part of a comprehensive bill. What I think she has in mind is it will be some bill with a little bit of — a little bit of drilling but the rest of it will be a poison pill for Republicans. It will be stuff like a windfall profit tax on oil companies, which would discourage them from actually going ahead and exploring and drilling.
WILLIAMS: Well, let me tell you something, Fred, the Democrats don't believe in it. All that's pushing them here is the polls. The American people think, especially under pressure from rising gas prices, which are coming down a little bit now, but still around $4, that these prices could be relieved if America started to drill.
I think the right wingers in the country and John McCain had benefited from the argument. They continue to push it aggressively. Somehow suggest that gas prices would go down immediately. I don't buy it. But you know what. It doesn't matter what I think, because most Americans think differently. And therefore, it's becomes a problem for Obama and for Nancy Pelosi. That's why she's cooked up this deal.
You're right. There is not going to be additional drilling under her package. It's about really putting in the point so that the Republicans are forced to get off their horse, even though it's politically advantageous to them.
Don't move a muscle. "The Buzz" is up next.
BARNES: What's "The Buzz," Juan?
WILLIAMS: Fred, Saturday night, in fact, on FOX, what you're going to get is Rick Warren, the famous evangelical minister, the man who wrote "The Purpose Driven Life," hosting Senator Obama and Senator McCain, giving them each an opportunity to talk about their religious beliefs. It's going to be a major moment.
BARNES: Well, and I think Rick Warren's become a major moment in himself. He's sort of America's leading evangelist now. And he's calling this, what, this is a Saddleback — that's the church — civil forum, bringing the two together, not at the same time, but I think it'll be worth watching.
We also want to say best wishes and good luck to our friend Bob Novak, who has had surgery.
WILLIAMS: Yes, I've got to say, Bob, all the best. You know we love you and we're rooting for you back here.
BARNES: That's all for "The Beltway Boys" this week. Join us next week when the boys will be back in town.
Watch "The Beltway Boys" Saturday at 6 p.m. ET and Sunday at 1 and 6 a.m. ET
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