Trail Dust: Politics of Tragedy

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys," March 13, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

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

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: The images and the politics of 9/11 (search) are the subject of this week's trail dust.

A week after President Bush was slammed for using images of 9/11 in a campaign ad, he got hit again, this time for attending a groundbreaking for a 9/11 memorial on Long Island and then going to a campaign fund raiser just miles away.

Opponents say President Bush is using 9/11 for political gain, but the Bush campaign says that event was a defining moment for the country and for his presidency.

And there's some new reporting on who some of these opponents really are. It's new reporting, Mort, that has not been in the mainstream press, it's come from The Wall Street Journal, well, I guess they're, ... is mainstream, but they're the only one, Byron Yorke, of course, The Weekly Standard, you'll see a cover piece on this next week and what it's about.

Well, what it shows is that this supposed anger because President Bush had some fleeting image of 9/11 in that campaign ad is entirely phony, contrived, made-up, synthetic.

And all these attacks are coming from hardcore left-wing hate- Bush groups that have been ... against him, particularly because of the war, but well before the war. Some of these groups, some of these people even went to Iraq before the war expressing solidarity with Saddam Hussein.

They are the ones who are exploiting 9/11 using some connection with some relative who may have died at the World Trade Center of, or the Pentagon. These are the exploiters. These are the people who are demeaning the dead by these left-wing attacks.

MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Well, I, I think it was pretty shocking, actually, and it makes your point that the mainstream media, you know, ignore things that work to the detriment of the Democrat.

BARNES: They call these groups nonpartisan.

KONDRACKE: Yes, exactly.


KONDRACKE: I mean, this group 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows is a left-wing group ... and The Washington Post and NBC News just sort of represented them as being straight, when they weren't, and they should have gone behind and asked who was doing this.

Look, it's perfectly legitimate for Bush to be using symbols of 9/11.


KONDRACKE: Frankly, if he is entitled, I think, to have film of him, himself at ground zero ... on September 14, maybe the, the most impressive day with the bullhorn and the ... firemen and all that ... If the fireman agrees, you know, I think that's perfectly all right.

BARNES: Yes, I think you're onto something. I'll bet they do that.

Now, I want to, I want to raise one other thing. This is Theresa Heinz (search), the wife of John Kerry, something she said when the subject of gay marriage was being discussed, and here it is. "What has been most damaging, I think, to all of us about many of the actions in this administration has been the cynicism with which they have perpetrated their positions and with which they have used us to trap us and to, in a sense, terrorize us, because they paralyze us. That is un-American, in my book."

Now, this thing barely appeared. We got that quote from The New York Daily Sun. Why didn't the mainstream press play that up? What if Laura Bush had said that? That would have been on the front page of newspapers, it'd have been all over NBC, and they would be pillorying her for having called her opponent, her husband's opponent, un-American.

KONDRACKE: Maybe The New York Sun was the only paper that was there.

BARNES: Yes, and, oh, no, look, the rest of them could have got it if they wanted. You know that.

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2004 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2004 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, Inc.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.