Published January 13, 2015
This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume," Jan. 21, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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JIM ANGLE, GUEST-HOST: President Bush laid out a new and very ambitious goal for U.S. foreign policy in yesterday's inaugural address, ending tyranny around the world. But how will that actually work? And what is the tradeoff between American interests and American ideals?
To talk about that as well as the first priorities for the new Congress, we're joined by Senate majority leader Bill Frist who just returned from Iraq and Pakistan.
SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: Welcome, sir. Good to be with you.
ANGLE: Thanks for joining us. Let me ask you first about some news today. You announced a new package of health and death benefits for those who are killed in action in the American military. Tell us where we stand on that?
FRIST: Well, it's a hugely important initiative that we're going to be able to hopefully to move on pretty quickly in this Congress. And what it is are survivors' benefits or benefits of families who have lost a loved one who is in the military fighting for our freedom around the world. Death benefit, survivor's benefit. And what we're doing is instead of having a $12,400 having $100,000 benefit for these men and women who are sacrificing so much extending freedom around the world.
ANGLE: Twelve thousand really isn't very much. That must have come from many, many years ago.
FRIST: Well, you know, it came from many years ago. But the initial concept was just to pay for the expenses surrounding a burial or the funeral services. And now it is clear that for these groups of people that we owe a lot more.
The number of senators, it's interesting to me as leader, who had separatist initiatives all over the place. We've got to do more. We've got to do more. We brought them together and we'll introduce that on Monday.
ANGLE: And I would assume that you'll get plenty of House support on that?
FRIST: We should get plenty of House support. And by the time we — may be not really with the introduction, but shortly after, we'll be working across the aisle. It will be Democrats and Republicans. It's bringing together a number of bills that have broad bipartisan support. The men and women who are out there fighting for us clearly deserve it.
ANGLE: President laid out a very ambitious agenda yesterday, talked about ending tyranny around the world. And that is something that a lot of people don't quite have a handle on. It's hard to figure out, at least for many critics, how that will actually affect U.S. foreign policy.
Now, the president was quite specific, this it is — because tyranny exist that is it gives rise to resentment and hatred and ideologies that excuse murder, as he put it. What is your sense of how this will actually work in practice?
FRIST: Well, you know, it's been interesting today to see everybody trying to — to parse and figure out. And I really step back and really listened to what the president said, which is a vision more than it is a particular strategy to be implemented. And the vision can be caught by any number of sentences or statements to be made. But to me, the one that the best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all of the world.
And as we look at countries like — whether it's Afghanistan or Iraq, other nations around the world, we know that transparency, the rule of law promotion of democracy, not just support of it. But nurturing of it is in our best interest and in the best interest of our security, based on our history in this country, our values in this country.
ANGLE: Now, previous presidents, including Republican presidents and their national security advisers have talked about real politics, which meant you had to sometimes deal with unsavory people. We have to deal now with people who are not, well, let's say they don't have a long record as Democratic leaders. But who are critical allies in the war on terror. One of them would President Musharraf in Pakistan where you just were.
How do we reconcile the need to deal with people like that, and President Putin in Russia and other leaders, at the same time that we try to further this ideal of pushing people toward democratic processes?
FRIST: Well, you know, we celebrated the inauguration yesterday. It really was the power of voting and elections. And that to me was really what we're celebrating with this wonderful inauguration. The power of that voting we're seeing play out in Afghanistan and Iraq right now, and with Yushchenko over in the Ukraine, which is a great story.
As we look at democracy in elections and freedom and liberty, and you look at a place like Pakistan, where I was last week. Where I had the opportunity to talk to President Musharraf, and who expressed his commitment to democracy, yet at the same time we know that they haven't had free presidential elections.
But at the same time, we know that, A, he's been with Pakistan, one of our strongest allies in the war on terror, the global war on terrorism. He's been there really with us as strong as anybody. He's has a vision, at least in our conversation, very clear vision of how to get to full democratic presidential elections.
He pointed out to me they already had parliamentary elections and elections at the local level. He expressed his commitment to the same principles the president was talking about yesterday.
Is he exactly the person that would be the one that we would choose in a fully democratic nation? I can't understand that. But when you couple the work on terror with him, which affects us right here at the same that he is on the road to democracy, it's the sort of engagement we need to continue with.
ANGLE: So you don't see a conflict between American ideals and American interests?
FRIST: As long as we don't sacrifice the ideals. And that's the great thing about the 200-year history. Which is the rule of law, is the empowerment of individuals to express themselves and have some sort controlling governance in their future. And that coupled with the values that are reflect in the 200-year history, I don't. It doesn't mean sacrificing any of those interest. It means promoting them and nurturing them. And I guess to summary statement, lead by example.
ANGLE: Now, just 30 seconds left. What would you say about the confirmation hearings for Condi Rice? What do you make of that whole process, where Democrats are insisting on having several more hours of floor debate?
FRIST: Well, listen. It's their right if it will make a difference. And I'm disappointed because I wanted to get started off with what we know. That is, she is perfectly suited to be the next secretary of State. She absolutely will be reaffirmed. I would have liked to do it yesterday. But if they need to read the transcript, then so be it.
ANGLE: OK. Got to go. Senator first, thank you very much sir.
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