Ups and Downs for the Week of April 26 - 30

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", May 3, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Let's go to this week's ups and downs.

DOWN: Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey

While defending his colleague John Kerry (search), Lautenberg is reduced to name-calling on the Senate floor. Here he is criticizing Dick Cheney's (search) lack of military service and SenatorJohn McCain's (search) response.


SEN. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D), NEW JERSEY: We know who the chickenhawks are. They talk tough on national defense and military issues and cast aspersion on others. When it was their turn to serve, where were they? A- W-O-L. That's where they were.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: At least could we declare that the Vietnam War is over? Now let's focus our attention on the conflict that's taking place in Iraq that is taking American lives as I speak on this floor.


MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Well, you know, this demonstrates John Kerry's need for a credible vice presidential attack dog. You know, I mean, he, the idea that he has to depend on Frank Lautenberg...


KONDRACKE: ... name calling, A-W-O-L, you want, you're only, as you know from being in the Army and I know from being the Army...

BARNES: Right, right, right, right.

KONDRACKE: ... you're A-W-O-L only if you're in the Army in the first place ... not that you didn't serve. Chickenhawk is a low blow. And thank...

BARNES: It is.

KONDRACKE: ... heavens for John McCain ... and Joe Lieberman too...


KONDRACKE: ... who said that Iraq, we should have some unity around Iraq.

BARNES: I mean, the stuff that goes on during a war. Doesn't Lautenberg not know a war is being fought? You know, I mean, I'd see the 9/11 commission doesn't seem to know either.

Paul Greenberg of Arkansas wrote a column the other day pointing out that in the 1944 presidential race, Tom Dewey, the Republican, got some solid information that FDR, who was president, had some indication that Pearl Harbor was coming. George Marshall, the general and head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went to Tom Dewey and said, Please don't release that, it will be bad for military morale and national unity.

And you know what? Tom Dewey didn't bring it up, and he lost the election. Today, you know, anybody would have, the 9/11 commission would have put it out.


UP: Republican Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania

He played a huge role in this week's narrow primary win of his fellow Republican, Arlen Specter.

BARNES: You know, it was Santorum and not President Bush who really won this race for the Arlen Specter. Now, myself, I preferred Pat Toomey, the more conservative candidate, and, and Santorum has gotten some grief from conservatives for backing Specter, who's certainly not a conservative.

Among the Senate were Republicans in Washington, though, I think this is a big boost for Santorum, because he not only delivered for a colleague, he really did a lot, at least in the minds of Republican senators, to preserve the Republican majority in the Senate.

You know, he came to this deposition and showed that, you know, for him, at any rate, there, that some point you're a Republican first and a conservative second. He's number three in the Republican leadership now. He'll go higher.

KONDRACKE: Yes. Nobody questions that Rick Santorum is a right-wing ideologue, I grant you that. And...

BARNES: I guess that's why ... I like him.

KONDRACKE: ... and the bottom, the bottom line here is that the forces of moderation in the United States Senate and in the country are weakened because it took Santorum to, to deliver Arlen Specter the, the moderate, and at that, only narrowly.



BARNES: ... bad? Pardon my laughter.

UP: Senate Democrats

It would be the political equivalent of an inside straight, but there's now a scenario where Democrats could regain control of the Senate this fall. Right now, here are the Republican states that have a 50-50 chance or better of going into the Democratic column this fall -- Illinois, Alaska, Colorado, and Oklahoma.

The big problems for Democrats is in the South. They need to defend five seats, five. And in order to take back the Senate, they need to win three of them at least. The states where they have the best chances, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Florida.

In Louisiana, if Congressman Chris John gets the nomination, he'd be a tough Democratic contender.

In North Carolina, Erskine Bowles will have a ton of money, his own. He lost to Elizabeth Dole, but, you know, he's running against Richard Burr, a congressman, this year, who's strong. It'll be a good race.


BARNES: And Florida, Betty Castor, the Democrat, who's a college president, is ahead in all the polls, but the primary doesn't come for a couple months.

KONDRACKE: Right. Well, the Democrats have some very good candidates, actually...


KONDRACKE: ... in some, in some very tough states, Brad Carson in, in Oklahoma, Roger Salazar in, in Oklahoma, Erskine Bowles in...

BARNES: ... in Colorado ...

KONDRACKE: Colorado, sorry. Erskine Bowles in North Carolina, Tom Daschle...

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: ... in, in South Dakota, and Betty Castor...


KONDRACKE: ... as you remember.


KONDRACKE: The problem is, those are tough states for Democrats.

BARNES: Yes, they are indeed.

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