This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", August 21, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: It's time for this week's ups and downs.

DOWN: Democratic New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey

He's not budging on his November 5 -- 15 resignation date, subjecting himself and the Democratic Party to the constant drip-drip of corruption charges and embarrassing details of McGreevey's gay love affair.

Now, Senator Jon Corzine was going to, could have been the savior of this whole situation for the Democratic Party, but he decided to defer...


KONDRACKE: ... to, to McGreevey and leave him in office. Now, Representative Bob Menendez was going to try to hustle McGreevey out of the race, but then he got knocked off that track by charges that he was having an affair himself or had had an affair...


KONDRACKE: ... heterosexual affair ... in, some time in the past.

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: Now, in addition to all this, a McGreevey A, big campaign contributor, has just pleaded guilty to hiring a prostitute...


KONDRACKE: ... to try to influence a witness in a, in a trial. Now, all of this New, New Jersey mess raises two questions.

BARNES: Yes, right.

KONDRACKE: Where is the Republican...who is going to rescue...the state from all...this, and two, does New Jersey want to be rescued?

BARNES: Yes, well, I know the answer to the first one. But, you know, all that reminds me of that old joke about New Jersey that you know when an economic recession has reached New Jersey when the Mafia starts laying off judges.

And the ... it's obvious. The guy that Republicans have always wanted to run, he's bigger than ever now, former governor Tom Kean, who, you know, headed the 9/11 commission. I mean, he can step in, and he would almost be acclaimed unanimously as the next governor. Really, he would win, he is a Republican. OK.

DOWN: Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin

He pushes the name-calling to a new low. His target, Vice President Cheney (search). Here's Cheney's remark last week that raised Harkin's ire.


DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Senator Kerry has also said that if he were in charge, he would fight a more sensitive war on terror. Those who threaten us and kill innocents around the world do not need to be treated more sensitively. They need to be destroyed.


BARNES: Now, to that, Harkin responded with this shot. "When I hear this coming from Dick Cheney, who was a coward who would not serve during the Vietnam War, it makes my blood boil. He'll be tough, but he'll be tough with someone else's kids' blood."

Mort, you know, we haven't seen this kind of coward charge since the years after the Civil War (search), and it, and, and there's a name for it, it's called waving the bloody shirt. And, and then it was Republicans using it against Democrats like Grover Cleveland when he ran for governor for the president in 1884, they said he hadn't served in the Civil War, you know, and they said others were, were Southern sympathizers and so on.

And but it really is a foul charge. It's designed not to answer a debate, to say something in a debate, it's designed to shut off debate. And I think it tells you more a lot more about Harkin than it does about Cheney.

Now, Harkin's, you know, one of these guys who served during the Vietnam era, but he was never stationed in Vietnam.

KONDRACKE: And he claimed he was.



The Democratic strategy, the whole Democratic strategy is to convince people that the Republicans are running a smear machine...


KONDRACKE: ... against John Kerry and, and the rest of the Democrats. In fact, and I have been keeping count, as you know...

BARNES: I know.

KONDRACKE: ... the, the Democrats have been smearing Republicans a lot more than, than, than the reverse. Al Gore, Terry McAuliffe, Teresa Heinz Kerry...


KONDRACKE: ... and, and now Tom Harkin. It's all part of the same thing, and it's pretty disgusting.

BARNES: If you'd like to go on in your list, go ahead.


DOWN: Charter Schools

The first national study of its kind shows that students in charter schools perform worse than students in public and, and regular schools.

Now, this shouldn't be charter schools down, actually, it should be the American Federation of Teachers down...


KONDRACKE: ... the, the teachers' union, and The New York Times down.

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: The, the AFT, which doesn't like education reform, conducted a, a biased study of this, of this national data. The New York Times bought it ... completely.


KONDRACKE: Now, my, one of my favorite education experts anywhere, Andy Rotherham, who is a Democrat, used to work in the Clinton White House, says that if you examine the data and, and, and you make it equal as to race, you will find that charter schools do almost nearly as well as public schools do. And the fact is that the vast majority of kids in charter schools are inner-city blacks.

BARNES: Yes. No. You know, if you did someone, and I forget who it was, concluded that if you use the same data that the AFT used for religious schools, they would have done a lot better than public schools, which I, I think tells you something about the effectiveness of religious schools. OK.

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