This is a partial transcript from The Beltway Boys, January 17, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

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

UP: Wesley Clark

The retired general continues to enjoy a surge in New Hampshire. Saturday's tracking poll shows him within 6 points of Dean, and Dean's clearly feeling the heat. Here he is taking a shot at Clark, and Clark's response.


HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, I think General Clark is a good guy. But I truly believe he's a Republican, and I'll -- I'll -- no, I don't -- look, I do, I -- Harry Truman once said if you run a Republican against a Republican, the Republican's going to win every, every time.

WESLEY CLARK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm a Democrat. I'm a Democrat of conviction. I voted for Al Gore (search) and for Bill Clinton (search). When I got out of the military, I was courted by both parties. I chose to become a Democrat.


MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: I think the truth is about Wesley Clark (search) is that he's confused about his political identity and about, often about what he stands for.


KONDRACKE: In ... he did vote for Richard Nixon (search) and Ronald Reagan, he, he's said so. He supported President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney at various times, raised money for them. And then, you know, had said various things about the Iraq war, some positive, some negative...


KONDRACKE: ... would have voted for it, might not have voted for it, et cetera, et cetera. I think now that he has become a ... decided to become a Democrat, running for president, he's trying to become a super-Democrat. And he says things like, that he would permit a woman to choose on abortion right up to the moment of birth...

BARNES: Yes, right.

KONDRACKE: ... despite what the Supreme Court said in Roe v. Wade. Now, I don't really believe that he actually would do that in his conscience. You know, he's saying now that George Bush is worse than Ronald Reagan ... I mean...

BARNES: ... Richard Nixon.

KONDRACKE: ... Richard, Richard, Richard Nixon, sorry.


KONDRACKE: You know, that's outrageous. So, you know, you said last week that the scrutiny machine would be ... turned on Wesley Clark, starting Tuesday.

BARNES: Starting in New Hampshire.

OK, look, you, Wesley Clark has, amazingly enough to me, guaranteed that if he were president, there would have been no 9/11 terrorist attack, there would be no further terrorist attacks, and that he would have captured Usama bin Laden (search). I don't know how he can know that.

I'm waiting for him to ... guarantee us who's going to win the Super Bowl (search), you know, what the weather's going to be like for the rest of the year, and things like that, perhaps who's going to win the Oscar for the best picture of the year.

He has an odd assortment of supporters, Madonna, that left-wing propagandist Michael Moore, and then people like, you know, average politicians like former senator David Pryor.

What I want to know, Mort, is, what does the Madonna endorsement mean?

KONDRACKE: The Madonna endorsement means that Madonna does not like George Bush and thinks that Wesley Clark can beat him, that's what it's all about.

BARNES: All right, all right.

KONDRACKE: Among Democrats. OK.

UP: Bush Democrats

While the Democrats were in Iowa and New Hampshire, President Bush further sealed his grip on the South with a fund raising swing in Louisiana and Georgia, where he raised $2 million, and at his side in the Peach State, retiring Democratic Senator Zell Miller. Here's Miller introducing President Bush on Thursday night.


SEN. ZELL MILLER (D), GEORGIA: The more I see of this man, the more I see of this leader, my respect and my support just continue to grow.


BARNES: Yes, Zell Miller at that thing brought along with him 11 members, Democratic members of the Georgia House of Representatives and former Jimmy Carter attorney General Griffin Bell. This was the first wave of moderate and conservative Democrats supporting Bush.

If Howard Dean wins the Democratic nomination, it will turn into a tidal wave of Democrats for Bush.

KONDRACKE: I have, look, I just do not see this flood of Democrats going for George Bush the way they did for Ronald Reagan.

BARNES: Southerners, anyway.

KONDRACKE: Well, you know, all my friends, anyway, the national security Democrats, the Joe Lieberman types ... detest George Bush almost as much as Madonna does ... you know. So I think this is going to be more like John Connally ... former Texas ... supporter, supporting Richard Nixon in 1972, although I have to say that Zell Miller is a sincere man...

BARNES: Yes, right.

KONDRACKE: ... whereas John Connally was a total opportunist.

BARNES: Yes, I think some of your friends, when they have a secret ballot, they'll vote for Bush. OK.

DOWN: Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill

The White House fires back at O'Neill's Bush-bashing book, and its key assertion that the president was planning to remove Saddam Hussein within days of taking over the White House. Here's Bush himself, responding to the charge.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, the stated policy of my administration towards Saddam Hussein was very clear. Like the previous administration, we were for regime change.


KONDRACKE: I have something ... nice to say about O'Neill, after all the ... abuse he's taken.


KONDRACKE: One of the things that Paul O'Neill tried to get President Bush to pay attention to and failed ... was health care quality. Almost 100,000 people die every year because of medical errors. And what O'Neill wanted to do was to get Bush to invest in upgrades in computers ... and best practices and stuff like that. Unfortunately...


KONDRACKE: ... you know, that's not exactly what the job of the secretary of the Treasury is.

BARNES: No, no, no. O'Neill's problem was that he thought the 2000 election was about him, not the ideas Bush ran on tax cuts, but his idea that, you know, tax increases. If Bush had followed his advice a year ago and raised taxes, we'd still be in a recession right now. I'm glad Bush rejected it.

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