Ups and Downs for the Week of July 26 - 30

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This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", July 31, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Let's take a look at this week's Democratic convention ups and downs.

UP: Barack Obama, Senate Candidate from Illinois

Shoo-in, I think. He had a terrific delivery of his speech, the, the keynote address. Watch this.


BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the Stars and Stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.


KONDRACKE:  … it was the flag... it was a lot of talk about God and a lot of talk about... we're a nation at war... it almost sounded... Republican.

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Yes, I know it did. But, you know, in truth, Mort, there is a liberal America and a conservative America, I'm sorry to say.

Another rid, look, Obama's a very impressive young black leader. Another one is Archer Davis (search) of, of Birmingham, Alabama, the congressman, who I happened to talk to up there. All right.

DOWN: Hillary Clinton

Now, Hillary Clinton (search) had her chance. I mean, she had a great opportunity while introducing her husband on Monday night at the Democratic convention to really shine, to seize the day. She didn't do it. She was bland, she was humorless, she was forgettable. Listen.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: We meet at a moment of great peril, but also of great promise for the country we love. Together, we can, once again, widen the circle of opportunity for all Americans.


BARNES: Take her Prozac away or something, I don't know. You know, but she lost ground to someone we haven't mentioned, and that's Kerry's running mate, John Edwards, who obviously is her main rival and if the ... the Democratic nomination is open in 2008, and it will be in 2012 regardless of what happens, probably.

She fell behind Edwards, who, who gave a speech which was OK.

KONDRACKE: Yes, I agree. This, this crowd wanted to, to cheer lustily for ...Hillary Clinton. But she walked all over her... applause lines.


KONDRACKE: I mean, John Kerry... walked all over...

BARNES: ... weren't many of them.

KONDRACKE: ... all over his applause...


KONDRACKE: ... lines too, but he had an excuse, because his speech was so long that he thought he had to rush through it for to keep it on prime time.

UP: The Reverend Al Sharpton

Sharpton was the, was the big rabble - rouser at this, if anybody was. He didn't seem to get the message that he was supposed to, you know, tone it down and keep it positive. Here, watch this.


REV. AL SHARPTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The reason we took Florida so seriously is our right to vote wasn't gained because of our age. Our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs. In all due respect, Mr. President, read my lips, our vote is not for sale.


BARNES: Hey, Mort, did somebody explain to him that the microphone is there so he doesn't have to yell? You know, he can just talk into it. Doesn't have to yell. But, you know, Al Sharpton and they loved him. He was a release valve at the, at the convention.

DOWN: Teresa Heinz Kerry

Or, as she is sometimes called, according to her, Mama T. Well, Mort, just listen to her, and, and I'll say something.


TERESA HEINZ KERRY, JOHN KERRY'S WIFE: My only hope is that one day soon women, who have all earned their right to their opinions, instead of being called opinionated, will be called smart and well informed, just like men.


BARNES: The fact is, they are. She's living back in the 1950s or something. This was a very self-absorbed speech. But, you know, she paid for the microphone, basically.

KONDRACKE: Well, I think, I think her idea or somebody's idea was that there's a contest under way for first lady, almost as if you vote for first lady a, along with the presidency. Right now she's trailing Laura Bush... badly, and she did himself... did herself no good in that speech. And, and her idea of smart and well informed was to tell some reporter to shove it... after he tried to find to out what she meant by referring to, to some, something or somebody as un-American. You know, look, I, I admire opinionated women.


KONDRACKE: But I think she is trouble, trouble, trouble... and will … continue to be so all during the campaign.

UP: Ron Reagan, Jr.

I thought Ron Reagan gave, gave a sophisticated and compelling speech on behalf of stem cell research, which, which President Bush has deeply underfunded. Here, watch this part of his speech.


RON REAGAN, JR., RONALD REAGAN'S SON: We can choose between the future and the past, between reason and ignorance, between truth and passion and mere ideology.


BARNES: Well, it was a serious speech, well delivered. I think he was wrong, but it, but he actually performed well. Mike Murphy, the Republican consultant, refers to Ron Reagan, Jr., as the, the Reagan family quisling. And I think that's about right.

UP: Actor Turned Political Power Broker Ben Affleck

You know, I've never seen a Ben Affleck movie, but the truth is, he was all over the convention, as many Hollywood stars were. Most of them are obnoxious, holier than thou, and have silly political views. But Affleck was actually sort of self-effacing. He's not a knee-jerk liberal, he's against gun control. Of all those Hollywood stars there, he's the only one you could imagine ever running for office.

KONDRACKE: The truth is that I was paying so much attention ... to deep policy issues... that I never really... paid much attention to Ben Affleck.

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: But I do want to give an up to somebody else... and that's Terry McAuliffe...

BARNES: Oh, come on.

KONDRACKE: ... the Democratic national chairman...

BARNES: Yes, up.

KONDRACKE: ... who has raised oodles more money... than you ever expected...

BARNES: He, he's a loser...

KONDRACKE: ... him to. No, he's not a loser.

BARNES: You know he's a loser.

KONDRACKE: He's a winner.

BARNES: No, he's not.

UP: Democratic National Platform Drafting Committee Chair Rosa De Lauro

KONDRACKE: Now, I have this theory that these conventions are masquerade which each party dresses up like the other one. So in this case, even though the, most of the delegates were very liberal, you had no mention of partial birth abortion, you had no mention of the Kyoto global warming treaty, you had no mention of, of gay rights, and all kinds of other stuff in the, in the platform.

BARNES: I thought Carter and maybe Gore mentioned the Kyoto treaty, but...

KONDRACKE: In the platform.

BARNES: ... it didn't get...

KONDRACKE: In the platform.

BARNES: ... speeches, didn't get in the platform, no. She flattened it out, that's for sure. OK.

DOWN: New Jersey Congressional Candidate Steve Brozak

Mort, he was there, and it was probably Terry McAuliffe (search), your hero, who had him speak. Why did he speak? He's running in New Jersey, he's bound to lose. He was somebody who quit the Democratic Party to run the Republican Party because he didn't like Bush to run as a Democrat. Now, just watch him in action here and see what you think he is as a candidate.


BROZAK: If you told me 18 months ago that I would end up addressing the Democratic convention, I would have said you were crazy.


BARNES: Somebody told him, some political consultant said, Now, you know, shake your hand there, just keep going at it.

KONDRACKE: Listen, listen, that guy may be a loser, but I know lots of Republicans who are thinking about voting for Kerry this time.


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