This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", May 8, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Let's go to the ups and downs.

DOWN: Unemployment

The nation's jobless rate fell to 5.6 percent last month, with 288,000 jobs added to the rolls. That's 625,000 added for both March and April.

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: You know, but it also added a lot more jobs revising it upward, I think 29,000 more jobs in March, and something like -- I'll do the math here in my head, I don't know, 37,000 jobs added in February. So they're revising it upward. And I think this 288,000 figure will be revised upward. We see unemployment claims dropping more every week.

Now, if this pace of job creation continues, by September, all the jobs that were lost in the Bush administration that Democrats keep talking about will have been wiped out, and we'll move into job gains. This is not inconceivable. You know, I've been talking about it, back when you used to say it was far-fetched, and even I thought it was kind of far-fetched. But it becomes quite possible, and I would almost say it's about a 50-50 chance of getting there by September.

KONDRACKE: Last week ... I said 300,000, you said, Oh, no, no, no, no, no. It was 288,000, was pretty ... pretty close.

BARNES: ... predicting it, you were setting that as a cutoff, come on, now.

KONDRACKE: That's all right, that's all right, I thought it would happen.

BARNES: All right.

KONDRACKE: The latest Fox poll shows that the economy topping the list of voters' concerns. And President Bush now leading John Kerry on the question of who'd handle the economy better.

Bush was trailing Kerry last month on that question. Well, at the rate things are going, and if, you know, Kerry is not going to have the economy as an issue, and the only first-tier issue that he's likely to have is Iraq and/or terrorism, what, and those issues favor, favor President Bush. I mean, the only way that ... well, assuming that things are going well.

BARNES: Yes, you know, things get a little better in Iraq, which they seem to be, except for this prison scandal. OK.

DOWN: Theresa, not The-REE-Somalia, The-RAY-Somalia Heinz Kerry

In defending her husband's military record, Heinz Kerry (search) goes over the top by calling both President Bush and Vice President Cheney, "unpatriotic." And here's her full quote. "To have a couple of people who escaped four, five, six times and deferred and deferred and deferred, calling him anything regarding his service, is in and of itself unpatriotic. Unpatriotic."


BARNES: Now, Mort, you are the dirt detector in this campaign. Self- appointed, but I, I -- I... acknowledge you, I, I respect you in this role.

KONDRACKE: Thank you very much.

BARNES: What about this, Heinz Kerry, and I have a follow-up.

KONDRACKE: Well, OK, this is as close to the bottom as any, as any figure in the campaign has yet gotten. It's double dirt. It's, you're a bunch of draft dodgers, and she's accusing President Bush of being a draft dodger too...

BARNES: Right, yes.

KONDRACKE: ... I mean, even though he was in the National Guard, he did not get deferments as she suggested. And secondly, unpatriotic, I mean, no Bush person so far has used the U-word, only Democrats have used the U-

BARNES: Yes, right.

KONDRACKE: ... word.

BARNES: Yes, well, that was my, that was my follow-up to ask you about who has done it. So I don't have any follow-up...

KONDRACKE: Well, it's a, it's a ... tactic ... it's a tactic ... it's a purposeful tactic ... on the part of the Democrats ... to allege that... they are being accused of being ... unpatriotic, and then, for them to use the ... to use the U-word.


KONDRACKE: ... and it is totally, it is totally reprehensible.

BARNES: And Ms. Heinz Kerry...

KONDRACKE: Is, is that strong enough?

BARNES: Yes, that's strong enough. Ms. Heinz Kerry has used it, Kerry has used it, Wesley Clark has used it, Bob Graham, a lot of Democrats have.

KONDRACKE: Howard Dean. Howard Dean too.

BARNES: Yes, right.

DOWN: Secretary of State Colin Powell

A new article in GQ magazine (search) puts Powell on the defensive big-time. Among the nuggets, that Powell's, you know, out of the loop, that he disagrees with many administration policies, that he's mentally and physically tired, and that he wants out.

And the piece is chock-full of inflammatory quotes from Powell's chief of staff, like, "Powell has spent as much time doing damage control and, shall we say, apologizing around the world for some less-than-graceful actions than he has anything else," unquote.

BARNES: There you go.

KONDRACKE: OK, well, look, I think that Powell probably won't stick around for the second term, and I think actually think that's, that's too bad, you know, I think he is fundamentally tired because he's been fighting all this time with the hawks at the Pentagon. And the, the fundamental problem is that they have a world view that they're pushing all the time, and Powell, in a way, is playing defense.

But, but I really do think, I really do think that, that President Bush, if there is a second term ... needs somebody ... who values diplomacy and values the idea of getting along with other people in the world ... even for just to balance out the people in the Pentagon. And there's nobody in the ... on-deck circle ... with Powell's kind of stature.

BARNES: No, you're right about that, although I think Paul Bremer (search) would make a good secretary of state. But look, and the hawks have something else going for them rather than just ideology, have a president who agrees with them, a vice president who agrees with them. And that's why Powell calls him out of the loop or his view is the minority view in this administration. OK.

DOWN: "Friends"

You know, the TV show, NBC's long-running and highly profitable sitcom, came to an end this week. And my reaction is, good riddance. Now, Mort, I admit I've never seen a whole show, but there are people at my house who see every show, and I wander by and watch a few minutes here and there.

Relatively, this show, while it may be number one, relatively, is only relatively strong. It only gets about 14 or 15 million, 16 million viewers out of 280 or 290 million Americans. That's not that many. It's just more than the other lousy shows.

And secondly, you know why the, the demographic of 18- to 34-year-old men don't watch at that show or other sitcoms? Because it's demeaning of men. They're treated as clowns and foolish people in all those shows. And they're, and, and they lose half their audience by doing that.

KONDRACKE: Well, I have, I, I have to confess, in 10 years that this show has been on the air, I have never watched one second of it. Nonetheless, that doesn't prevent me from commenting. I use the, the terms from my friends at the Parents TV Council...

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: ... my fellow prudes, quote, "Sexually promiscuous, vulgar language, and explicit sexual content." Now, I, I have been known to watch "The Sopranos"...

BARNES: Yes, geez, yes.

KONDRACKE: ... to which that also applies. But "The Sopranos" are not in ... the so-called ... family hour.

BARNES: Yes, well ...

KONDRACKE: Which is where this is.


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