This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Nov. 27, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Let’s see who’s up and down this week.
Up, or rather, down, DOWN: Iran. They say they’re on board a new deal to freeze all uranium activities, but they’ve broken their word in the past. Here’s Bush in Crawford Friday talking about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I appreciate the nations of Great Britain and Germany and France who are working to try to convince Iran to honor their international treaty obligations. And the only good deal is one that’s verifiable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNES: Well, that’s for sure. Look, the Iranians want to be a nuclear power, and signing some deal that the Germans and the French and the Brits have put together that looks a lot like the deal violated by North Korea I don’t think is going to do the job. It’s not going to stop them.
And even if this deal, if you have this deal, they are still can go ahead and, and produce plutonium, which is another way to weaponize nuclear weapons.
Look, at some point in Bush’s second term, he’s going to really have to come to grips with Iran and so something about it, perhaps not militarily, but I can’t think of a better option, or even a strong alternative to some sort of military action to take out these nuclear weapons sites.
JUAN WILLIAMS, GUEST CO-HOST: Slow down, Fred, slow down. Because I think what you’ve got here is the potential for war. And the United States, we’re already engaged in war in Afghanistan (search), we’re engaged in war in Iraq, and now it sounds as if you’re suggesting it may be necessary to engage in war in Iran.
And I’m saying that there’s just too much now stress on the military, there’s too much stress on Americans, on America. I just don’t believe there’s the political support there for it in any case.
But your point is well-taken, tremendous trust deficit with the Iranians and with these mullahs.
WILLIAMS: I mean, it’s worrisome.
WILLIAMS: But I think this is an opportunity to say to the Europeans, to Great Britain, to France, to the Germans, step up to the table. If you don’t like what we did in Iraq, make sure that you’ve got that Iranian problem taken care of.
BARNES: I don’t, well, that’s a good idea, but I’m afraid the Europeans aren’t up to it.
WILLIAMS: All right. Now, our next one, DOWN: Dan Rather (search). CBS insists Rather’s retirement has long been planned, but it’s clear his career has been sullied by the Bush National Guard document fiasco last summer.
Fred, I don’t think there’s any doubt it, you know, it’s, this is a man who was the most emotional of all of the three big anchors, Jennings, Brokaw, and Rather. Rather really, I think, stood for so much in terms of Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite. And now, now he’s going to be remembered as a guy who was involved in what was apparently a fraudulent document.
You know, what also comes to mind is, he’s been engaged in a long-running game, fire, with the Bush family. First was President Bush.
WILLIAMS: With 41, and now with 43, and it looks like that feud with the Bush family has absolutely ruined Dan Rather.
BARNES: You mean the Bushes won?
WILLIAMS: Looks like it.
BARNES: Yes, ultimately.
BARNES: It was a long battle, look. I think it’s also a victory for conservative bloggers, you know, these people with their own Web sites, because it was a conservative blogger, actually, Little Green Footballs who typed up one of these documents and showed that it actually wasn’t a 30-year-old written document about Bush and his Air National Guard service, it was, it had been typed recently on a computer and was therefore a forgery.
Now, I think this means we are in a new era in journalism where there are just thousands of these bloggers out there who are fact-checking everything. They’re fact-checking probably what we’re saying here today. But they’re particularly focused on liberal bias in the mainstream media. And their first big victory, Dan Rather.
UP: former Vermont governor Howard Dean (search). When Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack out of the running, the race is wide open for the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee, with Dean as the most-mentioned candidate.
You know, Juan, there’s an old saying in politics, you can’t beat somebody with nobody. And so Democrats who don’t want Dean, and I think most of them do not want Howard Dean to be their national chairman, are going to have to come up with somebody. And I would suggest somebody who actually knows how to win in a red state, a Bush state. Governor Mark Warner of Virginia is one. Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee is another, both Democrats.
BARNES: And I know, look, you’re going to laugh, but I’m really serious about this. Another person who knows why Bush won and Kerry lost last November 2 and would make a pretty good national Democratic chairman is James Carville, the ragin’ Cajun, really.
WILLIAMS: Well, I’m surprised to hear you say that because he can be so aggressive. But you know what?
BARNES: He sure can.
WILLIAMS: He can be, it seems to me, assertive to the point of maybe putting off some of those people in red states, where Democrats need to make inroads.
But I think that’s why you see people like Harry Reid, the, now the minority leader of Democrats in the Senate, saying he doesn’t want Howard Dean. I think there’s a large group of Democrats who say anybody but Howard Dean.
WILLIAMS: Your point is well taken. You need somebody. But who are the somebodies? Now, for many black Democrats, a core constituency for the party, they’re looking to people like Alexis Herman, Donna Brazile, Ron Kirk, even Dennis Archer. But I don’t think that’s going to happen right now.
So what you’re looking at are people who can really raise the dollars and people who can really make the pitch. So you’re looking at people like maybe Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader, who, of course, lost his race. Maybe Jeanne Shaheen, who was chairman, or chairwoman, I should say, of the Kerry campaign, Harold Ickes, who played a key role in the Clinton campaign.
And then you get the folks that, I agree with you, Mark Warner (search), governor of Virginia, that’s a rising star in the party. Maybe they go back a little bit. Dick Gephardt, another possibility.
UP: the frustration level of airline travelers. Even before the Thanksgiving holiday rush, air travelers were getting fed up with long lines at airport screening points and often invasive and embarrassing searches.
Fred I got to tell you something. This is — I am number one traveler, and it just drives me nuts, because I don’t believe that I’m any safer, and the lines just keep getting longer and longer. It’s a deterrent to people traveling for business, for tourism. I think it’s hurting the travel industry. There’s got to be a better way.
My wife, by the way, my lovely wife, let me just say that to you.
WILLIAMS: She said to me the other day that she was really upset with the ACLU (search). You know why? Because the American Civil Liberties Union had objected when there was a possibility of a machine that would do a body outline. You could see the shape of a human body. And some women said, Oh, gosh, my breasts could be shown, and all the rest. But that machine would have, I think, resolved so many of these problems.
BARNES: I agree with your wife. I know your wife. She’s right about this.
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