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Special Report Roundtable - June 5

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This national question requires a national solution, and on an issue of such profound importance, that solution should come not from the courts, but from the people of the United States.


HARRY REID (D), SENATE MINORITY LEADER, NEVADA: This is another one of the president's efforts to frighten, to distort, to distract and confuse America. It is this administration's way of avoiding the tough, the real problems that American citizens are confronted with each and every day.


HUME: Well, the president was not in Providence, Rhode Island, he was here in Washington, but he was talking about the constitutional amendment to make marriage a union between a man and a woman and no other combinations excepted please, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) political observations on this issue now from Fred Barnes, executive editor of the "Weekly Standard," Jeff Birnbaum, columnist for the "Washington Post" and the syndicated columnist, Charles Krauthammer, FOX News contributors, all.

So, there are all these issues confronting America as the democrats are saying, and here we are talking about this, this week in Washington. Why on god's green earth is this, Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, obviously in part it's politics, but changing the definition of the oldest social institution in the human race, one that has been a man and a woman in every society for a long, long time, is a big deal. And if it's happening in a country, it's a legitimate issue and I think there is a legitimate issue here in that the president is right that judges have abrogated this decision which ought to be left to people either acting in referendum or in -- through their representatives. And that -- there are states, like Massachusetts in which it's been imposed and states like Georgia and Nebraska, where there has been a constitutional amendment where the people have spoken in large numbers and been stopped, stymied, by a judge.

But I think the answer is not a constitutional amendment, which would be in the name of the popular sovereignty, but ironically, it takes it away, because if you ever had a state in which a majority wanted to institute gay marriage, it would not be allowed to under this constitution. So it's a little bit contradictory, to act in the name of popular sovereignty and to pass a law which would extinguish.

The way you do it is change the ethos of the judiciary so that if you get the Defense of Marriage Act, which he spoke about earlier, at the Supreme Court, it's upheld and that it keeps it in one state and doesn't spread it all over the country. And having a president who nominates a guy like Sam Alito is a way in which we change that culture rather than changing the constitution.


HUME: Does do this have a ghost of a chance in the Senate?

JEFF BIRNBAUM, "WASHINGTON POST": No, no. You need 67 votes and you're not -- maybe get 52 to 58, I think.

HUME: So, you can't even get a filibuster stopped and bring it to a vote?


HUME: If anybody filibustered.

It's -- I'm not sure -- you don't need to do in this case. So I think that Harry Reid, the democratic leader is right and he's wrong. I think that he's wrong when he says that what this is doing is removing all of the important issues from the table that the Senate and the BIRNBAUM: Congress should be dealing with. The Senate is dealing with a lot of very important issues all the time, including this week. They are negotiating on immigration, they may well be voting on estate taxes, on the elimination of those. The Senate is doing many things at the same time as it always does. But he is right when he says this is basically political. And because, what he's really saying, what the democrats, I think, are really saying is that they don't want this to be voted on, because the republicans gain a real advantage with this vote. In all 11 states that had referenda, a couple of years ago, all of those states passed those referenda, banning gay marriage and all of them voting for President Bush for re-election. And it's a real advantage; it's a real vote getter for republicans. There's something very close to a consensus in this country that a marriage between a man and a woman is the way legal marriage should be.

FRED BARNES, "WEEKLY STANDARD": And the only way to protect that is through a constitutional amendment. I agree with everything that Charles said up to the point where he said we have to change the ethos of the judiciary. Well, that's something that would take generations.

KRAUTHAMMER: No, it's being done now.

BARNES: And things seem to be heading in the wrong direction most of the time, now. The issue -- here's the issue, it's now how you feel, whether marriage should be limited to a man and a woman, most everybody agrees with that, the question is what are you going to do it? Are you going to protect traditional marriage now or you just going to talk about changing the ethos, are you going to talk about just having an opinion on this thing or not. And this is only -- this is the only way to do it. Here's how it happened.

You know, the "Washington Post," at least in their piece on their website today, says "Bush revives gay marriage ban." He didn't revive it. It was already out there, it was scheduled last February; Bill Frist scheduled a vote in the Senate. And it wasn't because other senators wanted, they're afraid of this issue because it's touchy and sensitive. But he scheduled one in June at the request of the head of the Family Research Council here in Washington, Tony Perkins, and that's how it happened. It wasn't some great conspiracy of republicans to have a wedge issue.

HUME: What other politics is this? Is Jeff right that this -- any kind of a vote on this, it forces -- it will be largely a party line vote, democrats to vote against this one way or another, is a winner for the republicans or are people just not focused on this?

BARNES: Well, they're not now, that's one of the reasons why the vote was scheduled. I think Ohio is probably the best example, in 2004 where it was on the ballot, and for instance, African American ministers were against it. Bush there -- won by, I forget what he won by, 100,000 votes or something, but he also won, I think, about the highest percentage of the African American vote then he did anywhere else in the country, he got 17, 18 percent. So it helps republicans.

BIRNBAUM: Quickly -- it gets republicans out to vote, especially social conservatives that have not been happy with Bush lately.

HUME: Charles.

KRAUTHAMMER: The point of personal privilege, I will never use a Greek word on the air with Fred around again. Ethos means that you change who you appoint, you elect republicans and they appoint republican judges and this will stop.

BARNES: It will take a long time.

HUME: When we come back with our panel, discuss the global war on terror as is being played out in Canada. Be right back.



MIKE MCDONELL, ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE: Three tons of ammonium nitrate was ordered by these individuals and delivered to them. It was their intent to use it for a terrorist attack. If I could put this in context for you, the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people was completed with only one ton of ammonium nitrate.


HUME: Well, that guy's not exactly Dudley Do-Right, but he'll do just right for the moment, he's a well-spoken Mountie and he's a little off in the sense that he said that the stuff was actually delivered, it was delivered and they intercepted it and switched for some harmless substance, but nonetheless, a big bunch of that stuff was indeed ordered who are -- allegedly was ordered by 17 of those people who were captured in Toronto. What does this incident, this alleged terrorist cell that was broken up, what does it tell us?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, A, it's good to see the Mounties back in action again. It's been a while. I'm sure we haven't been noticing, but it tells us a lot that it is in Canada, a most placid, well-adjusted, if you like, country, where the last place you would expect a terrorist or home-grown -- this is not imports.

HUME: No, these were Canadian citizens.

KRAUTHAMMER: They were residents, people who've lived, who've grown up there, educated there, and all of a sudden -- and interesting, this is not anti-Americanism, it was not an attempt to attack the great Satan, to attack us over imperialism, Iraq, etc. It was to attack Canada, its institutions, the houses of parliament in Ottawa. Canada, which is not Iraq, which is not in any arguable way imperialists, it is the hatred of the West and the civilization in which these Muslims were raised. It tells us also about the reach of radical Islamic ideology into a place like Canada and also the reach of the petrol dollars which are the ones that fund, impound and support these institutions, these mosques with radical Imams all over the world. So, happening in a place like Canada is quite scary and tells us the reach of this cancer.

BIRNBAUM: No place is safe. If, last week, New York and Washington, D.C. were complain that more money was given in grants for homeland security to other places like Idaho and Iowa and Nebraska and they were asserting that was a -- mistaken to spread the money around, this arrest proves it wasn't mistaken. Hone-grown.

HUME: Wasn't necessarily mistaken.

BIRNBAUM: Wasn't necessarily mistaken, but home-grown Al-Qaeda cells. This was not a hierarchical decision by someone in the Middle East to place a cell in Canada, this was home-grown and it can grow anywhere given the internet and the power of the views of the Imams who are inspiring this all over the world, even in places you wouldn't expect.

BARNES: It's true, you know, it does show also, in addition to what Charles was saying and Jeff was saying, it show you how difficult it is with Muslims to assimilate them in your country. I'm here they've been in Canada their entire lives and yet were susceptible for believing this stuff that the radical Imams are spreading around the world, and Osama bin Laden and so on. Does make you worry about the U.S. too, we know they've been in contact with those radical Islamists in Georgia, as well. We know it's pretty easy to get across the border. I mean, you ever been in Detroit and driven over to Windsor? You just drive as across, that's about it, you know, there's nobody -- there's nobody really checking there, and they can come back the other way.

You know, we would look at this differently if the Millennium Bomber had gotten through in 1999, remember he was coming across the border from Canada to the state of Washington and had planned to blow up LAX, the airport in Los Angeles and it was just because of a customs agent who just sort of thought that the driver looked a little suspicious, just by chance, and then they looked in his car and it was loaded with explosives and he admitted what he was doing and so on. We were lucky. If that had worked and there was a big explosion at LAX, we would look at the Canadian border, which is very porous, a lot differently.

BIRNBAUM: Doesn't this also say that border security is not the answer. It could happen anywhere?

HUME: Yeah, you don't need to cross the borders to do it. You can get plenty of home-grown people who are willing to do that.

BIRNBAUM: That's what I think this tell us.

KRAUTHAMMER: You have to change the ethos.


BARNES: In this case, I agree.

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