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Special Report Roundtable - October 24

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume


CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY), DEM SEN CAMPAIGN CHMN: We don't win Rhode Island; we will not take back the Senate. It is that simple. We cannot, we cannot lose Rhode Island and take back the Senate.


HUME: Well, that gives you a sense that things are tightening and the race for control of the Senate. Some thoughts on al this now from Mort Kondracke, executive editor of Roll Call; Mara Liasson, national political correspondent National Public Radio; and the syndicated columnist, Charles Krauthammer -- FOX NEWS contributors all.

So, let's take a, sort of a, look at Rhode Island and some other races around that have been rated either definites for the Democrats or likely pickups that would give them, what, the six they need to get control of the Senate. How's it look tonight -- Mort.

MORT KONDRACKE, ROLL CALL: Well, there's some movement in some places like Montana in the Republican direction.

HUME: Chafee, Rhode Island looks a little bit better.

KONDRACKE: And Chafee -- well, you know, here's the problem with Chafee. What you got to remember is that it's almost an iron rule that two-thirds of undecided voters split against the incumbent.

HUME: But it didn't happen that way in `04.

KONDRACKE: Well, it usually happens and this is, you know, not a presidential election. And Lincoln Chafee has never been above 45 percent in any poll. And if you break the way -- you know, the real.

HUME: So, you think he's a loser, OK.

KONDRACKE: I think he's a loser, yeah, bottom line. Yeah, I think he's the loser, still.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: I was in Rhode Island last week. Rhode Island is a very unusual state, it's very tiny, everybody knows everyone. The race up there-- the Democrat's race up there is being run in an unusual way. It's almost solely on partisan control of the Senate. It's not about how Lincoln Chafee has forgotten about you or has voted the wrong way.

Lincoln Chafee votes like his state -- down the road. He votes like a Democrat most of the time. It's strictly because he has an "R" after his name. And the president is at 22 percent in Rhode Island. It is the bluest state where a Republican incumbent is up for re-election this year. So, I think, you know, it comes down whether the Chafee family name has a greater hold on the voters there or the desire to get rid of Republicans.

HUME: OK, let's -- in the overall picture, Mara, given the -- they need to win Rhode Island for sure, they need to hold New Jersey.

LIASSON: Absolutely.

HUME: Which they have. They need to win Virginia and Tennessee.

LIASSON: That's right if they're going to take control.

HUME: If they're going to take control.

LIASSON: That's right. And, yeah.

HUME: Overall, how does that look?

LIASSON: I think New Jersey, it's a very late breaking state, it's unclear. Apparently the Republican National Party was up there this week with some test ads to see if they are willing to spend the $3 million a week it takes to really be on the air there.

HUME: Because you really got to be on everywhere. You got to be.

LIASSON: You got to be in Philadelphia media market and New York, that is the way to reach New Jersey voters who are very busy.

HUME: Very expensive.

LIASSON: You have to -- it takes a lot to break through, they're commuting, they're not paying attention. I think, you know, Kean -- right know Menendez has a small lead in most poll -- we have the average of that. He has a small lead, but Kean has been really giving him a big race, it's about corruption up there.

HUME: OK, what about -- they would also need Virginia and Tennessee. What.

LIASSON: Virginia is the hardest for Democrats, I think, anywhere. Allen has -- there's not a single public poll that shows Webb leading. Although it is a tossup.

KONDRACKE: Missouri is the place where I think the Democrats have a better chance.

HUME: They still need to win -- they would still need to pick up.

KONDRACKE: Yeah, they need to pick up two out of the three states.

LIASSON: Yeah, two out of those three if they can.

HUME: OK, so what do you think?

KONDRACKE: I think they're going to pick up one, maybe.

HUME: Charles.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I can't see them winning in Virginia. That Virginia race was entirely about Allen. He had a huge lead, he had everything in his pocket, he made all kind of missteps, but now he's righted himself and it's a very red state. I think he carries it and I think in Rhode Island, I would agree. I think the Democrats are going to win that because there's no difference between these two candidates in politics or in pedigree. These are two guys of the same, you know, wasp plutocracy -- the fathers were roommates at Yale, it's incredibly incestuous, but it's about are you a Democrat or Republican and the Bush -- you know, to the extent that the Democrats have nationalized this election in making it about Bush, they win.

HUME: In Rhode Island they win.

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, you know, almost every state, every Democrat tries to find a picture of his opponent with Bush or a video or an endorsement or something and run it as a negative ad.

HUME: But how does it work in Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri?

LIASSON: No, it doesn't work there as well as it does in other states.

KRAUTHAMMER: It works to some extent all over. I mean it works, of course, heavily in a place like Rhode Island, but Democrats wouldn't be spending the money on these ads associating the opponent with Bush.

Look, in Maryland, the governor, who's a Republican, he's running against, he doesn't have any association with Bush. All the ads are ads that say tell Governor Ehrlich to stop governing like George Bush. So, just the word "like" you're.

LIASSON: I think those ads -- you're seeing them more in blue states like Maryland or Rhode Island or even the light blue state of Pennsylvania more than -- you're not seeing those ads in Virginia and Tennessee.

HUME: We're going to take a break, here. But when we come back, we're going to discuss either this controversial ad in Tennessee or the question of China and North Korea. We'll leave it to the panel to decide during the break. I don't know what they'll decide. Tune in and find out. Stay with us.


HUME: OK, we're back with our panel; we're try to hit both of these topics. First let's take a look at an ad that is being run in Tennessee against the Democratic congressman running for the Senate, Harold Ford. This is an ad from the Republican Party trying to help the Republican candidate Bob Corker. Let's look at the ad.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Harold Ford looks nice. Isn't that enough?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terrorists need their privacy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I die, Harold Ford will let me pay taxes again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ford's right, I do have too many guns.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I met Harold at the Playboy party.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd love to pay higher marriage taxes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Canada can take care of North Korea, they're not busy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So he has taken money from porn movie producers, I mean, who hasn't?

ANNOUNCER: The Republican National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.



HUME: "Awful, despicable, offensive," said Harold Ford. "Racist" said the NAACP and there it is. Is this, folks, is this a satirical ad that pushes the limits or is this over the top?

KONDRACKE: I think it's satirical up to the point where it implies that Harold Ford is dating white girls and the -- look, this -- the history...

HUME: It's not about a Playboy party he attended?

KONDRACKE: Yeah. No, no, no, it's come on, call me. It's -- the implication is -- they're playing misogyny - miscegenation here, is what they're doing -- race mixing and all that kind of stuff. I mean, I think that they went over the line. You know, I don't think that it's the most horrible ad that's ever been run like the NAACP ad that was run against Bush...

HUME: Did you find the ad amusing?

KONDRACKE: I did, up to a point where -- up to that last point...

LIASSON: The part where it crosses the line is the woman at the end. Look, Corker himself asked himself that this ad be taken down and he called it "tacky and over the top." I think that's a very fair assessment of this ad.

KRAUTHAMMER: The sin here, I think it's not (INAUDIBLE), it's meant to be humorous and as any opinion journalist knows, you write a column that's meant to be humorous or ironic, you'll get a ton of mail of people who don't get it. And unless the humor is really fine tuned and here it wasn't, it was really broad humor, it's going to offend. And I think.

HUME: No pun intended there either, I'm sure.

KRAUTHAMMER: In the end, it's probably going to hurt him because it's going to look mean even to people who don't get it.

HUME: OK, let's move to on this question of North Korea and the U.N. Resolution Number 1718, which I think it's reasonable to say the State Department and the secretary are quite proud and this is a major achievement and that China is going along with it and going along with the enforcement of it all bodes well. What about it?

KONDRACKE: I think, look, I think it's better than the situation beforehand. I mean, at least China is legally obligated to do something, namely inspect for dangerous materials, and it apparently is doing so.

HUME: Cargo.

KONDRACKE: Yeah, military cargo and nuclear-related cargo and is apparently doing it. Now, what we don't know is how stringent will they be, will they keep it up and all that, but I got to say, it's better than nothing.

LIASSON: Yeah, better than nothing and we don't know if it will cause North Korea to change its mind about nuclear weapons. That doesn't seem likely, but there are also all of these news reports about how China had -- they -- the North Koreans had a meeting with the Chinese and they apologized and there seemed to be some movement, now it turns out that was not the case.

HUME: That's not being confirmed by the Chinese or the North Koreans, though.

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, legally obligated is meaningless. It's legal obligations of the Security Council meant something, you wouldn't have an armed Hezbollah, you wouldn't -- Saddam would have given up his weapons in '93, we wouldn't had a war and Israel and Palestine would have been created in 1947.

Legality means nothing. Countries act in their interests. China is not going to squeeze North Korea to the point it makes a difference. Whatever the resolution says, I commend the secretary in getting it, and -- on paper at the U.N., it's a triumph, but in the real world it will not have any effect.

HUME: Well, let me ask you this, it is clearly China, I think it's fair to say, was offended by what North Korea, didn't like it, would prefer that North Korea had not done it.


HUME: And it has expressed that in a number of ways, including voting for this resolution. Does it mean nothing to the North Koreans that their Chinese friends were offended?

KRAUTHAMMER: It will not mean enough to have any influence on the nuclear program.

HUME: Not any?


KONDRACKE: I think -- no, I think that there's no evidence that they're going to test again. If the Chinese can keep the North Koreans from testing again, it seems to me that we've gone a step toward denying them a deliverable nuclear weapon -- bombs they've got, but they've got to be able to test them in order to know whether they're small enough to be put on the tips of warheads.

KRAUTHAMMER: But look how we're lowering the bar. At the beginning it was taking away their nukes, then just preventing a test, and now after a test has happened and they're officially a nuclear power, in preventing a second one. So what? They are officially a nuclear entity and all that comes with it, including the ability to export it.

LIASSON: Well, look, it shows you how.


HUME: Mara. Mara.

LIASSON: It shows you how United States is trying to use soft power on North Korea, it's not working. It's hard power is all tied up and tied down in Iraq. I mean this is not a very good time.

HUME: Now wait a minute, the kind of weapons that would be used against North Korea are not ground troops. The kind of weapons we'd be using on NC are bombs and there's no shortage of them, is there?

LIASSON: No, but all I'm saying is that that is not the road that this administration has chosen.


HUME: It isn't because of lack of weapons.

LIASSON: No. No. No. But the road it's chosen is not working...

KRAUTHAMMER: It's because.

HUME: Could diplomacy stop this in your view -- Charles.

KRAUTHAMMER: Absolutely not.

HUME: Mara.

LIASSON: Certainly isn't doing it so far.

KONDRACKE: Well, it's not going to.

HUME: Quickly.

KONDRACKE: .force them to stop having nuclear weapons. They've got them.

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