'They Looked Like Scalded Dogs'

J$P Instant Transcript! Bob Beckel and Mike Gallagher debate the State of the Union.

From Fox & Friends, February 3 2005:

STEVE DOOCY [FOX NEWS]: Joining us right now with reactions to the President's plans, from DC, Fox News Contributor and political analyst Bob Beckel. Hello, Bob.

BOB BECKEL: Hello, Steve.

DOOCY: And in our studio Fox News Contributor and radio talk show host Mike Gallagher. Michael?


BECKEL: Hey, Mike.

DOOCY: Good to have you. Hey Bob, let me start with you. I just got an email from somebody who said that was a very powerful moment last night, when the Iraqi woman hugged the mother of the marine. But they wrote, clearly that was set up by Karl Rove ahead of time. You certainly are not so cynical that you would think that that was a bit of stagecraft?

BECKEL: No, as a matter of fact I'm not. I thought that was one of the more moving moments of the entire night. I'll tell you what was set up, and looked like it was the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. These Republicans with their fingers, which I hope that ink doesn't come off.

GALLAGHER: Hey, I'm glad you brought that up Bob. Where's your ink-stained finger? I've got mine.

BECKEL: Those guys wouldn't have the guts to go to the bathroom, let alone go vote in a hostile territory like that. It was so demeaning to those wonderful people, I couldn't believe it.

GALLAGHER: Hey Bob, I've got mine. The last time you and I were together, you wore your tuxedo. I thought you have an ink-stained index finger. You don't want to show solidarity with the Iraqi people?

BECKEL: There's only finger I would show on my feelings about that, OK?


GALLAGHER: You never let us down, Bob.

BECKEL: Thank you.

E.D. HILL [FOX NEWS]: All right, let's talk about the bulk of the address, and that was, of course, a quarter of it spent on social security. Mike, the President says it's dire, we're running out of funds, and the Democrats are saying that's not true. It's really hyping it; it's not that bad.

GALLAGHER: A lot of people don't realize that this has been his passion for 27 years. He goes back almost three decades about wanting to reform and fix social security. Just a few minutes ago, Sen John Corzine admitted as much, that social security is in big trouble. Now it's a matter of how to go about it. This is, as they say, the third rail of American politics. And the President isn't just touching it, he's sitting on it, because now he wants to have this thing fixed, and he's right.

HILL: Bob, is it just a matter of trying to figure out how to fix it, not whether we need to fix it?

BECKEL: Well I mean, it clearly needs some fixing. I mean, there's a lot of different views about how you do it. I, for one, am for means testing. I don't think everybody who's got a lot of money out to be pulling on the social security system. But he did not talk that much about Medicare, which really does have to get addressed as well. But what really hit me was when he said, those of you who are 55 and older, you don't have to worry about this. I saw all these Republicans out there who are, like, 54 and under. Wait a minute, I thought this was all young people. I didn't know it was me. They looked like scalded dogs. I mean, everybody heading for the--


DOOCY: "Scalded dogs".

BECKEL: The fact is, what he didn't do is say how he was going to do it, which I think is smart politically. He's going to have to negotiate this thing. But I'll tell you, in the end, in ten years, 47 cents of every taxpayer dollar goes for old people, nine cents for kids. And there's something wrong with that.

GALLAGHER: It's a blueprint, as we all know, Bob. And he knows it, and he didn't get as specific as maybe some would like. But at the end of the day he understands that Americans--I just heard a guy in the green room who's going to be on a little bit later say, at the end of the day I want to be in control of my own finances. I want to be able to invest my own money. And that's what President Bush's grand, big plan picture is all about with social security. And he's right.

BECKEL: Well wait a minute, Mike. If you invest this stuff and you put away, say, a nest egg of $90,000, the government's going to take 78 of it, number one. But number two, wait a second, the point here is that, I think people have not put together here that any solution is going to require cuts in benefits. It just is. Now, people better come to grips with that. Now I'll give Bush credit for stepping out on something like this.


BECKEL: It is not an easy political thing to do, but I'll tell you, he's got to sell his Republicans.


HILL: That's true. You're absolutely right, Bob.

DOOCY: Hey, Bob?

GALLAGHER: I'm just sorry you don't have your ink-stained finger. Hey, you can put the ink on any finger you want, Bob.

BECKEL: I will Mike, but don't ask me to do it. This is a family show, it's early in the morning.

DOOCY: That's right. Bob and Mike, we thank you very much.

HILL: And don't do it because we're heading to the Prayer Breakfast right after this.

posted: Thu - February 3, 2005 at 12:52 PM       j$p  send