Rahm Emanuel: Don’t blame Dems for Foley. Tells GOP to take responsibility for ``your dirty laundry.’'

SHARE Rahm Emanuel: Don’t blame Dems for Foley. Tells GOP to take responsibility for ``your dirty laundry.’'
SHARE Rahm Emanuel: Don’t blame Dems for Foley. Tells GOP to take responsibility for ``your dirty laundry.’'

It was supposed to be a showdown between the GOP House campaign chief, Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York and Dem counterpart Rahm Emanuel of Chicago.

Reynolds, fighting for his poltiical survival, cancelled his booking on ABC News “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” and sent in a substitute. Emanuel skillfully dissected Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fl.), who tried to shift blame to everyone but the Republicans.

click below for transcript

this is a release and tranfrom ABC…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ABC NEWS MEDIA RELATIONS

October 8, 2006

CONGRESSMEN EMANUEL (D-IL) AND PUTNAM (R-FL)

ON ABC NEWS

THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS?

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2006

Emanuel: What you guys want to do is take your dirty laundry and throw it over the fence and try to blame other people for the problems.?

Putnam: The dirty laundry in our conference is gone Mark Foley, the person who was preying on minors, is gone.?

In a Sunday exclusive, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) and Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) faced off about the Foley fallout and what it means for the upcoming midterm elections on This Week with George Stephanopoulos”.

The interview aired this morning, Sunday, October 8, 2006, on ABC News This Week with George Stephanopoulos.? The show also featured a Sunday exclusive with former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III and a roundtable discussion with Newsweeks Fareed Zakaria, David Corn of The Nation Magazine, ABC News Cokie Roberts, and George Will. Also, on Voices, actress Patricia Heaton details her new role as national spokesperson for Cure Autism Now?. A rush transcript of the program is below.

All excerpts must be attributed to ABC News This Week with George Stephanopoulos.?

Katherine OHearn is the executive producer of This Week? and George Stephanopoulos is the anchor. The program airs Sundays on the ABC Television Network (check local listings).

Given the information available, which party acted appropriately?

Congressman Putnam said, the speaker’s office acted proactively, they acted aggressively, and within hours, within hours of the explicit e-mails coming to light, they demanded Foley’s resignation?

Congressman Emanuel said, I don’t agree. What we know now, as you just said, is as far back as 2002, 2003, there were warning signs, and there were multiple conversations. And what happened since that time? Mark Foley runs for Congress in 2004 even while they know there was problems.

Addressing the issue of democratic involvement in the leaking of emails:

Congressman Emanuel said, Never saw them. Let me go right through the facts. One, Brian Ross, who broke the story on your network, said it came from a Republican source. Very unusual to do that.? When pressed, he went on to say, … never saw them, no involvement.?

Addressing the issue of an investigation:

Congressman Putnam said, We need to move ahead with that full, thorough investigation of members, staff using the ethics committee, using the FBI.? He went on to say, And if the minority leader will relent, using Louis Freeh to investigate the page board.?

ELECTION PREDICTIONS How many seats do the democrats pick up if any?

Congressman Putnam said, Not enough to take the majority.?

Congressman Emanuel said, I’m not going to give you a prediction, because I’m in the business of affecting races, not predicting them.?

-ABC-

<> ABC’S “THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS”

OCTOBER 8, 2006

SPEAKERS: GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST

U.S. REP. RAHM EMANUEL (D-IL)

U.S. REP. ADAM PUTNAM (D-FL)

JAMES BAKER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE

PATRICIA HEATON, ACTRESS

[*]

STEPHANOPOULOS: This week — fallout.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was disgusted

by the revelations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: He deceived me too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: I would have dragged him out of the House by his tie

and thrown him out of the place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: The Foley page scandal rocks the House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS HASTERT, (R-IL) SPEAKER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF

REPRESENTATIVES: We’re taking responsibility. The buck stops here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Did the Republican leadership cover up? Were

Democrats part of a dirty trick? And with Election Day only one month

away, how will voters sort it all out? That debate this morning with

the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, Adam Putnam,

and the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee,

Rahm Emanuel.

Then, a bloody October in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: As far as U.S. casualties go, this has been a hard

week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is there a way out? We’ll ask the statesman

tasked by President Bush and Congress to find one, former Secretary of

State James Baker.

George Will, Cokie Roberts, Fareed Zakaria and David Corn of The

Nation magazine debate the week’s politics on our roundtable.

Plus, Patricia Heaton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEATON: Autism is a disability that is not that well understood.

This has nothing to do with politics. This is about helping families

who are in desperate need of help.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And as always, the Sunday Funnies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, “THE LATE SHOW”: How about that Florida

congressman, Mark Foley? Whoa. I ought to tell you something, at

least the Democrats, they wait until the interns are 18.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, everyone. The Foley page scandal

dominated the Capitol and congressional campaigns across the country

this week. And a Newsweek poll out this morning shows that a majority

of Americans now believe that the speaker of the House tried to cover

it up. Here to debate that question and the rest of the fallout of

the chairman of the Democratic congressional Campaign Committee, Rahm

Emanuel, and the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee,

Adam Putnam. Welcome to both of you.

And let me tell our audience that Mr. Putnam is a substitute this

morning. Congressman Tom Reynolds, the chairman of the Republican

Campaign Committee, had agreed to be here weeks ago, but yesterday he

asked Mr. Putnam to take his place. And Mr. Putnam, that has to be

because he finds himself in quite a race because of his involvement in

this issue. In fact, yesterday he became the first Republican to

actually put an ad up on this issue, and I want to show our audience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

U.S. REP. TOM REYNOLDS, (R-NY): This spring, I was told about

odd but not explicit e-mails between Mark Foley and a page. I never

saw a single e-mail, not one. Even so, I reported what I had been

told to the speaker of the House. I trusted that others had

investigated. Looking back, more should have been done, and for that,

I am sorry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s a pretty astonishing ad. You have the

number four person in the House leadership — you’re the number five

person — putting the blame squarely on the speaker’s office. Do you

believe the speaker should have done more? Did he handle this

appropriately?

PUTNAM: You know, looking back at what was known at the time

that they acted, three institutions had the information. The House of

Representatives had that odd, overly friendly e-mail. The Miami

Herald and the St. Petersburg Times had that same e-mail. They

decided they couldn’t run with it.

They decided it was innocuous, overly friendly but not

newsworthy, and the FBI had that same e-mail. They decided there

wasn’t enough to investigate. The only people who acted were the

House of Representatives.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Except let me interrupt there because a lot of

evidence has come out this week that there were a lot of warnings

before that. Kirk Fordham, who was formerly Mr. Foley’s chief of

staff, also Mr. Reynolds’ chief of staff, says he told the speaker’s

office about Foley’s problems as early as 2002, 2003. That’s been

corroborated by another congressional aide.

In this morning’s Newsweek magazine, one of your Florida

colleagues, Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite says that she learned of

an incident back in 2002 or 2003 where Foley apparently went to the

page dorm at about 10 o’clock at night. And according to Newsweek,

one of her staff aides said that Brown-Waite had talked to a House

official with direct knowledge of what had happened. So there were a

lot of indications that the speaker’s office did know something about

Foley’s activities before that so-called innocuous e-mail in 2005.

PUTNAM: The important thing is these revelations are coming out

now. Since ABC News broke the story about the overfriendly e-mail,

that’s when the explicit e-mails have come forward. That’s when other

pages have come forward. We need to move ahead with that full,

thorough investigation of members, staff using the ethics committee,

using the FBI.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So as far as…

PUTNAM: And if the minority leader will relent, using Louis

Freeh to investigate the page board.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As far as you’re concerned, the speaker’s office

handled this correctly.

PUTNAM: Based on the information we have today, the speaker’s

office acted proactively, they acted aggressively, and within hours,

within hours of the explicit e-mails coming to light, they demanded

Foley’s resignation. Contrast that to previous scandals.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you agree?

EMANUEL: George, here’s what we know right now, and no, I don’t

agree. What we know now, as you just said, is as far back as 2002,

2003, there were warning signs, and there were multiple conversations.

EMANUEL: And what happened since that time? Mark Foley runs for

Congress in 2004 even while they know there was problems.

2005, gets appointed to head the Missing and Abused Children

Caucus for the Congress.

When he wants to retire, they ask him to run for reelection in

2006, even knowing, clearly, that there’s something amiss and wrong

here.

And the whole — the whole point here, let’s just take one

analogy. If a high school teacher was found doing this with a child,

and the principal knew and not only said to the teacher, we’re going

to renew your contract, the community and parents would have that

principal and teacher out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: All week long, there have been suggestions by —

on talk radio and by Republicans and their allies that this was

perhaps a Democratic dirty trick. And I just want to ask you plainly,

did you or your staff know anything about these e-mails or instant

messages before they came out?

EMANUEL: George, never saw them. And I’m going to say one

thing, let’s go through the facts right here…

PUTNAM: Were you aware of them? Didn’t have to see them…

EMANUEL: Never saw them. Let me go right through the facts.

One, Brian Ross, who broke the story on your network, said it came

from a Republican source. Very unusual to do that.

Fact two, The Hill paper said it came from a Republican source.

All the Republicans and staff people are coming forward are

Republicans. Mark Foley, who wrote the e-mails originally, at the

bottom of this whole problem, Republican. The leadership of the

Congress, from Tom Reynolds to John Boehner to Speaker Hastert, who

can’t come on this show….

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you are not aware of any involvement.

EMANUEL: Never saw them. No involvement. And she said not

anything, George, and the fact is this is…

PUTNAM: Was there awareness?

EMANUEL: No…

(CROSSTALK)

EMANUEL: Never saw them. The first time I ever saw these

things, right here when Brian Ross broke this show and when the Post

had the story.

What you guys want to do is take your dirty laundry and throw it

over the fence and try to blame other people for the problems.

PUTNAM: The dirty laundry in our conference is gone. His

resignation was demanded within hours. Contrast that to previous

scandals, where, frankly, two people at this table have had to cover

for their former boss’ sexual misdeeds while in office, and did not

demand his resignation. We need a thorough investigation.

EMANUEL: We’re going to get…

PUTNAM: Into everything and every aspect about this sordid,

sordid affair. But Mark Foley, Mark Foley, the person who was preying

on minors, is gone. He’s no longer a part of the House…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me address the double standard. First of

all, let me correct you on something. I left the White House in 1996.

Number two, this issue has been brought up by other Republicans. Tom

DeLay raised it just the other day. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM DELAY, FORMER REPRESENTATIVE (R-TX): Look at what the

Democrats did when they caught Jerry Studds from Massachusetts in the

act of having sex with a page. They censured him. They didn’t kick

him out. He was re-elected and they welcomed him back to the House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Double standard?

EMANUEL: No, I’ll tell you, here’s the difference. And it’s

very important. Immediately when the Democratic Congress leadership

found out that Congressman Studds had done what he’s done, gone right

to the Ethics Committee, and he was censured, because they thought it

was important to the institution. Dating back to — in 2002, when

they found out, 2003, when they found out, they asked him to seek

reelection. And the difference is that every time that there is a

conflict between the majority’s political interests and the

institution and its integrity, they put their thumb down on the scale

as it comes down to the political authority…

PUTNAM: Jerry Studds served 12 years after the page scandal.

EMANUEL: He got reelected.

PUTNAM: Mark Foley served for about an hour and a half after the

page scandal.

EMANUEL: Right. And you know who is responsible for Mark

Foley…

PUTNAM: And your number two leader voted not to censure Jerry

Studds.

EMANUEL: And the difference here is, you want to take

responsibility for Mark Foley, you guys asked Mark Foley to seek

reelection knowing there was something wrong.

PUTNAM: We didn’t know there was something wrong.

EMANUEL: It was ABC News at first…

PUTNAM: He was gone, he was gone within an hour and a half of

these revelations.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s look at the broader political

implications. Newsweek poll out this morning not only talks about the

potential of a cover-up, but what Americans believe about a cover-up.

It also looks at the various issues people are concerned about going

into this election. Let’s put it up on the board.

And what you see on issue after issue, from the war on terror to

the situation in Iraq, to moral values, economy, health care,

immigration, Democratic advantages.

How serious has this blow been for the Republicans, Congressman

Putnam, and what do you do about the fact that right now, Americans

trust the Democrats on just about every big issue?

PUTNAM: Well, it certainly has put members all across the

country in the position of having to answer uncomfortable questions

about tawdry deeds by a former colleague, because he was forced to

resign. But across America, with the exception of a couple of

congressional districts that are uniquely affected by this issue, a

couple in Florida because that’s where Foley was from, and a couple of

others around the country, Americans are talking about Iraq, Americans

are talking about the war against terrorism, Americans are talking

about the fact that we had three record-breaking days for the Dow last

week, and unemployment is at an all-new low, and we continue to see

prosperity in the economy, gas prices are falling, people are having a

few more dollars in their pocket to go spend on other things.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’re not worried?

PUTNAM: So I believe that a month is an eternity in politics,

and the fundamentals for the economy, the fundamentals for prosperity

in this country, because of Republican policies, are still very sound.

EMANUEL: George, look, I agree with Adam. And I was at my kid’s

soccer game. I was out swimming. They’re talking about this issue,

Mark Foley, and they’re talking about Iraq.

And you guys came to power in 1994. You said you were going to

change Washington. Washington changed you. You promised a balanced

budget. You’ve added $3 trillion to the nation’s debt. You promised

to make America more secure. We’ve got ourselves in a quagmire in

Iraq.

You promised to clean up this swamp, and you’ve created a deeper

set of swamps around here. At every point that you promised to do

something in 1994 with your Contract with America, you’re in a breach

of contract. And the fact is that this election, the American people

know full well, Adam, that they do not want to stay on the course that

you’ve set for this country. They want a new direction. They want a

change.

And that’s what this election is about: a change from the

endless occupation in Iraq to a change from this wageless recovery,

and most importantly, they also want…

PUTNAM: Let’s talk about what that change would mean.

EMANUEL: … they want a different Congress using a different

tone.

PUTNAM: Let’s talk about what this change in (inaudible)…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Go ahead.

PUTNAM: Let’s talk about what that change would mean. That

change would mean a Speaker Pelosi, whose idea about values is to

after the Boy Scouts and prevent them from camping on federal lands.

The idea of change would be a Chairman Rangel, who said he would

strangle off funds to fight the war for our troops. The change would

be a Chairman Barney Frank in charge of the Banking Committee who’s

had his own scandals in the past, for which he is still a serving

member.

EMANUEL: A change…

PUTNAM: A change would mean that the chairman of the Judiciary

Committee whose first act, as he has said, would be an impeachment

resolution against the president of the United States. All of those

things are what change in this country would mean.

EMANUEL: Six years…

PUTNAM: Elections are about choices, and choices have

consequences. And those are the consequences of this election.

EMANUEL: It’s amazing. Six years of a Republican majority in

the White House, the House and the Senate, and all you’ve got is fear.

The fact is, there will be a change. We’d have a middle-class tax

cut. We’d have an increase in the minimum wage. Let me just go

through it. I gave you…

PUTNAM: I’m letting you go. Go ahead.

EMANUEL: Appreciate it…

(CROSSTALK)

PUTNAM: … percent of you voted against the tax cut.

EMANUEL: You guys left town with raising taxes on the middle

class as it relates to college education and the per-child…

PUTNAM: That’s not true.

EMANUEL: (inaudible) according to President Bush, that would be

a tax increase. You did. Second is you’d have an increase in the

minimum wage. Third…

PUTNAM: You voted against that.

EMANUEL: No, I voted for it, and I’ve been a big advocate for

it, Adam. Third is you have direct negotiations for lower

prescription prices. Fourth, we take the $12 1/2 billion you guys

gave big oil, and we put it towards alternative energy sources. And

most importantly, we would have a change in tone in Congress. We

would say respect differences, welcome bipartisanship, and have a

different tone that says we need a new direction in Iraq, we need a

new direction in our economy, and most importantly, we need a new

direction in the way Congress does business.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Mr. Putnam, you get 30 seconds to answer. I

want to ask you then a final question each. Go ahead.

PUTNAM: The bottom line is that in the last 12 years, welfare

rolls have been cut 60 percent. The budget deficit in this country

has fallen by $109 billion since January alone because of our fiscal

policies. Ninety-seven percent of the Democrats voted against the

2003 tax cuts that have unleashed the economic power of this country

by reducing capital gains and dividends taxes, reducing the taxes on

the middle class, trying to end the death tax.

It was the Republican majority that tried to move the minimum

wage. It was blocked by the minority.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. No more message, just a prediction. How

many seats do the Democrats pick up, if any, in November?

PUTNAM: Not enough to take the majority.

EMANUEL: This is going to be an election about change, new

direction.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Give me a prediction.

EMANUEL: I’m not going to give you a prediction, because I’m in

the business of affecting races, not predicting them.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. We’ll see you both after the election.

Thank you both for this lively debate.

James Baker’s up next. And later, Patricia Heaton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEATON: The problem with autism is that it’s growing at an

alarming rate. We need to get the research and intervention and the

cure up to speed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Setting aside that small club of former

presidents, no one living can match James Baker’s experience at the

top levels of government and politics.

Secretary of state and treasury, White House chief of staff,

manager of three presidential campaigns, he’s also the author of a new

book, “Work Hard, Study and Keep Out of Politics.” And he joins us

now. Welcome.

BAKER: Thank you, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let me tell the viewers that you are also

the chairman of a group called the Iraq Study Group, which has been

tasked by Congress and the president to take a fresh look at the

problem of Iraq.

I don’t know whether you’d rather deal with that or the Foley

scandal up on Capitol Hill…

(LAUGHTER)

… but I do want to talk Iraq with you this morning. And it

makes your passages in your book about Iraq, I think, particularly

timely. Let me read part of it to our audience, one of the things you

wrote about why forces did not go in to take over Saddam in 1991.

You say, “American forces would still have been confronted with

the specter of a military occupation of indefinite duration to pacify

a country and sustain a new government in power. The ensuing urban

warfare would surely have resulted in more casualties to American GIs

than the war itself, thus creating a political fire storm at home.”

“And as much as Saddam’s neighbors wanted to see him gone, they

feared Iraq would fragment in unpredictable ways that would play into

the hands of the mullahs in Iran…”

Those were your fears in 1991, but it’s exactly what’s happened

now, isn’t it?

BAKER: A lot of it. I mean, the risk is certainly there, the

same risk. I also write in the book that, after I got out, after you

fellows involuntarily retired us in 1993, I would go around the

country making speeches.

And the first question I would always get is, why didn’t you guys

take care of Saddam in 1991?

I write in the book, I no longer get that question.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I bet you don’t get that question.

BAKER: Nobody asks that question anymore, no, they don’t.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You also, though, did, before the invasion in

2003, publicly raise a lot of warnings about the war in Iraq. You

said it couldn’t be done on the cheap. You said that past experience

showed that it would likely cost far more resources and troops than

appeared to be dedicated and that the administration had to keep the

Iraqi army intact.

You said all that, publicly, at the time. The administration

didn’t listen to your advice then. Why do you believe they’re going

to listen to your advice now?

BAKER: Well, I’m not sure that they will listen to our advice

now, except that we are a bipartisan group that was formed at the

urging of Congress. The administration approved of the formation of

the group and has been assisting us in going to Iraq.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You actually talked to the president about it,

didn’t you?

BAKER: Absolutely. I wasn’t going to do it unless I knew that

the president — that it was something the president would either want

me to do or not disapprove of my doing.

And I think the administration knows that we are working very

hard to come up with a consensus recommendation, George.

We have a wonderful commission. Lee Hamilton, the very

distinguished former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

is the co-chairman on the Democratic side.

We’ve got a lot of good Republicans and Democrats on this

commission, and we are determined, if we can, to come up with a

consensus report.

If we come up with a report that has dissenting views, it won’t

— nobody will pay any attention to it. So we have to come up with

one that represents a broad bipartisan view of the way forward in

Iraq.

And it’s not easy because it’s a very, very difficult situation

for the very reasons that you just articulated, reading from my memoir

of — back in 1995.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There seems to be a consensus developing now

that the current course is unsustainable. And I want to show — it

was particularly striking, on Friday. The chairman of the Senate

Armed Services Committee, John Warner, came out and basically issued a

warning to the Iraqi government.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

U.S. SENATOR JOHN WARNER (R-VA): In two to three months, if this

thing hasn’t come to fruition, and if this level of violence is not

under control and this government able to function, I think it’s a

responsibility of our government, internally, to determine is there a

change of course that we should take. And I wouldn’t take off the

table any option at this time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Ambassador Khalilzad, in Iraq, has laid out the

same timeline, the next two or three months; your co-chairman, Lee

Hamilton, same timeline, two or three months. Do you agree?

BAKER: Yes, absolutely. And we’re taking a look at other

alternatives. Because I happen to think, and I think it’s fair to say

our commission believes that there are alternatives between the stated

alternatives, the ones that are out there in the political debate, of

“stay the course” and “cut and run.” There are other things…

STEPHANOPOULOS: You don’t believe that pulling out over the next

year is an option, do you?

BAKER: No. I think that if we picked up and left right now that

you would see the biggest civil war you’ve ever seen. And every

neighboring country would be involved in there, doing its own thing,

Turkey, Iran, Syria, you name it, and even our friends in the Gulf.

So I do not think that that is an option.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So a change of course is necessary. The

question is what kind of change?

BAKER: Well, I don’t know that you — you know, we’re going to

try very hard to stay away from the political terms, “change the

course” instead of “stay the course,” all that kind of stuff.

What we’re going to come up, hopefully, with some recommendations

that the Congress and the president and the country can look at.

We’re going to make it public the day we present it to the president.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want you to come back once you present.

(LAUGHTER)

BAKER: Well, we’re going to present it publicly. And hopefully,

there will be strong bipartisan support. I hope that’s the case. I

can’t guarantee that at all.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A group of us were talking to Senator Joseph

Biden the other day. As you know, he and Les Gelb, the former

chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations have come up with a plan

that basically calls for a new power-sharing agreement among the

Sunnis, Kurds and Shiites, much more autonomy, backed up by an

international consensus.

And he told us that, when he was presenting those ideas to your

commission, he saw a lot of heads nodding in agreement.

BAKER: Well, on the other hand — well, I think that’s probably

correct. There are arguments in favor of that approach, but there are

also a lot of arguments that run the other way.

And a lot of the people we’ve talked to, particularly experts on

Iraq, have suggested that, if we do that, that in itself will trigger

a huge civil war because the major cities in Iraq are mixed.

And there’s no way to draw lines between Sunnis, Shia and Kurds

in the major cities of Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Kirkuk. And

furthermore, there are no boundaries between the Sunni areas and the

Shiite areas in Iraq.

How do you draw the boundaries?

And the minute you say you’re going to do that and make three

autonomous regions, you’re likely you’re likely to kick off a big

civil war…

(CROSSTALK)

BAKER: But we haven’t rejected the idea, George. We haven’t

rejected a lot of suggestions. We simply haven’t concluded our report

yet.

STEPHANOPOULOS: From what you’ve seen, is the current Iraqi

government capable of stabilizing that country?

BAKER: It’s capable of doing it if it gets the political will,

if it can acquire the political will necessary.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not there yet?

BAKER: Well, no. And the biggest problem it has is disarming

these militias that are not loyal to the central government but to

various ministries and ministers.

And if they think we’re going to leave, if they think we’re going

to leave, then they won’t be able to do it, in my opinion. That’s

just a personal…

STEPHANOPOULOS: On the other hand, a lot of people have pointed

out that our project now, of trying to build up the Iraqi forces, is

really just reinforcing the militias.

BAKER: Not necessarily. That is true to some extent in terms of

the interior ministry forces, the police — not so with respect to the

army, in my opinion.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what is next for your commission?

You say you haven’t concluded yet.

BAKER: Well, I was talking to Senator Warner yesterday at the

commissioning of the carrier named after President Bush number 41.

Senator Warner would like for us to come back, if we could,

during the lame duck session of Congress. We can’t make that. I told

him we can’t make that time frame, but we can come back after the

election, take this thing out of politics.

And it may be that it would make more sense to come back when

Congress is in session.

You know, yourself, as a former politician in this town that,

when the representatives and senators are all in their home states and

districts, it’s very hard to get a coordinated approach to them. So

we may wait until the beginning of the new Congress. We may come in

sometime in December.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So it’s possible you will get it done in

December.

BAKER: It’s possible.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One final question. We’re just about out of

time. But there are reports this morning that the North Koreans,

through the Chinese, have said that they will forgo a nuclear test,

which they’ve been warning about, if the U.S. will talk directly to

them.

Do you think that’s a wise course for the U.S.?

BAKER: I can’t make that judgment here this morning because I

don’t know what other elements are involved in it. I will say, just

generally, as I’ve been saying, since I’ve been on this book tour,

that I believe in talking to your enemies.

BAKER: I don’t think you restrict your conversations to your

friends. At the same time, it’s got to be hard-nosed. It’s got to be

determined. You don’t give away anything, but in my view, it’s not

appeasement to talk to your enemies. There ought to be some way. I

mean, I point out the fact that I made 15 trips to Damascus back in

1991, when they were on our list of countries of state-sponsored

terrorism. And they changed 25 years…

STEPHANOPOULOS: And your commission is going to talk to both

Iran and Syria?

BAKER: We’ve done it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much.

BAKER: We’ve done it. Yeah, thanks very much.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The roundtable is next with George Will, Cokie

Roberts, Fareed Zakaria and David Corn.

And later, the Sunday Funnies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONAN O’BRIEN, HOST, “LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O’BRIEN”: The White

House claims that President Bush is getting so many requests to

campaign with other Republicans that he’s running out of time. Yeah.

Yeah, not surprisingly the requests are all coming from Democrats.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: The roundtable, Patricia Heaton, and the Sunday

Funnies, after this from our ABC stations.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(ROUNDTABLE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Our voice this week, Patricia Heaton. She won

Emmys for her star turn on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Now the mother

of four boys is lending her political clout to the fight against

autism. Teaming up with Cure Autism Now, Heaton is pushing Congress

to free up legislation that would dedicate nearly $1 billion to the

cause.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HEATON: Autism is a disability that is not that well understood,

and it’s important to get federal funding, because this is affecting

children across every socioeconomic level. It’s not dependent on race

or where someone is financially. This is hitting many, many, many

American children.

There’s a wonderful bill that was just passed unanimously in the

Senate, Combating Autism Act, and it’s gone to the House, and even

though it has a majority of support in the House, there is one

representative, Joe Barton from Texas, who, unfortunately, is standing

in the way of getting this bill passed.

We need to get politics out of the way here, because there are

people’s lives at stake, and these families are really — I’ve met —

sorry. I have met so many parents whose kids have been affected by

this, and it’s heartbreaking. And yet I see these parents, and they

are so strong, and they are — they are fighting for their kids,

really fighting for their kids, and that’s why I’m here to really beg

Joe Barton to pass this bill, because it has the support of everyone

else, and I think he needs to do the right thing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Barton’s office says he also wants

more money for autism research and prevention, but adds, “We want

scientists picking their own priorities instead of having politicians

and activists dictate them.”

The activists will be walking on Washington next week to make

their case.

And now, the “Sunday Funnies.”

(THE SUNDAY FUNNIES)

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s our show for today. Thanks for sharing

part of your Sunday with us. We’ll see you next week.

END

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