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

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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 Newsweek’s 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 O’Hearn 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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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 8, 2006 11:49 AM.

Sweet Column: More Foley fallout: Hastert scratches NYC fundraiser. Will stand with Bush in Chicago on Thursday. was the previous entry in this blog.

Ray LaHood: Hastert's staffers did the speaker ``disservice.'' is the next entry in this blog.

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