On Tuesday morning’s Early Show in the 7:00 half hour, Harry Smith interviewed Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. In a humorous moment, during the interview Harry Smith forgot Senator Frist’s name while in the process of asking a question:
"But the violence doesn't seem to be abating Mr. uh , uh , it's, we have 30,000 Iraqis dead, acknowledged by the President yesterday, more than 1,000 United States men and women have died in this conflict thus far, is there a body count at which point the cost of the war is no longer acceptable?"
Smith took a hostile tone with Frist, questioning him with Democratic talking points. While Frist was answering the question, and talking about the dangers of cutting and running in Iraq, Smith interrupted him and asserted that there were no terrorists in Iraq until the United States got there, and that in fact it is the United States who has now created a "terrorist haven" in Iraq.
There are two points to make here: first we know there were terrorists operating in Iraq before the war; there were training camps in Northern Iraq. Second, the point Frist was making, that Smith wasn’t grasping, is the situation on the ground now, and that if we cut and run now, we will leave Iraq to a group of terrorists whose objective is to destroy America.
In a separate exchange, Smith questioned Frist on Judge Alito and whether or not he would "change the rules of the Senate to make it impossible for Democrats to filibuster." Which ignored the fact that the only ones who have even mentioned the possibility of a filibuster are Senators who are on the far left of the Democratic party. Why would Senator Frist have to "change the rules" when there has been no serious threat of a filibuster being carried out?
A transcript of Harry Smith’s questions and some of Senator Frist’s responses follows.
The Early Show
December 13, 2005
Harry Smith: "Lots to talk about with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, he joins us this morning from Washington, good morning sir."
Harry Smith: "Lots to talk about indeed, 1,000 days, this war in Iraq is 1,000 days old today, do you have any idea that 1,000 days from now US forces will have a significant presence still in Iraq?"
Harry Smith: "But the violence doesn't seem to be abating Mr. uh , uh , it's, we have 30,000 Iraqis dead, acknowledged by the President yesterday, more than 1,000 United States men and women have died in this conflict thus far, is there a body count at which point the cost of the war is no longer acceptable?"
Bill Frist: "Well you know, the goal has been laid out by the President. First of all, the body counts, the deaths are painful on both sides. but the President has laid out the goal of an Iraq that is free and prosperous and representative and governed under the rule of law that is a good neighbor in a region that is full of instability, that is full of radicalism that we know has a goal to take down the United States of America, a clearly avowed goal. Thus, we have no choice but to fight, to fight aggressively, to fight with a large coalition, and to be victorious. And yes it's painful, and yes it's hard, but we're making huge progress by just about every parameter, every parameter that's being measured. The timeline we don't know, but we will be successful. We really have no choice. People really haven't looked at the other side. What if we did cut and run as many of the Democrats have suggested, or accept defeat then retreat. It is chaos, it becomes a haven for terrorists, and their avowed goal looking back at the Zarqawi reference, the Zarqawi letter..."
Harry Smith: "Well, <sighs> Mr. Frist. Mr. Frist. Mr. Frist. Mr. Frist."
Bill Frist: "is to take down the United States of America."
Harry Smith: "Mr. Frist, there were no terrorists in Iraq to begin with, it is now a haven for terrorists. We've created a haven for terrorists."
Harry Smith: "Let's talk, Let's talk about the Defense bill a second, Senator McCain has had this measure overwhelmingly approved in the Senate, 90-9 including yourself, in terms of endorsing rules that would prohibit cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of prisoners. The White House hasn't liked it much, are you going to get a deal on this?"
Harry Smith: "All right, very quickly, judge Samuel Alito, his confirmation process is going to start soon, are you going to change Senate rules which would make it impossible for Democrats to filibuster?"
Bill Frist: "You know the Democrats aren't going to filibuster. Right now, we're going to start hearings on January the 9th, we're going to have him confirmed by November the 20th. My goal is to have a fair, dignified up or down vote on the floor of the United States Senate for this outstanding nominee who has been involved in over, in almost 3,000 cases, written 250 opinions himself, modest judicial temperament, he deserves an up or down vote. So, all of the talk about filibuster is partisan driven so let's put it aside, and lets come together as America and vote up or down on this outstanding nominee."