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From last night’s Special Report with Brit Hume:

On the Kerry Gaffe

MORT KONDRACKE: I think that he was criticizing the troops, but I don’t think that he meant to do it, you know. . . . [Y]ou have to be a mind reader in this case. Look . . . the one thing that the Democrats have learned is that you don’t criticize the troops . . . the way that they did in the Vietnam War.

HUME: Doesn’t he have some history here? . . . [D]idn’t he as recently as a week ago criticize the generals and the troops for a mission in Baghdad, and hasn’t he said, just to get it on the record here . . . two years ago he said that they’re terrorizing children.

BARONE: . . . [T]he obvious meaning of his words was something that was derogatory about the character and quality of the troops and inaccurately derogatory. So, of course, he should have apologized for that and if he could make a plausible claim that he misspoke, he should have done that.

In 2006 I think that the effect of this is that it’s going to gin up the enthusiasm of the Republican base because they’re seeing a figure there that they deeply dislike, they’re seeing him make what are on their face inaccurate charges that are slanderous of the military and he’s slandered them in the past as you noted, in ‘05, he said that the American soldiers were terrorizing kids and children and breaking historical customs and religions . . . I think this might have effect on increasing enthusiasm of the Republican base, slightly demoralizing the Democratic base.

On the House Elections

BARONE: [I]f the election were held today, the Democrats would probably win a narrow House majority. . . . I think there is another 19 or 20 seat that are held by the Republicans that are in danger . . . that could plausibly go to the Democrats based on what we know today. I think there are very few Democratic seats that are in that position. Republicans are looking at targeting five, probably the best one they have is Georgia 12, where I believe President Bush was yesterday.

FRED BARNES: Republican and Democratic pollsters and strategists and so on they all pretty much agree it’s around 15, 16, 18, 20, somewhere in there, they’re in the bag for Democrats.

HUME: Except the fact that you’ve got two pretty respected, pretty neutral guys Stuart Rothenberg and Charlie Cook . . . their view is if it were today, we’re talking dozens.

BARONE: Charlie Cook is relying, in part, on the new polling from R.T. Strategies, which I think is associated with him and their polling has shown Republicans in danger of losing more — behind in more seats than most of the other polling for non-partisan polling. So, if you go with that kind of polling, you would see a wave as Charlie does.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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