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From last night’s Special Report with Brit Hume:

On the House Democratic Leadership Race

KRAUTHAMMER: [Backing John Murtha] was a losing proposition. . . . You don’t want to lose on day one. And when you lose 2-1, what she has done with Hoyer is . . . created a number two who is . . . a rival. She is going to have to look over her shoulder. If she stumbles in this term, he is going to end up inheriting her spot in the next Congress.

FRED BARNES: On the Murtha thing, this was a win for Nancy Pelosi. . . . Just think if Murtha had won, and was actually the majority leader. Then, she would be in trouble. You know, Brit, as I said a couple nights ago, I thought the media was going to give Murtha a pass. Boy, was I wrong on that. The media has not done that at all, has brought up all the old, and some new, ethical charges against him, even more than the ones Charles mentioned. And, if Murtha were there as majority leader, this would be a continuing story day after day after day. And the whole leadership of the Democrats in the House would be bleeding.

On John McCain’s Run for President

BARNES: Well, I would say his chances among the Republicans are better than anybody else’s. But he has got some real problems. . . . [H]e’s against the marriage protection amendment. He voted against it. But he did some things that I don’t know how he’s going to overcome with conservatives. You know, he voted against all the Bush tax cuts. He voted for, was the architect of campaign finance reform, which, you know, drives a lot of conservatives crazy. He is for gun control and all those things. . . .

KONDRACKE: [Moderates] are the people to whom John McCain will appeal, or can appeal, and I don’t think he is going to go so far off, you know, the independent reservation that he can’t appeal to them. And his strength will be that he, among . . . all Republicans, could probably beat Hillary Clinton.

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, he knows his problem is on the right. He has indictments. He is a hero of the media. He has been working assiduously for — over these six years to repair his relations on the right. Now, we heard him in the sound bite. He spoke about reducing the size of government. And, yes, the conservatives like the fact that he has opposed all this spending. But he has also — but he hasn’t opposed the increase in the reach of government. And that’s where conservatives are upset . . .

And he is the strongest candidate for the general election.

HUME: So, you think he can do it, right?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think he can. I think he will.

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