Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Testy at the Gaggle
Harriet the Judge

Nobody's really happy about Harriet Miers' nomination to SCOTUS, and Press Secretary Scottie McC once again has to try to clean up a flaming bag of poop lobbed onto the White House front steps by those nasty reporters; here's some of the exchange at the press gaggle from today via Editor and Publisher:

Q Why is Karl Rove calling up religious leaders telling them it's okay, she belongs to an ultra evangelical church?

MR. McCLELLAN: We're calling up a lot of people --

Q Why that?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- to reach out to them and talk to them about the President's selection of Harriet Miers. And what he is emphasizing in those conversations, Terry, is that she is someone who is strongly committed to a conservative judicial philosophy.

Q What is somebody's --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, why wouldn't --

Q Wait, wait, wait. What relevance does how a person prays have to the judicial philosophy?

MR. McCLELLAN: Didn't say that it did.

Q So why are you peddling it?

MR. McCLELLAN: It's part of her background, Terry; it's part of who she is.

Q But you just said it was not relevant to judicial philosophy.

MR. McCLELLAN: People want to know who she is. And when you're getting to know someone, you want to know what their qualifications and experience are, you want to know what their judicial philosophy is, and you want to know who they are. Faith is very important to Harriet Miers. But she recognizes that faith and that her religion and that her personal views don't have a role to play when it comes to making decisions.

Q It seems that what you're doing is trying to calm a revolt on the right concerned that Harriet Miers isn't conservative enough, by saying, it's okay, she is conservative enough, because she goes to this church.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, it seems like the media wants to focus on things other than her qualifications. Maybe your news organization would rather focus on things other than her qualifications and record. The President believes we should focus on her qualifications and her record and her judicial philosophy. And that's what we emphasize.

Q Why is his top aide going around and telling people how she prays?

MR. McCLELLAN: He's simply talking about who she is and what her background is. And you're being very selective in your comments there, because what he emphasized and what Dr. Dobson said he emphasized, was her conservative judicial philosophy. That's what it should be based on.

Speaking of Dobson, he came out on his radio show with what he says is an explanation of the secretive conversation he had with Karl Rove--that he couldn't speak of her affiliation with this particular conservative evangelical church and that she that she challenged the American Bar Association’s (ABA) stance on abortion. Turns out this is just a wee bit of a lie. See, he had already discussed that with Brit Hume on Fox News (which I believe is seen by several million people at any given moment--God help their souls). You can read the full breakdown over at Liberal Oasis, but here are the key bits:

Well, it’s what we all know now, that Harriet Miers is an Evangelical Christian, that she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life, that she had taken on the American Bar Association on the issue of abortion and fought for a policy that would not be supportive of abortion, that she had been a member of the Texas Right to Life.
I could not talk about that on Monday. I couldn’t talk about it on Tuesday.

In fact, Brit Hume said, “What church does she go to?” And I said, “I don’t think it’s up to me to reveal that.” ...

... But by Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, all this information began to come out and it was no longer sensitive.

So Dobson says he could not reveal “on Monday” -- October 3, the day of the nomination -- that she was a conservative evangelical Christian and that she challenged the ABA’s stance on abortion.

Interesting, because this is what he said on Monday, October 3 during Fox News’ “Special Report with Brit Hume”:
HUME: Is there anything beyond the fact that you trust the president and you trust the judgment of these people, who you have mentioned that know her?

Anything specific that you can cite in her record that gives you confidence in her?

DOBSON: I think that you have covered some of it. She is a woman of incredible accomplishment.

In her long career, she has been willing to stand up against the American Bar Association with regard to the policy on abortion. That took a lot of courage.

She has — she is a conservative Christian. She is very sincere –


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