Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Specter Attacks Choice for Attorney General

A leading Republican senator issued a broad attack on Tuesday on President-elect Barack Obama’s pick as attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., questioning his political independence.

The senator, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who is the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Mr. Holder’s support of the White House’s stance on three contentious issues when he was deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration suggested that he was too willing to do the president’s bidding.

After Alberto Gonzalez, who can seem too tame?

The sharp criticism from Mr. Specter signaled that Republicans have identified Mr. Holder as perhaps the most vulnerable of Mr. Obama’s cabinet choices. Democrats say they expect the Democratically controlled Senate to confirm Mr. Holder easily but say he faces a tougher fight than they had expected.

Sam old politics.

Republicans seem eager to use Mr. Holder to assert their ability to make life uncomfortable for the new administration.

Obstruction as policy.

Political advisers said Republicans hoped to come near or to top the 42 votes opposing the 2001 nomination of John Ashcroft as attorney general, but Democrats predicted that the opposition to Mr. Holder would fall far short of that number. Some Republicans, including Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, have voiced support for Mr. Holder.

Payback time?

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