Here is something I meant to post yesterday, but didn’t have time after I finally got the info I needed.
Friday morning, I was reading up on Mukasey’s confirmation the night before, when I noticed that not one of the senators running for president had recorded a vote. Since I still needed a topic for my Sunday column, I thought this might be it. I decided to put each of their campaigns on the spot, and write on the basis of the responses I got.
So I e-mailed contacts at each of the five campaigns. Under the heading, "Where was Sen. (blank)?" I wrote:
Why was Sen. (blank) (along with all the other presidential contenders)
recorded as "not-voting" on the Mukasey nomination last night? What was
more important? And what was the senator’s position on the question of
whether he should have been nominated?
Unfortunately, the replies were slow coming in. The first was from B.J. Boling with John McCain at 11:51 a.m.:
Hi Mr. Warthen-
Senator McCain’s policy is to be present when his vote would affect the
outcome. When Sen. Feinstein and Schumer decided to confirm Mukasey it
became clear McCain’s vote wouldn’t change the outcome. He has clearly
supported Mukasey’s nomination. (Please see Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham’s letter below.) Senator McCain was receiving the endorsement of
Sen. Brownback in IA.
I think BJ was confused; the Brownback endorsement was the day before. Anyway, I didn’t hear from the next campaign — Joe Biden’s — until 2:47 p.m.:
Tried to reach you by phone to discuss but got your voice mail so thought I would respond my e-mail.
Don’t know exactly where Senator Biden was late yesterday when the
Mukasey nomination came up on the Senate floor. However, Senator
Biden had expressed his strong opposition to Judge Mukasey’s
confirmation (link to his statement…) and voted against
reporting the nomination out of the Judiciary Committee. Further,
Senator Biden has previously indicated that he would not miss a vote in
which his vote would determine the outcome. Obviously, the Mukasey
vote was not close giving the fact that six Democrats had announced
their support for Judge Mukasey well in advance of the actual vote
taking place. Call me if you have any further questions.
It should be noted that because I was swamped — it being Friday, and my having to switch gears and pursue a completely different column idea — I wasn’t answering my phone, which presented an obstacle to the campaigns. Amaya Smith kept trying to call me, mentioned that she was doing so in an e-mail. I explained that I’d rather have e-mail because I didn’t have time to talk, so she wrote:
That was at 3:06. At 3:50, I heard from Michelle Macrina with Chris Dodd. She wrote,
At a time when the confirmation seemed assured, Senator Dodd was the first Democrat to voice his opposition to Judge Mukasey’s nomination based on his position on the Rule of Law. He registered his opposition repeatedly and urged his colleagues to do the same.
Zac Wright with the Hillary Clinton campaign was apparently having a bad day, and missed my first e-mail. After I e-mail him again, he responded at 6:14 p.m. with:
She’s made every effort to make her votes, as evidenced by having the best attendance record of the candidates running. But she’s running for President and was campaigning in NH. Had this been a close vote, she would have been there.
She’s already spoken out about her views.
This is her statement from the Senate yesterday.
So those are their stories, and I suppose they’re sticking to them. If I’d had time to chat, I would have pursued the matter further with each, but I was multitasking, and this was a lower priority than cranking out pages. I’m just getting to this now.
What do y’all think?