This president is best when he takes questions head-on. Which he wasn't doing. First, when asked about Miers being another Souter, he said, "I know her well enough to say she's not going to change." This is Washington, Mr. President. Respectfully, you don't know anyone that well. And when asked -- pointedly and repeatedly -- if he'd talked with her about Roe v. Wade, he would only say that he had no litmus test. When pressed further, he said - in a comment that's going to haunt both him and Miers - that he didn't recall ever sitting down with her, implying he'd never talked with her about Roe. It's inconceivable that he has never talked with her about abortion, her religious views, and how they combine to form her judgment on the subject of abortion. This will be used, effectively, against her in the hearings. Miers is still a very high-risk nominee, for exactly the reasons I wrote yesterday. When the president said "she knows exactly the kind of judge I'm looking for," he set her up for a devastating cross-exam by the Dems.
The Spectacle Blog
Terry Moran's instant analysis: he can't recall a president "personally vouching" for a Supreme Court nominee as he did in his press conference. At least he didn't say "special pleading." In all, ABC's crew was stunned: it was a long press conference. They'll have the rest of the day to sort it out, just in time for Biased News Tonight.
The NYPost's Deborah Orin is recognized. A strong conservative question of the sort you never used to hear at presidential press conferences. Bush here hits his stride -- Miers as a way to go around the "special interests" that try to control judicial nominations.
Finally, part two, a Plamegate question. All bases now covered: Miers, Katrina, spending, Iraq, DeLay. After all this, does Bush have any political capital left, the LA Times' Ed Chen asks. Probably more capital than in the coffers of Chen's paper. But for another answer, check Bush's address: 1600 PA Ave. NW is the home of political capital.
Finally, a new openness. Was Souter a mistake?
Great anti-Democratic Party slur: The president has just referred to it as the "Democrat Party." Nothing irks Democrats more than that dismissive formulation.
What a tired question. Elisabeth Bumiller must have drawn straws for this Bush presser question, a variation of, "Where have you made mistakes?" How lazy. Pick a specific failure and ask him to comment.
The NYTimes' Elisabeth Bumiller remains mired in New Orleans muck. Is there anything the president would have personally now done differently? Some people used to always have Paris. We'll always have New Orleans.
"Am I still a conservative? Proudly so."