Sen. Tom Coburn is mulling an entry into the Republican presidential primary, according to sources inside and outside the Senate. Coburn, a senator from Oklahoma, is believed to be receiving encouragement from a small group of wealthy businessmen and philanthropists in the Oklahoma-Kansas-Texas region of the country.
"He's all about faith, lower taxes, and staying the course in Iraq," says an adviser outside of the Senate who has been speaking to Coburn.
Coburn had been mulling a run earlier this year, but with what appeared to be a crowded field, including two sitting Senators (John McCain and Sam Brownback), along with another seriously looking (Chuck Hagel), Coburn appeared to pull back.
"He's not bound to any timetable or any fundraising imperative," says a longtime adviser to Coburn, who has spoken with him. "What's important for him is that there is no other true, Reagan conservative in the race, and he thinks he can fill that void."
Coburn is believed to have the backing of several low-profile members of the so called "Swift Boaters," men who financed the ads that doomed the presidential aspirations of Sen. John Kerry.
CROSSED THE LINE
For all of the posturing by Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee during the testimony of former Department of Justice political appointee Monica Goodling, they and their Democrat colleagues in the Clinton administration went to far greater lengths to identify and track the political activities of career and politically appointed lawyers in the Department of Justice and elsewhere.
"We knew the political affiliation of every lawyer and political appointee we hired at the Department of Justice from January 1993 to the end of the Administration," says a former Clinton Department of Justice political appointee. "We kept charts and used them when it came time for new U.S. Attorney nominations, detailee assignments, and other hiring decisions. If you didn't vote Democrat, you weren't going anywhere with us. It was that simple."
In fact, according to this source, at least 25 career DOJ lawyers who were identified as Republicans were shifted away from jobs in offices they held prior to January 1993 and were given new "assignments" which were deemed "noncritical" or "nonpolitically influential." When these jobs shifts came to light in 1993, neither the House nor Senate Judiciary committees chose to pursue an investigation.
"The difference between then and now, is that they [Department of Justice] didn't coordinate so openly with the White House," says a former Clinton White House staffer. "Remember, we had our own separate database that we could cross check if we had names. Everybody today forgets about the databases we created inside the White House. It's funny no one talks about that anymore. We were doing stuff far more aggressively than this White House or the Department of Justice did."