The fireworks on Capitol Hill won’t be at the initial confirmation hearing of attorney general nominee Judge Alberto Gonzales. Instead they will be on the Senate floor, where Sen. Barbara Boxer will sign a letter of complaint claiming that the 2004 presidential electoral vote, which was recently certified by the Electoral College, should not be given final certification by the House and Senate.
In the House, members of the Congressional Black Caucus intend to sign on to a similar letter. At least one member of each congressional house must sign a letter of complaint to block final certification. In this case, both Boxer and the CBC will claim that the votes of Ohio should be reexamined.
According to Bush campaign sources, the White House and senior campaign staff are concerned about the delays and debate that may ensue from the Democrats’ actions, which if nothing else are intended to embarrass President Bush. Republicans, however, believe they can quickly quash Boxer’s move with a procedural vote.
Sen. John Kerry, who is currently traveling in the Middle East, claimed before he left that he and his operatives had nothing to do with Boxer’s and the CBC’s decisions to pursue further delays. But according to a Senate source, Kerry did in fact send an e-mail within the past 36 hours to supporters encouraging them to call congressional offices and voice their support for Boxer’s and the CBC’s actions.
At press time, it appeared that Republicans in the Senate had enough votes to block Boxer’s move against electoral certification.
WHY DON’T YOU STAY?
With light enthusiasm for the current candidates vying to take over the Democratic National Committee, some senior DNC members as well as Democratic leaders in Congress have approached outgoing DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe about extending his stay 8 to 12 months. Their decision appears to be the result of mediocre response to the dog and pony show prospective DNC leaders put on in Florida last month.
The decision to pursue McAuliffe may change if some support seems to solidify behind either former Indiana congressman Tim Roemer or former Vermont governor Howie Dean.
McAuliffe has not indicated a desire to stay on. On the other hand, Democratic Senate and House leaders have not attempted to tamp down talk of an extended McAuliffe stay.