Skip to comments.Frist blows Graham's and DeWine's cover on judicial nominations deal
Posted on 06/20/2005 8:27:07 PM PDT by nypokerface
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and his aides have denied Rep. Lindsey Grahams (R-S.C.) assertion to home-state conservative leaders that he and Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) acted as emissaries for Frist in negotiations among 14 Republican and Democratic centrists that resulted in a compromise last month on judicial filibusters.
Dr. Oran Smith, president of the Palmetto Family Council based in Columbia, S.C., said, Graham has been meeting with groups of conservative opinion leaders to explain his actions and to comfort conservative leaders by assuring them he was sent by the Republican leadership to broker a deal.
As a result of Grahams assurances, conservatives anger over Grahams role in the controversial deal has slackened, Smith said.
Theres a mixture of residual anger and lets wait and see because he said he was sent as an envoy and dispatched by the leadership, he and DeWine, Smith added.
Joe Mack, the director of public policy for the South Carolina Baptist Convention, who met with Graham and discussed his role in the brokering the deal, confirmed that Graham told him words to that effect that he was assisting the leadership.
But when asked whether he had dispatched Graham and DeWine as emissaries, Frist replied firmly No. No.
Amid a conservative backlash to the deal, particularly against DeWine in Ohio and Graham in South Carolina, Frist aides have told conservative leaders that they did not encourage the two lawmakers to forge a deal to avoid a floor vote on shielding judicial nominees from filibuster.
Jeff Mazzella, executive director of the Center for Individual Freedom, said, Frists staff and other have assured us that they were not behind that deal and we are satisfied that they are committed to moving forward with up-or-down votes on all of the presidents nominees.
Sean Rushton, executive director of the Committee for Justice, said, Ive heard it from one of Frists liaison people that its not true.
Graham did not answer yes or no when asked by The Hill if he was an emissary for Frist during the negotiations. Instead, he described a nuanced role.
Both leadership teams were very well aware of what was going on, he said, referring to the Republican and Democratic leaders.
He added that everyone knew what was going on and that some lawmakers liked it and some didnt.
Both Graham and DeWine have been the targets of intense conservative anger since they appeared alongside five other Republican senators and seven Democrats last month to announce a deal they struck on judicial nominees who Democrats had blocked.
The deal was announced the evening before Frist had planned to trigger the so-called nuclear option to strip senators of the power to filibuster judicial nominees. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the majority whip, had announced a few weeks before that Frist had enough Republican votes to execute the tactic.
I talked to McConnell and Frist during the negotiations, Graham said. I think Senator Frists primary goal was to change the rules and, barring that, felt it was better to live and fight another day.
Conservative leaders in South Carolina responded angrily. Mack, with the Southern Baptist Convention, said a number of our have been concerned about that role and were looking for a vote to break a filibuster.
Thomas Ravenel, a wealthy developer who self-financed much of his race against Sen. Jim DeMint (R) in a GOP Senate primary last year, announced shortly afterward that he would consider challenging Graham in 2008.
In Ohio, conservatives responded with similar ire, saying that DeWines role in the filibuster negotiations was the latest in a series of actions and positions he has taken at odds with them.
Conservatives said they would retaliate by working against Pat DeWine, the senators son, who ran earlier this month for the seat vacated by retiring Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). Despite having the highest name recognition in the race and having outraised his opponents significantly, the young DeWine finished a distant fourth in the race.
His showing was extremely poor, said Dr. John Wilke, head of the Life Issues Institute, an anti-abortion group based in Cincinnati. A showing that bad after that good a start has reasons. Some people are saying that Mikes business of being in the Gang of 14 hurt Pat.
The ongoing battle between Republicans and Democrats over the makeup of the federal judiciary has been one of the highest concerns of social conservatives.
After the judges deal was struck, Ohio conservatives led by Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, another Cincinnati-based group, stepped up its efforts to find a candidate to challenge DeWine in the 2006 Republican primary.
As conservatives in Ohio and South Carolina responded angrily to news of the Senate centrists deal on judges, Major Garrett, a Fox News correspondent, citing senior Republican sources, reported that Frist and the Bush White House were worried enough about possibly losing the vote to end the judicial filibusters that they dispatched two conservatives, South Carolinas Lindsey Graham and Ohios Mike DeWine, to cut the best possible deal.
Burress said he suspects that DeWine is the source of that report.
He will do anything he can to cover his tracks, Burress said. I call upon him to prove that, or he will be exposed as a flat out liar. I use that word very carefully. My sources tell me. I have people close to whats going on up there that thats not what happened.
When asked about the Fox report, DeWine said, If you look at the transcript, I never said that. What I said was that we had people inside the meeting were talking to leaders both sides were talking to leaders. But I never said that I was an emissary at all.
Lindsey and I got involved at the same time, he added. We looked at a early proposal and had the same reaction, that we couldnt have an agreement where we would agree that under any circumstances we would not use the constitutional option, the Republicans term for the nuclear option.
Nice admission of slant right here. For some reason, they don't feel the need to explain, or place in quotation marks, the term "nuclear option."
Major Garrett has taken anonymous sources before and it always makes the WH look bad and in this case Senate leadership as well. My opinion of Garrett isn't very high. DeWine and Graham are both scum for even inferring the Senate leadership was behind this when they were opposed. Two sniveling little wimps if you ask me and I hope both get the boot in the Republican primaries when they are up for reelection.
LOL. Graham, at least, is in real trouble.
And now Graham has LIED to his own constituents on top of screwing them in the first place?
Oh, this is going to go over well.
It is so much easier to sleep at night when you are a straight shooter. Pity, that it all too often apparently makes you the loser in the inside the Beltway game - at least in the short term. In the long time, it pays dividends generally.
Paybacks are a B....h!
"Liar-Liar, pants on...whoa!"
YOU MISERABLE CRETIN! I thought you didn't give a damn what your constituents thought, now you are peddling damn lies that it is FRIST's Fault you sold out? DEFEAT THESE MISERABLE RINO"S!
I'll tell you this, whomever runs against Graham or DeWine in the primaries, will get a donation from me.
It is HIGH TIME Republicans stood their ground and kick
the dems back to the corral.
"Graham has been meeting with groups of conservative opinion leaders to explain his actions and to comfort conservative leaders by assuring them he was sent by the Republican leadership to broker a deal."
Don't lie it won't help now. I hear the primary is going to be tough for Mr. Graham.
Check out Dewine and Graham's latest actions.
We just need someone to take out deWine.
Several weeks ago another Freeper posted a description of Graham that absolutely nails him: "He's a double-talking jackass who thinks he's the smartest person in the room."
Thanks for posting. Interesting.
Knew what was going on and being sent are TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT THINGS
There was something in our local paper that made it clear that Frist had not cleared the way for Graham to act as his emissary.
I called Graham's office and read them the clip and asked for clarification since Graham had made it sound like he had Frist's approval. I've never received a letter from Graham explaining his, ahem, dissembling.
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