January 13th, 2009
04:45 PM ET
13 years ago

Leahy continues campaign for Holder, with GOP help

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/13/art.holderleahy0113.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Leahy, right, is rounding up support for Attorney General-designee Eric Holder, left."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate chairman who will preside over the potentially bumpy confirmation hearings of Attorney General-designate Eric Holder continued his public campaign on Holder's behalf Tuesday by producing two prominent Republicans who back his confirmation.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, was joined by former GOP Sen. John Danforth, and former DEA Administrator and Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson. All praised Holder's ability to exhibit the necessary independence from the Obama White House.

At the heart of that issue is Holder's decision to acquiesce to the White House when President Bill Clinton granted a controversial pardon to fugitive Marc Rich in the final hours of Clinton's presidency.

Despite repeated predictions of Holder's confirmation, Leahy appeared frustrated by the pointed challenge to the nomination by the Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking Republican, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

"I totally disagree with him," Leahy told reporters.

He took a swipe at Specter, saying, "Maybe it's just a coincidence" that Republicans began to attack Holder's nomination immediately after former White House political operative Karl Rove urged scrutiny of it. Leahy referred to
Specter as "the leading supporter of Alberto Gonzales," who was narrowly confirmed as attorney general in 2005.

"To those who seek to question his character I would point out that it was Mr. Holder who urged the expansion of the Ken Starr investigation. It was Mr. Holder who prosecuted Democratic Congressman Dan Rostenkowski. It was Mr. Holder who recommended that a special prosecutor investigate President Clinton's interior secretary, Bruce Babbitt," Leahy said.

The hearings into the Holder nomination are scheduled to begin Thursday morning in the historic Senate Caucus Room where the Watergate hearings and other high-profile hearings have unfolded.

Filed under: Eric Holder • Obama transition
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Baze

    Arlen Specter is a big drama queen that's trying to make a name for himself. Holder's acquiesence in the Rich case was marginal, and how many people are going to challenge the outgoing President's final requests?

    January 13, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Mari

    Here we go..... Washington egos doing their best to derail or cause drams where there is none! What else is new?

    January 13, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  3. Reg

    Will Holder hunt down the Anthrax that Sen. Leahy and others
    were exposed to during the "safe" bush adminstration!

    Will Holder hunt down the lies about medical marijuana and
    lobby to Tom Vilsak & Stephen Chu for Hemp to dicate our

    Will Holder hunt down the dogs that they are: dubya, chenny, rumy
    really all that were involved in War crimes against the World!

    January 13, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  4. D.

    Secretary of the Treasury who does not pay taxes, will he be convicted... no... there is an Attorney General who pardons criminals, and he will have plenty of money for defense from a commerce secretary's connections to companies..... Nice start!

    January 13, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  5. MD

    Holder couldn't stand up to his former boss Bill Clinton as Marc Rich was pardoned even though Rich was one of the most wanted men by the FBI.

    Unbelievable the sophmoric antics of the incoming administration.

    January 13, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  6. Matt

    @ MD

    You're right, Holder couldn't stand up to Clinton regarding the Rich pardon. The presidential power to pardon is absolute dummy.

    January 13, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. Donna, NY

    Nothing that Clinton did is more egregious than G.W. Bush. So talk all you want, but this guy will be confirmed because he never allowed torture–that is GW's legacy.


    GOOD RIDDANCE LOSER, YOU DESERVE WHAT YOU GET. Now you're scrambling around trying to change history before you leave. It won't work, the wonderful thing about history is–it's in the past—you moron.

    January 13, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  8. daniel cabrera

    As everyone can see this pathetic Obama cabinet is loaded with MORE OF THE SAME SELF-INTEREST INDIVIDUALS that is the gross fo the past Clinton administration,...so ther is nothing new or nothing about a so called 'CHANGE'

    This cabinet of Obama is cuasi-clone Clinton fabric, and, of course ,will not do absolutely nothing good at all for the people.

    Individuals with questionable integrity ( as Holder) and others, are there.

    Now ,Al Franken,....and possible Burris also will be in the ranks of do-nothing-for -the-people to support the deeds,....AAAHHH!!! not to mention a weak,but very very weak national security aproach where our nation is going to be served in silver plate to these terrorist out there.

    The important thing is that may be , just may be, (???) we will learn from this high magnitud mistake in accepting Obama for presidency.However the future is quite unclear,....after the total socialization,...this marxist movement taking place at fast way, who in the world can say we will have our country back?

    Think of this and pray, if you do believe there is a power can help our nation.

    Daniel Cabrera
    Merrillville, Indiana

    January 13, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  9. jaye

    I think Holder will be an incredible attorney general, and I applaude anyone that stands up for him.

    January 13, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  10. Dee Hughes

    The only thing Obama uses to qualify Holder for this position is that they were connected in Illinois. Note, however, that Illinois now has the highest crime rate in the country. Obama/Holder team didn't do any good there, now did they?

    January 13, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  11. joseph

    Holder's qualifications are that he was the U.S. Attorney in DC, a former judge, the Deputy Attorney General in the Department of Justice (second to only the Attorney General) and he has been a successful partner in a lawyer firm in Washington DC. Dee, he has spent most of his professional life in Washington DC. So shat Illinois connection are you alluding to Dee?

    January 13, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  12. The Accuracy Squad

    Dee Hughes ...

    What the heck are you talking about? If you don't know what you are talking about, please don't waste electrons posting anything.

    Eric Holder has NOTHING , ZERO to do with Illinois.

    Eric Holder is the most qualified of all Obama Cabinet nominees. On day zero at midnight, he can walk into the Justice Department and find all the lights in the dark. He practically ran the Justice Department under Janet Reno.

    January 13, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  13. Civic

    The Hoder folks keep reminding us of the great work he did to put Rostenkowski away. He did, after a 3 year investigation and millions of dollars, Rosty was sent away for 2 counts of mail fraud, one involved him sending an ashtray to someone. I think this happend about 15 years ago. Is this the best legal work that Mr. Holder has done...yikes.

    January 13, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |