Clinton on Judicial Nominees

President Clinton rebuked Couric for repeating Republican claim of Democratic “obstructionism” of judicial nominees

COURIC: Right now it seems the most effective thing that Democrats are doing on Capitol Hill is blocking various nominations, at least from their perspective. Like, you know, John Bolton, or — U.S. ambassador to the U.N. — or head of the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], or the head of the FDA [Food and Drug Administration]. How can the Democratic Party retool itself so they’re not simply seen as obstructionist in terms of the president’s agenda?

CLINTON: Well, first of all, I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think Mr. [John] Negroponte [nominee for national intelligence director] will be blocked. I’m not sure Mr. Bolton will be blocked. There are policy reasons on the environment and food safety for debates on the others. And on judges, that’s just a hoax. I mean, the Democrats blocked 10 out of over 200 judges. The Republicans wouldn’t even give a vote to 40 of my Court of Appeals judges — four times as many, just on the Court of Appeals, never mind all the others that they wouldn’t have voted. So, this image that, I’m sad to say, you know, you just perpetrated it, it’s ridiculous. The Democratic Senate has been nowhere near as obstructionist to President Bush on judges as the Republican Senate was to me. Not even close.

So then the question becomes more of a rewording of Couric’s question:

How can the Democratic Party retool it’s publicity so they’re not simply seen as obstructionist in terms of the president’s agenda?

It’s all about spin and the Democrats have been losing in that area for years.

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