The ice seems to be cracking beneath Attorney General Eric Holder's feet.
When asked by NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory Sunday if Holder is going to "stay in the job" given the leaks investigation scandal, former NBC Night News host Tom Brokaw replied, "Boy, I think it’s tough to see how he does" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
How worried should President Obama be when he loses the likes of Al Hunt?
On today's Morning Joe, discussing the James Rosen outrage, Hunt called President Obama "no better than Richard Nixon" when it comes to the press. He then strongly suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder should go. View the video after the jump.
Reportedly few Republicans see reason to ultimately vote against confirming Obama's attorney general designee and the GOP Senate minority has only put a one-week delay on his confirmation hearings, but the Washington Post was insistent in its January 22 headline that that Republican senators were set on "Obstruct[ing] Eric Holder's "Path to [the] Justice Dept."
This is markedly different from the Post's take in 2001 when Democratic senators objected to whom the Post called the "highly contentious" John Ashcroft. The January 16, 2001 edition of the Post described the Ashcroft hearings as the "first test of Bush's strength on [Capitol] Hill." (excerpt via Nexis, emphasis mine):
Supporters and opponents of John D. Ashcroft mobilized constituencies and honed strategies yesterday in last-minute preparations for the opening today of confirmation hearings over his highly contentious nomination as attorney general.
Time magazine hasn’t devoted a single article to Attorney General nominee Eric Holder yet. (He’s drawn one short mention since being nominated.) This is a big change from eight years ago, when Time had a blazing cover story on George Bush nominee John Ashcroft. With a close-up of Ashcroft’s half-darkened face peering out with a one-eyed Cheneyesque glare, Time asked SHOULD THIS MAN BE ATTORNEY GENERAL?
So you fought a long and painful battle to become President of the U.S., and it will soon, at last, be Inauguration Day. The Bible your dad used is back for the swearing in, 16,000 yellow roses, 500 lbs. of peach cobbler, tons of fireworks and Ricky Martin are all being readied for the gala celebrations, and you have only yourself to blame if all people remember from this historic week is the historically ugly struggle you ignited in the halls of the U.S. Senate.
In the interview for Wednesday’s Barbara Walters Special on ABC with Barack and Michelle Obama, excerpts of which were also shown on Wednesday’s World News with Charles Gibson, Walters asked few questions that put the Obamas on the defensive, in contrast with her January 2001 interview, aired on 20/20, with then-President-elect Bush in which she challenged him on a number of fronts. Most notably, she seemed to chide Bush for choosing John Ashcroft as Attorney General because he "openly opposes abortion," and claimed that Ashcroft was "not considered a friend to civil rights." She asked Bush about reports that, as governor of Texas, he "spent relatively little time studying specific issues," and "only does a few hours of work" a day. The ABC host also challenged Bush from the left on the trade embargo against Cuba, and even asked Laura Bush if her more "traditional" plans for her time as First Lady would be a "setback for women." It is also noteworthy that Walters asked Bush about his plans for dealing with Saddam Hussein and cited "people in the know" who contended that the Iraqi dictator was "stronger than ever."
Eight years ago when incoming President George W. Bush named Senator John Ashcroft as his choice for Attorney General, the broadcast network evening newscasts applied ideological labels and highlighted opposition to him from liberals, but Tuesday night with President-elect Barack Obama's pick of Eric Holder for the same position, the anchors avoided any ideological tags or controversies and hailed him as an “historic” pick which fulfills Obama's promise of “diversity.”
ABC's Charles Gibson noted Obama's promise of “diversity of political party, of gender, of geography and of race” and reported “Eric Holder would be the first African-American” Attorney General. In December of 2000, the late Peter Jennings stressed how Ashcroft is “from the conservative wing of the Republican Party. And some of the positions he's taken as a politician have galvanized liberal opposition to his nomination today.”
Katie Couric, on CBS, trumpeted Holder as “another historic choice,” but eight years ago Dan Rather decided “anti-abortion groups and the self-described Religious Right could not be happier” with Ashcroft who is “known for his tough anti-abortion stand. Planned Parenthood immediately urged Congress not to confirm him.”
On NBC, Brian Williams simply summarized Holder's resume as “a veteran lawyer, former U.S. Attorney, number two person at the Justice Department during the Clinton administration. If confirmed, Eric Holder would be the first African-American to become the nation's top law enforcement officer.” Filling in for Tom Brokaw in 2000, Williams referred to Ashcroft as a “conservative Missouri Republican Senator” and asserted the selection “calms the far right politically.”
The media predictably went into full frenzy mode in reporting the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. But leave it to the Cable News Network to interject its own brand of social commentary into the discussion. On CNN.com's Political Ticker, contributor Roland Martin openly suggests that it is "[t]ime for a black attorney general."
In the article, Martin praises PepsiCo executive Larry Thompson as an ideal candidate for nomination.