Blogger Conference Call with Steve Schmidt

Patrick Ruffini has organized a blogger conference call with Steve Schmidt, Special Advisor to the President in charge of the White House Confirmation Team for Judge Samuel Alito, for 2 p.m. EST. I wasn’t able to get a question in on the last one; maybe I’ll have better luck today.

Opening Remarks highlights: Process off to terrific start. Alito one of most qualified nominees, ever. Reaction from Senators “very, very positive” on both sides of aisle based on early meetings. Democratic legal scholars have also given him high praise.

“Unfair attack ads and unfair attacks will come.” Reference to coming People for American Way ad debuting this weekend. Lots of buzz words about bias and disappointment and fairness. Blah blah blah.

Defense against brewing recusal controversy that no one will care about anyway.

My question was the first one:

    Q: Why didn’t we nominate this guy to begin with rather than the obviously unqualified Harriet Miers?

    A: We’re here to talk about Judge Alito. Harriet Miers continues to work at the White House and I’m very proud to work with her. Next question.

Very illuminating.

So far, the answers to other questions have consisted of repeating that Alito is extraordinarily qualified and loudly emphasizing other buzz works repeatedly.

He ducked a question about the “constitutional option” from John Hawkins.

Actual news: “We have an extraordinary amount of confidence in Chairman Specter.”

He ducked two consecutive questions on why the White House isn’t annoyed that Specter has set the confirmation hearings for January, given that Alito is not particularly controversial. Schmidt repeatedly emphasized what a swell guy Specter is and what an extraordinarily qualified fellow Alito is.

Update: Mark Coffey, Suitably Flip, and Ankle Biting Pundits have more thorough wrap-ups of the questions and links to other participating bloggers.

John Hawkins and Tim Chapman have accounts of their questions.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. fdhif says:

    Lets just make sure we stay on message.

  2. fdhif says:

    Ok, so the spin words are “extraordinarily qualified.” Thanks.

    I thought those were the same spin words for Miers. Oh, well, forget about her–this Alito is extraordinarily qualified.

  3. Albert says:

    My question was the first one:

    Q: Why didn’t we nominate this guy to begin with rather than the obviously unqualified Harriet Miers?

    I didn’t realize that you were on the nominating committee, James. If “we” didn’t nominate him in the first place, maybe you need to come clean Jim-bo!

    What were you thinking??

  4. shortz says:

    “constitutional option”

    I have to commend this piece of newspeak.