Eric Holder seems headed toward confirmation
WASHINGTON — What a difference a few days can make in the rough and tumble world of American politics, particularly in the U.S. Capitol. Just ask Eric Holder, President-elect Barack Obama’s pick to be U.S. attorney general.
Last week, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell named Holder as the only one of Obama’s Cabinet nominees in possible trouble.
There was Republican concern about Holder, particularly his decision, while President Bill Clinton’s deputy attorney general, to back a pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich.
But after receiving rave reviews at his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, Holder seems certain to be confirmed.
Under questioning, Holder admitted he erred in the Rich matter, broke with the Bush administration to call waterboarding “torture” and vowed to run a Justice Department free of political meddling. He also promised to make fighting financial crimes a top priority.
At least two Republicans said afterward that they intend to support him, which should provide enough votes in the Democratic-led Senate to clear any procedural roadblock.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, reiterated his support for Holder, predicting he would be a strong attorney general.
And on Friday, Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida came out for Holder after what he described as “a very productive meeting with him.”
“I adhere to the principle that, assuming qualifications, a president gets to choose the members of his Cabinet,” Martinez said.
“Mr. Holder answered a number of questions to my satisfaction,” Martinez said. “I intend to support Mr. Holder’s confirmation and urge my colleagues to do the same.”
Photo credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (Holder stands to be sworn in for his Jan. 15 confirmation hearing)