Harry Reid, bobbing and weaving

Did the Senate minority leader urge Bush to nominate Harriet Miers? It's a yes or no question, or so it would seem.

Published October 3, 2005 5:42PM (EDT)

All day long, supporters of George W. Bush have been trumpeting the claim that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid urged the president to nominate Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. What does Harry Reid have to say for himself? It's a little hard to tell.

Reid just spoke to reporters with Miers at his side. He said that he was "very happy" that Bush had nominated "someone like" Miers -- which is to say, a woman untainted by years of work as a judge -- and he suggested that he was pleased to see a nominee come from outside the Ivy League mold. But when he was asked whether he had actually urged Bush to nominate Miers, Reid danced awkwardly. He said that it would be "exaggerating a little" to say that he had recommended Miers, adding that he was sure "a lot of other people" have "talked about" her in recent weeks. Asked whether he had advanced Miers' name in discussions with Republican senators, Reid said: "I could have mentioned her name. I really don't remember."

Update: Asked to confirm or deny reports that Reid had "signaled" to Bush that Miers would be an acceptable nominee, Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in an email to Salon: "He urged the president to consider her for the post -- not that she was acceptable."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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