Bush's line on Miers: Is anyone buying it?

The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee isn't.

Published October 27, 2005 7:08PM (EDT)

Did Arlen Specter just call George W. Bush a liar?

When the president issued a statement this morning announcing Harriet Miers' withdrawal, he said that senators' requests for documents from Miers' White House tenure made it impossible for her confirmation process to continue. As we argued earlier today, the explanation was a sham, carefully orchestrated cover for the fact that right-wing opposition forced the president to abandon his nominee before she even got a hearing.

Specter seems to agree. On the Senate floor a short while ago, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee lamented the fact that the "constitutional process was not completed" for Miers, but he suggested that a dispute over documents had nothing to do with it. "The Judiciary Committee carefully did not intrude on the presidents executive privilege," Specter said. "The committee studiously avoided asking what advice Ms. Miers gave to the president, and that limitation would have been continued in any hearing with an adequate range of questions available to enable the committee to decide on her qualifications for the court."

By Tim Grieve

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

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Arlen Specter D-pa. George W. Bush Supreme Court