A smooth road for Mukasey

Never mind the bumps.

Published October 19, 2007 1:00PM (EDT)

Attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey wasn't quite as forthcoming on Day 2 of his confirmation hearing as he was on Day 1, dodging a question on whether "waterboarding" amounts to torture and suggesting -- contrary to his earlier testimony -- that there may be times when the president, as commander in chief, can issue orders that trump federal law.

The change isn't sitting well with Democrats. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy said the "bright line" Mukasey laid down Wednesday seemed to be fading away Thursday, and he wondered whether Mukasey had received some kind of course correction from the White House between the two sessions. Mukasey said he hadn't.

So what does it all mean? You know the answer already: As the Washington Post explains, Democrats on the committee "said Mukasey's new answers were disappointing," but "they did not indicate that they will oppose his confirmation."

By Tim Grieve

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

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Department Of Justice Patrick J. Leahy D-vt.