After a blistering week, the White House is scrambling to control a conservative uprising over the nomination of Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court, with President Bush pitching his choice directly to the public on Saturday as his Republican allies plotted strategy to shore up support. "Harriet Miers will be the type of judge I said I would nominate: a good conservative judge," Mr. Bush said in his weekly radio address. He added, "When she goes before the Senate, I am confident that all Americans will see what I see every day: Harriet Miers is a woman of intelligence, strength and conviction."
It was the third time since he picked Ms. Miers on Monday that the president has come to her defense. His remarks came as the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee - who will preside over the Miers confirmation hearings and who has called her "intellectually able" - offered a blunt assessment that was yet another sign that the nomination was in trouble on Capitol Hill.
"She needs more than murder boards," the chairman, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said in an interview, referring to the mock question-and-answer sessions most nominees use to prepare for their confirmation hearings. "She needs a crash course in constitutional law."
Heh. Even Specter is potshotting now. "Crash course in Constitutional law? Ouch!