Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal's John Fund and Robert Novak reported that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had allegedly privately told conservatives that he would seek Supreme Court Justice nominees like John Roberts, but Samuel Alito might be a judge too far because Alito "wore his conservatism on his sleeve."
The McCainiacs denied it all vociferously, with former White House aide, now McCain dude, Steve Schmidt saying, "It’s absolutely false. Sen. McCain was instrumental is helping confirm Justice Alito. We relied on him a great deal during the confirmation process to reassure the American people that Alito was the kind of justice America needed. John McCain was a warrior to get Alito on the bench."
(Schmidt worked on the Alito nomination for president Bush. He told me, "I know who did what.")
The National Review's Byron York asked McCain about it directly. "Let me just look you in the eye," the Arizona senator said, "I’ve said a thousand times on this campaign trail, I’ve said as often as I can, that I want to find clones of Alito and Roberts. I worked as hard as anybody to get them confirmed. I look you in the eye and tell you I’ve said a thousand times that I wanted Alito and Roberts. I have told anybody who will listen. I flat-out tell you I will have people as close to Roberts and Alito [as possible], and I am proud of my record of working to get them confirmed, and people who worked to get them confirmed will tell you how hard I worked."
"I don’t get it," McCain continued. "I have a clear record of that. All I can tell you is my record is clear: I’ve supported these guys. I went to the floor of the Senate and spoke in favor of them. It’s in the record, saying, ‘You’ve got to confirm these people.’"
Tonight at a packed rally in Atlanta, McCain repeated the call for clones.
"I want to assure you that one of the great accomplishments of President Bush is we now have judges on the United States Supreme Court and judges who strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States of America," he said at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. "Two of the best of those are Judges Alito and Roberts. You can be very proud of them. My friends, I want to tell you, I will try to find clones of Alito and Roberts. I will try to find people just like them."
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