James Dobson has entered spin mode.
On the Oct. 5 edition of his Focus on the Family radio show, Dobson discussed “confidential conversations” he had with friends and supporters of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers — conversations that led him to believe Miers was against abortion rights. In the same show, Dobson offered endorsed Miers’ nomination.
“When you know some of the things I know — that I probably shouldn’t know – that take me in this direction, you’ll know why I’ve said with fear and trepidation (that) I believe Harriet Miers will be a good justice.”
Not surprisingly, the “confidential conversations” — later learned to be with embattled Senior White House Advisor Karl Rove — didn’t sit well with Senators from both parties who sit on the Judiciary Committee. There was talk of Dobson being subpoenaed, and that Miers nomination could be scuttled because of White House assurances of how Miers would vote on abortion rights cases.
This item first appeared at Journalists Against Bush’s B.S.
Now Dobson is saying the conversations didn’t reveal much.
In remarks scheduled for broadcast today on his national radio show, Dobson says that he and Rove did not discuss Roe v. Wade, the controversial Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s right to end a pregnancy, or how Miers might judge abortion-related cases.
“I did not ask that question,” Dobson said. “You know, to be honest, I would have loved to have known how Harriet Miers views Roe v. Wade. But even if Karl had known the answer to that — and I’m certain that he didn’t, because the president himself said he didn’t know — Karl would not have told me that. That’s the most incendiary information that’s out there, and it was never part of our discussion.”
But Rove did remind Dobson “that Harriet Miers is an evangelical Christian; that she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life; that she had taken on the American Bar Association on the issue of abortion and fought for a policy that would not be supportive of abortion.”
In other words, Rove didn’t assure Dobson how Miers would vote on Roe v. Wade. No doubt the White House spin machine wanted to make sure that messaage got out, to counter concerns from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
But by Dobson’s own words, the message he was delivered by Rove is pretty clear. Miers is solidly pro-life. Whether that translates into a vote to overturn or further restrict Roe v. Wade, or whether Miers believes the landmark case is “settled law” remains to be seen.
But I have to believe that Rove successfully lobbying Dobson to endorse Miers banked on his ability to convince Dobson that, in fact, Miers’ pro-life credentials would factor into future court decisions. Is that an assurance? It’s a fine line, and even with Dobson’s spin today, the Judiciary Committee may still ask the question.
Because Miers lacks a judicial record, the White House has been lobbying conservative Senators along these lines — asking for faith in President Bush’s selection in large part based on her religious credentials.
But that hasn’t been enough to convince some conservatives. For example, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) has not endorsed Miers — and may wind up voting against her — because of concerns he has that Miers believes Roe v. Wade is settled law.