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The John Bolton Show

Reported by Nancy - May 27, 2005 -

Last night (5/26) Special Report was essentially The John Bolton Show, with everyone weighing in on how terrible the Dems are being about his nomination as US Ambassador to the UN, & how some GOPs (Voinovich in particular) are being traitors by not toeing the party line. [NOTE: This post has been amended -- please see addendum at end]

At 6:22pm (ET) Hume interviewed Byron York [White House correspondent for the National Review & author most recently of "The Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy", which should give you a good idea of his bias; there are multiple prior entries about him on this blog] about Bolton's nomination. Hume opened by noting that Dems are "holding out" by "demanding documents" & asked what docs were at issue. York said there were 2 sets: the preps he used to prepare for his testimony to the House in 2003 about Syria & WMD (which, York claimed, were "all completely vetted" although Biden & Dodd say they will show pressure); & his request for the identities of covert agents (which York said are "done on fairly regular basis" but Dems "wonder" if Bolton was trying to pressure or manipulate the agents). Hume asked if such requests were "improper" & York said that Bolton had filed 10 requests, & over the same period of time the State Dept got "400-500" such requests, so 10 is not unusual. There was some bloviating about why the docs weren't being turned over ("concern about privacy" & leaks; both Hume & York found it snidely amusing that Congress might leak info). Hume finally got back to the docs themselves, asking whether they are "what's holding up" the nomination. York said that when "Voinovich turned on us" {NOTE: Please see addendum at end] the issue then became "a fight between the executive & legislative branch." Hume asked if the State Dept & the NSA will continue to "hold out" on the docs, & York gave a qualified "yes" response. Hume then asked why Dems "continue to insist it's not a filibuster" & York said that GOPs are "mystified by this" but Dodd & Biden are framing it as "advise & consent."

At 6:42pm Hume said that 40 Senators "have now voted to keep the filibuster against Bolton going" & the "All-Stars" (MKondracke, CKrauthammer, JBirnbaum) started in. Kondracke said the "buzz on the Hill" is that Bush "might recess appoint" Bolton, which would be a "big slap at" Dems in the Senate, but Bush will say it was the Dems "who broke comity." Hume showed the letter from Biden & Dodd, & Birnbaum tried to joke that "only in Washington" is a filibuster not a filibuster, noting that after this "grand compromise" the "era of good feeling lasted 3 days." Krauthammer said this "tells us the great agreement was phony" because the Dems "have no ideas on these issues ... nothing to offer ... they are obstructionists." There was more discussion of the documents [see interview with York, above]. Kondracke said the Dems "hope these documents will be explosive" & characterized the request as "fishing." Hume picked up that theme, asking if the Dems want to "get evidence to destroy the nomination." Krauthammer sneered that the demand to see the docs is an "instument of blackmail." Kondracke pointed out that it's been "done by both sides for years." Hume quickly avoided that, saying there's a "vast array of charges" against Bolton, a "lot of testimony" & asking whether the evidence supported the case against him. Birnbaum dismissed it all as a disagreement about "how to deal with the UN", saying the Dems want a "softer stance" while GOPs want a "harder edge."

After an ad break, at 6:52pm they resumed where they had left off. Hume showed clips of statements after the Senate vote & asked the panel for a summary. Kondracke said the Dems were saying one thing earlier this week, the opposite now. Birnbaum said Bolton will be confirmed but the "real victim" is Sen BFrist. Krauthammer agreed, saying that's why Reid gave Frist a "conciliatory pat on the back", because Frist was "undercut by his own caucus" & by Dems, which hurt him as a leader. Hume asked about the "atmosphere: in the Senate, & Krauthammer said that GOPs are "very upset over this surprise." Birnbaum said there's "a new sheriff in town" (Sen JMcCain).

Comment: The "All-Stars" usually discuss two topics briefly, but on 5/26 they devoted the entire last quarter of the program to Bolton's nomination. There wasn't even time for the usual "funny" clip from one of the late-night talk shows.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Special Report's coverage of the Bolton nomination). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.

ADDENDUM 5/27/05 at 3:55pm: Byron York contacted us to deny that he said "Voinovich turned on us" but rather said "Voinovich turned on it". York provided the Nexis transcript, which reads as follows:

That is what -- what has happened is, after the nomination was sent from the committee to the full Senate without recommendation, because of the George Voinovich turn on it, the Democrats still had requested this additional information.

I have listened to my videotape again, & while I agree that I *may* have misheard (it now sounds like gibberish to me, after repeated playbacks), in the interest of fairness I thought I should post both versions. In the same vein, I deleted the last line of my original intro ("Guest Byron York repeated David Asman's blunder of referring to the GOPs in the first person.") as well as my comment about the remark.