Ed Gillespie's Interesting Interview
Although The Fix has spent most of today focused on the increasingly intriguing GOP leadership races in the House, we won't ignore the other major political story of the day -- the Senate confirmation hearings of Samuel A. Alito Jr.
You wouldn't be alone if, amid the flurry of political news this morning, you missed the sitdown former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie did with C-SPAN (The Fix's favorite network). Gillespie, who is serving as an adviser to Alito during the confirmation process, spent most of his time discussing Alito's credentials, but he also touched on his relationship (or lack thereof) with lobbyists Jack Abramoff and offered his views on Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-Texas) decision to permanently step down as majority leader this weekend.
Read or watch the entire interview, but if you're pressed for time, here's a quick summary of the high points:
On Alito, Gillespie said it is fair game to ask the nominee about memos he wrote in 1985 for the Reagan administration that discussed a legal blueprint to erode the legal support for abortion. "Any senator duly elected by the constituents in his or her state has the right to ask any question they see fit to ask," said Gillespie. "Some questions [Alito] should demur but when asked about his own writings or stated opinions even two decades ago is a fair question."
Gillespie sounded the Republican talking points when asked about the possibility of a Democratic-led filibuster on Alito, saying it would amount to an "unprecedented" move. If Democrats do pursue a filibuster, he predicted "there would be some public backlash against that, especially on someone so well qualified in terms of intellect and experience and judicial temperament."
Asked about Abramoff, Gillespie pleaded ignorance. "He's not someone I dealt with on any basis," Gillespie said. "I have not been in meetings with Jack Abramoff so I can't tell you anything about him from a personal perspective."
Gillespie was much less reticent about DeLay, praising the former majority leader for his decision to permanently step down from leadership. "He is one that puts the interest of his party and colleagues first and I think he did that in this instance."
An interesting Gillespie note not covered in the C-SPAN interview: As first reported by Hotline Editor Chuck Todd, Gillespie has signed on to serve as the treasurer of Virginia Sen. George Allen's leadership political action committee -- Good Government For America. This is a major "get" for the Virginia senator as he puts together a possible 2008 presidential run.
One other 2008 staffing note. Former Republican National Committee Communications Director Jim Dyke has signed on to handle media matters for Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Frist's expected 2008 White House bid.
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