by Peter Freyne
U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat from Vermont and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was front and center Sunday morning on CBS News' "Face the Nation."
And, sure enough, the tall, bald, one-eyed Montpelier kid gave great face while offering up Bob Schieffer and the TV-tuned-in nation some great lines like:
"Our founders devised this system of checks and balances. Thisadministration’s been used to going unchecked. The balance has kickedin last November and they’re going to have to deal with that reality."
"Deal with reality?"
Has a ring to it, eh?
And the reality this Sunday morn' is that even Republican members of Congress like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who appeared with Leahy via satellite, wish the Bush White House would get real when it comes to "telling the truth" about the firing of the eight U.S. Attorneys for political reasons, reasons that track bread crumbs all the way back to political whiz Karl Rove's door.
Sen. Graham - "The attorney general [Alberto Gonzalez], has been wounded because of his performance, not because of politics.
"And he is willing to come before the Senate and explain himself under oath, and I think he should and we should allow him to tell his side of the story....I’m very disturbed by the way this has been handled."
Schieffer: Eventually, is he going to have to leave if he can’t explain this to your satisfaction?
Sen. Graham: "Well, he has said some things that just don’t add up. I like him as a person, but he has been wounded. He’s going to have to come to the Senate and reestablish his credibility."
Schieffer noted Republican Rep. Heather Wilson and Republican U.S. Sen.Pete Domenici "called the prosecutor out there and wanted to know whyhe wasn’t prosecuting Democrats. Is that out of order?"
Sen. Leahy: "Yes. That’s totally out of order. During the years when Iwas a prosecutor if an elected offical called me and told me toprosecute somebody or not to prosecute somebody, I would have just hungup the phone on him. I would not allow that kind of political pressurein my office as a prosecutor."
Republican Sen. Graham was on the same page.
Sen. Graham: "What I’d like to find out is what happened. There is an absoluteobligation to treat this as a co-equal branch situation. The problemis, you can get a US Attorney dismissed for almost any reason, but youcan’t dismiss them because they failed to prosecute your enemies, orwill not leave your friends alone.
"So Leahy’s right. Senators Leahy and Specter are right to find outwhat happened. We were misled, apparently, by Department of Justiceofficials."
As for President George "WMD" Bush's adamant refusal to have Rove testify before Leahy's committee under oath, Leahy was clear as glass.
Sen. Leahy: "On the question of whether these people can testify or not, we haveample precedent during the Clinton Administration and previousadministrations of White House officials testifying. For the BushAdminsitration to suddenly waive the Constitution?
"They’ve ignorded theConstitution for six years and now they suddenly want to use it?
"Thatdoesn’t fly. The American people ought to know what happened here...
"The White House has said they’d only allow them to come if it’s behindclosed doors, no oath, no transcript, limited number of people askingthe questions and a limited agenda. That’s a non-starter. I want themin the open, under oath, publicly, where both Republican and Democraticsenators can ask questions."
And the sun came out, didn't it?
Went downtown for a little caffeine & newspapers at Uncommon Grounds. Sat with Bruce the Banker, another Church Street old-timer. All the tables there have four chairs and many people in our modern 21st Century society are solo flyers - single types comme moi. If it's packed, I always ask another solo flyer if I could join them and they always say "yes." Often leads to good conversation.
Picked up a few things at City Market and then, walking up Orchard Terrace, I came upon the first outdoor barbecue of 2007. Yes!