Frist Interview: Politics

The final part of the Frist interview covered the politics of the Senate in the upcoming session.
SJ: Speaking of holds, John Bolton’s confirmation is coming up. Where are the Democrats on that now?
BF: I don’t know! [Laughs] No, no, no, I have no idea, but it’s coming.
SJ: He’ll be confirmed in September, then.
BF: It depends on what the Democrats do. I’m going to bring it up, we’re going to vote on it, and he’d better be confirmed. I will do port security next – these are my general plans, I haven’t even told my colleagues this – I want to do port security, I want to address the Bolton nomination, I want to address the Hamdan decision on these security issues, I want to address the Specter-FISA compromise. That right there – I’ve only got 15 legislative days, so you can imagine the challenge.
JH: Do you think those things will have an impact in November?
BF: I don’t know, but as I travel around and talk with people, everything gravitates back to security. I think there will be clarification with some people, instead of saying “I’m for the war on terror but I don’t like this.” We’ll look at the tools we need to fight the war on terror, and we’ll look at the issue the Supreme Court gave us. So there will be a lot of discussion of those, which will lead to the clarification. That’s what people want – to feel safer and more secure.
SJ: Since 9/11, it seems that there has been a CIA war on the Bush administration, of which this whole Joe Wilson has been a part. If there were a Democrat in office while this kind of thing went on, it would be a Seven Days In May kind of scandal.
JH: I don’t know if you’ve seen what we’ve written about this, but –
BF: No – [crosstalk] – Let me go back and read more about this. I don’t know, I really don’t.
[Press liaison says only time for one more question]
BF: I’ll look into it. See, I’m at the CIA every week, literally, working with the administration. I want to be very careful about where I say leaks are coming from.
JH: Do you think any of them are coming from the Senate?
BF: I don’t know, I don’t know. Even when we started talking about monitoring phone calls in Afghanistan, Democrat or Republican, where they came from I don’t know. …
SJ: This past December?
BF: No, this was a few years ago. [crosstalk]
EM: One last question, Senator. This whole Fitzgerald investigation has collapsed over the last couple of days with the revelation that the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity came from Richard Armitage, and that the Department of Justice knew about it five days into the investigation. Do you plan to review this investigation to determine if there has been an abuse of power?
BF: Don’t know. I haven’t had a chance to talk to my colleagues.
EM: Yes, this just happened a couple of days ago.
BF: Well, we’ll see what the facts are, and then see if the oversight committees want to look into it. From a practical standpoint, September will be interesting. I’ve been traveling around the country and will continue to do so. We need real clarification on a range of issues of what are the differences between Democrats and Republicans. I’d march down the list: prevailing versus cutting and running, strong border protection versus porous borders, tax cuts versus tax hikes, affordable health care versus predatory trial lawyers driving up costs, energy independence versus energy dependence, common-sense judges versus activist judges.
Floor time I’m going to spend on security. I’ve probably been in 75 meetings in the last three weeks like we just did, where it’s not hard-core politics but just listening to people, and everything keeps gravitating back to that. The questions of giving the playbook to the enemy, how we treat enemy combatants, how we get information has to be fully explored. You’ll see a lot of that on the floor in September.

3 thoughts on “Frist Interview: Politics”

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