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Holder Strategy Becomes Clear as His Senate Confirmation Hearing Begins

Eric Holdler/msnbc
Eric Holder/msnbc

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Yes, Eric H. Holder Jr. messed up, Yes he intends to be an INDEPENDENT  Attorney General, and Yes Yes Yes, the Marc Rich pardon was a BIG  BIG mistake, and Yes he would have done things differently now.
With his family and former FBI director Louis Freeh sitting behind him, Holder gave a brief speech as his Senate confirmation hearing began Thursday morning.
In all, the strategy of Holder and his supporters became quite evident at the onset: Emphasize his competence and integrity and admit that he made mistakes in the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich when he was deputy Attorney General under President Clinton.
Former Sen. John Warner,  a well respected senator,  did just that, testifying this morning in favor Holder’s confirmation. He praised Holder, but said:
“Mr. Chairman, Eric Holder would be the first to say  that his career was marked by certain  misjudgments. He freely acknowledges that….but the key to this man is that he learned from those experiences. He learned in such a way that those misjudgments will not be repeated.”
Then Holder himself talked about Marc Rich and told the committee:
“I’ve accepted the responsibility of making those  mistakes. I never tried to hide, I never tried to blame anybody else.” He said he should have kept prosecutors on the case informed of what was going  on.
“I should have not spoken to the White House and expressed an opinion without knowing all of the facts in regards to that matter.”,
“I learned from that experience..I will be a better attorney general should I be confirmed, having had the Marc Rich experience.”
Sen. Arlen Specter, one of his more vocal critics in recent weeks, asked some tough questions about Rich.
But so far, it’s likely the mea culpa strategy coupled by emphasis on competence and integrity is likely to work.

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