The Campaign Spot

For Attorney General, The Man Who Missed Marc Rich?

Newsweek reports Obama will nominate Eric Holder to be the next Attorney General.

Holder, you will recall, was one of the folks on Obama’s running mate selection team. I wrote on June 11:

Hugh Hewitt, during our interview last night, on Obama vice-presidential search team members Jim Johnson and Eric Holder (who had a role in the Marc Rich pardon): “I’m not asking Barack Obama to vet the vetters. I’m just asking him to Google them.”

If you Google “Eric Holder,” the sixth link begins, “Eric Holder wishes he had focused for three minutes when he heard the name Marc Rich connected with the word pardon.” That’s the lead sentence of a Washington Post profile of Holder from 2001:

Holder himself painfully concurs: “If I had focused on this in a way that I could have, should have, the recommendation I would have given him would have been, ‘Don’t do this, Mr. President.’”

The Rich episode has brought down upon Holder the kind of doubts that can haunt a person’s career. He was asked at a congressional hearing whether his desire to become attorney general caused him to go easy on Rich, who was represented by well-connected former White House counsel and Al Gore adviser Jack Quinn. At the same hearing, Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) told Holder he greatly respected him, but labeled his positions on Rich “almost incredible.”

I said then, “Exactly the guy I want sorting through the background of my running mate!” Now, we contemplate him in a position of even greater power and responsibility.

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