This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume," October 6, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL KRISTOL, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Harriet Miers (search) has to be thinking, "Am I helping the president by accepting this nomination and going on the court? Or maybe I should" — she didn’t come to Washington to be on the Supreme Court. Maybe she would do the president a favor by stepping aside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIT HUME, HOST: That comment from a leading conservative thinker and strategist, FOX News contributor Bill Kristol, is pretty strong medicine, but accurately reflects the strength of feeling among many on the American right about the Harriet Miers nomination.
Joining me now is former Republican senator from Indiana and former Bush ambassador to Germany, Dan Coats. He is in charge of shepherding the Miers nomination around and ultimately through the Senate.
Welcome, sir. Nice to have you.
FORMER SEN. DAN COATS (R), INDIANA: Thank you.
HUME: Now, tell me about Harriet Miers. I take it you don’t know her yet.
COATS: Not as well as I will know her, but I know a lot about her. I know about her record.
HUME: Well, have you met her?
COATS: Friday, I will spend an extensive amount of time with her.
HUME: That will be your first exposure to her personally?
COATS: That is correct.
HUME: All right. So tell me about what you know about her?
COATS: Well, first of all, I know about the president. And I know the president well. And I know the president — I know what his goals were in seeking out and choosing the next Supreme Court justice.
And I know that Harriet Miers, on the basis of the record and the basis of people that have worked with her and know her, that she fits his criteria. He wants someone that’s faithful to the Constitution, is not a judicial activist, will uphold the law, be fair, impartial, someone who has had real-life experience.
And even though she has not had judicial experience, we’ve had a number of distinguished Supreme Court justices that haven’t had that experience.
HUME: Let me put it to you this way. There are a lot of people in the country who work for President Bush (search). And I’ve gotten e-mails from some of them. These are not elite commentators. These are ordinary, garden-variety Bush campaign volunteers and others, who — some of them are Christians.
All of them, from what I can tell, that I heard from, are deeply concerned about the Supreme Court. And they say, "Look, you know, we worked hard for this man. And we worked hard believing and even feeling that we knew that he would nominate known-quantity judicial conservatives who have extensive and distinguished records that we can rely on."
And there is a cadre of lawyers, judges, legal scholars, who are relatively young, who have emerged over the last 20 years, brought in by President Reagan (search) and others, who populate the bench and positions in academe from whom he could have chosen. These are real stars.
Why has he turned to this obscure figure? Can you understand their sentiments?
COATS: I can understand some of their sentiments. But I think, when they get to know Harriet Miers, and when they understand the rationale and the basis of the president’s selection, understand that Harriet Miers was the individual, the most key individual, in selection of all of those appellate court judges and others that were presented by the president.
HUME: By this president?
COATS: By this president — and get to know her personally, and know her record, and know her convictions, I think those people are going to see her as a star. They’re going to see her as qualified. They’re going to understand the president’s decision.
There’s been a lot of prejudging here without really knowing the record. Everyone says, "Well, we need to know more about her." That’s true. We all need to know more about her.
HUME: Including you, I gather.
COATS: Well, including all of us, but — except those who vetted all of this very, very carefully in the White House for many, many months. But all of this needs to be understood and learned before a judgment is made.
And the other point is, is that there are many, many outspoken, well- recognized conservative voices across the country representing major groups, James Dobson (search), that have supported her.
HUME: I understand that. But hasn’t, though, this outbreak of resistance to her put you in a situation where the strategy that would normally be followed for gaining confirmation for a nominee, which is to have the nominee say as little as possible about matters of substance, now been thrown into a cocked hat by the fact that this nominee now needs to go before the Senate and somehow persuade conservatives to support her?
COATS: You know, the irony here is, is that, when John Roberts was up, conservatives were criticizing Democrats for asking specific questions. "Where do you stand on this issue?"
HUME: I know.
COATS: "It’s the Ginsburg precedent that should be followed."
HUME: Well, I know, but...
COATS: But now they’re just — it’s the other side.
HUME: But you and others representing the White House are saying, "Give her a chance. Wait until you hear her testify. She’s going to dazzle you." Can she really dazzle you and, at the same time, be as reluctant about answering specific questions about specific cases as the previous nominee and many other nominees have been?
COATS: Well, first of all, John Roberts (search) was as dazzling as anybody that’s been before the Senate for confirmation in a long, long time.
HUME: A tough act to follow. Wouldn’t you agree?
COATS: A very tough act to follow. By the same token, there is a great substance to Harriet Miers. There is a lady of integrity that has achieved very significant achievements for a woman. First president of the bar in Dallas, first president of the bar in Texas.
HUME: Got you.
COATS: A record of that. Counsel to the president is no small thing.
HUME: Senator Coats, I got to stop you there. We’re out of time. A pleasure to have you back in Washington.
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