This morning the Wall Street Journal reported that Senate Democrats were planning “to grill Bush confidant Karen Hughes” about her involvement in the ever widening leak-case. But, Senate Democrats must have gotten lost on the way to the hearing. Not one showed up. Instead, according to the Associated Press:
“A scaled-back Senate Foreign Relations Committee showered praise Friday on Karen Hughes and put the former political adviser to President Bush on a fast track to confirmation as the State Department’s top public relations official.”
The absence of the Democrats is even more glaring considering just today the New York Times reported that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald called Karen Hughes before the grand jury to testify as to her involvement in the leak-case. Of course, this begs the obvious question: Karen Hughes, did you have a role in leaking the name of an undercover CIA agent?
Instead of any substantive questions, the Democrats simply didn’t show up. But we did get this statement from ranking minority member Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE):
“Mr. Chairman, I regret that previous commitments prevent me from attending the confirmation hearing this morning.
I am particularly interested in and supportive of the nomination of Karen Hughes to be undersecretary of state for public diplomacy. What this job requires, among other things, is continuity. The last two undersecretaries have stayed six and 18 months, respectively.
I met with the nominee yesterday and understand that, barring unforeseen circumstances, she is willing to stay through the president’s term.
I believe that she is highly qualified because of her professional background, and, importantly, enjoys the full confidence of the president and the secretary of state.
She will bring new energy and creativity to our public diplomacy efforts. I commend the president for choosing her and persuading her to return to Washington, and I look forward to working with her for the next three years on this important foreign policy priority.”
If the Democrats hadn’t failed to show up, here are some other questions they could have asked of Ms. Hughes:
What was the role of the White House Iraq Group, on which you served, in manipulating intelligence to sell the Iraq war?
Were you involved in declassifying memos to smear Richard Clarke?
Were you involved in the administration’s past efforts to hire fake news reporters to sell Administration policies?
Did you have any involvement in communications dirty tricks by the Bush administration? For example, giving Jeff Gannon Guckert White House press credentials?
Did you resist the administration’s efforts to politicize the September 11th attacks for political gain?
Did you intentionally falsify President Bush’s Guard record?
And here are the reasons why those questions need to be answered: Read more