On this morning’s “Face the Nation,” anchor Bob Schieffer hosted a panel of CBS News reporters who chatted about the top stories in the news, including Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito’s upcoming confirmation hearings.
Gloria Borger, CBS News’ national political correspondent, told Schieffer she wasn’t quite sure if Alito would win Senate confirmation. And although a Washington Post/ABC News poll last Wednesday revealed that a majority of Americans thought Alito should be confirmed — and he is as popular as Chief Justice John Roberts was at this point in his confirmation — Borger doesn’t exactly see things that way.
Below is a transcript of the exchange between Schieffer, Borger and the other John Roberts, the CBS News correspondent, not the chief justice. Roberts, by the way, was much more optimistic than his colleague.
BOB SCHIEFFER: The president nominates his best friend and he has to draw that nomination down. Speaking of drawdowns, now we have another nomination. Is Alito going to be confirmed?
GLORIA BORGER: Well, I’m not quite sure, Bob. Samuel Alito is somebody who’s been quite controversial, even though we really haven’t heard a peep from him yet. He has 3,000 cases we can look at. He has an awful lots of writings and it’s very clear that this is someone who is anti-abortion rights and there are lots of moderate Republicans in the Senate who are very nervous about that and I think public opinion polls show that the American public is not quite convinced about Samuel Alito. And by the way, don’t forget, 22 Democrats voted for John Roberts. So they can, with all credibility now, say, ‘Wait a minute. We gave you John Roberts. But we really’ — the other John Roberts — ‘object to Samuel Alito for these reasons.’ So they do have credibility if they vote against…
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, other John Roberts, let me ask you: What’s the White House going to do? Are they doing anything differently this time? Do they think this is in trouble or do they feel good about it?
JOHN ROBERTS: I think that they’re feeling pretty good about it. I talked with Arlen Specter a couple of weeks ago and he seems to think that the hearings are going to go well and he’s pretty confident that Alito is going to get confirmed. Most of what they’ve been doing lately is behind the scenes. There hasn’t been a big public push. They’ve been trying to keep the Supreme Court battle out of the headlines because they want Iraq in the headlines. But no question, behind the scenes, they’re working very hard on getting ready for these hearings and they know that a lot of issues are going to come up, particularly surrounding his views on abortion. But I think that their bet is is that he’s going to make it through, maybe by a much slimmer margin than Roberts, but I think they think he’s going to get confirmed.