MSNBC Scarborough Country - Transcript
Thursday, May 26, 2005
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SCARBOROUGH: Thanks a lot, Norah.
Now, Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has been at the center of the debate over John Bolton. And I asked him what in the world was going on with his party on Capitol Hill.
SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, it was very disappointing.
The senators-the Democratic Senate leadership basically went to Senator Frist yesterday and said that they would assure us that they would provide enough votes to provide cloture on Bolton. And, candidly, they just simply didn't deliver. And that's-that's something that just doesn't happen in the United States Senate. When a leader and a leadership makes a promise that if you do certain things, we'll allow you to move forward and then simply doesn't deliver, that's a big problem.
I'm hopeful that cooler heads will prevail and that folks will, you know, take the break and realize that this is an improper way to do business. We need to get moving forward. The president is not going to withdraw this nominee. They're not going to provided classified information to the public. And what we're going to do is move forward on John Bolton and stop this.
Every day, it's a new issue with him. Every day, there's a new cause.
The bottom line is, he's answered the questions. He's the president's man.
He's the right man for the job and he should get a vote.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Senator Santorum, I must admit, I'm a bit confused, as usual. This historic agreement earlier this week that John McCain and Robert Byrd and Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham and all these people launched...
SCARBOROUGH: We were told-I mean, I read "The New York Times." I listened to PBS. I was told this was the new third way in American politics, that we were all going to see a Senate that worked together. How did it unravel so quickly?
SANTORUM: Well, I would say two things, that I got questioned shortly after this historic truce as to whether we would be able to tackle Social Security. And I said, well, I don't think we should overestimate this agreement, that it's going to apply to anything, other than judicial nominations.
And so we have seen it has not applied to anything other than judicial nominations. But I feel very confident that, when we come back, there will be votes to get cloture on John Bolton's nomination.
SCARBOROUGH: But, Senator, you would have to admit it's been a very bad week for the Republican Party, at least in the U.S. Senate, where you had-after you had Majority Leader Frist come up with his 51 votes, you had seven Republicans bolt and join up with Robert Byrd and six other Democrats to stop what Republicans call the constitutional option.
And now you have the president not being able to get his U.N. choice through his own Republican Senate. It doesn't bode well for Senator Frist's leadership, does it?
SANTORUM: Well, I would just say that every single Republican voted for cloture for John Bolton. And we had plenty of votes to pass him, if we had gotten just the smallest amount of reconciliation, if you will, and understanding that we need to work together. A little cooperation from the Democratic side, you know, we would have easily been able to get over the 60-vote hurdle and John Bolton would be confirmed as we stand here.
But the bottom line is that the Democratic leadership simply did not come through on the promise they made to-to leader Frist. If-if the leadership agree, then I don't think you can blame Bill Frist for, you know, trusting the Democratic leaders that they are going to deliver votes, when, in the end, they didn't. I mean, that's not a failure of Bill Frist's leadership. I think it's a failure of the leadership on the Democratic side, as was the problem with the filibuster on judges.
They simply are not able to come to the table and find compromise and work together for the betterment of the American people.
SCARBOROUGH: So, did Harry Reid lie to Bill Frist?
SANTORUM: They didn't deliver. Now, you can call it what you want to call it. I wouldn't-I don't think-I don't think Harry Reid deceived him, no. I think Senator Reid tried and certainly felt that he could deliver some votes. And it turned out that he was not able to.
So, that's unfortunate. And, hopefully, over the next few days, the research will maybe-excuse me, recess-will sort of cool people down a little bit and we'll have an opportunity to revisit the Bolton nomination as soon as we get back and move forward with that, as well as Justice Janice Rogers Brown, which will be back on the agenda. We passed an energy bill today out of committee today. In a few weeks, we'll be bringing that up, which is a vitally important bill for this country.
We've got a highway bill we can pass. Today, we were working on Medicaid and Medicare in the Finance Committee. So, we've got a lot of work to do. And this just simply slows down the trains a little bit. But and we'll get to that work.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, Republicans like George Voinovich, Republicans like Lindsey Graham, Republicans like, well, quite frankly, John McCain, these people have been making Bill Frist's job more difficult. They've been making the president's job more difficult. Are they-do you sense they may be starting to feel the heat from home and they may be a bit more helpful for the president's agenda and your agenda in the future?
SANTORUM: Well, I think, having talked to Lindsey Graham and John McCain and others who were involved in that deal, I think they feel deeply disappointed that this trust that they believe that they were able to establish a couple of days ago has dissipated, and that I think they're disappointed in their Democratic colleagues, that they didn't realize that this was an important-it really-it wasn't part of the deal.
And I think everybody understands that. But it is part of the good faith and trying to change the climate around here in the United States Senate. And, unfortunately, the votes weren't there. I think you-I will tell you that John McCain and Lindsey Graham and Mike DeWine and John Warner and many others worked very hard on the Democratic side to try to get votes for John Bolton over the last few hours.
And it just wasn't there tonight. I think they are ever more committed to make sure that they're going to be there when we get back.
SCARBOROUGH: And so your prediction is, John Bolton's nomination us is not dead on arrival.
SANTORUM: Absolutely not.
SCARBOROUGH: When the Senate reconvenes, you think the president will stay by John Bolton until the bitter end?
SANTORUM: Absolutely. John Bolton will be the next U.N. ambassador. There's no question in my mind that that's-that will happen. We came-we came up two-really, two votes short today. Senator Specter was not feeling well this afternoon and headed back to Philadelphia. With his vote, we would have had 58 votes. And that means just two more Democrats. And I think there are two more Democrats over there, and maybe more than that, when we get back.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, as always, thanks a lot for being with us.
SANTORUM: Thank you, Joe.
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