“Senate Republican leaders,” reports Alexander Bolton for The Hill, “were due to meet [Wed. night] amid rising concern that they are being beaten on the ‘nuclear option’ by Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) public-relations war room“… cartoon, poll, and more below … but see the UPDATE explaining “Justice Sunday” below the cartoon + the Family Research Council’s flier for the simulcast …

The GOP’s talks follow a meeting last week in which aides warned Bob Stevenson, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s (R-Tenn.) communications director, that something needs to be done to win back lost ground, a participant said.

“I think there’s a realization that this particular [Democratic] effort has to be countered and they’re in full-scale attack mode,” a GOP aide said, adding, “I think that people know that we’ve got a serious problem here.

Just what did that rascal Harry do?

Soon after becoming leader, Reid hired several communication aides and created a rapid-response team akin to the one Bill Clinton pioneered during his triumphant 1992 presidential campaign.

The team is headed by Jim Manley, whom Reid hired in December from the office of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). Stephanie Cutter, who was campaign spokeswoman for Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) presidential campaign, joined Reid’s team last week to coordinate outside liberal groups and Senate Democratic policy and communications staff in the fight over the nuclear option. Reid’s war room currently employs eight staff members and is part of a nearly 20-person communications team.

Oh! He brought in some big guns. WTG, Harry! And, it’s paying off:

Another GOP aide said: “There’s a general sense in the rank and file that we are a little in the hole and that Democrats have been more aggressive on messaging, that we’ve kind of gone dark. Democrats have gotten a head start and defined the issue ahead of us.”

At a closed-door luncheon Tuesday, members of the Democratic caucus were presented a stack of more than 260 press editorials from 41 states and the District of Columbia arguing against changing Senate rules to prohibit judicial filibusters. That’s quite a change from a year and a half ago, when many editorial boards criticized Democrats for blocking confirmation votes on President Bush’s judicial nominees.

The turnaround has flummoxed Senate Republicans and conservatives. They say it is incredible that Democrats who have “undone 200-plus years of precedent” by filibustering nominees have managed to portray Republicans as “overreaching.” Republicans say eliminating the filibuster of nominees would merely restore Senate tradition.

They turned it around,” the aide said, and “one can suggest that it’s because of our lack of organized countermessaging.”


In his radio address last Saturday and in yesterday’s hit-’em-hard press conference with Nancy Pelosi, Harry has been stepping up to the plate and knockin’ ’em outta the park.

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Update [2005-4-14 20:58:3 by susanhbu]: Uh-oh:

Frist Set to Join Religious Effort on Judicial Issue


WASHINGTON, April 14 – As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as “against people of faith” for blocking President Bush’s nominees.

Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day “Justice Sunday” and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. The flier does not name participants, but under the heading “the filibuster against people of faith,” it reads: “The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith.”

Organizers say they hope to reach more than a million people by distributing the telecast to churches around the country, over the Internet and over Christian television and radio networks and stations.

Dr. Frist’s spokesman said the senator’s speech in the telecast would reflect his previous remarks on judicial appointments. …

Update [2005-4-14 21:20:17 by susanhbu]:

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From Family Research Council and Free Republic:

Dear Friend:

A day of decision is upon us. Whether it was the legalization of abortion, the banning of school prayer, the expulsion of the 10 Commandments from public spaces, or the starvation of Terri Schiavo, decisions by the courts have not only changed our nation’s course, but even led to the taking of human lives. As the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated in almost every recent election, the courts have become the last great bastion for liberalism.

For years activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups like the ACLU, have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms. Federal judges have systematically grabbed power, usurping the constitutional authority that resides in the other two branches of government and, ultimately, in the American people.

We now have a President who is committed to nominate judicial candidates who are not activists, but strict constructionists — judges who will simply interpret the Constitution as it was written. We now have a majority in the U.S. Senate that will confirm these nominees. However, there is a radical minority that has launched an unprecedented filibuster against these outstanding men and women.

Many of these nominees to the all-important appellate court level are being blocked, not because they haven’t paid their taxes or because they have used drugs or because they have criminal records or for any other reason that would disqualify them from public service; rather, they are being blocked because they are people of faith and moral conviction. These are people whose only offense is to say that abortion is wrong or that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

Only 51 votes are needed to approve these nominees and most of these candidates, if not all, would receive more then 51 votes if a vote were held on the Senate floor. But a radical minority in the Senate is using the filibuster to block an up or down vote on the Senate floor. They are requiring a super majority, 60 votes, to proceed on these nominees. This liberal minority does not respect the will of the people: they want judge-made law because our elected officials will not give them the social anarchy they demand.

The Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist of Tennessee, is committed to returning Constitutional order to the Senate by requiring an up-or-down vote on these nominees. To do this, he urgently needs the help of every “values voter.” Without doubt, this will be the most important vote cast in the United States Senate in this term. If this effort fails, the best we can hope for are likely to be mediocre judges who meet the approval of Ted Kennedy, Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

We must stop this unprecedented filibuster of people of faith. Join us on Sunday, April 24, as we observe Justice Sunday. On that date, just around the corner, FRC will host a nationwide, live simulcast to engage values voters in this all-important issue of reining in our out-of-control courts.

The simulcast will originate from Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. Participants joining me include Dr. James Dobson, Dr. Al Mohler, Chuck Colson, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

For more information on how your church can participate or how you can find a venue to participate in this critically important simulcast, click the links on website below. This is an event you won’t want to miss, an historic debate we can’t afford to lose!



Tony Perkins

President, FRC Action

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