Mukasey Confirmation Loses Support in Senate

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The Senate is holding up the confirmation of Judge Michael Mukasey for Attorney General. Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy is among the Democrats now opposed to Mukasey. He says he cannot "in good conscience" support Mukasey because the nominee refused to condemn waterboarding. That's a controversial interrogating technique that Kennedy calls "torture." Kennedy called the nominee a "conscientious and intelligent" attorney who gave unacceptable answers about torture.

President Bush, speaking at the Heritage Foundation, defended Mukasey's answers: "He does not know whether certain methods are used because the program is classified. And therefore he is in no position to provide an informed opinion."

Bush said the nominee doesn't want to put interrogators in the field into "legal jeopardy" with his comments; and that Mukasey doesn't want to give terrorists knowledge of which techniques might be used to get information.

A nomination that seemed automatic now seems less so; but a Senate committee will still vote on Tuesday, whether to send Mukasey's nomination to the full Senate.



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