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February 2010


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Atty. Gen. Hones Political Ear

Eric Holder is struggling with a typical dilemma in Washington: He’s a nice guy and he’s trying to stay a nice, decent guy while dealing with all the politics. The Obama administration wants to have an independent Justice Department, unlike the one run by Alberto Gonzales. But the administration doesn’t want to put up a nice guy like Holder– at least not on his own —  to do battle  against a pack of hungry political wolves determined to seize on any political weakness.  But we can probably expect him to  speak out more and defend his actions. The New York Times has done a great job profiling Holder.

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj photo

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj photo

By Jodi Kantor and Charlie Savage
New York Times

WASHINGTON — Last winter, when Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called the United States a “nation of cowards” for avoiding frank conversations on race, President Obama mildly rebuked him in public.

Out of view, Mr. Obama’s aides did far more. Rahm Emanuel and Jim Messina, the White House chief and deputy chief of staff, proposed installing a minder alongside Mr. Holder to prevent further gaffes — someone with better “political antennae,” as one administration official put it.

When he heard of the proposal at a White House meeting, Mr. Holder fumed; soon after, he confronted his deputy, David W. Ogden, who knew of the plan but had not alerted his boss, according to several officials. Mr. Holder fought off the proposal, signaling that his job was about the law, not political messaging.

A year later, he is no longer so certain. His most important plan — to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, in federal court in Manhattan — collapsed before it even began, after support from the public and local officials withered.

Now Mr. Holder has switched from resisting what he had considered encroachment by White House political officials to seeking their guidance. Two weeks ago, he met with advisers there to discuss how to unite against common foes.

For Full story click here.

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