This is a continuation of our earlier post, in which we kicked off our liveblogging of the Monica Goodling testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.
11:00: Some friendly questioning from Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Ranking Republican Member of the Judiciary Committee. We once sat next to him at a dinner party; he’s a very nice man.
11:05: Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) is a style nightmare. White blazer, red tank-toppy-looking blouse. Congresswoman Sanchez: this is the United States Congress, not a July 4th booze cruise.
11:07: In terms of her demeanor, Goodling is not going down the diva route. She’s very polite and helpful, interspersing her remarks with self-effacing or nervous smiles. It seems that she’s trying to be as forthcoming as possible as a witness.
Discussion resumes after the jump.
Not surprisingly, ATL readers have very divergent reactions to Goodling’s testimony. Here are some comments from the last thread that provide food for thought:
1. “I wanted to hate Lat’s right wing diva, I really really did. But after watching her opening statement on CNN, I can say only that she is strikingly attractive, polished, and poised. Impressive performance so far.”
2. “She does not sound very polished or mature, so far. It’s not just the pitch of her voice — it’s the speaking style and pattern. That said, not sounding overly sophisticated, she might be able to garner some sympathy here — she’s not sounding harsh, arrogant, shrill or defensive (yet). But she also isn’t sounding especially authoritative.”
3. “So Lat, does her ‘quiet person’ comment un-Diva her, or is she merely a greater, sneakier Diva for it?”
11:15: After brief (and friendly) questioning from Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT), who points out Goodling’s impressive work ethic (sending out emails at 2 AM — sometimes a bad idea), we’re back to Rep. Sanchez. (A fellow Democrat yielded his time to the gentlelady from California.)
11:21: Monica Goodling owns up to taking political considerations into account when filling some career spots in U.S. Attorney’s Offices. She is not running away from her past deeds — good for her.
(In this sense, she is arguably more upstanding than her former boss, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. AG Gonzales keeps saying that he “accepts final responsibility” for missteps in the U.S. Attorneys imbroglio; but he declines to accept responsibility for specific decisions or actions. Goodling, in contrast, DOES take ownership of particular acts of hers.)
11:26: Questioning from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who is like a “Mini-Me” or “wannabe” Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Nadler asks Goodling for the basis of her initial invocation of the Fifth Amendment privilege. She cites DAG Paul McNulty’s comments about her allegedly inadequate briefing of him. She states that in her view, McNulty “wasn’t fully candid” in his testimony on Capitol Hill.
11:29: Monica Goodling describes friction between her and a female DOJ colleague as “a case of two type-A women.” Delicious!!!
See, people — MMG IS a diva!!! Just because Goodling is now presenting herself in a polite and self-effacing manner does NOT erase her past record of diva-hood.
Peremptorily firing uppity interns? Blocking the hiring of your political opponents? Making saucy and dismissive remarks about job applicants you view as too liberal? That makes for a diva in our book.
11:35: Goodling describes the aspect of her job as White House liaison that involved “morale boosting.” She hooked up Justice Department employees with tickets to events like Marine One landings at the White House. (She gets a little giddy at this point, making herself sound like the DOJ “cruise director.”)
11:39: Rep. Bobby Scott tries to get Goodling to admit that she broke the law by taking political considerations into account when hiring career DOJ officials. Goodling repeatedly declines to take the bait. But she finally admits: “I know I crossed the line… the line of the civil service rules…”
11:44: Goodling is getting much more into the nitty-gritty of the deliberations than the other DOJ officials have — specific meetings, emails, and reasons for viewing specific U.S. attorneys as problematic. Good for her. (But then again, she’s the only one who has been immunized.)
11:46: Goodling has classic features and a fine-boned beauty. She reminds us of Kerry Butler, the Broadway actress. And we agree with the reader who described her as “strikingly attractive, polished, and poised.”
But we also agree with the commenter who described Goodling as a sympathetic witness. She is testifying in a full and forthcoming manner; she seems to be winning over even some of the Democrats. They definitely aren’t going after her as hard as they went after other DOJ officials (including Gonzales himself).
11:53: John Dowd has done a superb job of preparing his client. Monica Goodling comes across as honest and smart, and she remembers far more about these events than past DOJ witnesses. So far, this hearing is going VERY well for her.
11:54: Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) agrees with our assessment: “You have acquited yourself very well here.” He notes that there haven’t been that many shutter clicks from the paparazzi, because they tend to photograph witnesses during “gotcha” moments — and so far there haven’t been any.
Update (12:05 PM): Five minute recess. When we resume, we’ll do so in a fresh post.