GOP lawyer Ginsberg condemns attack politics -- except when his own clients lead the charge

››› ››› GABE WILDAU

On CNN's Inside Politics and Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson, Republican lawyer Benjamin L. Ginsberg criticized "the left" for "hyping up the rhetoric" surrounding President Bush's choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. "[W]e hope that this nominee ... will not be tarred and feathered as nominees in the past have been by the left," Ginsberg added.

But Ginsberg's dislike for attack politics apparently doesn't extend to the conservative activist groups that pay him. During the 2004 presidential campaign, Ginsberg gave legal advice to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (now Swift Vets and POWs for Truth), the group whose vicious attacks on Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) military record were exposed as false by Media Matters for America and various mainstream news outlets. Ginsberg advised Swift Boat Veterans for Truth while serving as chief counsel to the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign.

CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux did not disclose Ginsberg's connections to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, but she did identify him as "legal adviser" to Progress for America, another Republican-aligned advocacy organization that specializes in attacking Democrats. During the 2004 presidential campaign, Progress for America spent millions on attack ads, including one ad that falsely labeled Kerry "the nation's most liberal senator with a 30-year record of supporting defense and intelligence cuts."

From the July 1 edition of CNN's Inside Politics:

GINSBERG: What we anticipate is that the president is going to go through a process in which he's going to judge the merits of the nominee. And he will pick somebody of the highest judicial qualities to fulfill that role. This is really a day to give praise and credit to Justice O'Connor and the remarkable career that she had and the impact that she made on this country. I'm not sure, Ralph [G. Neas, president of People for the American Way], it's the time to be hyping up the rhetoric already. Although it's true that if you go back and notice what the left and Ralph and his allies have done in the [Clarence] Thomas and [Robert] Bork nominations 11 years ago, that sort of rhetoric is part and parcel of it. And we hope that this nominee, who I'm confident is going to be of the highest judicial qualties, will not be tarred and feathered as nominees in the past have been by the left.

Ginsberg made similar remarks on the July 1 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson:

GINSBERG: I mean, one of the things that we know from looking at past judicial nomination processes, especially for the Supreme Court, is that whoever the nominee is will be tarred and feathered by the left. And already you see their rhetoric today sort of shaping up for that. And that's really kind of too bad, John, because I think this is kind of a day when we really ought to be singing the praises of Sandra Day O'Connor, who was really just a model for what a Supreme Court justice should be.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.