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Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Being political without the politics

Is Sen. Schumer exploiting the U.S. attorney firings for political gain?

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- There is a debate within the debate over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. It's not about the firings, but over who's politicizing what? And in Washington, everyone wants to be seen as above politics.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, had this to say about politicizing issues, "On issue after issue, not just the U.S. Attorneys but the NSA situation, the national security letters, the overruling of the Civil Rights Division, politics seems to take precedence over the rule of law."

The Republicans' response to these accusations? It's the Democrats who are politicizing things. President Bush said, "[The] initial response by Democrats, unfortunately, shows some appear more interested in scoring political points than in learning the facts." (Related video: Sen. Arlen Specter on Schumer)

Who's winning the debate? Slate's Chief Political Correspondent John Dickerson thinks it's the Democrats.

"The political upper hand is with the Democrats," he said. "The president and the White House are protecting a principle. Democrats, on the other hand, have these eight former U.S. Attorneys who are saying we were run out of office for political reasons and the Democrats are going after Karl Rove, who is a figure not unknown to people and one who has a spotty history. For the moment it's with the Democrats."

Democrats need to be wary of doing anything that would encourage voters to echo the view expressed by Karl Rove.

"This, to my mind, is a lot of politics," Rove said. Because if voters conclude, it's just politics that means they don't take it seriously.

-- CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider
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