Eric Holder Lame-Duck Fight? White House Points to McConnell Precedent

Earnest offered to the 2006 lame-duck confirmation of Robert Gates, supported then by McConnell, as precedent for confirming Holder's successor.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest is citing Sen. Mitch McConnell's support for the lame-duck confirmation of then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2006 as precedent for a quick confirmation of a replacement for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.  

Earnest made the reference Friday at the his daily briefing, although he did not lay out a timetable for the president to make his decision.  

He noted unprompted that the Gates nomination came the day after midterm elections with Democrats winning control of the chamber, and McConnell, R-Ky., did not propose waiting until the new Democratic Senate took over before holding a vote.  

Gates, however, won overwhelming support — a 95-2 vote — and a delay would not have affected the outcome.  

Earnest also noted the swift confirmation of Michael Mukasey as attorney general in 2007 by a Senate of the other party.  

The Mukasey vote was narrow — 53-40.  

The White House hopes for quick consideration under either scenario.  

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