Transcript: Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen

E.J. DIONNE, "WASHINGTON POST": I think Elena Kagan who is solicitor general has a couple of advantages. One is she's been vetted and confirmed. Seven Republicans have already voted for Elena Kagan when she came up and she's someone who is on the liberal or progressive side but showed up at Harvard when she was dean that she could work with conservatives and I think Obama wants somebody who could persuade people on that court the way Justice Brennan did but I'm so glad that George raised the Dred Scott case which surprised me because that is a clear example of conservative judicial activism gone wild and I think that is precisely what the issue here is going to be in this debate. And I think it's totally legitimate for the Republicans to make a philosophical argument here. I hope we have that argument.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you know, you're right. What they're arguing is that the Senate Democrats and President Obama actually gave up the idea that the Senate should just approve someone if they have the qualifications and temperament back in 2005 when opposed Roberts and Alito. And George, I do think that means that David is probably right. That we're likely to see a big fight no matter who President Obama appoints even though not only Elena Kagan got support from Republicans but both Judge Sotomayor and Judge Wood when they were raised to the Appeals Court received overwhelming support from both parties.

WILL: You'll see a big argument, but it is a foregone conclusion that will lack comic relief because Joe Biden is no longer on the Judiciary Committee and can't ask as he did of Alito an eight and a half-minute question, but I don't -- everyone knows that whoever he picks, unless they haven't paid their baby-sitter taxes is going to be confirmed.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's right. And the question is, what is -- what points do the conservatives make in this debate?

BROOKS: Right, well, I think -- say it's Sotomayor to take an example. But there are lots of cases that will follow this model. They hit that New Haven firefighters case and the to these guy, one of them had dyslexia, studied hard, passed the test, it's unfair. That is a very principled argument that Republican are going to make. In so doing probably alienating large parts of the minority population, especially the Hispanic population in this country. And that is the weakness he will exploit.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That is another argument in favor of Sotomayor, is the first Latina. Hispanics are the fastest-growing voter group in the country.

BRAZILE: Grew up in public housing -- you know, a graduate of some of the best schools in the country.

As someone who has not only taken on affirmative action but so many other important issues that this country will face, I think she would make an excellent choice.

But, you know, the conservatives, at this point, need arguments. They want -- they want to fight. They want to raise money. They want to rally their base. And I don't see them making a big intellectual argument against any of these candidates, except that they might find some issue to go out there and throw red meat at their party's disgruntled base.

DIONNE: You know, and I think they've got a problem, which is they do need to make a principled argument. They do need to rally their base. The voters they've been losing ground among are middle- of-the-road young, suburban voters. They don't want a hard-right Republican Party.

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