After ‘Considerable Thought,’ Specter Supports Holder

By Theresa Cook

Jan 27, 2009 6:00pm

ABC News’ Ariane de Vogue reports:  Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has decided to publicly express his support for Attorney General-designate Eric Holder in advance of the committee vote Wednesday to give his Republican colleagues "some notice as to my thinking on the subject."

In a press conference today, Specter said that after "considerable thought" and "analyzing a lot of factors," he decided to support Holder despite concerns about some of the actions Holder took as deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration.

In particular, Specter took issue with Holder’s role in the controversial Clinton pardon of financial fugitive Marc Rich in 2001. Holder had made a recommendation, "neutral-leaning-positive" to the White House, going against the recommendation of the Department of Justice’s pardon attorney.

"Mr. Holder was candid in conceding, with respect to the Rich pardon, that he made a mistake," said Specter.

Specter added he also met with Holder privately and discussed the concern of some of his Republican colleagues that Holder should publicly address whether he would prosecute military or intelligence officials who had engaged in enhanced interrogation practices against detainees.

"I do think that President Obama has the right approach when he said that it is preferable not to look backwards but to look forwards," Specter said. "If every administration started to re-examine what every prior administration did, there would be no end to it.  This is not Latin America."

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