-- The White House is expressing optimism in the week after President Obama announced Chief Judge Merrick Garland as his Supreme Court nominee, despite senators holding to their vow not to consider the pick.
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough in an interview on ABC News' "This Week" said he has seen "good forward momentum" with various GOP lawmakers agreeing to hold meetings with Garland.
"As you know, before we announced him people were saying they would not even dare to meet with him," McDonough said.
Despite some senators saying they are willing to meet with Garland, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has still expressed no willingness to budge on his declaration that the American people should have a say in choosing the nominee through the 2016 election.
And a massive public relations fight is already underway with conservative and liberal groups sparring over whether Garland should take former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's seat.
"I'm not surprised given what's happening in Washington these days to see that special interests are kind of pulling a lot of money into this thing," McDonough said. "And what we don't want to see happen is have these unelected special interests determine the fate of somebody who is a very patriotic man, someone who has dedicated his life to the protection of law in this country, have that determine the outcome of this."