Giddy CNN Swoons Democrats Are Giving ‘Testier’ Gorsuch ‘A Run for His Money’

During the second break in day two of Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing Tuesday afternoon, CNN detected some wind in their sails as they swooned and congratulated their Democratic allies for supposedly giving the “testy” Gorsuch “a little bit more of a run for his money.”

CNN found nothing to object to in the first break around lunchtime, so it was inevitable that they would concoct some sort of liberal spin to give Senate Democrats a boost.

CNN Supreme Court analyst Joan Biskupic could barely contain her enthusiasm, gleefully hyping that Gorsuch was “getting a little testier” and praised “Senators Durbin, Whitehouse, and Klobuchar” (all Democrats, of course) for “mixing it up” with Gorsuch.

“He seemed defensive about a couple of things. He did just fine, but you could feel that it was no longer — he was sweating on a couple points they were raising because they were able to come back with further questions,” Biskupic proclaimed as if she were taking her cues from Chuck Schumer.

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Ignoring the fact that liberal groups circled the wagons and ginned up the base for Merrick Garland and Justices Kagan and Sotomayor, Biskupic touted Whitehouse’s backroom vision of groups supporting Gorsuch as shady:

For example, Senator Whitehouse made the point that you keeping saying that you’re completely divorced from politics. He made the point about various interest groups that are supporting million dollar campaigns. You know, for better or worse, I mean, this is all standard stuff, in many — many nomination battles. 

“But it's the kind of thing he really didn't want to answer, he didn’t want to be pressed on certain precedent and I think that these Democrats, for this second round, gave him a little bit more of a run for his money,” she concluded.

Chief political analyst Gloria Borger took a similar line, giving kudos to Democratic Senator Dick Durbin (Ill.):

I think he got, you know, a little testy with Senator Durbin on the gender bias issue because there was a question of whether in teaching a class, he had raised the issue of maternity leave in the wrong way and he got really testy when Durbin seemed to be impugning him on that particular issue and you got to see the other side of the sort of Jimmy Stewart-like judge and I don't think that hurt him at all, by the way...I think he came out of that exchange just fine but it was a very kind of human moment because it was very clear that Durbin wanted to get under his skin to a degree and he did.  

What’s particularly rich about all this was how, surprisingly, chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin didn’t engage in this chicanery. Toobin spoke first to Wolf Blitzer when the break began, observing that Gorsuch is “doing well” and “knows more constitutional law than anyone who’s asking him these questions.”

“There have been some interesting exchanges. I just think he’s — obviously — he's got some charm. He’s got a lot of intelligence and he's doing fine,” Toobin added.

Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from the second break in the Gorsuch hearing on March 21:

CNN Newsroom
March 21, 2017
3:22 p.m. Eastern

JEFFREY TOOBIN: He's doing well. He knows more constitutional law than anyone who’s asking him these questions. I think, picture, you have to think there are 52 Republican senators here. Is there anything that would cost him the support of any of those Republican senators? Not even close. There have been some interesting exchanges. I just think he’s — obviously — he's got some charm. He’s got a lot of intelligence and he's doing fine. 

WOLF BLITZER: And the American Bar Association says he's qualified. He clearly is showing that qualification —

TOOBIN: Highly. They said he's highly qualified. 

BLITZER: — highly qualified. Joan, how do you think he’s doing? 

JOAN BISKUPIC: Well, I think it's getting a little testier. I don’t think he’s risking anything, but certainly questioning under Senators Durbin, Whitehouse, and Klobuchar, you know, he was mixing it up. He seemed defensive about a couple of things. He did just fine, but you could feel that it was no longer — he was sweating on a couple points they were raising because they were able to come back with further questions. For example, Senator Whitehouse made the point that you keeping saying that you’re completely divorced from politics. He made the point about various interest groups that are supporting million dollar campaigns. You know, for better or worse, I mean, this is all standard stuff, in many — many nomination battles. But it's the kind of thing he really didn't want to answer, he didn’t want to be pressed on certain precedent and I think that these Democrats, for this second round, gave him a little bit more of a run for his money.

(....)

3:25 p.m. Eastern

GLORIA BORGER: I think he got, you know, a little testy with Senator Durbin on the gender bias issue because there was a question of whether in teaching a class, he had raised the issue of maternity leave in the wrong way and he got really testy when Durbin seemed to be impugning him on that particular issue and you got to see the other side of the sort of Jimmy Stewart-like judge and I don't think that hurt him at all, by the way.

BLITZER: I think he came out of that exchange fine.

BORGER: I think he came out of that exchange just fine but it was a very kind of human moment because it was very clear that Durbin wanted to get under his skin to a degree and he did.  

NBDaily Appointments Judiciary Gorsuch Nomination Covert Liberal Activists Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CNN CNN Newsroom Video Government & Press U.S. Supreme Court Gloria Borger Neil Gorsuch Dick Durbin Sheldon Whitehouse Amy Klobuchar
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