After three decades in Washington, Pete Rouse is a voice of experience for Sen. Barack Obama.---Sen. Barack Obama had hired Pete Rouse for just such a moment.
It was the fall of 2005, and the celebrated young senator -- still new to Capitol Hill but aware of his prospects for higher office -- was thinking about voting to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice. Talking with his aides, the Illinois Democrat expressed admiration for Roberts's intellect. Besides, Obama said, if he were president he wouldn't want his judicial nominees opposed simply on ideological grounds.
And then Rouse, his chief of staff, spoke up. This was no Harvard moot-court exercise, he said. If Obama voted for Roberts, Rouse told him, people would remind him of that every time the Supreme Court issued another conservative ruling, something that could cripple a future presidential run. Obama took it in. And when the roll was called, he voted no.Then again, even that may be a Rouse special. Durbin's chief of staff back when he was a congressman? Pete Rouse.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
"The Outsider's Insider"