After reading this very public promise by Senator Specter to support President Bush's nominees, I'm entirely comfortable allowing him to take the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

To resolve any concern that I would block pro-life judicial nominees, take a look at my record. I have consistently opposed any litmus test. I have backed that up by voting to confirm pro-life nominees including Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Justice Anthony Kennedy. I led the fight to confirm Justice Clarence Thomas, which almost cost me my Senate seat in 1992.

I have voted for all of President Bush's judicial nominees in committee and on the floor.

The current controversy was artificially created by incorrect reporting. I never "warned" the president on anything--and especially not that I'd block pro-life nominees.

Brian Wilson, a reporter for Fox News, said: "I looked at the tape very closely. . . . Senator Specter was the victim of some spin on the part of some reporters who took some comments and were looking for a kind of a good headline out of it."

Similarly, Rush Limbaugh refused to join the critics, saying: "This Specter story . . . may be a story about the media again . . . apparently, just from the looks of this, it may be that some words were put in his mouth that he didn't say."

The Rev. Pat Robertson has also seen through the media spin, stating on Nov. 8 that "I am not worried about Arlen Specter, and I think he'll be fine."

I'll call up Messrs. Bush and Frist right now to withdraw my objection.

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