Senior Administration Official Guessing Game Results: The Alito Nomination Players
Here is the first wave of responses to the inaugural installment of the Senior Administration Official Guessing Game. We wanted to know: Who was the administration official who tattled to the Times about the White House's successful "pitch Alito as boring but levelheaded" strategy?
One of you immediately guessed, "Karl Rove!" But, contrary to general belief, Rove is not behind everything that happens in this town.
More guesses -- including what appears to be a very informed one -- after the jump.
Samuel Alito himself -- okay, not the newly confirmed justice, but just the author of the Samuel Alito Blog -- wrote in to say:
The administration official who spoke to David Kirkpatrick was Rachel Brand (see right). I have two reasons to support this:
(1) She was the only one who laughed at my lame joke. Not that she thought it was funny; she knew I was winning.
(2) She is attractive and you can speculate about her sex life. Perfect for Wonkette.
Okay, we're getting warmer. But it probably wasn't the lovely and high-powered Ms. Brand, for reasons set forth below. A Pentagon-based Wonkette reader offers this very impressive response:
1. Source was DoJ, not White House. Anyone working for the Exec Office of the Pres would be referred to as a "White House Official," not an "administration official."
2. The quote was not from a "senior administration official," but merely an "administration official," so I'll assume the source holds a position which does not require Senate confirmation. This takes out of running the very attractive Rachel Brand, who, as an Assistant AG, would be a "senior administration official"
3. The source has to be in a position with access to WH and DoJ political strategists, so it would not be any of the lawyers from the Legal Policy or Civil Rights, who would be more focused on the substance of testimony prep and not the images and style.
4. This leaves four likely candidates: Kyle Sampson, chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; Raul Yanes, senior counsel to the attorney general; Jamie Brown, Office of Professional Responsibility, former special assistant to President Bush, Legislative Affairs; and Elisebeth Cook, Office of the Attorney General.
Now I just have to guess -- so I'll pick Elisebeth Cook, who since she was not ID'ed in the National Law Journal with a portfolio at DoJ, could well be the AG's media/press special assistant.
Not bad! This sounds pretty good to us. But if you have contrary intelligence, please drop us a line.
Correction: Elisebeth Collins Cook is actually an attorney with the Office of Legal Policy, as opposed to the Office of the Attorney General. Thus, under the reasoning set forth above, she probably was not Kirkpatrick's source; we are left to guess between Sampson, Yanes, and Brown.
Also, we didn't receive any guesses for the second item in our guessing game: the Democratic staffer who -- quite presciently, as it turns out -- told James Flug that the Vanguard issue was a non-starter. C'mon, people, you can do better!