I found what McCain could not remember: a private, informal chat with conservative Republican lawyers shortly after he announced his candidacy in April 2007. I talked to two lawyers who were present whom I have known for years and who have never misled me. One is neutral in the presidential race, and the other recently endorsed Mitt Romney. Both said they were not Fund's source, and neither knew I was talking to the other. They gave me nearly identical accounts, as follows:Grow legs, story, grow legs!
"Wouldn't it be great if you get a chance to name somebody like Roberts and Alito?" one lawyer commented. McCain replied, "Well, certainly Roberts." Jaws were described as dropping. My sources cannot remember exactly what McCain said next, but their recollection is that he described Alito as too conservative.
All of which is a cheap excuse to revisit Robert Smigel's hilarious "Fun With Real Audio" segment from Saturday Night Live devoted to the now-Chief Justice John Roberts Senate confirmation hearings:
"I hesitate to opine ..." (QuickTime, 2:28)
* Feat. Jerry Harrison of Milwaukee, WI.