Heckuva Job, Donnie

As White House Spins, Liberals Vent Over Solicitor General


White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday the president was “pleased” with the performance of Solicitor Gen. Donald Verrilli Jr., who argued for the Affordable Care Act this week before the Supreme Court:

REPORTER: Just one on health care. I know your colleague got a lot of questions about this yesterday, but I’m wondering now that the arguments are done, can you enlighten us at all about how the president thinks the arguments went?

JAY CARNEY:  The president is pleased with the presentation made by Don Verrilli, the Solicitor General, and his team. The President believes that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. He agrees with the opinions of conservative judges who have said the same thing about the Affordable Care Act, that it’s constitutional.

The solicitor general struggled to get through his opening remarks Tuesday, and had difficulties when questioned by the conservative justices on the court.

The president was nearly alone on the left in his praise for Verrilli.

CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin called the arguments a “train wreck for the administration” and said Verrilli was “awful.”

The New Yorker’s Alex Koppelman compared Verrilli to Billy Cundiff, the Baltimore Ravens placekicker who missed a potentially game tying, 32-yard field goal in the AFC championship game this year.

This was not the only sports analogy. The Huffington Post‘s Jason Linkins compared him to beleaguered Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee, while Joe Scarborough said Verrilli was like “the Bill Buckner of the American left” on “Morning Joe” Wednesday. During that same segment, Mike Barnicle said the administration should have sent Joe Pesci’s character from My Cousin Vinny instead.

Mother Jones’ Adam Serwer called Verrilli’s performance “abysmal” and the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein noted the exact point at which the liberal justices on the court stepped in to help Verrilli:

And, most brutally, during a Wednesday panel on “Now with Alex Wagner,” HD Net reporter Brooks Silva-Braga compared Verrilli to a fifth-grader.

“If you’ve ever been to a fifth grade play and looked into the eyes of a kid who is not sure if he’s going to remember his lines, that’s what Donald Verrilli looked like yesterday,” Silva-Braga said.