By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and CARL HULSE
Published: July 6, 2005
WASHINGTON, July 5 - The White House and the Senate Republican leadership are pushing back against pressure from some of their conservative allies about the coming Supreme Court nomination, urging them to stop attacking Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales as a potential nominee and to tone down their talk of a culture war.
In a series of conference calls on Tuesday and over the last several days, Republican Senate aides encouraged conservative groups to avoid emphasizing the searing cultural issues that social conservatives see at the heart of the court fight, subjects like abortion, public support for religion and same-sex marriage, participants said.
Instead, these participants, who insisted on anonymity to avoid exclusion from future calls, said the aides - including Barbara Ledeen of the Senate Republican Conference and Eric Ueland, chief of staff to Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader - emphasized themes that had been tested in polls, including a need for a fair and dignified confirmation process.
Mr. Ueland acknowledged that he and others had been working almost since the vacancy occurred last Friday with Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's resignation to persuade conservative activists to steer clear of divisive language.