Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is in the middle of a tug of war about whether George Bush should name Louis Sullivan as secretary of health and human services. Sullivan has been quoted as saying he favors research using tissue from aborted fetuses.
Hatch met Tuesday with Sullivan and Bush's transition team - and more meetings were held Wednesday - but Hatch isn't talking about them."He isn't saying anything," said Hatch's press secretary, Paul Smith. "He is firm on this. He doesn't want to make a statement until everything is worked out."
Hatch is the ranking Republican on the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, which oversees HHS. He also is an outspoken conservative whose own anti-abortion views are well-known.
The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that Sullivan had a lengthy meeting on Tuesday where he was "grilled" by Hatch and Rep. Vin Weber, R-Minn.
Sullivan reportedly assured Hatch, Weber and transition team members that he shares Bush's view on abortion - that he opposes it except in case of rape or incest or when necessary to protect a mother's life.
He reportedly said quotes in the Atlanta Constitution and Journal did not accurately reflect his view on abortion, but said they did accurately portray his support of using tissue from aborted fetuses in research.
Sullivan also reportedly said that regardless of his own views, he would enforce policy set by the Bush administration.
Weber said after Tuesday's meeting that he was "largely satisfied."
Of Utah interest, former Utahn Richard Richards is still said to be on a "very short list" as possible secretary of interior. Some of his neighbors in McLean, Va., reported being contacted by the FBI.
When Richards was told of that on Wednesday, he said, "If the FBI is doing a background check on you, then the administration's getting pretty serious."