LEBANON, Tenn. - Tennessee Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Phil Bredesen says he's "embarrassed by the circus" involving both Senate Democrats and Republicans in the confirmation battle over Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee.
"This process has devolved into pure partisan gamesmanship," Bredesen told Wilson County Bar Association members Wednesday. "I'm talking about both parties here, Democrats and Republicans."
Bredesen, a former governor who faces Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the Nov. 6 election to succeed Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, said GOP lawmakers "are running this thing through in a way that I don't think was the founders' intent."
But Democrats, he said, "have got people running for president who are acting as presidential candidates not U.S. senators in this process."
Republicans, who now have a 51-49 Senate majority, hope to confirm Kavanaugh prior to the November election. If that happens as Republicans plan, Bredesen wouldn't be voting on the confirmation.
Still, Bredesen said he does intend to weigh in on it prior, indicating he intends to review aspects of the testy Kavanaugh confirmation hearing as well as discuss the nominee with a "mutual friend."
Bredesen also noted that as governor he appointed some Republicans to judgeships, including Bill Koch to the Tennessee Supreme Court.
"I tried very hard to be non-political and tried to find good people from both sides of the aisle," said Bredesen, noting he would bring the same approach to reviewing judicial confirmations.
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden recently questioned Bredesen's silence on the Kavanaugh nomination.
In a statement regarding Bredesen's comments on Wednesday, Golden said "apparently Phil Bredesen is still looking for a lifeline on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. With Senate hearings over, Bredesen says he's still reviewing the hearings."
Last week, Blackburn called Kavanaugh a "strong constitutionalist with a proven track record of upholding the rule of law."
She said that "though [Senate Democratic Leader] Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats will do everything they can to stall Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation, I urge the Senate to consider his nomination expeditiously."