By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
Conservative activists, eager for Republican senators to step up opposition to President Obama's eventual pick to replace retiring Justice David Souter, are offering to boost donations to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "Interest in giving to NRSC by big-dollar conservatives is on the rise because of the Supreme Court fight," says a conservative leader involved in the effort. One example he cited was a commitment for $200,000 made during a 45-minute breakfast meeting of conservative court-watchers this week. "This issue dominated the discussion," the source said on background. Meanwhile, groups looking to challenge the president have raised $1.2 million "in case there needs to be a fight. That's on top of the few million raised in the months leading up to this vacancy," added the source, explaining that several court-watchers expected the Souter retirement and worked early to prepare for a fight. Other sources said that the money may be used for research on the eventual nominee and efforts to push the information to the press. Said one conservative involved: "Press reports are dripping with praise fed by the White House. There are lots of distortions. It's time for us to take off the gloves and disclose the not-so-pretty." In fact, one conservative group is working on a video that looks at the people thought to be under consideration for the seat on the court. "It's a hard-hitting video that looks at the public record and judicial philosophy of Obama front-runners for the court," said an insider.