10 Unsuccessful Senate Confirmations


Theodore Sorensen

Theodore Sorensen during happier times, with John Kennedy.
Theodore Sorensen during happier times, with John Kennedy.
Paul Schutzer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

When President Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976, the Director of Central Intelligence, a man named George H.W. Bush (who would later become the 41st president of the United States) resigned his position. To replace Bush, Carter chose former Kennedy speechwriter Theodore Sorensen. This relationship was great for establishing political connections, but not necessarily for the experience that a qualified CIA director should possess.

To make matters worse, Sorensen helped sabotage his own nomination when he hinted to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (which provides legislative oversight of the CIA and holds confirmation hearings for top CIA officials), that he didn't take the member senators very seriously. When asked to appear before the committee prior to the hearing, Sorensen responded, "I'm pretty busy. I don't think I have the time" [source: Sinder]. Faced with the ire of the Senate committee, he withdrew his nomination shortly thereafter.