U.S. Attorney General Speaks to UMaine Crowd 

Catherine Pegram

Hundreds of people welcomed the U.S. Attorney General to Maine Friday.Eric Holder visited the University of Maine to talk about the role of law in protecting the country against terrorists.He says he deals with the threat of terrorism every day. “Protecting this nation is my number one priority as Attorney General. It keeps me awake late at night and it gets me up very early every morning.”Holder was a guest speaker in Orono, invited by former Secretary of Defense William Cohen as part of Cohen’s on-going lecture series.He focused on the rule of law and how it can’t be abandoned as it was in the early days of the war on terrorism.”We cannot, we need not, and we will not sacrifice our core values in order to ensure our safety.”The Attorney General and former Senator also took audience questions on topics from gay rights.”We will take the necessary steps to repeal DOMA and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Holder says. To the consideration of Cohen as a vice presidential candidate. “He had one problem though. He was John McCain’s best man at his wedding.”The audience shared other laughs about both men’s school basketball careers.”Even though he is younger and taller, I think he’d met his match if he were ever bold enough to take on a sharp shooter who was once known as Bangor Billy.”Holder says speaking opportunities like this are the responsibility of public servants. “You learn things from people in finding out what’s on the minds of American people we serve. You can get very insolated in Washington.”Despite the challenges, Holder says he’s confident the country will be ready to respond to terrorist threats “and proud of the matter in which we defend the nation we all love.”