Levin considered one of 10 best senators

Published 7:46 am Monday, April 24, 2006

By Staff
It shouldn't come as a shock to Michigan residents, but Time magazine's April 24 issue ranks Sen. Carl Levin among “America's 10 best” with John McCain and Jon Kyl of Arizona, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Dick Durbin of Illinois.
Levin, 71, a Democrat first elected in 1978, is characterized as “The Bird-Dogger” for his attention to detail, vast policy knowledge and a diligence even Republicans admire.
A subcommittee Levin led summoned Enron's board of directors for questioning about the company's accounting practices way back in 2002.
Later the following year Levin took on large accounting firms' illegal tax shelters.
In the wake of both scandals, Congress passed laws to prevent such abuses from occurring again.
Levin considers congressional hearings a critical part of his job.
He spends as much as 20 hours preparing for each one to be able to pin down witnesses.
He grilled Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
Before joining the world's most exclusive club, the Detroiter was a civil rights lawyer.
Levin opposed the Iraq war. As his party's top person on the Armed Services Committee, Levin has been a leading voice criticizing President Bush's conduct of the invasion, from not having enough troops initially to more recently not focusing enough on training Iraqis.
As a top Democratic Senate staff member told Time, “Nobody in the Democratic Caucus says anything on national-security issues without talking to Carl Levin.”