- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Some Senate Republicans are urging President Bush to put an end to Democrats’ attempts to scuttle the nomination of John R. Bolton to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations by giving him a recess appointment as soon as tomorrow.

Sen. Norm Coleman, Minnesota Republican, a supporter of Mr. Bolton, urged the president to circumvent the Senate and put his choice for U.N. ambassador in the job.

“I would hope that within a day of us getting out of here, the president will put him in place so we can begin to work on U.N. reform together,” said Mr. Coleman.

A recess appointment for Mr. Bolton, however, could sour relations between the White House and Senate at a time when the senators are preparing to take up the nomination of federal Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“No matter who the nominee is, it’s important for the White House to respect the role of the Senate,” said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat. “Advise and consent means exactly that, and no senator of either party should ever be a rubber stamp for a president’s nominee.”

A Republican senator, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he had expected the White House to make the recess appointment over the July 4th holiday weekend, “but things change.”

“In this business, you never know,” the Republican said. “But it was my understanding that [a recess appointment] was the intention of the White House.”

Mr. Bolton’s nomination has been held up in the Senate since March because of charges of poor treatment of subordinates and has become a rallying point for Democrats eager to hand Mr. Bush a political defeat.

Senate Democrats are demanding that the White House release classified information on Mr. Bolton, 56, but the administration has refused.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan has refused to shoot down speculation about a recess appointment. When asked this week, he said that “sometimes there comes a point where the president has needed to fill [a position] in a timely manner by recessing those nominees.”

Charlie Black, a top Republican strategist with close ties to the White House, said that Mr. Bush is “still angry” about the way Mr. Bolton has been treated and could use the recess appointment power when Congress recesses tomorrow.

“I think the odds are good the president would make the recess appointment,” Mr. Black said. “The guy’s got the votes, and they won’t let him have a vote.”

Sen. Mel Martinez, Florida Republican and the president’s first secretary of housing and urban development, said “it would be awful” if Mr. Bush didn’t give Mr. Bolton a recess appointment.

“I hung out there for 23 days, and it was a terribly long time, it seemed,” Mr. Martinez said of his own confirmation to the Cabinet. “I thought [Mr. Bolton] was the right person for the job all along, and I’m disappointed that we can’t get the votes for him.”

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, who has demanded the classified information about Mr. Bolton from the White House, said he has been in contact with the administration over the documents in the past week, but the impasse remains.

“They are still stumbling over the request,” Mr. Dodd said. “The president really needs to have somebody at the U.N. who can be a successful advocate for reform for the U.S. agenda, and I think John Bolton is going to have a very difficult time having any credibility when it comes to these questions.”

Charles Hurt and Joseph Curl contributed to this report.

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