- The Washington Times - Friday, November 10, 2006

President Bush yesterday renominated John R. Bolton in a power play designed to force the U.N. ambassador through the Senate before Republicans lose control at the end of this year.

The nomination comes as Mr. Bush has spent the past two days talking about striking a bipartisan chord on domestic policies and suggests that, even with Democrats in control of the Capitol, the president will assert his constitutional role in foreign policy.

White House officials said Mr. Bolton, who is currently serving as a temporary recess appointment, deserves Senate approval.

“I would hope that people would step back, take a look at John’s record up there, and reach the judgment that the president’s reached, that he does a terrific job,” said National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley.

Democrats last year blocked Mr. Bolton’s nomination with a filibuster, forcing Mr. Bush to use his recess-appointment power. That appointment expires as the new Congress takes over under Democratic control next year.

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is in line to become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Mr. Bolton still can’t win confirmation and that it’s a waste of time for the committee to take up his nomination.

The Delaware Democrat said his party blocked Mr. Bolton last year because the administration wouldn’t let them see intelligence documents the Democrats believe would prove Mr. Bolton led a retribution effort against a State Department employee.

“Unless the administration provides the Senate with the documents it is entitled to see, Mr. Bolton should not get a vote,” Mr. Biden said.

Republicans have to overcome more than just Democrat objections. Sen. Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island Republican, who lost his bid for re-election, had opposed Mr. Bolton. As a member of the committee, he could keep the nomination bottled up and never let it get to the floor.

Asked whether the White House would pressure Mr. Chafee to change his mind, Mr. Hadley suggested a slightly softer strategy.

“You say pressure, I would say explain and persuade,” he said.

He said Mr. Bolton has been instrumental in winning U.N. resolutions on North Korea’s nuclear program and missile tests and that it would be a mistake to replace him.

One Senate aide familiar with Republican leaders’ thinking said if they can get over Republican objections and are left solely with Democrats’ opposition, they will probably try to force Democrats into a filibuster.

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said it’s too early to talk about whether the White House might give Mr. Bolton another recess appointment, should his nomination fail again.

In two different votes last year, Mr. Bolton fell four votes and six votes shy of the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.

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