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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Michele Norris.
President Bush today used the constitutional power of the recess appointment to name John Bolton as the United States ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton was first nominated to that job five months ago, sparking months of struggle in the Senate. With today's action, the president has bypassed the Senate. However, that means Bolton will serve only until the next Congress convenes in January 2007. NPR's Don Gonyea reports from the White House.
DON GONYEA reporting:
This announcements was not unexpected. President Bush has been angered by senators who have denied the Bolton nomination an up-or-down vote. The White House failed twice in efforts to get the 60 votes needed under Senate rules to end a filibuster, making the recess appointment Bolton's only chance. And so with the embattled nominee standing to his right, the president sounded a defiant tone when he made the announcement this morning.
President GEORGE W. BUSH: The United States Senate held thorough confirmation hearings, and a majority of United States senators agree that he is the right man for the job. Yet because of partisan delaying tactics by a handful of senators, John was unfairly denied the up-or-down vote that he deserves.
GONYEA: The president did not mention that the committee hearings sent Bolton to the floor of the Senate without a recommendation or that more than 40 senators had opposed bringing the nomination to a vote or that the White House had refused to provide Bolton-related documents that Democrats demanded. The president said he had full confidence in his new UN ambassador. Bolton, in very brief remarks, said he was humbled.
Bolton has been a strong critic of the United Nations, openly questioning its usefulness. But his opponents also attacked him for reports that he bullied lower-level employees at the State Department and that he misused intelligence reports to pursue his own policy goals. The contentious confirmation hearings reached a dramatic peak when a key Republican, Senator George Voinovich of Ohio, unexpectedly announced that he could not support the nominee. This is from May 12th.
(Soundbite of May 12th announcement)
Senator GEORGE VOINOVICH (Republican, Ohio): This is not the behavior that should be endorsed as the face of the United States to the world community in the United Nations. Rather, Mr. Chairman, it is my opinion that John Bolton is the poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be.
GONYEA: In a statement today, Voinovich said he was disappointed by the president's decision. Democratic leader Senator Harry Reid issued a statement saying that Bolton goes to the UN with a cloud hanging over his head. The White House today said again that Bolton is the right person to go to the United Nations and press for its reform.
In New York City, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was asked about the appointment and the controversy, and said simply he will work with Bolton as the representative of the United States government. Asked if he worries that Bolton will be abrasive and will try to force reforms upon the UN, Annan replied...
Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN (United Nations): I think it is all right for one ambassador to come and push. But an ambassador always has to remember that there are 190 others who will have to be convinced, or a vast majority of them, for action to take place.
GONYEA: Bolton was sworn in at the State Department this afternoon and had plans to start work in New York immediately. Don Gonyea, NPR News, the White House.
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