Let's Tell McCain, "No More Deals!"
blueoval at 1SMARTISP.NET
Sun May 29 21:15:03 MDT 2005
The New York Times
May 28, 2005
McCain Urging Accord on Bolton and Secret Documents
By DOUGLAS JEHL and CARL HULSE
WASHINGTON, May 27 - One of John R. Bolton's leading Republican
backers, Senator John McCain of Arizona, signaled his support on
Friday for a compromise in which the White House might allow
Senate leaders access to highly classified documents in return for
a final vote early next month on Mr. Bolton's nomination as United
The conciliatory signal from Mr. McCain came as Senate leaders
traded blame over who was responsible for the miscalculation that
led to Mr. Bolton's nomination being blocked Thursday. But the
White House showed no sign that the Bush administration might
"The Democrats who are clamoring for this have already voted
against John Bolton," Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman,
said in a telephone interview. "This is about partisan politics,
not documents. They have the information they need."
Appearing on the Fox News Channel, Mr. McCain reiterated his
support for Mr. Bolton. He also praised an argument made by, among
others, Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, who has
urged the administration to provide the Senate with more
information related to Mr. Bolton's conduct. Senators calling on
the administration to share the documents "have some substance to
their argument," Mr. McCain said.
"I think that we can resolve this over the recess and get this
thing done and get John Bolton to work," he said. "I'm sorry there
is going to be a delay."
Forty Democrats and one independent were able to delay a Senate
vote on Mr. Bolton until after the Memorial Day recess, demanding
that the White House first hand over information related to his
conduct in two areas, involving an intelligence dispute over Syria
and the handling of intelligence reports from the National
Mr. McCain was among 53 Republicans left stunned by the Democratic
move, which foiled a Republican-led effort to bring the nomination
to a final roll-call vote.
The senator had played host at a meeting on Monday night in which
seven Republicans struck a deal with seven Democrats in the Senate
to avert a showdown over filibusters of judicial nominations.
Three of those Democrats - Senators Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Ben
Nelson of Nebraska, and Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana - joined
Republicans in voting to end the debate on Mr. Bolton.
Mr. McCain's comments on Friday suggested that he might once again
see himself as playing a broker's role, though he did not say what
he believed a compromise might entail.
Only two of the 55 Republicans in the Senate have said they would
oppose Mr. Bolton, making it likely that he would win confirmation
in a roll-call vote.
Mr. Bolton's critics say he has a record of intimidating
subordinates and seeking to shape intelligence assessments to
reflect his own policy views, which should disqualify him from
serving as United Nations ambassador. His defenders say his
assertive manner would serve him well in confronting critics of
the United States at the United Nations.
A senior aide to Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority
leader, said Friday that Dr. Frist was told by Senator Harry Reid
of Nevada, his Democratic counterpart, on Wednesday that enough
Democrats would join Republicans to invoke "cloture," allowing a
final vote on Mr. Bolton.
The aide, who would speak only without being identified when
discussing conversations between the two leaders, also said Dr.
Frist had intervened with the administration to try to get an
intelligence briefing that would satisfy opponents of the
Jim Manley, a spokesman for Mr. Reid, said the Democratic leader
had not provided such specific guidance about a vote count
On Thursday afternoon, both sides agree, Mr. Reid and other
Democrats warned Republicans that critics of Mr. Bolton had made
headway and could potentially block a vote.
Republicans say it was then too late to pull back the nomination
vote, and the embarrassing defeat was the result. While Dr. Frist
was being criticized for his handling of the nomination, a fellow
Republican said the fault also lay with Mr. Reid.
"I think Harry Reid will probably tell you he was a little
surprised by this, too," said Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, a
former Republican majority leader. Suggesting that Mr. Reid was
undercut by the anti-Bolton efforts of other Democrats, Mr. Lott
said, "He is being shoved around now by some of his own troops."
The Democrats who led the opposition to Mr. Bolton sought to
persuade others that the administration's refusal to hand over the
intelligence information, related to Syria and National Security
Agency intelligence reports requested by Mr. Bolton, represented
an unacceptable challenge to Congressional powers.
When the prospect of a filibuster was first broached at a
lunchtime meeting on Tuesday, senior Democratic officials said,
Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and two others found
little appetite for the idea. Fellow Democrats dismissed the move
as being at odds with the spirit of the Monday night agreement on
The Congressional officials said three main factors ultimately
turned the tide in favor of Mr. Biden and his main ally, Senator
Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut. One was the decision on
Tuesday of Senator George V. Voinovich of Ohio, the sole
Republican to have opposed Mr. Bolton at that point, to campaign
actively against the nomination.
A second was a sign on Wednesday from another Republican, John
Thune of South Dakota, that he, too, might oppose Mr. Bolton. The
third factor, and perhaps the most important, Congressional
officials said, was the success of Mr. Biden and Mr. Dodd in
convincing fellow Democrats in dozens of phone calls that the vote
was not about Mr. Bolton but about standing up for the Senate and
its prerogatives against incursions by the executive branch.
Of the three Democrats who sided with Republicans on Thursday, two
of them, Senators Landrieu and Pryor, said through spokesmen on
Friday that they would vote against Mr. Bolton in any roll-call
vote. The third, Mr. Nelson, has said he was undecided but leaning
in Mr. Bolton's favor.
* Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
* Contact Us
* Back to Top
More information about the Rushtalk