McCain's Answer

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McCain's answer

Bob Schieffer, host of CBS' "Face the Nation," asked Sen. John McCain yesterday if he thinks President Bush's Social Security private accounts plan is dead.

Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican who finished second to Mr. Bush in the party's presidential contest five years ago, replied: "Well, I think, first of all, to underestimate the tenacity of this president and his ability to get something done is a mistake that a lot of people have made. In fact, you might even say that I made that mistake myself in the year 2000."

Dodd's charge

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, yesterday charged that President Bush's nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations tried to intimidate intelligence analysts whose views differed from his own.

Citing "very credible" information to be presented this week at a Senate hearing on John R. Bolton's nomination, Mr. Dodd said Mr. Bolton attempted to have two intelligence analysts dismissed from their jobs because their analyses on Cuba contradicted his own position.

"If in fact he tried to have people dismissed because he did not like the analysis, then I don't think he's qualified to serve," Mr. Dodd said on ABC's "This Week."

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee plans to begin hearings on Mr. Bolton today.

Defending Bolton

"Full disclosure (OK, partial disclosure - let's not get carried away with media ethics breast-beating): John Bolton has been an occasional contributor to this magazine," William Kristol writes in an editorial in the Weekly Standard.

"He served in the late 1990s as a director of the Project for the New American Century, which I chair. And he is a friend," Mr. Kristol said.

"More than all that, though, he is an exceptional choice to serve as our next U.N. ambassador. He should be confirmed quickly and easily by the Senate. He has, after all, been confirmed for high government positions four times before. He has served in those posts with distinction during three administrations, untainted by a hint of scandal or a murmur of corner-cutting. He has been an exemplary public servant.

"He also, as it happens, supports President Bush's policies, and as undersecretary of state worked hard to advance them in the first term. So the Democratic Party, led by George Soros and the New York Times, thinks he shouldn't be permitted to continue to serve President Bush.

"Despite Soros' millions and the Times' resources, the assault on Bolton has been pathetic. What does it amount to? He's a longtime U.N. skeptic - appropriate, one would think, given the U.N.'s 'Zionism is Racism' history during the Cold War, and its ineffectiveness (to be kind) in Rwanda in the '90s and in Sudan in this decade. But he's worse than a skeptic, the critics say: He has been disrespectful of the august body in which he will represent us. Why, he once joked, 'The Secretariat Building in New York has 38 stories. If it lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference.' Well, truer words were never spoken."

Ginsberg's polemics

"[U.S. Supreme Court Justice] Ruth Bader Ginsberg gave a speech defending the Supreme Court's use of foreign law in interpreting the U.S. Constitution," National Review notes in an editorial.

" 'The notion that it is improper to look beyond the borders of the United States in grappling with hard questions has a certain kinship to the view that the U.S. Constitution is a document essentially frozen in time as of the date of its ratification,' she said. And she's right: Both of the notions are caricatures of conservative propositions that are rooted in a concern for self-government," the magazine said. …