President Touts 'Blunt' Bolton for U.N. Post

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Sammon, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Bush last night strongly defended John R. Bolton, his nominee to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and even likened the no-nonsense diplomat to himself.

"John Bolton is a blunt guy; sometimes, people say I'm a little too blunt," Mr. Bush said in an hourlong, prime-time press conference in the East Room of the White House.

The president described Mr. Bolton as a tough-nosed reformer who will be able to shake up the scandal-plagued world body.

"It makes sense to put somebody who's skilled and who's not afraid to speak his mind at the United Nations," he said.

Mr. Bush also sought to dispel the notion that Mr. Bolton is dedicated to the demise of the world body. He recalled that he asked the nominee in the Oval Office whether he considered the United Nations "important."

"See, I didn't want to send somebody up there who said: 'Well, that's not worth a darn; I don't think I need to go,'" Mr. Bush said. "He said: 'No, it's important, but it needs to be reformed.'"

The president brushed aside questions about Mr. Bolton's temperament, which critics call abrasive.

"John Bolton has been asked the questions about how he handles his business by members of the United States Senate," he said. "He's been asked a lot of questions, and he's given very good answers."

Mr. Bush also disagreed with a recent statement by Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, that judicial filibusters are an attack on people of faith.

"I just don't agree with it. ... I think people are opposing my nominees because they don't like the judicial philosophy of the people I've nominated. I mean, some would like to see judges legislate from the bench. That's not my view of the proper role of a judge," he said.

"Faith plays an important part in my life individually," the president added. "But I don't ascribe a person's opposing my nominations to an issue of faith."

Regardless of their motives, Mr. Bush called on Senate Democrats to abandon plans to filibuster his judicial nominees. …