Video: Bolton's future

updated 7/31/2005 7:56:38 PM ET 2005-07-31T23:56:38

Anticipating President Bush soon will appoint John Bolton as U.N. ambassador, a leading Democrat said Sunday that Bolton would go without the confidence of Congress.

“He’s damaged goods. This is a person who lacks credibility,” said Sen. Christopher Dodd, a senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He said Bush should think again before using a recess appointment to place Bolton at the United Nations while the Senate is on its traditional August break.

“That’s not what you want to send up, a person who doesn’t have the confidence of the Congress and so many people who’ve urged that he not be sent up to do that job,” said Dodd, D-Conn., on “Fox News Sunday.”

As Bush left church on Sunday, a reporter shouted a question, asking whether the president would be appointing Bolton. Bush smiled and refrained from answering.

Two administration officials said on Friday that the president would appoint Bolton before leaving on Tuesday to spend August at his Texas ranch. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Bush had yet to made the announcement.

Under the Constitution, the president may issue an appointment and bypass Senate confirmation when it is in recess. Such an appointment ends when the next session of Congress begins — January 2007, in this case.

Senate Democrats have led the effort to hold up a confirmation vote for Bolton, citing what they have described as undiplomatic behavior by the former State Department official.

“If the president recess appoints John Bolton, I can understand why because he’s been waiting a long time to get the person that he believes is the best to represent his administration at the U.N,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

McConnell said he doubted that a recess appointment would have a strongly negative impact on the atmosphere in the Senate. If Bush withdrew the nomination, no ambassador would be in place when the U.N. begins taking up important issues in the fall, he said.

“Bolton’s been sort of twisting in the wind since March,” McConnell said. “Bolton’s exactly what the U.N. needs at this point. The president’s right on the mark in picking him.”

The administration has promoted Bolton for a hard-nosed style that officials believe will help push reform in the United Nations.

Opponents say his criticism of the world organization and reports that he has abused underlings and sought to punish those who disagreed with him render him unfit for the position.

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