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Bush Lobbies Senate to Approve his UN Ambassador Candidate

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President Bush is urging the U.S. Senate to approve John Bolton for the key post of ambassador to the United Nations. Mr. Bush says partisan bickering is to blame for a delay in the confirmation process.

John Bolton has proven to be one of the president's most controversial nominees.

Opposition Democrats and some former subordinates say he verbally abused co-workers at the State Department and does not have the temperament to serve as America's representative at the United Nations.

Speaking to insurance agents in Washington Thursday, President Bush says his critics are playing politics with the nomination.

"John's distinguished career and service to our nation demonstrates that he is the right man at the right time for this important assignment," said Mr. Bush.

The president says Mr. Bolton, who currently serves as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, is a good man who deserves the U.N. post.

A Senate panel was expected to vote on his nomination this week, but postponed that vote until next month after a Republican on the committee asked for more time to study the allegations. Two other Republican Senators on the panel have also expressed reservations about Mr. Bolton, presenting the White House with an inter-party challenge to its choice.

That has emboldened some Democrats who now feel the Bolton nomination may be doomed. Some of the concerns surrounding the nominee include allegations that he intimidated intelligence analysts at the State Department who disagreed with his opinions.

Former Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry says it is more important than ever for America to have a credible spokesperson because he says the Bush administration presented the U.N. with faulty intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to help make its case for war.

"If that spokesperson comes to the job with the background of having interfered with the work of analysts in the State Department in the intelligence research department, or if that person comes to the job with proof that there is in fact a retribution system for not providing the intelligence according to what that person wanted, not according to what the intelligence was, that is a problem," said Mr. Kerry. "That is a serious problem."

Some Republicans are rallying behind the president's nominee, including influential Arizona Senator John McCain. Senator McCain says Mr. Bolton has proved he can do the job.

"He is smart, experienced, hardworking and talented, and he knows the U.N," said Mr. McCain.

White House officials say the president remains confident that Mr. Bolton will be approved by the full Senate and are discussing the issue with reluctant Republicans.