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Lugar on Bolton

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dick Lugar is "going to reserve any comments about the appropriateness or not of the president's choice [of John Bolton for UN Ambassador]." "Lugar wants to meet with Bolton 'before discussing his support,' Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher" told the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Fisher told the Washington Post not to "read anything into" Senator Lugar's failure to issue a statement of support for Bolton, "though he acknowledged that Lugar had urged Rice to submit nominees who would have 'wide support' and help build a 'consensus on foreign policy.'" A "Republican foreign policy official" informed the New York Times that Senator Lugar "told the administration that Mr. Bolton could not be confirmed for a job that had been discussed earlier, deputy secretary of state." An aide claimed Lugar "had assured Ms. Rice that the nomination would be considered swiftly and fairly."

John Bolton will have to be voted out of Lugar's Committee on Foreign Relations, which is composed of 10 Republicans and 8 Democrats. The Committee includes Dick Lugar, Chuck Hagel, Lincoln Chafee, George Allen, Norm Coleman, George Voinovich, Lamar Alexander, John Sununu, Lisa Murkowski, and Mel Martinez on the Republican side. Joe Biden is the ranking Democrat, with Paul Sarbanes, Chris Dodd, John Kerry, Russ Feingold, Barbara Boxer, Bill Nelson, and Barack Obama joining him. That's an excellent lineup on both sides of the aisle, and there're a number of persuasion targets among the Republicans.

It may be possible to bottle Bolton up in committee. There are two days scheduled for nominations, one Friday and one next Tuesday. There has been no word on when the committee might broach the Bolton nomination, but it's unlikely he can be put on the agenda that soon.


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