Sources in the White House tell TWN that there is genuine shock and disbelief among the Executive Office ranks about the difficulties of getting Bolton confirmed for the U.N.
One source reported that “this all seems so unprecedented. Who knew who John Bolton was before all this began anyway?”
While the White House has not rolled out a statement supporting Bolton that was as robust and strong as after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s last business meeting, there is no formal comment that the White House is reconsidering him.
Beneath the surface, however, some in the Executive Office of the President think that “this Bolton hand may have been overplayed.” Everyone agrees that there was serious underestimation of the concern about Bolton’s record and behavior. They seem to know that even though they compelled the votes to get Bolton moved out of Committee that their caucus is extremely uncomfortable.
TWN thinks the political team and/or communications team that let this Bolton matter become taxi-cab-driver-discussion and a topic of household chats are going to be in trouble with the boss.
This from Doug Jehl this morning:
Eric Ueland, chief of staff for the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, said the Bolton nomination would probably come to the full Senate after lawmakers resolved a dispute over confirmation votes for President Bush’s judicial nominees, which is expected to be taken up next week. He said Republicans hoped that would leave time for a vote before the Memorial Day recess.
Later Thursday, however, Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, placed a hold on the nomination, according to her spokesman, David Sandretti. He said she wanted to get State Department documents that Democrats have been seeking involving Mr. Bolton’s dealings with American intelligence agencies over Syria. In rejecting the request several days ago, Ms. Rice said disclosure of the documents could have a chilling effect on debates within the administration.
By placing the hold on the nomination, which is a privilege that any senator can invoke, Ms. Boxer can prevent it from going to the Senate floor for a vote. Under Senate rules, it takes 60 votes to overturn a “hold.”
Bolton won’t get a vote before Memorial Day recess. This marathon has a long way to go, and I’ve been training.
This is all looking quite good.
— Steve Clemons