Ashcroft Unlikely to Serve Second Term
Washington Whispers (U.S. News & World Report)
If there’s a second term for President Bush, few expect Attorney General John Ashcroft, a lightning rod for criticism, to stick with the team. Personally, Ashcroft has been wearied by a painful bout of pancreatitis. And politically, Bush will need a mediator, not a terminator, when sensitive matters like reauthorizing portions of the controversial U.S.A. Patriot Act come up next year. The fear among some administration and Hill officials is that Ashcroft is so polarizing he’d only get in the way. (Many Bush officials plan to leave at the end of this term.) So no matter what happens November 2, the country should have a new top cop, sources say. On the GOP side, the front-runner is said to be former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, who was recently named general counsel at PepsiCo, followed by Bush-Cheney ’04 Campaign Chairman Marc Racicot. If Sen. John Kerry prevails, his nominee is thought to be New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid –who, being Hispanic and female, would give Kerry a twofer. Next up would be Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker, an African-American.
Interesting. Ashcroft has been a huge public relations liability from the get-go. That he wasn’t shuffled aside well before now baffles me.