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.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, Law and the Courts, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Why is Ashcroft a liability? Isn’t he a member of Bush’s “Faith based community?” Are we expecting someone from the “Reality based community” to replace him?

  2. Paul says:

    It won’t matter… If Bush names Mickey Freaking Mouse, the Dems will make crazy allegations that Donald Duck wants to spy on you.

    When their only tool is personal castigation, anyone would suffer the same fate.

  3. Jay Solo says:

    Paul has a good point.

    What I would say is that it’s a loyalty thing on the part of Bush, combined with the “if he makes the Dems that crazy he must be good” factor.

  4. McGehee says:

    Rumors have had various people on the verge of leaving this administration since 2001. I put this maybe a step above the “Bush is going to ask Cheney to step aside” rumors (which even resurfaced after the Cheney-Edwards debate!).

    This is just reporting on what a bunch of natterers are saying at cocktail parties. BFD.