Bush wants to stand behind the serial abuser Bolton for UN chief, but in a high-profile defection, Powell will not
The associates said that in private telephone conversations Mr. Powell had made clear his concerns with Mr. Bolton on several fronts, including his harsh treatment of subordinates. The associates said that Mr. Powell had also praised Mr. Bolton's performance on some matters during his tenure as undersecretary of state, but they also said that Mr. Powell had stopped well short of the endorsements offered by President Bush and by Mr. Powell's own successor as secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.
The accounts of Mr. Powell's private message about Mr. Bolton suggested a new gulf between the former secretary of state and the president, who spoke out forcefully today in defense of Mr. Bolton. In a speech here, Mr. Bush portrayed Democratic opposition to Mr. Bolton as being politically driven, and urged the Senate "to put politics aside and confirm John Bolton to the United Nations." [...]
Mr. Powell has not spoken publicly about the Bolton nomination. But his associates said he had told Senators Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, in response to questions, that he had been troubled by the way that Mr. Bolton had treated an intelligence analyst and others at the State Department who disagreed with him.
Mr. Chafee and Mr. Hagel are both Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and both have expressed concern about Mr. Bolton's temperament, credibility and treatment of intelligence analysts. The senators' concerns, along with those of Senator George Voinovich, an Ohio Republican, were among the factors that have forced the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to postpone until next month a vote on Mr. Bolton's nomination.
Hagel and Chafee were set to vote for Bolton. It was Voinovich alone who stopped the proceedings cold in their tracks. This news could provide added cover for Voinovich, and even Hagel and Chafee.