Conservatives Applaud Choice of Ashcroft for Attorney General

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:27 PM EDT

( - Conservatives are applauding the choice of Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO) to serve as attorney general under George W. Bush.

"Great," said David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union. "It came down to a choice between somebody like (Oklahoma) Governor (Frank) Keating and Senator Ashcroft, which meant that regardless of which way the President-elect went, conservatives won."

Former Attorney General Ed Meese, who served under President Reagan, applauded the Ashcroft nomination as well, calling it "outstanding."

"John Ashcroft is a man I've known for a long time and admire very much and I think he's an ideal person for the job," Meese said. "John Ashcroft, having been an attorney general of Missouri before he became governor and with his experience in both the executive branch of the state and his experience as a Senator, brings a wealth of background and capabilities to this job," he added.

Keene noted that Ashcroft is a longtime supporter of conservative causes. "He's fought for things that conservatives want. He understands Washington, he's popular among his former colleagues in the Senate, and is a former attorney general of Missouri. He's got a good understanding of what needs to be done."

President-elect George W. Bush nominated Ashcroft for the top job at the Justice Department on Friday, saying Ashcroft was a principled man who would "enforce the law in an impartial way, not in a political way."

In accepting the nomination, Ashcroft said, "President-elect Bush, you have my word that I will administer the Department of Justice with integrity; I will advise your administration with integrity; and I will enforce the laws of the United States of America with integrity." More to come.