Next Time, I'll Support John Bolton, Republican Says

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

( - Sen. George Voinovich, the Ohio Republican who last year opposed President Bush's nomination of John Bolton to serve as U.S. ambassador to the U.N., now says he'll vote for Bolton when Bolton's recess appointment expires.

Voinovich explained his change of heart in a Washington Post op-ed on Thursday.

"My original concerns about Bolton involved his interpersonal skills," Voinovich wrote. "Also of concern was his reputation for straying off message and a tendency to 'go it alone' instead of working to build consensus with his colleagues."

But with Bolton front and center at the United Nations because of various crises involving U.S. interests, Voinovich said he's changed his mind about the man after seeing him in action:

"My observations are that while Bolton is not perfect, he has demonstrated his ability, especially in recent months, to work with others and follow the president's lead by working multilaterally. In recent weeks I have watched him react to the challenges involving North Korea, Iran and now the Middle East, speaking on behalf of the United States.

"I believe Bolton has been tempered and focused on speaking for the administration," Voinovich wrote, adding that Bolton follows instructions from Washington and clearly understands the issues.

Bolton's appointment expires this fall when the Senate officially recesses, Voinovich noted - and if President Bush renominates him, as surely he will do, Voinovich said it's important for the full Senate, Democrats and Republicans, to support for Bolton.

"I cannot imagine a worse message to send to the terrorists -- and to other nations deciding whether to engage in this effort -- than to drag out a possible renomination process," Voinovich wrote.

"I do not believe the United States, at this dangerous time, can afford to have a U.N. ambassador who does not have Congress's full support.

"For the good of our country, the United Nations and the free world, we must end any ambiguity about whether John Bolton speaks for the United States so that he can work to support our interests at the United Nations during this critical time," he concluded.

See Earlier Stories:
Bush Names John Bolton to 'Help UN Reform Itself' (1 Aug. 2005)
Weepy Voinovich Begs for 'No' Vote on Bolton (26 May 2005)

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