It has already led to a face-off between almost all the news media organisations in the state
and Bush's presidential team. In the most extreme example of the Bush camp's desperation
to avoid a recount, the new director of the Environment Protection Agency, Christine Todd
Whitman, has proposed that the Florida ballots be sealed for 10 years.
Bush's spokesman Tucker Eskew dismissed the recount as 'mischief-making' and 'inflaming
public passions' while his brother, Florida governor Jeb Bush, accused the papers of 'trying
to rewrite history'.
Meanwhile, Bush made his boldest ideological statement yet with the appointment of John
Ashcroft as Attorney General.
The appointment is especially significant, because as head of the Justice Department
Ashcroft would be the man to bring any felony charges against President Bill Clinton over
the Lewinsky affair. During the scandal, Ashcroft was among the loudest and shrillest
voices for impeachment.
There have been many calls to President-elect Bush to pardon his predecessor as a sign of
peace, but he made a point of rejecting them.
Ashcroft lost his Missouri Senate seat to the widow of the state's popular Democrat
governor, Mel Carnahan. From the family of a Pentacostal minister, he is an outspoken
social conservative and an ally of the extremist Pat Robertson.
Ashcroft represents a host of militant committees and activist groups, of which the Christian
Coalition is most prominent. He is an opponent not only of abortion but even - as he said in
one speech - of dancing.
© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2000
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