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Ashcroft Confirmation Defines "Bipartisanship" Under Bush

In the January 15 issue of The New Republic, Jonathan Chait, writes that "Bush's definition of bipartisanship is...passing legislation with the support of most Republicans and any democrats." Following the Ashcroft confirmation President Bush's press secretary, Ari Fleischer, agrees.
2 Feb 2001 Press Breifing from Kingsmill Resort Williamsburg, Virginia

Q Ari, Democrats in the Senate voted 42 against Ashcroft yesterday. Did the President acknowledge that in any way when he met with them this morning, or was it sort of --

MR. FLEISCHER: No, as I indicated, it did not come up. The President, after the vote yesterday, called Senator Lott and called now Secretary Ashcroft and thanked them, congratulated them. The President is very pleased with the vote and bipartisan support.

Q Daschle said the Democrats were trying to send a message. Does he take any message from that split?

MR. FLEISCHER: The President is very pleased with the entire process by which is Cabinet was chosen -- I mean, was confirmed, the speed of which his Cabinet was confirmed. And the White House views yesterday's vote as a bipartisan showing of support.

Q It's the largest number of "no" votes against a sitting, confirmed Attorney General in history. Is that meaningful --

MR. FLEISCHER: There have been other instances in which the opposite party joined ranks and voted against President Cabinet selections before. I think you just see the numbers are what they are in terms of the split in the Senate, 50-50. But, again, it was at 58; that means by definition 8 Democrats joined not only with every single Republican in the Senate, but they joined with the Executive Branch -- that is the definition of bipartisanship. And we're pleased.



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