Groups speak out on likely Bush cabinet

WASHINGTON: Both left and right are mobilizing in heated battles over president-elect George W. Bush's cabinet choices.

WASHINGTON: Both left and right are mobilizing in heated battles over president-elect George W. Bush's cabinet choices.

WASHINGTON: Both left and right are mobilizing in heated battles over president-elect George W. Bush's cabinet choices.

In particular, special-interest groups from either side of the ideological divide have entered the melee over John Ashcroft's nomination for attorney general. Campaigns for and against the nomination were kicked off amid a maelstrom of fiery rhetoric, much of which came during an hour-long press conference held by a coalition of liberal groups last week in Washington, DC.

Last week's events set up early tests of reputation management for the new administration, which received a black eye when the nominee for labor secretary, Linda Chavez, withdrew because an illegal immigrant had lived at her home.

At the Tuesday morning press conference, nearly 50 organizations - including the National Abortion Reproductive Action League, the NAACP, the Sierra Club and Handgun Control - announced the launch of an 'unprecedented' national grassroots campaign called 'Stop Ashcroft.'

Participants said the campaign would be carried out via e-mail, direct mail and phone calls.

'Ashcroft has consistently demonstrated his contempt for the laws that he is now being asked to enforce,' said Nancy Zirkin of the American Association of University Women.

Right-wing groups have formed a coalition to support Ashcroft's nomination.

A list on the Free Congress Foundation's Web site comprises 110 conservative groups as varied as Americans for the Right to Life and Government is Not God.

As of press time, Ashcroft's confirmation hearing was set for January 16.



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