Bolton Nomination Brings Out Lugar's True Colors

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.) was noticeably unenthusiastic about John Bolton’s nomination as ambassador to the United Nations this week–a sharp contrast from 1999 when he wholly endorsed Richard Holbrooke, President Clinton’s choice for the job.

When asked about Bolton, Lugar told reporters Tuesday: “I’m going to reserve any comments about the appropriateness or not of the president’s choice.”

But as Al Kamen reveals in Wednesday’s Washington Post, Lugar is treating Bolton’s nomination differently than he treated Holbrooke’s in 1999.

During a May 8, 1999, interview on CNN, Lugar was asked if Holbrooke should be confirmed. Lugar’s response: “He is an excellent nominee to be our ambassador to the United Nations. Now Dick Holbrooke has enemies throughout the State Department, who feel he has been overly ambitious, even in seeking the secretary’s job. He has a raft of enemies around the world who believe he has handled them badly and that he is on occasion arrogant and a bully and so forth. But let’s face it. With this administration–I say this kindly–somehow Holbrooke is tremendously important. They don’t have that many negotiators. There are not many big leaguers that can really handle it. And at this point, somebody is needed at the U.N. who is tough, who looks after American interests.”