Ohio senator changes tune on ambassador

By David Hammer The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Republican senator who shocked the White House last year by opposing President Bush’s choice for U.N. ambassador now says John Bolton “is a changed man.”

Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio previously called Bolton a bully who would make critical U.N. reforms more difficult to achieve. He said yesterday that he has been watching Bolton closely since he became an ambassador Aug. 1, speaking with him several times a month and encouraging him to be more diplomatic.

“John Bolton at this point is a changed man,” Voinovich said. “I want reform of the United Nations, so I’ve worked with John and stayed on top of John to make sure he takes this wonderful opportunity.”

Bolton indicated he was glad the appeared to be winning the senator over. “I appreciate his comments and I’ve enjoyed working with him and will keep working with him,” Bolton said after leaving a Security Council meeting at U.N. headquarters.

Bolton was installed by Bush in an emergency appointment while Congress was in recess partly because Voinovich opposed his nomination last May.

Bolton’s appointment expires next January. If Bush reappoints him, Voinovich said he “might not take the same position as last time,” but still wants to observe Bolton’s progress before making a final decision.

Voinovich still considers his stand against Bolton last year as “one of the finest moments in my career in the Senate,” saying he sent an important message that promoting U.S. superiority in foreign relations would not stand.