WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave no indication on Sunday that the Bush administration would accede to Democrats' demands for more information about John R. Bolton's (search) requests for classified intelligence.
Senate Democrats say they will continue to try to block President Bush's nomination of Bolton as U.N. ambassador. Although Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., plans to try on Monday to end a Democratic filibuster on the nomination, Democrats believe they still have enough votes to continue debate.
"What we need to do is we need to get an up-or-down vote on John Bolton," Rice told a Sunday morning network news show.
"Let's find out whether, in fact, the Senate, in its whole, in its entirety, intends and wants to confirm him. That's all that we're asking," said Rice, who was interviewed in Jerusalem while on a Mideast trip.
One of Bolton's leading opponents, Sen. Christopher Dodd (search), D-Conn, said the administration is "filibustering their own nominee" by refusing to supply information related to whether Bolton tried to "doctor or cook" information regarding U.S. intelligence.
Both Dodd and Sen. Joseph Biden (search), D-Del., suggested that the Democratic filibuster would end once their request was fulfilled. Biden said a vote would be immediate; Dodd said a vote would come directly "if in fact there's no serious problems."
Democrats say they want to check a list of 36 U.S. officials against names — initially blacked out — that Bolton requested and received from national security intercepts he reviewed.
Democrats rejected a list of seven names offered last week by GOP Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Asked whether the administration would comply with the Democrats' request, Rice said Roberts "has already spoken to the issue of the nature of those inquiries."
Bolton has been accused of intimidating or trying to have fired at least two intelligence analysts because of disagreements over their work. Opponents also have contended that Bolton's abrasive management style and past criticism of the United Nations make him a poor choice to be ambassador.
Biden said senators were standing firm in their request for the additional information as a matter of principle, adding that it might not even change their view of Bolton.
"If we give up on this, we might as well forget about oversight," Biden said on a seprate Sunday morning network newscast. "We cannot allow a president to say, 'We do not think this is necessary for your inquiry.' 'Who died and left them boss?' as my mom would say."
Asked on "FOX News Sunday" whether Bush would consider a recess appointment of Bolton — a temporary appointment that does not require Senate approval — Rice said, "We'll see what happens this week."
Dodd said such a move would send to the U.N. an ambassador "who lacks the confidence of the United States Senate." A recess appointment, Biden said, would "cripple" Bolton as he goes to the U.N. and damage his standing with the Senate.