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Liberal Groups Oppose Ashcroft NominationAired January 9, 2001 - 2:31 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Liberal groups today launched a strong attack on another Bush nominee, that for attorney general. He is John Ashcroft.
CNN national correspondent Bob Franken joins us with that story -- Bob.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And the groups were across the liberal spectrum; they included environmental groups, they included gun control groups, they included abortion rights groups, women's rights groups, civil rights groups.
All of them lined up against John Ashcroft, who they say, is a doctrinaire conservative who cannot be counted on to ignore his personal views in enforcing the laws of the land, when he would be attorney general, operating at the Justice Department.
As I said, this was -- this was a coalition of groups that crossed the spectrum on the left.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has worked to criminalize abortion, even in the cases of rape or incest.
HILARY SHELTON, NAACP: For a man who has taken a position to eliminate all equal opportunity programs in our nation, yet to be put in a position to protect those same equal opportunity programs in our nation is unacceptable.
ELIZABETH BIRCH, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN: Senator Ashcroft also has an absolutely perfect record of abandoning gay Americans at every turn. And most often, abandoning people with AIDS and HIV.
FRANKEN (voice-over): Now, these organizations say they're going to try and convince members of the Senate. They should ignore the long-standing tradition where they support their own, and routinely approve nominations such as this.
They're going to try and rev up a grassroots campaign, but Ashcroft and his supporters, including President George W. Bush, say that he is assured that he will, in fact, enforce the law of the lands as he runs the Justice Department, and that his record, for instance, on civil rights is one of strong support for civil rights, just the kind of support that comes from a conservative and not a liberal.
FRANKEN: A big fight is brewing. We're expecting hearings that will be run by the temporarily Democratic controlled Senate next week -- Natalie.
ALLEN: All right, Bob Franken. Thanks, Bob.
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