Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Fun Facts About John Ashcroft

We all know John Ashcroft used $8,000 of our tax dollars to drape the breasts of a bronze statue in the Great Hall of the Justice Department, but there's so much more to the man than some may realize.

Missourians made him the first senator ever to be defeated by a dead man. Late governor Mel Carnahan, riding an eleventh-hour surge of St. Louis city votes, led Ashcroft 50-49 percent with 86 percent of precincts reporting. Major news organizations nationwide were calling the race for Carnahan. Mel Carnahan died in a plane wreck while campaigning on Oct. 16. Roger Wilson, who became governor after the crash, said he would appoint Jean Carnahan if Mel Carnahan outpolled Ashcroft. The late Mr. Carnahan outpolled him.

• Speaking at a Justice Department prayer meeting, Ashcroft said: "The law is not about forgiveness. It is oftentimes about vengeance, oftentimes about revenge."
• News that the ambassador to the Netherlands had calico cats upset Ashcroft's advance team, who knew their boss considered the animals 'instruments of the Devil'
• Introducing his wife to women lawyers at Justice during Women's History Month, Ashcroft, according to one attendee, he describes her as 'the woman who taught him how to put dishes away. . . He said you should rotate your china, put your new plates on the bottom of the stack, so you don't wear them out."
• Ashcroft likes to have reading matter reduced, in the words of one former staffer, to a "paragraph of background and a paragraph of talking points." Receiving a 12-page report, Ashcroft said, "Do I get extra credit for reading all this?"
• Ashcroft used black prisoners at servants at the Missouri governor's mansion.
• During one dinner there, Ashcroft said, 'Women in the workforce have become so prevalent that a man's role has been reduced to a sperm donor.'
• From 1963 to 1969 he received seven military deferments.
• In 1998 the John Birch Society ranked him second in legislative scorecard.
• Governor Ashcroft told his lieutenant governor, Harriet Woods, "You have to promise you won't serve as governor in my absence." In return he might give her something more substantial to do in her job. She explained that such a deal would violate the law. "He blinked. On the other hand, he wasn't telling me or anybody when he left the state."
• Interviewing a candidate for head of Missouri's social services, Governor Ashcroft asked, "Mr. Offer, let me start by asking you if have the same sexual preference as most men?"
• He has supported ten additional amendments to the Constitution including one to make it easier to amend.
• He received the most negative votes ever cast by the Senate in opposition to his nomination as attorney general.
• In his memoirs, Ashcroft regularly compares himself to Christ, describing his campaign victories as 'resurrections' and his defeats as 'crucifixions.'
(credit: Judy Bachrach, Vanity Fair)

Ashcroft is a lifelong member of the Assembly of God church. His father was an AofG minister. That's also called the Pentecostal church. Pentecostals, also know as "holy rollers," celebrate their faith by speaking in tongues, healing, prophesy, knowledge unobtainable by natural means and discernment of spirits such as angels and demons. Some Pentecostal churches include snake handling in their religious ceremonies.
Ashcroft and the president are said to be especially close because of their mutual devotion to Christianity, and their shared belief that God speaks special messages to them.

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