John Ashcroft: Dissecting The Nation's Top Cop

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When he lost his 2000 Senate race to deceased Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, many thought John Ashcroft's long political career might be coming to an end. Now the resilient conservative not only finds himself as one of the key figures in America's War on Terror, but he is being mentioned as a possible running mate for President Bush in 2004.

This hour, in the latest installment of our series examining the important players in the War on Terror, we look at Attorney General John Ashcroft.

John Ashcroft grew up in the small city of Springfield, Missouri, the son and grandson of ministers from the Assembly of God. His personal and political philosophies have been largely influenced by his religious upbringing. In the Senate, Ashcroft quickly established himself as a vocal conservative. As Attorney General, his strong response to the threat of terrorism has won him the admiration of some. But he has also drawn the ire of civil libertarians, who fear he is stomping on individual freedoms in the name of national security.

This hour, a look at the life and the job being done by America's top cop and potential future Vice President — John Ashcroft.


Jeffrey Toobin, author of "Ashcroft's Ascent" in this week's New Yorker, author of "A Vast Conspiracy" and "Too Close to Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election"

This program aired on April 10, 2002.


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