January 16, 2001 – Busy day on Capitol Hill. With confirmation hearings for President-Elect Bush’s choice for Attorney General John Ashcroft going full speed ahead, and lab reports back on President Clinton‘s Skin Cancer scare – there was enough to keep the Press Corps busy.
The Confirmation hearings over John Ashcroft were predictably rocky. Ashcroft, a staunch anti-abortionist with to-the-right-of-right opinions on gun control and Civil Rights, came under fire for his less-than mainstream views, touching off a partisan wrangle that wasn’t going to bode well for other confirmation hearings, if the first day of this one was any indication. For his part, John Ashcroft swore up and down the he would effectively put his personal views in a lock-box and obey the law of the land. Democrats were dubious, asking how a person with such zealous views for so long just turn them off, and Republicans howled loudly that left-wing extremists were out to derail a qualified nominee. With Day One over, there was still more days of questioning and grilling to go.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons announced that May 16th would be the day Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh would be put to death, the first time a death sentence was carried out by the Feds since 1963. Some survivors and relatives of the 168 victims of the blast could witness McVeigh’s lethal injection, but some refused, saying it only added to the circle of violence, while others said Lethal Injection was “taking the easy way out”.
And President Clinton had a health scare, just days before leaving office. A skin lesion removed from the President’s back during his physical the previous Friday was found to be a common cancer growth that was easily treated. A spokesperson said the growth was removed in its entirety, so no other treatment was required. But there was a risk the growth could reoccur, so President Clinton was required to check back every 4-6 months.
And that’s a little of what went on, this January 16, 2001 – as reported by The CBS World News Roundup; Late Edition.