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Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Bush bypasses Senate to name ambassador to Belgium

President Bush leaves the White House Wednesday for a two-stop visit in California before spending Easter at his Texas ranch.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush has named Sam Fox the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, using a recess appointment to bypass the Senate a week after Democratic opposition forced him to withdraw the nomination, the White House announced Wednesday.

Fox's nomination stalled after several Democrats, including Sen. John Kerry, criticized his $50,000 contribution to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -- a group that accused Kerry of lying about his Vietnam War record during his presidential campaign in 2004.

The appointment allows the St. Louis businessman to serve until the end of the current Congress, in 2008, effectively putting him in place through the end of Bush's term.

The White House announced March 28 that it would pull Fox's nomination due to Senate opposition, acknowledging that it would not have passed the Democratic-controlled chamber. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said at the time that Bush believed Fox has a "proven record of leadership and a strong willingness to serve our country."

-- CNN White House Correspondent Elaine Quijano contributed to this report
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