‘NYT’ Sunday Preview: John Ashcroft Admits He is a ‘Sinner’

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By: E&P Staff

For her Q and A column in The New York Times Magazine, Deborah Solomon has coaxed some frank and/or revealing responses from leading politicians, bloggers, authors and even Warren Beatty, and this coming Sunday?s session with former U.S. Attorney General (and singer/songwriter) John Ashcroft is no different. He’s the author of a new book, “Never Again.”

Defending the president?s policy on torture, he says, ?I think there is a very sound argument for saying that those who violate the Geneva Conventions should not benefit from its provisions.? When Solomon reminds him that that the U.S. stands for rights for all, he answers, ?Well, we have guaranteed many rights to the prisoners.?

Speaking of which: Ashcroft reveals that his artistic leanings go beyond music. He also makes ?barbed-wire sculpture,? he says (you can’t make this stuff up).

Ashcroft also suggests the American Civil Liberties Union opposed the Patriot Act partly to make money and add members.

Elsewhere, Ashcroft, a leading evangelical, admits he is a sinner, explaining, ?I?m unkind on occasion, and I am selfish.? He?s an active
Christian ?because I am not good, because I need help.? Ask about specific ?sins,? Ashcroft says he has ?never had a mixed drink,? never smoked a cigarette, and if tempted by another woman he would immediately call ?my wife.?

At the interview’s close, Ashcroft makes this plea: ?I just hope that in meeting people, they?ll understand that I am not as bad as they thought I was.?

This week?s issue of the magazine features a cover story on anti-immigrant politics by former Times? executive editor Joseph Lelyveld.

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