Following his 2000 Senatorial defeat, Ashcroft was nominated as U.S. Attorney General by president-elect George W. Bush. Ashcroft was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 58-42, with most of the Democratic Senators voting against him, alleging previous opposition to desegregation and abortion rights. Ashcroft, a fervent lifelong member of the Assemblies of God church, has brought the denomination more mainstream recognition than any of its earlier conspicuous congregants, including, former Reagan administration Interior Secretary James Watt. In his book Lessons From a Father to His Son (1998), Ashcroft writes of his anointing himself, before both terms as Missouri Governor, using cooking oil when no holy oil was available.5 Ashcroft was born in Chicago to James Robert Ashcroft. His father was a minister in an Assembly of God congregation, and a president of Evangel University.
The former senator famously once boasted of his conservatism, saying that there are two things you find in the middle of the road: "a moderate and a dead skunk", adding that he did not wish to be either.
Ashcroft was an enthusiastic advocate of the War on Drugs.8 In a 2001 interview on Larry King Live, Ashcroft announced his intent to escalate efforts in this area.9 His tough-on-marijuana stance dates back to his tenure as a Senator, when he successfully pushed for stricter federal mandatory sentencing laws for drug offenses.