Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut on Sunday promised a bruising fight in the U.S. Senate against confirming John Bolton to be the country’s ambassador to the United Nations.

President George W. Bush bypassed the Senate and installed Bolton into the position last year when lawmakers were on recess.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee scheduled a confirmation hearing on Bolton for Thursday after Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich, who previously opposed the nomination, expressed support for Bolton.

“This is going to be a bruising fight,” Dodd said on CNN’s “Late Edition” program. “I’m sorry the administration wants to go forward with this.”

He argued that problems Democrats had raised last year were not resolved. They blocked the nomination amid accusations Bolton in his previous job as the top U.S. diplomat for arms control had bullied intelligence analysts.

“The problems still persist. Many ambassadors at the U.N. feel he hasn’t done a good job there,” said Dodd, who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee. “It’s polarized the situation.”

Bolton’s appointment expires in January when the current congressional session formally ends. While Bush could reappoint him, he would not be paid.

The ambassador said on Sunday he was grateful that Voinovich now backs his nomination.

“I much appreciated it, and I think it represents a fairly dramatic change in the political dynamic in the Senate,” Bolton said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Republicans have to muster 60 votes to end debate on the nomination and proceed to a vote, but they only number 55.

“All of the Republicans, I think, are now supportive, and I think a number of Democrats will be as well,” Bolton said. “So we’ll do this one step at a time, have a hearing this coming Thursday and see what happens after that.”

© Reuters 2006