As attorney general and designated lightning rod for the Bush administration, John Ashcroft wore his Bible-thumping nature as a suit of Christian armor and a flag of pride.

This regligious zealot from Missouri was so uptight he expressed displasure at a nude statue in the Department of Justice and aides scrambled to cover it up so the AG wouldn’t have his picture taken with a bare breast behind him.

Ashcroft is gone. So are the expensive drapes that covered the lady’s charms. When Ashcroft returned to the Justice Department to attend the swearing-in ceremony of new AG Michael Makasey, there was the undraped statue — boobs and all.

Of course, since this as a ceremony involving appointees of the Bush Administration, the boobs in business suits outnumbered the pair on the statue.

Reports Al Kamen in The Washington Post:

It was, let’s face it, inevitable. And so, on Wednesday, at the swearing-in of Attorney General Michael Mukasey at the Justice Department, former attorney general John D. Ashcroft was reunited with “The Spirit of Justice,” the 12-foot Art Deco-era sculpture his aides once famously covered with giant blue drapes at a cost of more than $8,000.

The statue, also known as “Minnie Lou,” was ordered uncovered in 2005 in one of the signal achievements of the Alberto R. Gonzales attorney generalship. The decision was made by Paul Corts, assistant attorney general for administration, who is now president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities.

Blame, or credit, for the coverup fell to advance aide Lani Miller, who reportedly acted after Ashcroft expressed unhappiness about appearing in news photos with the bare-breasted statue over his head.

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