Donald V. Watkins, an Alabama banker and political activist, says that he’d been fed up with the Senate confirmation process for some time, but that the flurry of criticism surrounding the nomination of John Ashcroft as attorney general was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Mr. Watkins was so incensed that he bought a half page in the A section of Wednesday’s Washington Post to print a letter asking the Senate to confirm Mr. Ashcroft — whom he does not know — and “restore civility and dignity” to the confirmation process.

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