The presidential use of the "recess appointment," in which the White House uses the Congressional recess period to fill federal appointments requiring Senate confirmation, is
not uncommon for naming controversial choices to judicial or ambassadorial positions. But using a recess appointment to give a federal job to a PR position is very unusual. On
January 4, President Bush bypassed the Senate to name Dorrance Smith as the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. Smith, a former ABC News producer, had his
nomination blocked by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) over a Wall Street Journal opinion column where Smith accused American news broadcasters of aiding al-Qaeda by
partnering with the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network. But Smith's recess appointment comes with a time limit. If the Senate does not confirm his appointment by January
2007, he's out of work.