John Ashcroft, a longtime Missouri political figure, was appointed U.S. Attorney General in 2001 by George W. Bush
. Ashcroft graduated from Yale and earned a law degree at the University of Chicago. He was Missouri's attorney general from 1976-85, the state's governor from 1985-93, and a U.S. senator from 1995-2001. In 2000 Ashcroft ran for re-election against Democrat Mel Carnahan, then Missouri's governor. Carnahan was killed in a plane crash three weeks before the election, but was elected anyway when his wife Jean Carnahan agreed to take his place. Bush, elected president in 2000, nominated Ashcroft to be U.S. Attorney General. Ashcroft was approved by the U.S. Senate despite opposition from Democrats, who declared him to be too conservative. Ashcroft served until after Bush's reelection. He submitted his hand-written resignation in November of 2004, saying, "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved."