Notes: After nominating defeated Missouri Senator John Ashcroft -- a social conservative -- as Attorney General, Gov. George W. Bush named New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman to direct the Environmental Protection Agency and elevated her to a cabinet-level position (tossing a bone to moderates). Then he left Austin to celebrate Christmas at his ranch, though he got his big present early from the U.S. Supreme Court -- The Supreme Santa Claus? 12.24.00