The barrage of criticism, Congressional and public, still reverberating around the well-tonsured head of Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael K Powell, will not unseat him, he declared Tuesday.

Slammed for his handling of the media ownership rules debacle and accused of pro-big business bias, Powell was defiant in the face of calls for his resignation. “I intend to stay and lead the commission until the end of the president’s administration,” he told Associated Press.

And assuming the president is re-elected next year, what then? Powell displayed his usual forensic caution: “We’ll see what the results of the election are.” His term as FCC chairman formally expires in 2007.

Meantime, George W Bush stood by his loyal henchman in his hour of need, telling the Fox Broadcast Network earlier this week: “I support what Michael Powell did. He took a long, deliberative process.”

As to his threat to veto any legislation repealing the FCC's new media rules, the president was noncommittal, conscious perhaps that he shouldn't hand bullets for his presidential rivals to fire with an election just 403 days hence.

Data sourced from: The Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff