A consortium of liberal special interest groups held a joint news conference this morning to oppose John Ashcroft. The group, calling itself Stop Ashcroft, claims to include more than 200 citizens groups. Dozens of opponents spoke, representing interests from guns to abortion rights to civil rights and the environment. Ashcroft’s nomination is seen chiefly as a referendum on his fervent pro-life beliefs, though the Ronnie White affair could play into his confirmation, which starts next week.