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Posted by on Mar 13, 2007 in Politics | 12 comments

Gonzales Squirms On a Hot Seat

Apparently Attorney General Alberto Gonzales just held a very short press conference where he both took responsibility for the mishandling of the firing of several federal prosecutors and denied it at the same time. By the time I got the video feed up, the press conference was over.

NEWS COVERAGE:

CNN:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that “mistakes were made” regarding the firing of eight U.S. attorneys and he accepts responsibility for the ordeal.

“My pledge to the American people is to find out what went wrong here,” he said. “As we can all imagine, in an organization of 110,000 people, I am not aware of every bit of information that passes through the halls of justice, nor am I aware of all decisions.”

However, despite calls for his resignation, Gonzales said he was not stepping down.

MSNBC:

At a news conference Tuesday, Gonzales said he would find out what went wrong but said he would not resign. “I acknowledge that mistakes were made here. I accept that responsibility,” Gonzales said amid growing calls for his own termination.

AP via Washington Post:

He did not back away, however, from his stance that the dismissals that did take place were appropriate. “I stand by the decision and I think it was the right decision,” Gonzales said.

The New York Times:

Speaking at a news conference at the Justice Department, Mr. Gonzales said he did not have personal knowledge of the discussions involving individual United States attorneys, but he accepted responsibility for the errors that were made. He said he rejected an earlier White House proposal to replace all the United States attorneys at once as “too disruptive.�

His statement came as Senate Democrats vowed to get explanations, with or without subpoenas, from high Bush administration officials as revelations about the dismissal of federal prosecutors put renewed pressure on the White House.

BLOG OPINION:

Shakespeare’s Sister:

Well, that’s over. If you missed it, Gonzo basically told a bunch of shockingly controvertible lies, then turned tail and beat it the hell outta there like he had a hot lunch date with Rod Majors. When the Bushies promised greater transparency in government, I don’t think egregious amounts of transparent bullshit was precisely what the American people expected.

AMERICAblog:

He’s not resigning, what a surprise. He accepts responsibility for the mistakes that “we’re made.” Oh my, now he’s playing the race card. He’s overcome a lot of obstacles in his life to become attorney general – sounds like the race card to me. Which is funny coming from an administration that attacks Latinos every change it gets. I’d like to see him overcome a perjury charge.

[snip]

Oooh, he’s now saying that he’s dismayed that he may not have given the congress accurate information. UNDER OATH, I might add. Now we know why he’s doing the presser.

[snip]

Oh man, that was fascinating. The man isn’t just trying to keep his job, he’s trying to avoid going to jail.

Wonkette:

Harriet the Spy looks mighty pleased with the calls for Alberto Gonzales’ resignation. Does the batty old gal think she’ll be the new AG?

[snip]

Yes, John Mitchell was the first AG to go to prison, but Gonzales will be the first Mexican-American Attorney General to be locked up in the federal penitentiary. We hope Bush is mentioning this in his speech to the Mexicans about the American Dream.

TRex at Firedoglake:

And the press were all over him like a cheap suit.

[snip]

Abu Gonzales stood there looking like his usual sweaty, shifty self, a living, breathing instance of the Peter Principle elevated to the level of comic opera. He was so clearly out of his depth that it’s a wonder he didn’t get the bends or just spontaneously combust.

But then, after about 140 seconds of taking questions, he spun on his heel and like a greased piglet, all but squirted from the room, “That’s all, folks!”

Oh, no, Mr. Gonzales. That’s not all. Not by a long shot.

Stay tuned.

Just because CREW wants a Special Prosecutor doesn’t mean that it’ll get one.

Carpetbagger Report:

If there’s a way Alberto Gonzales survives this scandal, I don’t see it. Gonzales has had quite a bit of time to come up with a coherent defense, and today’s comments came at a press conference he scheduled. Needless to say, he came up with a rather unpersuasive defense — he was out of the loop.

[snip] How soon until he resigns? A week? A month?

Post Script: On a tangential point, I can’t resist mentioning the oddity of Gonzales using the phrase “mistakes were made.� After all the times that infamous passive voice phrase has been uttered, you’d think Republicans would know to avoid it.

Reportedly, presidential candidate John Edwards has called for the resignation of Alberto Gonzales.

Howard Dean asks for a two-fer, Gonzales and Karl Rove.

Mark at RedState sees no problem here:

Perhaps it is because I am not a lawyer, but I don’t see the scandal in the alleged scandal over the firing of select United States Attorneys.

[snip]

There seems to be an awful lot of selective outrage here. I don’t see why this dust up should be all that embarrassing for the White House or Republicans. Furthermore, I don’t see why the White House should be answering any questions about this matter at all, from Congress or from anywhere else. Soon after his inauguration in 1993, the Clinton Justice Department fired every Federal prosecutor in the Department of Justice. Every one. No reasons were given or required. This, even though in at least one case, there was more than enough evidence of political motivation to warrant at least as much scrutiny as the relatively benign dismissals that today’s Democrats are having fainting spells over.

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