Who should succeed Gonzales as attorney general? Roland Martin has made his pick.
(CNN) - Now that Alberto Gonzales has finally jumped ship, President George W. Bush is in a tough position.
He needs to fight back charges from Democrats that the Justice Department has no credibility, and of course, he must also give Republicans some hope that he has someone in mind who they can rally behind.
One name that would be a win-win: Larry Thompson.
Thompson served as deputy attorney general of the United States from January 2001 until August 2003, and was widely seen as a comforting presence while a volatile John Ashcroft was sitting in the top spot. He left for a big corporate gig as PepsiCo’s senior vice president and general counsel.
Not only is he seen as a moderate; Thompson was also widely respected when he was the top U.S. attorney for the northern District of Georgia. Democrats and Republicans both like him, and that’s a good thing today.
Another plus? He’s African-American.
Sure, people should be appointed based on qualifications, but he has that. His race is an added element.
First, Thompson would be the first African-American to serve as attorney general, and Bush has already had a couple of firsts (Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State). Second, Bush would get someone who he already knows, and can trust to get through what some are already calling a tough confirmation hearing.
Thompson may have been making the big bucks in the private sector, but he surely wouldn’t pass up the chance at making history, and helping a president in desperate need of some good news.
- CNN contributor Roland Martin
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CNN) - Speaking to reporters at a press conference Monday, cancer survivor and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong said that, while his Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum was beneficial for getting candidates on the record regarding the issue, he wished more of them would have shown up.
"We obviously think a disease that kills 600,000 Americans a year deserves having all of the frontrunners here," said Armstrong.
He went on to mention a few of those frontrunners by name.
"It's a disappointment," Armstrong continued, "that two cancer survivors on the Republican side are not coming. Mayor Giuliani [and] Senator McCain [are] both cancer survivors. As a fellow survivor and as somebody that wants to represent this community and wants to see change happen, that's disappointing."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards announced a six-point plan Monday to help the Gulf Coast’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina as the historic storm’s two-year anniversary approaches.
As president, Edwards would enact a new requirement - dubbed “Brownie’s Law” by the Edwards campaign – that would require senior political appointees to be qualified for their positions.
Edwards’ plan would also, among other things, address the nursing shortage in New Orleans, aid in the development of a proposed biomedical corridor, and provide federal funding for 500 new police officers for New Orleans’ streets. It would fully fund the so-called “Road Home” program meant to help Louisiana residents return and resettle. Finally, it would include the appointment of a chief recovery officer to oversee the federal government’s involvement in the recovery effort, as well as the appointment of a Gulf Coast inspector general tasked with accounting for public funds spent during the recovery process.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CNN) – After officially calling for a national war on cancer if she were president, Sen. Hillary Clinton took a swipe at President Bush.
At the Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum in Cedar Rapids Monday, Clinton said, "What really bothers me is that we are on the brink of so many medical breakthroughs right now...The current administration has literally called a halt to the war with cancer."
Clinton then went even further, accusing the administration of creating a "war against science."
Asked who was leading it, Clinton responded, "The president."
She offered a few suggestions as part of her new proposal today to fight cancer. One included speeding up the approval of drugs from the Food and Drug Administration and fixing problems with insurance.
"As president I want to end insurance discrimination against those who suffer from cancer. It has been the cause of so many families going into bankruptcy."
– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
What do you think about Gonzales' resignation?
WASHINGTON (CNN) - What's your reaction to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' resignation? Did it come at the right time? Which party stands to benefit more from his departure?
Add a comment with your thoughts below.
Chertoff's name was quickly mentioned as a possible replacement to Gonzales.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – As often happens with high level administration resignations, it wasn’t too long after news broke of the departure of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales before speculation over his replacement reached a feverish pitch.
Senior administration officials were quick to tell CNN's Suzanne Malveaux that Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff would likely get the nod.
Chertoff, 53, previously sat on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which handles appeals from New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the Virgin Islands. Before becoming a judge, he was assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice's criminal division from 2001 to 2003.
Chertoff received his law degree from Harvard University and was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice William H. Brennan Jr. in 1979 and 1980. He first stepped into a prosecutorial role as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1983 to 1987.
But while some senior administration officials are strongly floating Chertoff as a candidate, others are waiving CNN off, saying that because of his role during Hurricane Katrina, the nomination could run into problems.
Chertoff has taken heat from both Democrats and Republicans for the government's slow response in providing relief to victims of the 2005 storm.
Meanwhile, a congressional source familiar with deliberations about Gonzales' replacement tells CNN's Dana Bash the impression is that it will not be Chertoff and that the administration is "playing you guys,"referring to the media.
Furthermore, a source close to Chertoff told CNN's Kelli Arena that the Homeland Security chief isn’t aware if he is being considered for the top Justice post.
(CNN) - Talking to a Twin Cities radio station Monday, likely Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson said Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' resignation is a product of mismangement, not wrongdoing.
"I wish him all the best. Clearly things weren't going the way they should've been going over there from a handling standpoint for some time," Thompson told KSTP's Bob Davis. "But Gonzales' enemies were making him look pretty good. They were piling on him, and they were making more out of it than there was."
Davis asked Thompson if Gonzales could be accused of any wrongdoing.
"No, no," Thompson responded. "I think it was mishandled. But he doesn't have a monopoly on that in Washington.”
–CNN Political Desk Editor Mark Norman
(CNN) - The presidential campaign trail is winding through New Orleans this week. With the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this Wednesday, some of the leading White House hopefuls are visiting a city still try to rebuild from the devastating storm.
Tonight, Sen. Hillary Clinton. D-New York, and former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, are among the candidates taking part in a Katrina recovery summit in New Orleans. The summit is being hosted by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, and moderated by CNN's Soledad O'Brien.
Another Democratic frontrunner, Barack Obama, was in the Crescent City Sunday. The senator from Illinois said he would make rebuilding New Orleans a top priority if he is elected president. "America failed the people of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans long before that failure showed up on the television set,” said Obama. “America failed you again during Katrina. We cannot and we must not fail you for a third time,"
Obama unveiled his plan to speed up recovery efforts in New Orleans. "We need to make sure that the hardest hit areas get the attention they need and that the jobs of rebuilding go to the folks who've been displaced," said the presidential hopeful. Obama also called for forgiving medical school loans for doctors who set up practice in New Orleans, and said he wants to establish a local office of the Drug Enforcement Agency to help fight crime in the city.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - New York Sen. Hillary Clinton promised to fight to reduce smoking during an appearance at Lance Armstrong’s presidential forum on Monday. The presidential hopeful also said she thinks smoking should be banned from public places.
"Well, personally I think so," Clinton said when asked if banning smoking in public in public places would be a "good day for America."
Calling tobacco an "an addictive, deadly substance," Clinton said the FDA should be able to regulate tobacco products and advertising for cigarettes. She said a national ban on smoking was impractical because of local zoning laws, but said it's possible to further limit it by increasing taxes and prices for cigarettes.
"We'll eventually get there," she said. "We're lowering the rate of smoking now, and I think over the next decade we'll really push it way down."
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton said Monday that the next attorney general should "care about the rule of law more than he cares about protecting the president."
"The next attorney general," she continued, "when he takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, actually means it."
Clinton made the comments regarding the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales during an appearance at Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum in Cedar Rapids.
Her remarks came when asked by moderator Chris Matthews whether, as a senator, she would use this as an opportunity to help set standards for selecting the next attorney general.
Clinton continued, "When it comes to issues like torture, surveillance, military commissions, [and] the firing of U.S. Attorneys because they wouldn't pursue a political agenda, we need to be especially vigilant and strong in making sure that whoever the president appoints will work with the Congress to bring us back from this precipice that this administration has put us on."
– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch