CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CNN) - When asked how he could ensure that people with cancer are not discriminated against, Sen. John Edwards seized the moment to also comment on the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
At the Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum in Cedar Rapids, Edwards pointed out that his healthcare plan would ban pre-exisiting conditions as a factor, but he also said that people with cancer should already be protected "by the nation's anti-discrimination laws and the justice department."
"Now that we've finally gotten rid of Alberto Gonzalez, I will have an attorney general who vigorously pursues the rights of Americans."
- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
Chertoff may be nominated to succeed Gonzales.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush may nominate Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, senior administration officials told CNN Monday.
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.
From there, he moved to the District of New Jersey and was assistant U.S. attorney from 1987 to 1990 and U.S. attorney until 1994.
Between 1994 and 1996, Chertoff was counsel to the GOP Whitewater committee investigating the business dealings of President Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton, who is now New York's junior senator and a candidate for president of the United States.
An independent counsel later determined that the Whitewater investigation did not uncover sufficient evidence to warrant any criminal charges against the Clintons.
As a senator, Mrs. Clinton cast the only vote against Chertoff when he was nominated for the appeals court in 2003.
UPDATE: A Senate aide with close connections to the Department of Justice tells CNN's Dana Bash Chertoff will not be the president's choice to replace Gonzales.
(CNN) – There is political irony to President Bush’s first stop Monday after the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
President Bush leaves Texas for Albuquerque, New Mexico in order to appear at a private fund-raiser with Sen. Pete Domenici. The city and the senator were both at the center of the U.S. Attorney firing flap.
David Iglesias was the U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, and one of the most outspoken of the eight fired prosecutors. He said he was called by Domenici twelve days before the 2006 midterm elections, and asked about the status of a corruption investigation into Democrats. He said when he told the senator that charges would not be filed before the election, Domenici said, “I’m very sorry to hear that” and hung up.
Domenici later admitted making the call, saying he never pressured Iglesias but acknowledging, “I regret making the call and I apologize.”
The Justice Department also said Domenici called outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales or his aides four times to complain about Iglesias.
The president’s second stop Monday is in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue for another political fund-raiser. Seattle was the home to another fired U.S. Attorney, John McKay, who also contends his dismissal was politically motivated.
Domenici faces re-election next year in a race that promises to be heavily targeted by Democrats.
- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CNN) - Iowa Gov. Chet Culver made a plea for honesty Monday at Lance Armstrong's two-day Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum.
During an introductory speech welcoming several presidential candidates to Cedar Rapids, Culver said, "Because of our first-in-the-nation presidential caucus, we are accustomed to asking thoughtful and often very challenging questions. So a note to the candidates: we have come to expect honest, direct and straightforward answers."
The four Democrats who agreed to participate - Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. John Edwards, Gov. Bill Richardson, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich - will take the stage Monday at Armstrong's forum, which is focused solely on the issue of cancer. They will each have three minutes to make an opening statement, and then take questions from Lance Armstrong and Chris Matthews.
The only two Republicans to accept an invitation to speak on Tuesday are Senator Sam Brownback and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
(CNN) – Cancer will take the lives of nearly 600,000 Americans this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Democratic presidential contenders John Edwards and Hillary Clinton have set their sights on the killer.
Edwards announced his “National Strategy on Cancer Survivorship” on Monday. The former North Carolina senator’s plan is based on providing universal health care coverage to every American. The plan includes, among other things, a requirement for preventative screening for cancer, as well as the enactment of a patient’s bill of rights making insurance companies accountable when they try to deny coverage for medically necessary treatment. The Edwards plan would also increase funding for the National Institutes of Health, lift current restrictions on stem cell research, study environmental factors that may contribute to cancer, and attempt to end health disparities that often leave various population groups at greater risk of developing certain forms of cancer.
Sen. Clinton also announced her plan on Monday. It would prohibit insurance companies from charging higher rates to people with health problems. At the same time, it would also encourage people with a family history of cancer to get genetic testing by prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating on the basis of genetic testing results. The senator’s plan would further increase federal funding for cancer research, while also providing a boost for preventative care.
As president, Clinton has pledged to empower the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco advertising and sales, including possible new restrictions on advertising directed at children. Tobacco is known to be one of the leading causes of certain forms of cancer.
Clinton and Edwards will participate in Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Wednesday.
Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, was diagnosed with breast cancer just after the presidential election in 2004, and is currently battling a recurrence of the disease.
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced his resignation Monday, telling reporters he informed President Bush on Sunday that he will leave his post "effective as of" Sept. 17.
In a very brief statement before reporters, Gonzales offered no explanation for his decision and did not take questions.
"I am profoundly grateful to President Bush for his friendship and for the many opportunities he has given me to serve the American people," Gonzales said.
As the grandson of Mexican immigrants, Gonzales also said he has "lived the American dream."
"Even my worst days as attorney general have been better than my father's best days," he said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House hopeful Chris Dodd is out with a statement reacting to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Monday.
"Mr. Gonzales' Justice Department became a political wing of the Bush Administration and his resignation is long overdue. I will only vote to confirm a nominee for Attorney General who is truly independent and who will guarantee reforms that restore and uphold the Constitution."
Thompson's communication director stepped down Monday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson's communications director, Linda Rozett, resigned her post Monday, the latest staff member to depart the "Law & Order" star's presidential campaign-in-waiting, CNN's Candy Crowley reports.
Rozett's departure follows that of former campaign manager Tom Collamore, who exited the campaign last month following differences with Thompson's wife, Jeri.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Alberto Gonzales' last day as attorney general will be Sept. 16, a senior administration official said Monday.
Paul Clement, Solicitor General of the United States, will be the acting Attorney General.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, released a statement Monday reacting to Alberto Gonzales resignation:
"I thank Alberto Gonzales for his public service and wish him well in his future endeavors," he said. "It is my hope that whomever President Bush selects as the next Attorney General, he or she is not subjected to the same poisonous partisanship that we’ve sadly grown accustomed to over the past eight months."