WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House hopeful Barack Obama is out with a statement Monday reacting to Alberto Gonzales' resignation:
"I have long believed that Alberto Gonzales subverted justice to promote a political agenda, and so I am pleased that he has finally resigned today," he said. "The president needs to nominate an Attorney General who will be the people's lawyer, not the President's lawyer, and in an Obama Administration that person will first and foremost defend and promote the rights and liberties enshrined in our Constitution."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, issued a statement reacting to Alberto Gonzales' resignation Monday.
"Alberto Gonzales was never the right man for this job. He lacked independence, he lacked judgment, and he lacked the spine to say no to Karl Rove," he said. "This resignation is not the end of the story. Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is the second presidential candidate to officially react to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' resignation Monday:
"The resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is long overdue," he said in a statement. "The President must nominate an Attorney General who is a lawyer for the American people not a political arm of the White House."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Alberto Gonzales will hold a news conference Monday at 10:30 a.m. in which he is expected to announce his resignation as attorney general, the Department of Justice said.
- CNN Producer Terry Frieden
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards is the first White House hopeful to respond to the resignation of Alberto Gonzales Monday, issuing a four-word statement:
"Better late than never."
Gonzales has resigned as attorney general.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Embattled U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned, senior administration officials told CNN Monday.
Many lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have long called for his ouster after the firing of several U.S. attorneys in 2006. President Bush had long stood by Gonzales.
One of Gonzales' chief critics, Sen. Charles E. Schumer released a statement Monday praising Gonzales for resigning.
Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau
Making news today...
* Embattled U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned, senior administration officials told CNN Monday. Many lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have long called for his ouster, but President Bush has previously said Gonzales maintained his confidence.
President Bush will likely nominate Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to replace Gonzales as Attorney General, senior administration officials told CNN.
"Mr. Gonzales, who had rebuffed calls for his resignation, submitted his to President Bush by telephone on Friday." (New York Times)
"Better late than never." – John Edwards (Release)
* Faced with walkouts by members of his government and increasing criticism from U.S. officials, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told U.S. senators Sunday to butt out of his country's domestic politics.
Responding to their calls for his ouster, Maliki "appeared to reach a new level of stridency" in criticizing Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Carl Levin (D-MI). "In remarks in a news briefing that referred to the senators by name, Mr. Maliki said they had spoken 'as if Iraq is one of their cities.'" (New York Times)
* "[M]oves by Florida and other states to get the attention traditionally lavished on New Hampshire and Iowa, which holds the opening caucuses, has created a train wreck of an election calendar and a high-stakes political showdown." (USA Today)
This weekend saw "top Democrats" voting Saturday "to strip Florida of its 210 delegates to next summer's presidential-nominating convention unless the state's Jan. 29 primary is delayed by at least a week." (Orlando Sentinel)
"The ultimatum marks party leaders' most drastic attempt yet to impose order among states that have been trying to elbow their balloting closer to the front of the election cycle." (Los Angeles Times)
* While "unenthused" or "uncertain" about their own nominee, "GOP faithful" at the Midwest Republican Leadership Conference this weekend "seem quite confident and even upbeat about the prospect" of a Hillary Clinton candidacy. "That likelihood, they say, is good news for any hopes of keeping the White House and getting other Republicans on the ballot elected." (The Politico)
* And why might Punxsutawney Phil become the victim of one anti-pork crusader in the House? Find out in Hot Topics below!
* The president departs his Crawford ranch for a closed-press "People for Pete Domenici" fundraiser at 2 pm ET in Albuquerque, NM. He later heads to Bellevue, WA, for a "Friends of Dave Reichert" reception at 7:40 pm ET.
Also on the Political Radar:
* Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG hosts the first of two "Presidential Cancer Forums" at 11 am ET at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, IA. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, and Dennis Kucinich are scheduled to appear.
* Fred Thompson attends the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul. He's scheduled to meet supporters at the state GOP booth at 12:45 pm ET.
* Hillary Clinton participates in the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers' "Conversation with the Candidates" at 3 pm ET at the Disney Yacht and Beach Club Convention Center in Lake Buena Vista, FL.
* Bill Richardson holds two "job interview" events at 3 pm ET in Anamosa, IA, and 6:15 pm ET in Dubuque, IA.
* Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) will announce today that he has received the endorsement of Jack Carter, the 2006 candidate for US Senate in Nevada and the son of former President Jimmy Carter. (Release)
* CNN'S Soledad O'Brien moderates a "Hope and Recovery Summit," hosted by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) at the University of New Orleans, "to commemorate the second anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the devastating flooding that followed." Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Mike Huckabee, and Duncan Hunter are scheduled to appear. Detailed schedule
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
BUSH HAS FILLED THE AUGUST "VACUUM WITH POSITIVE NEWS" FROM IRAQ: President Bush has used a monthlong vacation by the Democrat-controlled Congress to mount a frontal assault on why the U.S. must remain in Iraq, declaring the "surge" of troops a success while also preparing war-weary Americans for a continued military engagement there. Throughout August, the Bush administration has filled the vacuum with positive news from the war front, culminating with the release of a report last week detailing "measurable" success during the surge of 30,000 troops the president ordered to Baghdad in January. Washington Times: Bush's refrain: 'Surge' working
"GOOD CHANCE" FOR A "DIFFERENT DIRECTION" ON IRAQ, SAYS GOP LEADER: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday he thinks there is a good chance that President Bush will take a new direction on Iraq following the status report next month from General David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. Though McConnell said he would not like to prejudge the highly anticipated report on Iraq, but he added that "there's a good chance that in September we'll go in a different direction." The senator stressed that this would not mean "an arbitrary surrender date," which is what he is accusing Democrats of trying to do. The Hill: McConnell sees 'good chance' for new Iraq direction
MALIKI LASHES OUT AT LEVIN, CLINTON: Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki on Sunday extended his tongue-lashing of foreign politicians who have questioned his government, saying that Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Carl Levin needed to "start making sense again" after the senators, both Democrats, called for his ouster... Maliki appeared to reach a new level of stridency with his reply to Senator Clinton, of New York, and Senator Levin, of Michigan. In remarks in a news briefing that referred to the senators by name, Mr. Maliki said they had spoken "as if Iraq is one of their cities." "Iraq is a sovereign country, and we will not allow anyone to talk about it as if it belongs to this country or that," Mr. Maliki said. New York Times: Iraqi Prime Minister Assails Democratic Critics
U.S. TROOPS NEARLY STUMBLED UPON BIN LADEN THREE YEARS AGO: The Americans were getting close. It was early in the winter of 2004-05, and Osama bin Laden and his entourage were holed up in a mountain hideaway along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Suddenly, a sentry, posted several kilometers away, spotted a patrol of U.S. soldiers who seemed to be heading straight for bin Laden's redoubt. The sentry radioed an alert, and word quickly passed among the Qaeda leader's 40-odd bodyguards to prepare to remove "the Sheik," as bin Laden is known to his followers, to a fallback position. As Sheik Said, a senior Egyptian Qaeda operative, later told the story, the anxiety level was so high that the bodyguards were close to using the code word to kill bin Laden and commit suicide. Newsweek: Into Thin Air
BUSH USES "LAST REMAINING POLITICAL TOOL"... EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY: Don't count him out quite yet. George W. Bush, hamstrung by a Democratic Congress and public disapproval, is making use of his last remaining political tool - the president's executive authority - in an effort to rescue remnants of his tattered agenda. In recent weeks, the president announced an initiative to round up illegal workers and punish the businesses that hire them, and issued rules limiting a government health-insurance program for children that lawmakers want to expand. Bloomberg: Bush Uses Executive Power to Save Agenda as Iraq Erodes Clout
BERNANKE'S "MAKE-OR-BREAK MOMENT": Ben S. Bernanke's critics from Washington to Wall Street are starting to ask whether the Federal Reserve chairman is ready for a prime-time crisis. The global credit crunch is proving the severest test of Bernanke's 18-month tenure atop the U.S. central bank as he tries to avoid a recession while steering clear of bailing out those who made risky investments... "This is a make-or-break moment for Bernanke," says David M. Jones, a former Fed economist who has written books on the central bank. "It is an early and maybe ultimate test" for the Fed chairman, who finds himself in "a position of weakness, not strength." Bloomberg: As Bernanke Retreats to Wyoming, Critics Ask Is He Prime Time
ANTI-PORK FIGHT MAY HIT GROUNDHOG: When Rep. Jeff Flake rises to speak in the House of Representatives, his colleagues grimace. Usually, the Arizona Republican is out to shame them over earmarking money for pet projects that have little to do with federal priorities. The House's No. 1 earmark-hater spares no one: not fellow Republicans, not committee chairs, not Arizona colleagues, not even Punxsutawney Phil. A $100,000 earmark for the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center in Pennsylvania, home of the celebrated weather-predicting groundhog, was among the scores of projects Flake has derided as pork. Los Angeles Times: Rep. Flake's mission: Be a bug in their earmarks
YOUNG VOTERS "ALIENATED" FROM GOP IDEALS: A Democracy Corps poll from the Washington firm of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner suggests voters ages 18 to 29 have undergone a striking political evolution in recent years. Young Americans have become so profoundly alienated from Republican ideals on issues including the war in Iraq, global warming, same-sex marriage and illegal immigration that their defections suggest a political setback that could haunt Republicans "for many generations to come," the poll said. The startling collapse of GOP support among young voters is reflected in the poll's findings that show two-thirds of young voters surveyed believe Democrats do a better job than Republicans of representing their views – even on issues Republicans once owned, such as terrorism and taxes. San Francisco Chronicle: Poll: Young voters disenchanted with Republican party
"A TRAIN WRECK OF AN ELECTION CALENDAR": Don't be fooled by the mild manner and balding pate: William Gardner just might be the most powerful person in American politics at the moment. For three decades, the little-known New Hampshire secretary of State has had the sole authority to set the date of the Granite State's first-in-the-nation presidential primary — an early-in-the-year contest that has been the single most decisive event in determining who gets nominated. Now moves by Florida and other states to get the attention traditionally lavished on New Hampshire and Iowa, which holds the opening caucuses, has created a train wreck of an election calendar and a high-stakes political showdown. It also has increased the odds that the 2008 nominations for president could be decided before Valentine's Day. USA Today: As states play 'Me First,' primaries fall into chaos
DNC VS. FLORIDA: Top Democrats voted Saturday to strip Florida of its 210 delegates to next summer's presidential-nominating convention unless the state's Jan. 29 primary is delayed by at least a week. The state party was given 30 days by the Democratic National Committee's rules panel to come up with a plan or Florida delegates would be barred from the Denver gathering. "What the committee has done is effectively turn [the primary] into a beauty pageant," said Allan Katz, a Tallahassee city commissioner and the only member of the rules committee to vote against sanctioning state Democrats. Orlando Sentinel: Dems: Strip Florida of convention delegates
CANDIDATES GIVING AWAY CASH IN HAWKEYE STATE: Presidential candidates aren't just spending a lot of money in Iowa this year. Some of them are giving it away. Two Democratic candidates made sizable donations from their political action committees to Iowa lawmakers during the first six months of 2007 – even though this is not an election year. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois handed out $5,000 from his PAC, Hopefund, to each of the Democratic members of Iowa's congressional delegation: U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin and U.S. Reps. Leonard Boswell, Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack. All of them are up for re-election in 2008. Des Moines Register: Candidates' PACs stream cash to Iowa
HISPANICS IN IA "DIDN'T KNOW THEY WERE BEING COURTED": Democratic presidential candidates say they are reaching out to Hispanics — a group that could play a key role in Iowa's caucuses. But apparently they need to stretch a little further. Most Hispanics say they didn't know they were being courted. "I don't see anything," says Sam Carbajal, who works for the school district in Marshalltown, a farming and manufacturing town in central Iowa. It's the same to the east in Cedar Rapids, said Jesse Martinez, a field organizer with the Eastern Iowa Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. "I haven't seen any outreach (of candidates) coming into the community," Martinez said. "That's the general consensus... when are they going to come talk to us? So far, nothing." AP via Yahoo! News: Democratic hopefuls reach out to Hispanics
DEMS HAVE WALL STREET ADVANTAGE: Democrats seeking the White House are raising significantly more money than Republicans this year from the industries that provide the most cash to presidential contenders — including Wall Street executives who traditionally have given to the GOP, a campaign-finance analysis shows. The major Democratic candidates have collected nearly $81 million from the employees and political action committees of the 20 employment sectors that contributed the most money during the first six months of the year, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data compiled by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. In contrast, Republicans raised $47 million. USA Today: Top-giving industries get behind Dem candidates
GOP FAITHFUL LOOK TO HILLARY: Conversations with Republicans gathered [in Indianapolis] for the biennial Midwest Republican Leadership Conference reflect a party unenthused or just plain uncertain about their potential White House nominee. But GOP faithful also seem quite confident and even upbeat about the prospect that the senator from New York is, as Rove put it, the "prohibitive favorite to win the nomination." That likelihood, they say, is good news for any hopes of keeping the White House and getting other Republicans on the ballot elected. The Politico: GOP activists root for Clinton win
"ABUSIVE HIGHER-UPS AND CRYING CAMPAIGNERS" AT CLINTON CAMPAIGN OFFICE: A former "die-hard" backer of Hillary Rodham Clinton says he switched his allegiance to Barack Obama after spending three weeks volunteering for the former first lady's Iowa office, and witnessing abusive higher-ups and crying campaigners. James Henson, 26, who works in Oklahoma politics, said he's now supporting Obama because of the "pretty bad treatment" he received from the Clinton camp's Des Moines office. "I've always been torn between Hillary and Obama, but Obama was always my second choice," he said. "My experience changed that. It completely turned me off to Hillary's campaign." New York Post: CLINTON CAMP TURNS FAN INTO OBAMA MAN
OBAMA'S MAN ON THE HILL: Sen. Barack Obama had hired Pete Rouse for just such a moment. It was the fall of 2005, and the celebrated young senator - still new to Capitol Hill but aware of his prospects for higher office - was thinking about voting to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice. Talking with his aides, the Illinois Democrat expressed admiration for Roberts's intellect. Besides, Obama said, if he were president he wouldn't want his judicial nominees opposed simply on ideological grounds. And then Rouse, his chief of staff, spoke up. This was no Harvard moot-court exercise, he said. If Obama voted for Roberts, Rouse told him, people would remind him of that every time the Supreme Court issued another conservative ruling, something that could cripple a future presidential run. Obama took it in. And when the roll was called, he voted no. Washington Post: The Outsider's Insider
EDWARDS, THE "SOLE SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT", APPEALS TO RURAL VOTERS: When a woman in the crowd shouted a question about education testing [in Berlin, NH] on Saturday, former senator John Edwards made a casual farming quip. "You don't make a hog fatter by weighing it," he said, meaning that constantly testing children does not make them smarter. The line was, Edwards acknowledged, borrowed from a friend. But it reflected a persistent subtext of the Edwards campaign: the argument that he is the sole Southern Democrat and cultural conservative in the Democratic presidential field, making him the only top-tier candidate in his party who can appeal easily to white men. Washington Post: Pinning Hopes On Rural Voters
EXPECTATIONS FOR THOMPSON "SIMPLY SKY HIGH," SAYS HUCKABEE: Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said Sunday that voters' expectations might be too high for Fred Thompson's run for the Republican presidential nomination. Weighing in on Thompson's likely candidacy on Fox News Sunday, Huckabee said "Well, let's just hope Fred decides it's just too hot this summer to even do this. Maybe he won't get in. But if he does, I think he's going to suck a lot of the oxygen out of the room when he first comes in. But I'm not sure I'd want to be in his position where the expectations are simply just sky-high for him to be able to perform." The Ticker: Huckabee: Expectations for Thompson too high
THOMPSON, THE REAL-LIFE INVESTIGATOR: Next month, [Fred] Thompson is expected to join the Republican race for president. While he is perhaps best known for playing the tough-minded District Attorney Arthur Branch on the NBC show "Law & Order," it is his real-life role as an investigator of government wrongdoing that has become a central part of the political biography he hopes will propel him to the presidency. But the public image of the impartial, "let the chips fall where they may" prosecutor that Mr. Thompson has cultivated masks a more nuanced reality. New York Times: As Legal Counsel, Thompson Walked Capital's Fine Line
DODD'S HARTFORD OFFICE BURGLARIZED SATURDAY NIGHT: Hartford police are investigating a burglary reported Saturday night at the office of Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn. The break-in is believed to have occurred sometime between 10 and 11 p.m., police said. Police would not say what, if anything, was taken. The burglars left something behind, police said. "We have some ... properties that were left on the scene that we want to process immediately," Sgt. Reggie Allen said. Jamie Radice, a spokeswoman for Dodd, also declined to say if anything was taken and what was left behind. Hartford Courant: Break-In Is Reported At Dodd's Hartford Office