Gonzales resigned his post Monday.
(CNN) - For the second time in two weeks, a goodbye that hit home.
Alberto Gonzales is stepping down. Like Karl Rove, Gonzales has been at this president’s side dating back to his days as Texas governor. And like Rove, Gonzales had become a political piñata for an administration whose days are numbered.
Seventeen months left, and lame duck is a term that makes the president bristle. But Mr. Bush is a president defined by an unpopular war, and lacks the political muscle to see through his big-ticket domestic priorities.
At the State of the Union address in January, Bush pushed for domestic policy reform, saying, “With enough good sense and goodwill, you and I can fix Medicare and Medicaid - and save Social Security.”
Those State of the Union ideas went nowhere, and Mr. Bush also failed to make his 2001 tax cuts permanent or pass major immigration reforms. Now, the departures of old friends magnify this president’s increasingly lonely place.
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
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
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.
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
Watch Gonzales announce his resignation Monday.
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) - 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."
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."
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