13 March 2007


(Updated Wednesday morning to include Clinton's call for resignation)

There's no shortage of places to turn if you want an update on the latest in the district attorney firing scandal.

The latest news today is that the White House was deeply involved in the affair and that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the firings were mishandled but not unjustified.

But, given the focus of this blog we'll look only at the reaction of the 2008 presidential candidates.

Democrat John Edwards was the first candidate to call on Gonzales to resign his post.

"Today's news is only the latest and most disturbing sign of the politicization of justice under President Bush. From the abuse of investigative authority under the Patriot Act to the unconstitutional imprisonment of the Guantanamo Bay detainees and illegal torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Bagram Air Force Base, this president has consistently shown contempt for the rule of law.

"Attorney General Alberto Gonzales betrayed his public trust by playing politics when his job is to enforce and uphold the law. By violating that trust, he's done a great disservice to his office. If White House officials ordered this purge, he should have refused them. If they insisted, he should have resigned in protest. Attorney General Gonzales should certainly resign now."

Hillary Clinton joined Edwards in calling for Gonzales' resignation on ABC's Good Morning America this morning.

"The buck should stop somewhere," Clinton said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" which was broadcast Wednesday morning. She added that Bush "needs to be very forthcoming -- what did he say, what did he know, what did he do?" and that high-level White House adviser Karl Rove also "owes the Congress and the country an explanation" for his role in the affair.

Barack Obama aimed his criticism at both Gonzales and the White House.

"I opposed Mr. Gonzalez's nomination, in part, because he had shown in his role as White House Counsel a penchant for subverting justice to serve the President's political goals, and I feared that in an Attorney General. Sadly, the latest revelations underscore my concern. Americans deserve to know who in the White House is pulling the strings at the Department of Justice, and why. Anyone involved should appear under oath and answer these questions."

We've not come across any comments from any of the GOP candidates. It would be especially enlightening to know what Rudy Giuliani, the GOP frontrunner and a former DA himself, thinks about the firings.

As for my own thoughts, I have to say I just can't stomach the "mistakes were made" nonsense any longer.

Gonzales says he accepts the responsibility for the mess, but what does that mean? So far it means one of his underlings has been shown the door.

Justice Department officials told lawmakers under oath that the firing scheme was hatched and executed entirely by the Justice Department. Today we learned of the White House's involvement.

Which led to my favorite comment of the day by Gonzales:

"Obviously I am concerned about the fact that information - incomplete information - was communicated or may have been communicated to the Congress."

Incomplete information? Or outright lies?

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