Monday, May 21, 2007

Bush Calls Vote on Gonzales, "Pure Political Theater" reports:
President George W. Bush said Attorney General Alberto Gonzales continues to have his full support and called an attempt by Senate Democrats to hold a no-confidence vote on the embattled Justice Department chief ``pure political theater.''

``He has got my confidence, he has done nothing wrong,'' Bush said today in response to a question during a news conference at his Texas ranch. ``I stand by Al Gonzales.''

The Senate and House Judiciary committees are investigating whether the firings of eight federal prosecutors last year were the result of improper political influence. At least six Republicans have joined with Democrats in calling for Gonzales to step down because of the way the situation was handled.

Democratic Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California are proposing the Senate vote on a no- confidence resolution as soon as this week.

``It is this kind of political theater that has caused the American people to lose confidence in how Washington operates,'' Bush said today. He didn't directly address a question about whether he wants Gonzales to stay through the end of his term.

Schumer, responding to Bush's comments, said Gonzales should be replaced to restore the public's faith in the Justice Department.

``The president should understand that while he has confidence in Attorney General Gonzales, very few others do,'' Schumer said in a statement.

While a largely symbolic gesture, a vote of no confidence would add to the political pressure on Gonzales, 51, a longtime adviser to Bush who the president appointed as attorney general in 2005.

Senator Arlen Specter, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said yesterday that Gonzales may resign rather than face a ``very substantial'' no-confidence vote. Specter is among the Republicans who have questioned whether Gonzales can continue to be effective in his job as the nation's chief law enforcement officer.