Hear reactions to Gonzales' resignation from:
Hear NPR's Ari Shapiro, Brian Naylor and Steve Inskeep
Fired U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton
Sen. Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Senate Judiciary Committee Member Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced Monday that he is resigning as the nation's top law-enforcement official. For months, critics have called on Gonzales to step down amid questions about his competence and credibility. Here, a sampling of reaction to his announcement:
— "Al Gonzales is a man of integrity, decency and principle. ... After months of unfair treatment that has created a harmful distraction at the Justice Department, Judge Gonzales decided to resign his position and I accept his decision. It's sad that ... his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons." - President Bush
— "I have lived the American dream. Even my worst days as attorney general have been better than my father's best days." — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
From House and Senate Leaders
— "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. 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." - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
— "The resignation of Alberto Gonzales had become inevitable. His situation was a distraction to the Department of Justice and its attempt to carry out its important duties." - Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM)
— "Attorney General Gonzales' ability to lead the Department of Justice had been undermined by his serious errors in judgment and conflicting statements. I am hopeful that the President will name a strong successor who will begin to restore confidence in the department." - Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
— "The rampant politicization of federal law enforcement that occurred under his tenure seriously eroded public confidence in our justice system. The president must now restore credibility to the office of the Attorney General." - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
— "I thank Alberto Gonzales for his public service and wish him well in his future endeavors. 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." - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
— "It has been a long and difficult struggle but at last, the attorney general has done the right thing and stepped down. ...We Democrats implore you [President Bush] to work with us. Don't choose the path of confrontation and throw down the gauntlet. We are willing to meet you in the middle of the road. All we ask is that you choose somebody who puts the rule of law first. We're not looking for confrontation here." -Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
— "The life of Alberto Gonzales has been defined by his devotion to family and deep commitment to public service. ... I appreciate his hard work in defense of our country and look forward to his future contributions." - House Republican Whip Roy Blunt
— The Justice Department under Gonzales "suffered a severe crisis of leadership that allowed our justice system to be corrupted by political influence." Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
— "I wish him and his family all the best as they enter the next stage of their lives. The work of the Justice Department is indispensable to our global war on terrorism, and as we move forward, I trust that the next attorney general will continue an aggressive approach against those who aim to harm our nation." - House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH)
— "He has exhibited a lack of candor with Congress and the American people and a disdain for the rule of law and our constitutional system. I strongly urge President Bush to nominate a new attorney general who will respect our laws and restore the integrity of the office." - Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
— "I hope that history will remember Attorney General Gonzales for his honorable service to his country, rather than for the absurd political theater to which some critics have subjected him." - Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
— "I think he's a first-rate prospect." - Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), asked whether Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff would be a good candidate for attorney general.
— "His mistake was underestimating the ferocity of relentless partisan attacks and not preparing more to address them." - Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
From Fired U.S. Attorneys
— "This is a great, great development. ...The next attorney general has to understand that his primary loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law and that sometimes he has to tell the president no." -Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico, one of the fired U.S. prosecutors.
— "It is a good thing for the Department of Justice and it's an opportunity for those career professionals to begin to focus on what is important, and that is the administration of justice." - Fired Arizona U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton.
— "There comes a time when if you don't have the respect of the Congress and the American public and your own people in the department then it's time to step down." - Fired Nevada U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden.
— "I don't think he would have ever had to resign until they were able to hang the U.S. attorneys' firings around his neck ... To me, it could all be written off to miscommunication and bad judgment and probably could have been forgiven until they made a conscious decision to be willing to throw some of the U.S. attorneys under the bus." - Fired Arkansas U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins.
From the Presidential Hopefuls
— "He demonstrated that his loyalties lie with the president and his political agenda, not the American people or the evenhanded and impartial enforcement of our laws. ... My hope is that the president will select a new attorney general who will respect the rule of law and abandon partisanship, who will serve the American people and not the president's political ideology, and who will answer to the Constitution and not political operatives." - Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Democratic presidential candidate
— "I have said for a long time that I thought the president would be best served if the attorney general resigned so I think it's the right thing to do." - Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Republican presidential candidate
— "The president must nominate an attorney general who is a lawyer for the American people, not a political arm of the White House." - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Democratic presidential candidate
— "Better late than never." - Former Sen. John Edwards, Democratic presidential candidate
— "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." - Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Democratic presidential candidate.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)