Gonzales Cramming For Big Test -- Will He Pass?

There’s been a surprising amount of attention lately on embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales preparing for his upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, which if the conventional wisdom is to be believed, will determine whether he keeps his job. Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff reports that the Justice Department is “in a state of paralysis” and Gonzales’ closest advisers “are nervous about whether he is up to the task.”

At a recent “prep” for a prospective Sunday talk-show interview, Gonzales’s performance was so poor that top aides scrapped any live appearances. During the March 23 session in the A.G.’s conference room, Gonzales was grilled by a team of top aides and advisers — including former Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie and former White House lawyer Tim Flanigan — about what he knew about the plan to fire seven U.S. attorneys last fall. But Gonzales kept contradicting himself and “getting his timeline confused,” said one participant who asked not to be identified talking about a private meeting. His advisers finally got “exasperated” with him, the source added. “He’s not ready,” Tasia Scolinos, Gonzales’s public-affairs chief, told the A.G.’s top aides after the session was over, said the source.

As Kevin Drum put it, “Everyone prepares for congressional testimony, but this is ridiculous.”

If Gonzales was planning to simply tell the truth, he wouldn't "keep contradicting himself" in practice sessions and he wouldn't need to bring his schedule to a standstill in order to figure out what he's planning to say. He'd just review the appropriate documents to make sure he had his dates straight and then tell Congress what happened.

Obviously, though, that's not quite what he's planning to do, is it?

All Gonzales has to do is explain why he wasn’t lying when it appears he was. Easy, right?


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