At a brief White House event this morning, a reporter asked the president, “The Attorney General is still getting a lot of criticism over the U.S. attorneys situation. Was his explanation sufficient, or is there more he needs to do to try to turn things around?” This is the entirety of Bush’s response.
“The Attorney General went up and gave a very candid assessment, and answered every question he could possibly answer, honestly answer, in a way that increased my confidence in his ability to do the job.
“One of the things that’s important for the American people to understand is that the Attorney General has a right to recommend to me to replace U.S. attorneys. U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President. In other words, we have named them, and I have the right to replace them with somebody else. And as the investigation, the hearings went forward, it was clear that the Attorney General broke no law, did no wrongdoing. And some senators didn’t like his explanation, but he answered as honestly as he could. This is an honest, honorable man, in whom I have confidence.”
So, Gonzales goes to the Hill, he forgets everything of any significance, he infuriates Republicans on the committee, White House aides pan his performance (one said Gonzales went “down in flames“), but the president now has “increased” confidence in the Attorney General’s abilities? Which testimony was he watching?
I also enjoyed the idea that Gonzales answered senators’ questions “as honestly as he could.” As Paul the Spud put it, “What does that mean? Answered as honestly as he could? You answer questions honestly, or you don’t. You don’t make attemptsto answer a question honestly. I love how the Black & White President all of a sudden sees nothing but grey areas when it comes to lies and testimony.”