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Smith clarifies position on Gonzales -- or not?

From NBC's Ken Strickland
A spokesperson for GOP Sen. Gordon Smith says his boss is NOT calling for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to be fired or to resign, despite reporting today to the contrary. Instead, Smith's spokesman R.C. Hammond says: "Senator Gordon Smith believes it would be helpful for this Congress, that the Attorney General be a person they could invest confidence in. Senator Smith does not believe the Congress has confidence in the Attorney General."

But if Smith isn't technically calling for Gonzales to be fired, he's pretty darn close and can't get much closer. For the past six months or so, Smith -- who's up for re-election in '08 -- has been moving further and further from Bush and his Administration. Just before Christmas, Smith took to the Senate floor in an emotional speech to say he was "at the end of my rope" in supporting Bush and the war. And, as we mentioned yesterday, he was the sole Senate Republican to vote for the measure calling to withdraw US forces from Iraq by March 2008.