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Gonzales under fire


Will Attorney General Alberto Gonzales survive? It seems at least one senior White House aide is telling Newsweek that the attorney general still needs to "demonstrate competence and confidence." The testimony by Gonzales' ex-chief of staff Kyle Sampson this Thurs in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee could be make or break.

The New York Times writes up the Sunday show chatter on Gonzales, and it leads with the fact that three of the five GOP senators that appeared on the Sunday shows expressed reservations about him.

One of them, Sen. Arlen Specter, said "White House officials should testify publicly but not under oath about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys," the Washington Post writes. "Two other Republicans -- Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) and Chuck Hagel (Neb.) -- agreed with Specter that any such testimony should at least be transcribed."

Bob Novak's Monday column is all about the lack of Hill GOP support for Gonzales.

The Wall Street Journal: "Justice Department efforts to contain the damage from the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys are being hampered by two camps with differing loyalties that have emerged within the department. Loyalists to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty have criticized how Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's staff has handled the political controversy now engulfing the department… Mr. Gonzales and his aides, meanwhile, say that it is Mr. McNulty's Senate testimony that began the fallout for the department."

More drip-drip today? The Washington Post reports on the comments by the fired US attorney in Washington state to NBC's Tim Russert that "White House officials questioned his performance in highly partisan political terms… John McKay…, who had decided two years earlier not to bring voter fraud charges that could have undermined a Democratic victory in a closely fought gubernatorial race, said White House counsel Harriet Miers and her deputy, William Kelley, 'asked me why Republicans in the state of Washington would be angry with me.'"

More Bush agenda today: At the White House, President Bush meets with automotive CEOs and then participates in a demonstration of alternative fuels.