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Bush: Gonzales situation 'sad'

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
President Bush said he "reluctantly accepted" Alberto Gonzales' resignation and reflected on the attorney general's legacy and tenure, calling him a man of "integrity, decency and principle."

VIDEO: President Bush denounces what he calls unfair treatment of Alberto Gonzales.

Bush said Gonzales "played a critical role" in shaping the administration's policies on the war on terror, the Patriot Act and helping get justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito nominated and confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bush said accepting Gonzales' resignation came "after months of unfair treatment."

"It's sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons," Bush said.

Solicitor General Paul Clement will be Gonzales' interim replacement, Bush added.

Dramatic enough in itself, the announcement Monday morning that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had resigned also set the stage for what may be one of most contentious confirmation hearings since the Senate rejected John Tower as defense secretary in 1989. CLICK HERE.