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Specter to AG: "You expect us to believe that?"

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales uttered a mere 35 words before he was cut off by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.).

Specter, in his first round of questions to Gonzales at Tuesday's Judiciary Committee hearing, asked him to describe a 2004 visit to bed-ridden John Ashcroft, the attorney general at the time whose deputy was not authorizing the legality of a domestic eavesdropping program to combat terrorism. Barely into his second sentence, Specter cut him off: "Mr. attorney general, do you expect us to believe that?"

So it went Tuesday for Gonzales, who was pilloried again and again by Democrats who continued to call for his resignation. But Gonzales's shaky standing in the Senate continues to be best illustrated by the lack of defense from Republicans, who again Tuesday left him twisting in the political wind. Judiciary Republicans took three approaches to his second appearance before their panel since the firings of the U.S. attorneys last year mushroomed into a political scandal threatening his hold on power:

• Some didn't show at all for the hearing; four of nine Republicans never appeared, including Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who ended his questioning of Gonzales at the April 19 hearing by calling for him to be fired just as the prosecutors were.
• They politely asked questions about issues largely unrelated to the prosecutor scandal or any of the controversies that have spun off from that investigation. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), for example, after getting Gonzales's quick reassurance that he wasn't supporting the closing of the terrorist holding cells at Guantanamo Bay, focused his question on the legality of Internet gambling.
• And then there was Specter, the ranking Republican on the panel whose critiques of Gonzales are harsher than those of most Democrats on the panel. His "you-expect-us-to-believe-that" comment echoed a similar brutal exchange April 19 when Gonzales cut off Specter during his first question, prompting the senator to lecture the attorney general about how poorly all of his public performances had previously been.

Despite the lack of support from his own side of the aisle, Gonzales pledged to persevere throughout the scandal, refusing to resign. "I've decided to stay and fix the problems," he said.

The next step comes Wednesday morning when the House Judiciary Committee is expected to approve a contempt-of-Congress citation against the White House for refusing to provide documents related to the congressional probes of the prosecutor firings, as well as declining to allow former aides to testify fully. This has set up what many call a "constitutional showdown." But as Specter noted Tuesday, the Bush White House has asserted that no U.S. attorney would enforce a contempt citation from Congress.

For now, this has left congressional Democrats - and Specter - in the position of yelling at Gonzales. At various points in the four-hour hearing Specter said there was "evidence of low morale" at the Justice Department and blasted what he described as Gonzales's lack of "personal credibility." He called the department "dysfunctional" and raised the prospect of calling for a special prosecutor to press a potential contempt citation.

But most Republicans declined to stick around for the entire hearing, including Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who has voiced strong criticisms of Gonzales and questioned his fitness for office. His questioning Tuesday focused largely on immigration and the federal prison population.

Sessions told Capitol Briefing he continues to hold grave doubts about the attorney general's job performance, but decided he - like most Republicans - would ask questions about policy they cared about and then quietly leave the hearing.

"I think there's some feeling he was just going to get yelled at for things he was already yelled at about," he said.

By Paul Kane  |  July 25, 2007; 10:00 AM ET
 
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Next: A Contempt Explainer

Comments

"I've decided to stay and fix the problems," he said."

What he means is, "If I quit, then the p[rocess of confirming a new AG would open up an opportunity for you jerks to investigate all this crap, so I'm dug in like a Texas, and only my King can make me leave" (sticks out tongue and gives big raspberry to Leahy)

Kids in Warland...

Posted by: JEP | July 25, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"I've decided to stay and fix the problems," he said.

What he means is, "If I quit, then the process of confirming a new AG would open up an opportunity for you jerks to investigate all this crap, so I'm dug in like a Texas tick, and only my Royal King George can make me leave" (sticks out tongue and gives big raspberry to Leahy)

Babes in Warland...

Posted by: JEP | July 25, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Why don't the Republicans care about this?

Can't they see that they are the ones who come out looking like eunuchs?

The entire Congress has lost all confidence in the clown Gonzales, yet the Republicans have no power to 'convince' the administration to give him up.

Why would anyone vote for these pansies?

Posted by: Patrick Huss | July 25, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

A "dysfunctional" DOJ? Uh, yeah, I'll say!

You have the outgoing PAUL MCNULTY-a purely political hack with no litigation experience whatsoever, a concealer of information, someone who is, without question, LESS THAN FULLY CANDID-ha! ha! (Goodling's attorneys done good with coming up with that polite phrase for a four letter word!)

And you STILL have the Asst. AG for the Criminal Div.-the airhead ALICE FISHER-who likes to keep out of the political limelight-but make no mistake-she's right there in the thick of things, working with her mentor over at DHS-Chertoff-whom she keeps fully informed on all things going on at DOJ.

Fisher, the leftover political protegee, is, to put it nicely, DUMB AS A POST. She has never been a prosecutor, never tried a civil case in her life-what, in god's name, is that woman still doing in a position with that much authority?

Someone who has to make decisions over some of the most complex criminal prosecutions in the country? Has no litigation experience whatsoever?? It's astounding, and shameful, that Fisher is not kicked out immediately-she does not belong anywhere NEAR the DOJ!

You've got these two, and AG Gonzales, who himself has no litigation experience-but the difference is, the Prez gets to pick whom he wants as AG-good or bad-it's his choice. Everyone has to live with that choice. However, you've GOT to have people in the Deputy spot and the AAGs who are experienced litigators and who know what they are doing-That has never been a problem on the Civil side of the house, DOJ has had some excellent AAGs for Civil-but CRIMINAL? ALICE FISHER? AND DAG? PAUL MCNULTY?

DOJ has made a step in the right direction by hiring Morford to take McNulty's place, but they need to GET ALICE FISHER OUT OF THERE-if they are truly serious about restoring some credibility to the Department.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

When Colin Powell met Gonzales as WH Counsel he was stunned that so shabby and mediocre a man could be in a national post. He refused to have anything to do with him and dealt with him through low-level subordinates.

Gonzales before Congress has been just ... just stunning. Anyone in any job in the private sector who answered to a manager in this way would have been fired long ago.

But George Bush doesn't fire people; that would imply he had been wrong to hire them in the first place, opening the possibility that he made a mistake, that he is not infallible.

These are some weird sick times we are living through. Kafka couldn't come up with this.

Posted by: Chris Fox | July 25, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to look at the bright side. I'm an old woman and all of this could mean that there won't be another Republican run government in my life time.

Posted by: Lilly | July 25, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

One more thing: The "morale" problem at DOJ is due, in large part, to the fact that ALICE FISHER continues to hold the AAG for Criminal spot at DOJ.

If the AG is serious about correcting the morale problem at DOJ, not only amongst the rank and file, but amongst the senior managers at DOJ, who are appalled by the embarassment of having such a lightweight in such a serious position, he has to get rid of ALICE FISHER, AND DO IT SOON.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I loved the way Sen. Specter yelled at Gonzales for spending just 5-10 minutes reviewing cases in which the US Attorneys questioned the death penalty.

He yelled at him for allowing the Purdue Oxycontin execs off the hook without jail time, when, as Specter pointed out, there was evidence of 2nd degree murder.

Specter was absolutely livid and that imbecile Gonzales just sat there with that trademark Bush-family smirk on his face.

I don't think it's over yet for for little Alberto. As former US Attorneys themselves, these guys are just way too pissed off.

~

Posted by: DickeyFuller | July 25, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Why can't a group of Republicans in the Senate and Congress collectively have a word with the President and let him know that Mr. Gonzales' testimony is making the USA look like a poorly organised beach party held in the middle of the street in a landlocked country with neither beach nor sea? This Gonzales issue has long gone past the the personal credibility of the individual, it is starting to look like a reflection of the ethical mores of the nation as a whole. Mr. Gonzales is the only person I have ever seen in testimony assert a specific point and then deny that he ever said it, all in one sentence.
For the country's sake Mr. Gonzales, find your conscience, resign and spare the nation further embarrassment.

Posted by: John Sears | July 25, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I have given up completely on this government. It's a useless as a flat tire in high speed traffic.

I don't see any conviction in either party to fix our problems and they are growing everyday.


Posted by: Joe of MA | July 25, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I have given up completely on this government. It's a useless as a flat tire in high speed traffic.

I don't see any conviction in either party to fix our problems and they are growing everyday.


Posted by: Joe of MA | July 25, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

It makes me sure that W Bush stands true to "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND" in fact he has his own test for them. Are you a bushie; yes or no,if the answer is yes your in. Lie,to congress, well that will get you a time out at the nearest fund raiser or think tank,now that I am learning how the law works I know I will be able to explain it to my children. Oh hell why not a job at the DOJ it would look good on my resume. Bubba

Posted by: Bradley Johnson | July 25, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked that this story is not blaring in the headlines. Contempt of Congress is not an ordinary, run-of-the-mill charge. In light of the WH squaring off with their next move, one would think this to be a bigger story than Lindsey Lohan's woes.

I'd love to be in the tavern booth next to Specter right about now, too.

Posted by: HRC | July 25, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

IMPEACH. Bush. Cheney. Gonzalez. Now.

Posted by: F&B | July 25, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Have we asked John Ashcroft about all this? It seems to me he might have testified, in secret. If so, that should prove that little Alberto is lying. If not, why don't they call him up? I would think he's more than a little upset about all this.

As for Bush firing Alberto? How can he? Little Alberto was his lawyer so long, he has too much dirt on the immoral Pres.

Posted by: Emily | July 25, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I wish that our government didn't have to deal with lack of quality in their own administration so they could focus more of their efforts onto important issues like Global Poverty. According to the Borgen Project, every 3.6 seconds,another person dies from starvation or malnutrition and they are usually under the age of 5 years old. This is startling and we need to be putting our attention on things like these.

Posted by: Erica | July 25, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"Have we asked John Ashcroft about all this?" - of course not, the Dems are afraid that he would support the Rep testimony given so far and that would really show that they are on a witch hunt, looking for a crime where none was committed.

Posted by: ALAN | July 25, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

We are fortunate that the British press hasn't followed the backstory on the Gonzo debacle. But as I sit in Edinburgh watching the BBC, the floods that have washed thousands out of their homes has full attention here and competent manner they are dealing with the disaster again puts US to shame. The reaction we have received from our English and Scottish friends is pity and sorrow that we have had to suffer such incompetence-all the blame goes to Bush for surrounding himself with fools, loyal but incompetent fools - and they're finally putting Blair in that category. Doesn't the US have a competent Scot who would run for President?

Posted by: Joshuasgrandma | July 25, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Joshuasgrandma:

No, our Scots are too smart to run for President. Besides, the cameras in the floor of the Oval Office would show too much when a Scotsman wore kilts. Plus, since regs don't allow smoking in the WH, where would he put the pipes?

Plus Little Al is making FEMA's Brownie, Homeland's Chertoff, Defense's Rumsfeld, Lurita Doan and the CPA's Bremer look good by comparison. Cheney's roster of incompetents is far-reaching--and it'll take along time to restore sense to the Supreme Court.

It'll take us at least a generation to restore competence in our government.

Posted by: pacman | July 25, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. Kane for reporting on this matter in a more-than-soundbyte manner. The actual hearing was quite informative (on a few levels). I think we, as responsible citizens should keep track of such proceedings in a larger effort to keep our elected officials accountable. You can keep up with these proceedings and others in the Senate on:

http://senatus.wordpress.com

Posted by: Darius | July 25, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Uh Joshua, before you go extolling the great virtues of the UK, think for a moment how they responded to the latest terrorist attack on their soil, will ya? I think we can say, that the Scots in particular, were very very damn lucky-people were very close to being killed at Glasgow International Airport a few weeks ago, and after they KNEW that there had been two attempts in London the night before, Glasgow Airport had exactly ONE UNARMED COP ON DUTY WHEN THE TWO DOCTORS DROVE THEIR JEEP INTO THE FRONT DOOR.

If it weren't for one of the PASSENGERS who got in some kicks before the Strathclyde police arrived, there could indeed have been people killed.

In a country of a little less than 5 million people, Scotland has 150 "viable" terrorist suspects.

That's not counting England of course, which has a mind-boggling 2,000 AT LARGE TERRORIST SUSPECTS WITHIN ITS BORDERS.

By contrast, the USA with almost 300 million people within its borders, doesn't have anything close to 150 known suspects IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.

Whatever else you want to say about the UK, dealing effectively with the real and imminent threat of terrorism within their borders AIN'T ONE OF THEM.

It is a fact, that the UK is the laughing stock of the law enforcement and intelligence world, and they better get their act together soon, because people are in real danger there, unlike in this country-of terrorist attacks.


Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

And I hasten to add, Glasgow is an INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY AIRPORT-mind-boggling that it would have ONE cop on duty after the two attempt bombs were discovered in London-absolutely bloody bush league incompetent.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

A great deal of time has been devoted to the discussion of Gonzales. Perhaps more time should be spent on the real issues. For instance the members of the United States government agreed to fund and support the Millennium Development goals that will help bring an end to global poverty. However while the white house spends $300 billion a year in Iraq, $19 billion is missing from the funding to end starvation and malnutrition worldwide. Groups such as the Borgen Project are working to bring government attention to see that the U.S. government holds up their end of the agreement. If Gonzales is being questioned for not meeting expectations should the same not be done for the other members of the United States government?

Posted by: KatP1 | July 25, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

The Executive Order entitled "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq" provides the President with the authority to confiscate the assets of whoever opposes the US led war. A presidential Executive Order issued on July 17th, repeals with the stroke of a pen the right to dissent and to oppose the Pentagon's military agenda in Iraq.

The Executive Order entitled "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq" provides the President with the authority to confiscate the assets of "certain persons" who oppose the US led war in Iraq:

In substance, under this executive order, opposing the war becomes an illegal act.

The Executive Order criminalizes the antiwar movement. It is intended to "blocking property" of US citizens and organizations actively involved in the peace movement. It allows the Department of Defense to interfere in financial affairs and instruct the Treasury to "block the property" and/or confiscate/ freeze the assets of "Certain Persons" involved in antiwar activities. It targets those "Certain Persons" in America, including civil society organizatioins, who oppose the Bush Administration's "peace and stability" program in Iraq.

The Executive Order also targets those "Certain Persons" who are "undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction", or who, again in plain English, are opposed to the confiscation and privatization of Iraq's oil resources on behalf of America's oil pimps.

The order is also intended for anybody who opposes Bush's program of "political reform in Iraq", in other words, who questions the legitimacy of an Iraqi "government" installed by the occupation forces.

Moreover, those persons or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), who provide bona fide humanitarian aid to Iraqi civilians, and who are not approved by the US Military or its lackeys in the US-sponsored Iraqi government are also liable to have their financial assets confiscated.

The executive order violates the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the US Constitution. It repeals one of the fundamental tenets of US democracy, which is the right to free expression and dissent. The order has not been the object of discussion in the US Congress. So far, it has not been addressed by the US antiwar movement, in terms of a formal statement. (or a major Codepink4peace.org protest)

Apart from a bland Associated Press wire report, which presents the executive order as "an authority to use financial sanctions", there has once again been no media coverage or commentary of a presidential decision which strikes at the heart of the US Constitution..

The criminalization of the State is when the sitting President and Vice President use and abuse their authority through executive orders, presidential directives or otherwise to define "who are the criminals" when in fact they are the criminals.

This latest executive order criminalizes the peace movement. It must be viewed in relation to various pieces of "anti-terrorist" legislation, the gamut of presidential and national security directives, etc., which are ultimately geared towards repealing constitutional government and installing martial law in the event of a "national emergency".

The executive order combined with the existing anti-terrorist legislation is eventually intended to be used against the anti-war and civil rights movements. It can be used to seize the assets of antiwar groups in America as well as block the property and activities of non-governmental humanitarian organizations providing relief in Iraq (for example, by handing out condoms), seizing the assets of alternative media involved in reporting the truth regarding the US-led war, etc.

In May 2007, Bush issued a major presidential National Security Directive (National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive NSPD 51/HSPD 20), which would suspend constitutional government and instate broad dictatorial powers under martial law in the case of a "Catastrophic Emergency" (e.g. A Pet Goat attack).

On July 11, 2007 the CIA published its "National Intelligence Estimate" which pointed to an imminent attack on America, a second Pet Goat Lesson which, according to the terms of NSPD 51, would immediately be followed by the suspension of constitutional government and the instatement of martial law in Florida under the authority of the vice president, the president and his brother - possibly even before the attack occured. (For further details, see PNAC)

NSPD 51 grants unprecedented powers to the Presidency and any Bush Pioneers who may have been appointed to the Department of Homeland Security, overriding the foundations of Constitutional government. It allows the sitting president to declare a "national emergency" without Congressional approval. The implementation of NSPD 51 would lead to the de facto closing down of the Legislature and the militarization of justice and law enforcement.

"The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government...."

Were NSPD 51 to be invoked, Vice President Dick Cheney, who constitutes the real duck-killing power behind the Executive, would essentially assume de facto dictatorial powers, circumventing both the US Congress and the Judiciary, while continuing to use Arbusto George Junior as a clown.

NSPD 51, while bypassing the Constitution, nonetheless, envisages very precise procedures which guarantee the powers of Oil Slick Dick in relation to "Continuity of Goverment" functions under Martial Law:

"This directive shall be implemented in a manner that is consistent with, and facilitates effective implementation of, provisions of the Constitution concerning succession to the Presidency or the exercise of its powers, and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (3 U.S.C. 19), with consultation of the Vice President and, as appropriate, others involved. Heads of executive departments and agencies shall ensure that appropriate support is available to the Vice President and others involved as necessary to be prepared at all times to implement those provisions." (NSPD 51, op cit.)

The executive order to confiscate the assets of antiwar/peace activists is broadly consistent with NSPD 51. It could be triggered even in the absence of a "Catastrophic emergency" as envisaged under NSPD 51. It repeals democracy. It goes one step further in criminalizing all forms of opposition and dissent to the US led war and "Homeland Security" agenda.

Posted by: Prof. Michel Chossudovsky | July 25, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"A great deal of time has been devoted to the discussion of Gonzales. Perhaps more time should be spent on the real issues."

Yes, after all law, order, justice, those aren't real issues.

Hows this for an issue KatP1...Clint Borgen and his harem of pathetically rude, and ignorant wenches should go beg their mommies and daddies to teach them manners.
The issues we talk about here are real issues, and we don't need Clint's prepubescent girlfriends coming here and telling us what we talk about isn't important.
You got that KatP1?
Now go beg your dad for a pony, you loser!

Posted by: Patrick Huss | July 25, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

"I've decided to stay and fix the problems," he said.

If that were the case then he could have started the process of fixing the problems right there in the hearing room by telling the truth--but of course he didn't. The first problem to be solved is his own mendacity.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

"I've decided to stay and fix the problems," he said.

If that were the case then he could have started the process of fixing the problems right there in the hearing room by telling the truth--but of course he didn't. The first problem to be solved is his own mendacity.

Posted by: Paul Chouinard | July 25, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

But as Specter noted Tuesday, the Bush White House has asserted that no U.S. attorney would enforce a contempt citation from Congress.

This would have been an above the fold, blaring headline when Nixon was President. What is wrong with the press?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

But as Specter noted Tuesday, the Bush White House has asserted that no U.S. attorney would enforce a contempt citation from Congress.

This would have been an above the fold, blaring headline when Nixon was President. What is wrong with the press?

Posted by: Annie O | July 25, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

But as Specter noted Tuesday, the Bush White House has asserted that no U.S. attorney would enforce a contempt citation from Congress.

This would have been an above the fold, blaring headline when Nixon was President. What is wrong with the press?

Posted by: Annie O | July 25, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Gonzales needs to step down, and if he won't do so gracefully, I hope Congress will force him to do so. Like the entire Bush administration, he refuses to take responsibility for his illegal actions and needs to be held accountable. The Iraq War bespeaks a lot about Bush's personal shortcomings and his administration's horrible policy choices. To date, the war has cost over $340 billion dollars--money which could have been spent much more wisely and with better end results. It is estimated, for example, that the expenditure of a mere $19 billion would eliminate starvation and malnutrition worldwide. In a time when the current defense budget is $522 billion, the goal of eradicating world hunger is clearly well within reach. Thus, it is clear that the occupation of Iraq needs to end and the entire Bush administration, incluing Gonzales, needs to come clean with the American public. There are simply much more important issues that need to be addressed.

Posted by: Jessica | July 25, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

It is probably no surprise to anyone that our president and his administration have, yet again, hid the truth from the American public. Similar to the dealings with the war in Iraq, this administration has been feeding lies to the public. Now the war has proven to be a failure and is causing more violence, terror and poverty in this world. According to the Borgen Project, it only takes $19 billion dollars annually to eradicate world hunger and poverty. However, our government has already spent more than $450 billion dollars over this fruitless war in Iraq. It is time for the Bush Administration to take a real interest in the lives of the American people as well as people who are in desperate needs around the world. Stop the lies and stop poverty now.

Posted by: Mstessyrue | July 25, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Gonzales will never, ever resign. His assignment is to sit in that job till the end of Bush's term because removing him would mean that a new AG would find out all the shabby and illegal things that Bush, Cheney, Rove, and their ilk have been doing for the past seven years.

The time has come to use the machinery that the Founding Fathers provided to rid the nation of tyrannical abusers of power. (That's what the Revolutionary generation would have called Bush & Co.)

That machinery is IMPEACHMENT and conviction. Start with Gonzales, force Bush to appoint a new AG who the Democratic majority of the Senate will confirm, and meanwhile pursue impeachment against Bush and Cheney.

Now.

Posted by: jm917 | July 25, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Gonzales will never, ever resign. His assignment is to sit in that job till the end of Bush's term because removing him would mean that a new AG would find out all the shabby and illegal things that Bush, Cheney, Rove, and their ilk have been doing for the past seven years.

The time has come to use the machinery that the Founding Fathers provided to rid the nation of tyrannical abusers of power. (That's what the Revolutionary generation would have called Bush & Co.)

That machinery is IMPEACHMENT and conviction. Start with Gonzales, force Bush to appoint a new AG who the Democratic majority of the Senate will confirm, and meanwhile pursue impeachment against Bush and Cheney.

Now.

Posted by: jm917 | July 25, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

After viewing the senate hearing concerning AG Gonzalez, it is absolutely clear that all semblances of honor, integrity, and a moral conviction to do what is right has eluded our politicians. The real argument at hand in not whether A. Gonzalez is found to be inept on the job, but rather the loss of political credibility by all elected officials. The reality that purposeful political action is absent in the extreme hurts our nation in the long run. The current state of affairs in Washington must undergo an immediate paradigm shift and realign itself with developing policy that promotes the well being of this great country as a whole.

Posted by: Jaime Sanchez | July 26, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Will the real Arlen Specter stand up? Wow! What a difference a day (or two) makes! His performance today before the press revealed a completely different man from the one that was visibly infuriated with Gonzales during the hearing Tuesday. Someone in the White House got to him in a big way (he did say he spoke to an unidentified person there twice today) and really applied the screws. From rage and not-so-veiled threats Tuesday, Specter suddenly became conciliatory and even, it seemed, forgiving, calling for review of the record to determine whether Gonzales lied or not. Specter's memory is failing badly, or his concept of untruthfulness is bizarre, for I watched the hearing not once, but twice (believe it or not) and caught the AG contradicting himself over and over again, almost in the same breath. Particularly nauseating was the exchange about his "clarifying" what he claimed was an earlier misstatement regarding the surveillance program at issue. Although he flatly said, "I clarified it," he didn't know when the clarification occurred or to whom it was revealed. This incredible non sequitur necessitated his finally admitting that it was someone on his staff, not he, who did the clarifying, but he din't know who that staffperson was or what he or she said. The laughter from the onlookers was sufficient so that they had to be called down. True, the scenario was comical on its face, but unfortunately, this is the star of the Justice Department, not Comedy Central!

Posted by: JFredman | July 27, 2007 4:03 AM | Report abuse

Will the real Arlen Specter stand up? Wow! What a difference a day (or two) makes! His performance today before the press revealed a completely different man from the one that was visibly infuriated with Gonzales during the hearing Tuesday. Someone in the White House got to him in a big way (he did say he spoke to an unidentified person there twice today) and really applied the screws. From rage and not-so-veiled threats Tuesday, Specter suddenly became conciliatory and even, it seemed, forgiving, calling for review of the record to determine whether Gonzales lied or not. Specter's memory is failing badly, or his concept of untruthfulness is bizarre, for I watched the hearing not once, but twice (believe it or not) and caught the AG contradicting himself over and over again, almost in the same breath. Particularly nauseating was the exchange about his "clarifying" what he claimed was an earlier misstatement regarding the surveillance program at issue. Although he flatly said, "I clarified it," he didn't know when the clarification occurred or to whom it was revealed. This incredible non sequitur necessitated his finally admitting that it was someone on his staff, not he, who did the clarifying, but he din't know who that staffperson was or what he or she said. The laughter from the onlookers was sufficient so that they had to be called down. True, the scenario was comical on its face, but unfortunately, this is the star of the Justice Department, not Comedy Central!

Posted by: JFredman | July 27, 2007 4:05 AM | Report abuse

I want to know how Gonzo will stick around to fix the problem when He is the problem. He is probably referring to the problem of Americans thinking they are under the illusion they live in a democracy and have any recourse against the men who have highjacked the Justice system.
Don't the Repubs know hoew this makes them look? Do they really think any serious voter would overlook the enabling of criminals and obvious afronts to the rule of law and the constitution? They are no better than Gonzales himself?

Posted by: BDRollens | July 28, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I want to know how Gonzo will stick around to fix the problem when He is the problem. He is probably referring to the problem of Americans thinking they are under the illusion they live in a democracy and have any recourse against the men who have highjacked the Justice system.
Don't the Repubs know hoew this makes them look? Do they really think any serious voter would overlook the enabling of criminals and obvious afronts to the rule of law and the constitution? They are no better than Gonzales himself?

Posted by: BDRollens | July 28, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I read Sen. Kyl has not changed any. Come on Sen. there are much more important issues facing our country than wanting to prevent me, an adult, for playing poker online.

I know, I know, it is EVIL! Bit, then again, I guess betting on the ponies online must be godly since you have no problem with this and EVEN made sure that is OK by specifically exempting that from Unlawful Internet Gambling.

Oh, yes, that is right; I can go on AOL, MSN and YAHOO! Games and WAGER money on solitaire, hearts, spades, CHILDREN'S video games and much more though. Just, GOD FORBID, do NOT desire to play poker online!

Posted by: OldBookGuy | August 4, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Absurd! --- Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), for example, after getting Gonzales's quick reassurance that he wasn't supporting the closing of the terrorist holding cells at Guantanamo Bay, focused his question on the legality of Internet gambling. ---

As many pressing matters facing this country, Kyl is worried about Americans playing cards online? Just goes to show....

Posted by: DaveLWeston | August 13, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

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