Some Republicans made their disdain for Mr. Gonzales clear by their questions. Just 15 minutes after the attorney general began testifying, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the senior Republican on the panel, remarked wryly that Mr. Gonzales had prepared extensively for the appearance. “I prepare for every hearing, senator,” Mr. Gonzales replied.The big questions that remain are how long will Alberto Gonzalez remain the Attorney General and why does everyone in the administration seem willing to fall on their sword for Karl Rove, whose participation in the US Attorney firings is clear.
Mr. Specter seemed to view it as a smart-aleck retort, and the exchange that followed ended poorly for the attorney general. “Let’s move on,” Mr. Specter said sharply. “I don’t think you’re going to win a debate about your preparation, frankly.”
Democrats seemed gleeful as they watched Republicans go after one of their own, even as their central assertion — that the White House had let politics interfere with law enforcement — was subsumed by questions about Mr. Gonzales’s job performance. Senator Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat who has been spearheading the inquiry, did not seem to mind.
“I think anyone who’s watched this would say we could do better for attorney general,” Mr. Schumer said during a break. “He seems to be far less qualified than the U.S. attorneys that he’s fired.”
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