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Is Gonzales a Diversion?

"'Mistakes were made,' he said in fluent scandalese, but 'I think it was the right decision.'

"'I am responsible for what happens at the Department of Justice,' he posited, but 'I . . . was not involved in any discussions about what was going on.'

"'Kyle Sampson' -- Gonzales's chief of staff -- 'has resigned,' he said, but 'he is still at the department.'

"And, finally, 'I believe in the independence of our U.S. attorneys,' Gonzales maintained, but 'all political appointees can be removed . . . for any reason.'

"He had the look of a hunted man in his appearance at the Justice Department. He wiggled his toes inside his shoes and shifted his feet. He spoke too loudly into the microphone. He arrived 18 minutes late, gave well-rehearsed answers and appeared intent on getting out as fast as he could, ignoring reporters' shouts of 'Sir! Sir!' The child of Mexican immigrants even mentioned his rise from poverty in dismissing calls for his ouster: 'I've overcome a lot of obstacles in my life to become attorney general. I am here not because I give up.'"

Ruth Marcus writes in her Washington Post opinion column that Gonzales's news conference "was a self-serving masterpiece of passive voice and unpersuasive platitudes. . . .

"Translation: 'I'm going to tell you I'm responsible, because that's what they tell me I have to say. But of course I'm not. It's all Kyle Sampson's fault. I'm hoping that if I say I'm accountable often enough, no one will actually hold me accountable.'...

"The precise non-mistake mistake that Gonzales copped to yesterday was sharing 'incomplete' -- this is Gonzales-speak for wrong -- information with Congress. Think about this: Gonzales first testified about the U.S. attorney firings on Jan. 19. His No. 2, Paul McNulty, testified on Feb. 6. Assistant Attorney General William Moschella testified March 6.

"And it wasn't until this week that Justice finally figured out it hadn't figured out the whole story? If that's true -- and I'm not sure which would be worse -- why should anyone believe this crowd is capable of getting its congressional story straight in the future?"

Gonzales in the Morning

On CNN this morning, anchor Miles O'Brien got Gonzales to admit he himself made mistakes -- but not to say what they were.

Here's the video and the transcript:

"O'BRIEN: Why don't you give us a self-evaluation? How do you think you did your job through all this?


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