Holder Signals Sharp Shifts From Bush Years on Torture, Guantánamo Bay, and Executive Power

Obama's attorney general nominee tells Dems that waterboarding is torture, defends Rich pardon to GOP.

Attorney General-designate Eric Holder, (wife Sharon Malone in background) on Capitol Hill prior to the committee's hearing on his nomination.

And the lessons he learned from that experience, he said, would make him an even better attorney general.

"There has to be a distance between me and the president," far more so than is true for those in other cabinet positions, Holder said. "I will be an independent attorney general and the people's lawyer."

The hearings continue tomorrow. If confirmed, Holder will be the first African-American to ever serve as attorney general.

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