GOP Senators Not Rushing to Back Gonzales
Republican senators will not rush to the defense of embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, though aides to key lawmakers said today that it remains unlikely that President Bush will oust his friend because of the FBI's illegal snooping case and the Justice Department's firing of prosecutors.
"You can't name one Republican who will step in front of that bulldozer coming at Gonzales," said a GOP strategist for Bush and Republican lawmakers.
"That's true," said a Senate staffer. "Senators don't have to do anything on this."
Luckily for the GOP, suggested another aide, the demand for Gonzales's ouster is coming from Sen. Chuck Schumer, who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
"We're lucky in that it looks so political coming from the chairman of the senatorial committee," said the aide. "It provides Gonzales with some cover." Still, lawmakers aren't eager to enter the fray and defend the president's attorney general, partly because they already feel overburdened in defending the war. What's more, the lawmakers don't believe that the president is even considering dumping the nation's top lawyer.
"Bush is extremely loyal, so it just won't happen," said an administration official. In addition, with the war debate expected to heat up this week, it is believed that attention to the twin Justice controversies will fade. "It really needs something new to fan those flames," said the Senate GOP leadership aide.