Thursday, February 03, 2005

Senate OKs Gonzales As Attorney General

ABC News
Senate OKs Gonzales As Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales Wins Senate Confirmation As Attorney General Despite Democratic Accusations
By JESSE J. HOLLAND Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press

Feb. 3, 2005 - Alberto Gonzales won Senate confirmation Thursday as attorney general despite Democratic accusations that he helped formulate White House policies that led to overseas prisoner abuse and was too beholden to President Bush to be the nation's top law enforcement official.

The Senate voted 60-36 to put the first Hispanic ever into the job, with all of the "no" votes coming from Democrats. Last week, 13 Democrats voted against Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's confirmation.

Gonzales will replace John Ashcroft, who four years ago won confirmation by an even smaller margin, 58-42.

Republicans and some Democrats praised Gonzales' life story: the grandson of Mexican immigrants who worked his way up to being President Bush's top lawyer in the White House.

Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., the first Cuban-American senator, even broke with Senate tradition and praised Gonzales in Spanish on the Senate floor on Wednesday. "This is a breakthrough of incredible magnitude for Hispanic-Americans," he said in English.

Democrats praised Gonzales as well, but many said they couldn't look past his participation in administration policies they said had led to abuses that occurred in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They also complained that he refused to answer their questions on how those policies were created inside the White House.

"Mr. Gonzales was at the heart of the Bush administration's notorious decision to authorize our forces to commit flagrant acts of torture in the interrogation of detainees," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.