In an April 25 Politico article, chief political correspondent Mike Allen uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) statement that he decided "a long time ago" that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales should step down but said nothing because "I just haven't been asked" about it. In fact, a March 16 New York Times article reported that McCain "declined to say ... whether he thought Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales should be ousted," as Media Matters for America noted. Moreover, three additional reports from late March and mid April mentioned the senator's reluctance to comment on whether Gonzales should remain in office.
Allen wrote in the Politico on April 25:
The senator disclosed his view as his Straight Talk Express luxury bus rumbled away from the second stop on his announcement tour, a rally held in the pouring rain in a park in New Hampshire's largest city.
"Out of loyalty to the president, he [Gonzales] should obviously step down," McCain said. "He's not serving the president well. I reached that conclusion a long time ago. I just haven't been asked."
The Times article on McCain's March 15 presidential campaign stop in Iowa reported:
On Thursday, even as he promised a stream of the candid comments that distinguished him in 2000 -- "Anything, anything you want to talk about," he said -- he steered clear of offering opinions on two of the biggest issues on the political landscape this week. He declined to say whether he agreed with the assertion by Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that homosexuality is immoral, or whether he thought Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales should be ousted for his handling of the firing of federal prosecutors.
Moreover, an April 20 article, Manchester, New Hampshire's Union Leader reported that, in an April 19 telephone interview with senior political reporter John Distaso:
McCain reiterated his strong support for the war in Iraq and was noncommittal on the future of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. McCain said he believes how Gonzales handled yesterday's hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee will be a key factor in whether he should remain in office or resign.
In a March 27 Associated Press article, Laurie Kellman wrote:
Asked Tuesday if Gonzales had lost their confidence, many Senate Republicans demurred. Sen. John McCain's response was typical.
"He has my confidence that I think he ought to make his case," said the Arizona Republican, who also is running for president.
Other members of Congress didn't hold back.
On March 22, the AP reported:
In Iowa last week, McCain said it was too soon to call for Gonzales' resignation. "I'd like to give him his chance to appear before the Congress and respond to the allegations," McCain said."