Tribune quoted Allard, Musgrave on Gonzales' resignation, but omitted Salazar

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Reporting on U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announcing his resignation, the Greeley Tribune on August 27 quoted the reaction of Colorado Republican U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, but omitted any statement from Democratic U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar. Additionally, the Tribune reported U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's (R-CO) comment criticizing Senate Democrats, but no response from Democratic members of the state's congressional delegation.

Following U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' August 27 announcement of his resignation, the Greeley Tribune on August 28 reported Republican U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard's reaction, but no comment from Colorado's other U.S. senator, Democrat Ken Salazar. The Tribune also quoted Republican U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's statement -- "I call on the Democrats in the Senate to avoid playing politics as usual and hold a quick, fair and honest confirmation process. If they ensnare the president's nominee in a prolonged process, they will only grow the divide in our nation" -- without providing a Democratic response.

According to the Tribune, Allard and Musgrave "said Monday that the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was in the best interest of the country." The Tribune then quoted from an Allard press release that stated, "After a contentious year at the Justice Department, the Attorney General's resignation seems to be fitting at this time. It is my hope that we can quickly confirm a qualified candidate to lead the Justice Department and work to protect America against future acts of terrorism while upholding our values and legal obligations." However, the article omitted Salazar's statement regarding Gonzales' resignation from the same day. According to Salazar's August 27 press release:

"I had called for Alberto Gonzales' resignation several months ago. With his resignation today, I am hopeful that the American people can have their confidence restored in the Department of Justice. This is an opportunity for a fresh start and I look forward to the President bringing new leadership to a Department that has become overly politicized."

In contrast to the Tribune, The Denver Post on August 28 published an article about the reaction of Colorado's congressional delegation to Gonzales' resignation that included comments from Allard and Salazar:

Republican Sen. Wayne Allard had never called for Gonzales' resignation, saying it was the president's choice. But Monday he said that "by offering his resignation now, Alberto Gonzales has acted in the best interest of the nation."

"After a contentious year at the Justice Department, the attorney general's resignation seems to be fitting at this time," Allard added.

Democrats in the delegation also cheered the move, with some criticizing Gonzales more than others.

Sen. Ken Salazar, former state attorney general who's said that he considers Gonzales a friend, called for his resignation in May. Salazar endorsed Gonzales when he first was nominated, and introduced him at his Senate confirmation hearing.

"I'm delighted that he finally came to his senses and decided for the best interest of the Department of Justice it was time to step down."

Asked whether he regretted that earlier endorsement, Salazar said it was based on what he knew about Gonzales at the time, and that he believed "he would have the backbone to be able to stand up to the president."

During his tenure, Salazar said, Gonzales showed that "political influence was allowed to meddle with the Department of Justice."

Likewise, an August 28 Rocky Mountain News article featured the comments of "Colorado's two U.S. senators, Republican Wayne Allard and Democrat Ken Salazar, [who] will have a say in confirming President Bush's successor to Alberto Gonzales." The News noted that Salazar "said Gonzales had two 'fatal flaws.' He 'politicized' the Department of Justice, and he did not exercise 'the independence needed as the top law enforcement officer of the land.' "

As the Associated Press reported on August 27, Gonzales announced his resignation, effective Sept. 17, "after a wrenching standoff with congressional critics over his honesty and competence." The AP further reported, "Republicans and Democrats alike had demanded his departure over the botched handling of FBI terror investigations and the firings of U.S. attorneys, but President Bush had defiantly stood by his Texas friend for months until accepting his resignation last Friday."

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