Bedside Manner


Alberto Gonzales went behind closed doors on the Hill yesterday where he was peppered with questions about that notorious visit to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft while he was hospitalized:

In a closed-door session, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes said members were especially interested in the reasons behind Gonzales’ controversial 2004 visit to the hospital bedside of John Ashcroft, reportedly to pressure the ailing attorney general to endorse Bush’s surveillance program. Ashcroft, said to have been barely conscious at the time, refused.

Gonzales did not express any regret, Reyes said after the hearing ended.

“He, I thought, explained it very well in terms of why they had gone there,” said Reyes, D-Texas, declining to provide specifics because many details are classified. . . .

Details of the hospital visit, first revealed in congressional testimony by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, intensified calls by Democrats and some Republicans for Gonzales’ resignation. The attorney general has shown no signs that he will step down.

Congressional Republicans, by and large, still have Gonzales’ back:

Ranking Republican Pete Hoekstra urged Congress to move on from speculation over the hospital visit, which he likened to a discussion of “exactly what (flavor) Jell-O Ashcroft was eating in the hospital.”

With statesmen like Hoekstra, it’s hard to believe the GOP lost its majority.

Update: Speaking of Comey, he’s touting Patrick Fitzgerald as a future attorney general.

Late update: Speaking of Fitzgerald, he will be a guest on the NPR show “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me.” The show was taped last evening, and Fitzgerald received a scooter as a parting gift, engraved with “To Patrick Fitzgerald, USA, This one will stay where you put it.” [via War and Piece.]


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.