Yesterday, White House counselor Dan Bartlett got out
in front of the cameras to say that President Bush had "all the confidence in the world" in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
But, as The New York Times reports
, there are murmur in high places:
[Gonzales'] appearance underscored what two Republicans close to the Bush administration described as a growing rift between the White House and the attorney general....
The two Republicans, who spoke anonymously so they could share private conversations with senior White House officials, said top aides to Mr. Bush, including Fred F. Fielding, the new White House counsel, were concerned that the controversy had so damaged Mr. Gonzalesâs credibility that he would be unable to advance the White House agenda on national security matters, including terrorism prosecutions.
âI really think thereâs a serious estrangement between the White House and Alberto now,â one of the Republicans said....
....inside the White House, aides to the president, including Mr. Rove and Joshua B. Bolten, the chief of staff, were said to be increasingly concerned that the controversy could damage Mr. Bush.
âTheyâre taking it seriously,â said the other of the two Republicans who spoke about the White Houseâs relationship with Mr. Gonzales. âI think Rove and Bolten believe there is the potential for erosion of the presidentâs credibility on this issue.â
As the Times
and other papers note, no Republicans have yet called for Gonzales' resignation, although a number of high-profile figures, like Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), who heads up the National Republican Senatorial Committee, have said
that they're on their last nerve.