Bush: Focus on the Nominee's Credentials & Philosophy
By Judy Keen, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON * President Bush said Monday that special-interest groups running TV ads and mobilizing supporters for a fight over his choice of a successor to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor should "tone down the heated rhetoric." He forcefully defended Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a prospect criticized by conservatives.
"Al Gonzales is a great friend of mine," Bush said in a phone interview. "When a friend gets attacked, I don't like it."
Conservative groups have criticized Gonzales, who, as a member of the Texas Supreme Court, backed exceptions to a state law requiring teenagers to notify a parent before getting an abortion.
He cautioned against a partisan war. "I would hope that the groups involved in this process * the special-interest groups * will help tone down the heated rhetoric and focus on the nominee's credentials and philosophy," he said.