Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigns

by Jennifer Johnson
NBC News

Embattled U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned.

Gonzales had been the center of a political firestorm on Capitol Hill over the firings of nine U.S. Attorneys.

Democrats have wanted him gone for months, claiming Gonzales sacked the nine U.S. Attorneys for political reasons.

Gonzales faced a possible perjury investigation for his testimony before Congress on those firings.

The Bush loyalist made no mention of that mess during a brief statement announcing his resignation.

"I've lived the American dream and that even my worst days as Attorney General have been better than my father's best days," Gonzales said.

Gonzales' tenure has been marked by criticism and controversy from the Justice Department's handling of warrantless wiretapping to his attempts to limit legal rights for detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

President Bush said he has reluctantly accepted Gonzales' resignation.

"It's sad that we live in a time when talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons," the President said.

Democrats were swift to react.

"It was unclear which straw broke the camel's back - there were many - but it was clear there were plenty of straws to choose from," said New York Senator Chuck Schumer.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Gonzales lacked judgment and lacked the spine to stand up to Karl Rove, and added Congress will push on with its investigations of the former Attorney General.

Solicitor General Paul Clement will serve as acting Attorney General until a permanent replacement is named.