The President's choice for Attorney General is confirmed

by Tracie Potts
NBC News

The confirmation was largely a fight among Democrats about Judge Michael Mukasey's views on torture

"I was outraged by his evasive, hair splinter approach to questioning about the legality of waterboarding," said Senate Majority Leader Democrat Senator Harry Reid of Nevada

Mukasey refused to clearly classify waterboarding as torture.

In the end, the half dozen democrats who sided with Republicans said they were won over by Mukasey's experience and reputation for fairness.

"Because he is so wrong, dead wrong, on torture -- which I think he is -- does not take away all these other things," said Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer of New York who is also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Mukasey will head a Justice Department criticized for policies on torture and electronic surveillance and accused of politics in the firings of U.S. attorneys.

But Republicans say, it was politics that held up this confirmation.

"Judge Mukasey fell victim to the politicization of the confirmation process," said Senate Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell.

Both sides agree; however, the Justice Department desperately needs a leader.

This morning, it has one.

Democrats who voted for Mukasey said they were motivated as much by his sense of fairness as they were by fear of who President Bush might temporarily appoint if they rejected Mukasey.