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President Bush Nominates Mukasey for Attorney General

President Bush announced Monday his nomination of retired federal judge Michael Mukasey to replace Alberto Gonzales as attorney general. Two former U.S. attorneys discuss the selection.

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  • MARGARET WARNER:

    In nominating retired federal Judge Michael Mukasey as attorney general, President Bush made clear he's seeking quick confirmation of someone to replace the embattled Alberto Gonzales.

  • MICHAEL MUKASEY, U.S. Attorney General-Designate:

    I am, of course, deeply honored to be selected as the nominee for attorney general of the United States.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    New York Democrat Chuck Schumer today called Mukasey a consensus choice.

    SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), New York: The nomination of Judge Mukasey certainly shows a new attitude in the White House.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, agreed.

    SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), Pennsylvania: I think President Bush has made a very conscious and deliberate effort to choose someone who would not be controversial.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    The choice is a setback for conservatives who backed former Solicitor General Ted Olson for the job. The White House floated his name, but last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid shot it down, saying Olson was too partisan.

    The 66-year-old Mukasey was born in New York City and received his law degree from Yale. He served as assistant U.S. attorney in New York City in the 1970s, where he developed a lasting friendship with another assistant prosecutor, Rudy Giuliani.

    In 1987, President Reagan named Mukasey to the federal bench. He later became chief judge. In the mid '90s, he presided over the trial of the "blind sheik," Omar Abdel-Rahman, and others accused of plotting to blow up New York City landmarks.

    In a 2002 terrorism case, Mukasey upheld the Bush administration's designation of U.S. citizen Jose Padilla as an enemy combatant, but ruled he must be allowed to meet with his attorneys.

    Today, Mukasey spoke of the challenges the Justice Department faces in a post-9/11 world.

  • MICHAEL MUKASEY:

    Thirty-five years ago, our foreign adversaries saw widespread devastation as a deterrent; today, our fanatical enemies see it as a divine fulfillment. The Justice Department must also protect the safety of our children, the commerce that assures our prosperity, and the rights and liberties that define us as a nation.

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