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Friday, April 27, 2007
Richardson gave Gonzales chance to defend himself but 'he didn't do well'

Bill Richardson said Alberto Gonzales 'wasn't candid' in his Senate testimony.

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina (CNN) -- While acknowledging he gave Alberto Gonzalez some leeway due to their shared Hispanic ethnicity, Democratic presidential aspirant Bill Richardson said Monday he wanted to hear the attorney general's testimony before calling for his ouster.

"I admitted that because I knew Gonzales, I liked the guy, he's Hispanic, he came up from nowhere, that I gave him maybe another two days before I'd call for his resignation," the New Mexico governor told CNN's "American Morning."

"I wanted him to defend himself before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He didn't do well. He wasn't candid. It was clear he politicized the department. Then I called for his resignation."

During Thursday night's debate in South Carolina, Richardson acknowledged he was among the last to call for Gonzalez to resign. Asked whether such comments -- including the role played by Gonzales' ethnicity -- may hurt him, the governor said, "Maybe so, but I think the American people want the candidates to speak from their heart.

"I'm not a consultant-driven candidate... I'm going to tell it like it is."
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