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Gonzales to step down after months of defending himself

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says leading the Justice Department has been one of his "greatest privileges" -- but now, he's stepping down.

President Bush says Gonzales -- his longtime friend -- had his name "dragged through the mud for political reasons." The resignation takes effect September 17th.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid says Gonzales was "never the right man" to be attorney general, saying Gonzales lacked independence and judgment.

Republican John Cornyn of Texas says Gonzales wasn't ready to address the "ferocity of relentless partisan attacks."

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