NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- The guessing game is underway in Washington over who will be the next attorney general. One day after Alberto Gonzales said he is stepping down there is no shortage of opinions about what his departure will mean. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales only held the top spot at the Department of Justice for about two and a half years, but some say his departure marks the end of an era. Maine Sen. Susan Collins said, "I think we went through many months where the Department of Justice was essentially paralyzed where many good people left the department -- and now it's time to have a strong new leader and rebuild.")) Some republicans say it's also a turning point for the Bush administration, taking some pressure off President Bush. But democrats say the white house shouldn't count on the controversies surrounding Gonzales going away. They pledge not to let up on their investigation into whether politics played a part in the firing of federal prosecutors. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy said, "It doesn't stop unless the next attorney general says this will never be allowed again." At the White House the president is looking forward, facing a tough decision on who will fill Gonzales's shoes. Experts say the nomination process won't be easy. Political analyst Stu Rothenberg said, "Depending on who the president picks there is going to be some sort of a fight, some sort of controversy, it's going to be ugly." Despite his impending departure on September 17 Gonzales is keeping his schedule. Tuesday he was expected to give a speech at a New Orleans domestic violence support center.
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