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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 November, 2004, 21:41 GMT
Bush appoints Texas ally to key post
Alberto Gonzales. Archive picture
Gonzales: Long-time Bush friend
US President George W Bush has chosen White House legal counsel Alberto Gonzales as his new attorney general.

A close Bush ally from Texas, Mr Gonzales, 49, has been named to replace John Ashcroft, who resigned on Tuesday.

If his nomination is confirmed by the Senate, Mr Gonzales will become the most senior person of Hispanic descent in the administration.

The move is seen as part of a reshuffle of Mr Bush's cabinet for his second four-year term.

Making his announcement in the White House's Roosevelt Room, Mr Bush described Mr Gonzales as "a calm and steady voice in times of crisis".

"His sharp intellect and sound judgement have helped shaped our policies in the war on terror," he said.

He touched on Mr Gonzales' background - one of eight children living in a two-bedroom house in Texas, whose migrant parents worked hard to give them opportunities.

'Stuck to his views'

"'Just give me a chance to prove myself' - that is a common prayer for those in my community," Mr Gonzales said.

"Mr President, thank you for that chance."

Mr Gonzales, who went on to attend Harvard Law School, is a long-time friend of President Bush, the BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says.

US Attorney General John Ashcroft. Archive picture
Ashcroft's resignation was announced on Tuesday

Our correspondent says Mr Gonzales has been a central figure in the administration's debate over interrogation techniques for prisoners held in the war on terrorism.

He was criticised by some human rights groups after writing a memo to the president in which he described the Geneva Conventions as "quaint".

The memo came to light after Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison-abuse scandal.

Mr Gonzalez has stuck to his views, though he has also made it clear that he does not approve of torture.

His appointment suggests that, as expected, senior posts in the Bush cabinet in his second term will be held by loyalists close to the President and to his way of thinking, our correspondent adds.

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