CBS's Bob Schieffer: Gentle on Dan Rostenkowski, Tough on Alberto Gonzales

"The Early Show" continued its double standard treatment of Democrats and Republicans. "Capitol Bob" Schieffer added some analysis to the Alberto Gonzales situation. On the March 20 edition, Schieffer editorialized that Gonzales, who is not under any criminal investigation, "may not be a dead man walking right now, but he’s certainly a wounded man limping" and "there’s (sic) some very serious questions here to be answered."

In 1993, however, Schieffer interviewed then Democratic Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, who was under criminal investigation at the time, and later convicted. Schieffer only raised the concern in passing at the end of a long interview.

"I'd be remiss if I did not ask you, your office has been investigated, you've been investigated by a U.S. Attorney now for I don't know how many months. Can you tell us if you've been given any indication if that is about to conclude and do you feel in any way if that's going to impede your authority to work on these economic problems?"

The "Capitol Bob" transcript is below.

HANNAH STORM: Well, "Capital Bob," CBS News chief Washington correspondent and host of "Face the Nation" Bob Schieffer, has been keeping a close eye on the Gonzales story. Good morning Bob.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Good morning Hannah.

STORM: So we just saw there that when asked the president did offer his support of Gonzales. But how meaningful is that? Do you think Gonzales is likely to be replaced?

SCHIEFFER: Well, I think he sort of, he may not be a dead man walking right now, but he's certainly a wounded man limping because the president gave him strong support and one of the president's closest friends swore to me yesterday that they're not looking for a replacement for Alberto Gonzales. But listen to this second paragraph of what the president said when he gave that show of support. He said that the attorney general is going to Capitol Hill and he is going to explain all of this. Now, because he is someone who is confirmed by the Senate, he is going to testify. He has no choice when the Senate calls him up there to testify. Basically, what the president is doing is leaving it to the attorney general to save his own skin here. And if he's unable to do that, then I think you will see the attorney general saying he has to spend more time with his family or something like that. The attorney general's not out of the woods. But this is a -- just a terrific mess for the administration, Hannah. The president's now trying to put it into the thing of "it's a partisan fight" and all that. There's some very serious questions here to be answered. But right now the White House has decided, you know, if they start cleaning house here, that the Democrats will then start going after some of the people on the staff, especially Karl Rove. So I think what you saw yesterday was just the White House playing for time basically.

STORM: Do you think that Karl Rove and Harriet Miers will testify?

SCHIEFFER: At this point, I do not. But I think you'll probably see some kind of compromise. Perhaps there will be a transcript of the interview that they have. The president's offered to let them go up there and be interviewed in private. Basically, what the White House is trying to do here is keep it off television. This looks like there's nobody minding the store right now at the Justice Department whether any kind of criminal acts were committed or not. And that's what's really bothering the White House at this time, fighting this fight to try to convince people we don't have another FEMA here, that the whole thing is out of control. This is just a dreadful situation. It strikes right at the heart of the administration's credibility, when what they need to be doing is trying to build support, especially for the president's war effort. That's not going very well either. And this is hurting that effort as well.

STORM: So you don't think this will come down to subpoenas being issued then.

SCHIEFFER: Oh, I think they're going to issue the subpoenas, but I think they'll still try to strike some compromise here.

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