Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' resignation announcement Monday prompted a strong reaction across the political spectrum. Some of those voices are quoted below.

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"It has been a long and difficult struggle, but at last the attorney general has done the right thing and stepped down. For the previous six months, the Justice Department has been virtually nonfunctional and desperately needs new leadership."

— Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

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"It's sad that we live in a time when a talented and an honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons."

President Bush

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"I'm glad he's stepping down so the department can move forward with its important work."

— Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

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"The life of Alberto Gonzales has been defined by his devotion to family and deep commitment to public service. He presided over a time of great consequence and tremendous challenge in our nation's history — a point of transition between the development of new resources designed to keep Americans safe, and the implementation of these tools in an effective manner. I appreciate his hard work in defense of our country, and look forward to his future contributions."

— Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

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"The attorney general's resignation reinforces what Congress and the American people already know — that no Justice Department should be allowed to become a political arm of the White House. ... I hope the attorney general's decision will be a step toward getting to the truth about the level of political influence this White House wields over the Department of Justice."

— Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

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"It is imperative that the public have a fundamental confidence in its management and trust in its effectiveness. Mr. Gonzales may have lacked the necessary experience to be an effective leader of the more than 90,000 Department of Justice employees. Moving forward, the focus should be on what is best for the Department."

— Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

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"The resignation of Attorney General Gonzales is long overdue. The rampant politicization of federal law enforcement that occurred under his tenure seriously eroded public confidence in our justice system. The president must now restore credibility to the office of the attorney general."

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

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"I thank Alberto Gonzales for his public service and wish him well in his future endeavors. It is my hope that whomever President Bush selects as the next attorney general, he or she is not subjected to the same poisonous partisanship that we've sadly grown accustomed to over the past eight months."

— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

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"Better late than never."

— Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards

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"Attorney General Gonzales should be recognized for his many years of public service. ... I believe the attorney general made the right decision to step aside."

Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate

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"It is a sad day when the attorney general of the United States resigns amid a cloud of suspicion that the system of justice has been manipulated for political purposes. More than accountability, we need answers. Unfortunately, the continued stonewalling of the White House in the U.S. attorney scandal has deprived the American people of the truth. If the power of the prosecutor has been misused in the name of partisanship, we deserve a full airing of the facts."

— House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich.

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"This is a great, great development. ...The next attorney general has to understand that his primary loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law and that sometimes he has to tell the president no."

— Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico, one of the fired U.S. prosecutors.

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"He was probably just worn down by the criticism. This sort of thing has a sort of Chinese water effect: drip, drip, drip, drip."

— Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

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"Alberto Gonzales was never the right man for this job. He lacked independence, he lacked judgment and he lacked the spine to say 'no' to Karl Rove. This resignation is not the end of the story. Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House."

— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

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"He has dedicated years of his life to public service, both in Texas and at the federal level, and I wish him and his family all the best as they enter the next stage of their lives. The work of the Justice Department is indispensable to our global war on terrorism, and as we move forward, I trust that the next attorney general will continue an aggressive approach against those who aim to harm our nation."

— House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

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"He has exhibited a lack of candor with Congress and the American people and a disdain for the rule of law and our constitutional system. I strongly urge President Bush to nominate a new attorney general who will respect our laws and restore the integrity of the office."

— Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

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"Long overdue. The president must nominate an attorney general who is a lawyer for the American people, not a political arm of the White House."

— New Mexico Gov. and Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson.

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"It's about time ... Gonzales now joins a long list of Republican officials resigning under a cloud of scandal, but these resignations cannot purge the Bush administration of its problems. The true problem rests with the Bush White House itself, which continues to put what's best for the Republican Party ahead of what's best for America."

— Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

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"I have long believed that Alberto Gonzales subverted justice to promote a political agenda, and so I am pleased that he has finally resigned today. The president needs to nominate an attorney general who will be the people's lawyer, not the president's lawyer, and in an Obama administration that person will first and foremost defend and promote the rights and liberties enshrined in our Constitution."

— Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., a presidential candidate.

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"I thank Attorney General Gonzales for his service. ... Under his leadership, prosecutors and policy makers devoted their efforts to protecting children, safeguarding communities and preserving civil liberties. ... In his 13 years of public service, Attorney General Gonzales served the American people and the Justice community with distinction. I wish him and his family the very best."

— Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas

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"Alberto Gonzales is the first attorney general who thought the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth were three different things. The [resident should nominate a new attorney general whose loyalty to the Constitution is greater than his loyalty to the Republican Party."

— Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.

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"The attorney general's resignation is welcome news. After several years of drift and mismanagement, I hope this is the beginning of a new chapter for the Justice Department. It is time to begin the process of rebuilding the department's independence, reputation for the impartial administration of the law, and core competence."

— Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

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"Attorney General Gonzales has lost the confidence of the vast majority of the American people and the Congress. His resignation is long overdue. When I voted against Attorney General Gonzales confirmation, I voiced concern about his ability to go from being the president's lawyer to the people's lawyer. ... My skepticism was confirmed by his conduct."

— Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del, a presidential candidate

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"Alberto Gonzales has been the president's strong right arm in fighting terrorists using the tools of law enforcement, and he helped successfully protect the American homeland during his tenure. ... I hope that history will remember Attorney General Gonzales for his honorable service to his country, rather than for the absurd political theater to which some critics have subjected him."

— Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah

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"It is my hope that the Attorney General's resignation will signal the beginning of a real change in the Department of Justice. ... With the right person in place, a very distressing chapter in the Justice Departments history can be closed and the process of restoring its credibility as a strong and independent department can begin."

— Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

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"The Department of Justice now has the opportunity to benefit from fresh leadership. What the American people need is an effective, independent attorney general who will be undistracted in his or her efforts to enforce our laws, secure our borders, and vigorously prosecute the war against radical militant Islamists. ... It is incumbent upon both the new attorney general and Congressional Democrat leaders to put an end to the politicization of the Justice Department."

— Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla.

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"He demonstrated that his loyalties lie with the president and his political agenda, not the American people or the evenhanded and impartial enforcement of our laws. ... My hope is that the president will select a new attorney general who will respect the rule of law and abandon partisanship, who will serve the American people and not the president's political ideology, and who will answer to the Constitution and not political operatives."

— Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., a presidential candidate

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"The attorney general's decision to step down is a positive step forward for the Department of Justice. Attorney General Gonzales' ability to lead the Department of Justice had been undermined by his serious errors in judgment and conflicting statements. I am hopeful that the president will name a strong successor who will begin to restore confidence in the department."

— Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

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"Mr. Gonzales' Justice Department became a political wing of the Bush administration and his resignation is long overdue. I will only vote to confirm a nominee for attorney general who is truly independent and who will guarantee reforms that restore and uphold the Constitution."

— Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., a presidential candidate.

The Associated Press contributed to this compilation.