White House sources confirm that U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement will serve as acting Attorney General once Alberto Gonazles leaves the Justice Department in mid-September. And to judge from initial soundings across Washington, no one will be surprised if Clement eventually becomes President Bush's choice to fill the job for the remainder of his term.
Senate Democrats see him as one of two early candidates for the job, along with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Within the White House, there's caution and skepticism about the Chertoff speculation--and praise for Clement as someone capable enough to relieve the pressure for hasty action.
Moreover, check out this praise for Clement from House Republican Whip Roy Blunt, who's always been close to the White House. "As a former counsel to Sen. John Ashcroft, Paul has proven himself over the years to be in possession of a sophisticated and thoughtful legal mind," Blunt said in a news release. "And as the current solicitor general of the United States, he knows what it takes to be an effective advocate on behalf of the people of this country."