Fool me once...

Snow says the White House hopes Gonzales will stay -- but that nobody can predict the future.

Published March 19, 2007 8:39PM (EDT)

White House press secretary Tony Snow said this afternoon that the president hasn't spoken with embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales since the two talked by telephone last Wednesday. If Gonzales is hoping for something more -- some more affirmative signs of support from the White House, say -- he'll need to keep hoping.

Snow said this morning that the White House "hopes" Gonzales will stay on the job. Asked this afternoon if that weren't a rather tepid endorsement, he said: "What I was trying to do is, you ask a hypothetical question about things that are going to happen over the next two years. None of us knows what's going to happen to us over the next 21 months, and that's why it's an impossible question to answer: Will somebody stay throughout? However, the reason I said, 'We hope so,' is we hope so. He has the confidence of the president. But I do not -- as a pure and simple matter, nobody is prophetic enough to know what the next 21 months hold."

We sure can understand Snow's reticence. After all, a week before the 2006 midterm elections, George W. Bush said unequivocally that Donald Rumsfeld would be staying on through the end of Bush's presidency. A week later, he was gone.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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