Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, appearing before Congress today to answer questions about fired U.S. attorneys, claimed that he does not remember his own name. When committee chairman John Conyers tried to begin questioning, Gonzales did not respond. After prodding from his attorney, Gonzales seemed confused.
A transcript, taken from congress proceedings, describes the events:
"Mr. Gonzales, are you ready to begin?" asked Conyers.
Gonzales replied, "Who is this Mr. Gonzales?"
"You. You are Mr. Gonzales."
After referring with his attorney for a moment, the witness replied, "I'm not sure I can answer that question."
A frustrated Conyers said, "It's not a question. You are Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, are you not?"
"I'm afraid I don't have any recollection of that name, Mr. Chairman."
Rep. James Sensenbrenner broke in. "Mr. Gonzales, over here. Mr. Gonzales, are you trying to tell us you don't remember your own name?"
"I'm trying to provide this committee with the information it has requested, I simply cannot say without a question of doubt that my name is Alberto Gonzales."
"Then who the hell are you?" asked Conyers.
Rep. Lamar Smith came to the AG's defense. "Can we stop badgering the witness, please? Everyone forgets their name from time to time. I think Mr. Gonzales has bent over backwards to assist this committee and should be commended for his forthrightness."
Mr. Conyers then threw his gavel in the general direction of Rep. Smith's head, and it took thirty minutes to restore order and proceed with the questioning.