June 25, 2007 / 6:06 PM / 12 years ago

Attorney general wins "sitting duck award"

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the Department of Justice in Washington, June 5, 2007. Gonzales won American newspaper columnists' annual "Sitting Duck Award" for being an easy target. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales won American newspaper columnists’ annual “Sitting Duck Award” for being an easy target.

“This is our way of saying thanks for the low-hanging fruit,” said Samantha Bennett, vice president of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist.

Gonzales was widely ridiculed for his appearance before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in April to answer questions about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys amid accusations they had been dismissed for political reasons.

Asked to explain his role in the firings, Gonzales said, “I don’t recall” or “I have no recollection” 64 times, inviting criticism from even Republican senators, one of whom, Tom Coburn, called for his resignation.

Mike Argento, president of the society, explained Gonzales’ selection, “We gave it to him but we can’t remember why.”

The Justice Department did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on Monday.

Previous winners have included political commentator Ann Coulter, who was recognized in 2006 for “cheapening political discourse in America” and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2004.

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