President Bush is issuing glowing words for his outgoing attorney general. Bush says Ashcroft worked tirelessly to help make the nation safer. He also says Ashcroft transformed the Justice Department to make combating terrorism the top priority while making sure that the rights of Americans were "respected and protected."
Speculation about a successor to Ashcroft has centered on his former deputy, Larry Thompson. If appointed, Thompson would be the nation's first black attorney general. Others prominently mentioned include Bush's 2004 campaign chairman, former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot, and White House general counsel Alberto Gonzales.
Commerce Secretary Don Evans also resigned Tuesday. The president called him "a valuable member" of his economic team who worked to advance economic security and prosperity for all Americans.