Tancredo: Gonzales must go; Update: Bush to speak at 5:45

While not naming names, Politico predicted yesterday some hardline conservatives would use the U.S. Attorneys kerfuffle to punish Gonzo for his squishiness, especially on immigration.

Now comes a man…

Unlike others criticizing Gonzales over the recent firing of eight U.S. attorneys, the Colorado Republican said the embattled attorney general should go because of “a series of leadership failures” — chiefly his handling of illegal immigration prosecutions…

Tancredo said that he doesn’t believe Gonzales’ handling of the prosecutors’ firings alone warrants his dismissal, but “his total mishandling of the affair is simply the latest in a series of leadership failures at the Justice Department.”

Tancredo faulted several Justice Department decisions dealing with border crimes, including the prosecution of two border patrol agents for shooting a Mexican drug smuggler and trying to cover it up.

Exit question: Is Bill Richardson the anti-Tancredo? (Exit answer: Yes!)

Update: The Senate stripped Gonzales of his power to appoint U.S. Attorneys without Senate approval earlier this afternoon. The vote was emphatically bipartisan.

Update: Bush has called a press conference for 5:45. He phoned Gonzo this morning to reiterate his support, so if he’s out, it’ll have to be by, ahem, “resignation” instead of firing.