Reporting for his first day as attorney general, Alberto Gonzales told Justice Department employees their priority would remain combating terrorism “but we will do so in a way that’s consistent with our values.”

Gonzales was opposed by many Democrats because of his work on administration polices they faulted in the abuse of prisoners in Iraq. Speaking to employees Friday, he alluded to the controversy but emphasized his own heritage as the grandson of Mexican immigrants and other up-from-poverty stories among members of President Bush’s Cabinet. He said they had lived the American dream.