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President Bush’s pick to be the No. 3 official in the Justice Department asked to have his nomination withdrawn Friday, four days before he was to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bill Mercer sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales saying it was unlikely that the Senate would confirm him as associate attorney general, a post he has held on an interim basis since September. He plans to leave Washington and turn his full attention to his work as U.S. Attorney for Montana.

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