Secretary Rumsfeld resigns as Defense Secretary
Secretary Rumsfeld Stepping Down
By DAVID ESPO and LIZ SIDOTI
WASHINGTON (Nov. 8) - President Bush said Wednesday Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is stepping down and former CIA Director Robert Gates will take over at the Pentagon and in prosecuting the war in Iraq .
Rumsfeld, architect of an unpopular war in Iraq, intends to resign after six stormy years at the Pentagon, Republican officials said.
The development occurred one day after midterm elections that cost Republicans control of the House, and possibly the Senate , as well. Surveys of voters at polling places said opposition to the war was a significant contributor to the Democratic victory.
Bush described Rumsfeld as a "superb leader" in a time of change, but said his defense chief recognizes the value of "fresh perspective." He said Rumsfeld is a "trusted adviser and friend," and that he's "deeply grateful" for his service to the country. Bush said he and Rumsfeld agreed that "the timing is right for new leadership" at the Pentagon.
Last week, as he campaigned to save the Republican majority, Bush declared that Rumsfeld would remain at the Pentagon through the end of his term.
Rumsfeld, 74, was in his second tour of duty as defense chief. He first held the job a generation ago, when he was appointed by President Ford.
Gates is the president of Texas A&M University and a close friend of the Bush family. He served as CIA director for Bush's father from 1991 until 1993.
Gates first joined the CIA in 1966 and served in the intelligence community for more than a quarter century, under six presidents.
His nomination must be confirmed by the Senate.
Whatever confidence Bush retained in Rumsfeld, the Cabinet officer's support in Congress had eroded significantly. Rep. Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., the House speaker-in-waiting, said at her first post-election news conference that Bush should replace the top civilian leadership at the Pentagon.
And Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist , who had intervened in the past to shore up Rumsfeld, issued a statement saying, "Washington must now work together in a bipartisan way -- Republicans and Democrats -- to outline the path to success in Iraq."
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
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