Rumsfeld Stepping Down (Update: Robert Gates is Replacement)

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Nov 08, 2006 12:49 PM

Update: Allah has video of Bush, and notes that we may very well be saying bye-bye to Bolton.

AP is reporting, just over on Fox.

Update: Oops. Oops.

Update: Robert Gates, CIA vet, will be nomination from Bush today.

Update: Daaang, Gates' wikipedia is already updated to reflect the nomination.

Update: Classy opening, congratulating Dems, cracking jokes about Pelosi's drapes. He says the American people asked for bipartisanship--for Congress to

Recognizes vote reflects displeasure with Iraq. He also thinks Americans and politicians understand we can't accept defeat.

Meeting with folks, briefing, asking for their views on Iraq. Briefing new members of Congress. Looks forward to hearing the Bipartisan Iraq Study Commission.

Served six presidents from both parties, became CIA director. "He is serving as a member of the Baker-Hamilton Commission."

"To our enemies: Do not be joyful. Do not confuse the workings of our democracies with a lack of will."

"To our brave men and women in uniform: Don't be doubtful. America will always support you."

He wants to change the tone. "The issues before us are bigger than that and we are bigger than that."

Q: Will you bring troops home?

"I want our troops to come home too, but I want them to come home with a victory...I'm committed to victory. I'm committed to victory so we can bring our troops home."

"Bob Gates will bring a fresh perspective. He'll also bring great managerial experience...He understands that defeat is not an option in Iraq. He believes it's important that we have fresh perspective, as does Secretary Rumsfeld."

Q: How much does it have to do with the elections?

"I didn't want to break major news about the progress of this war in the final days of the election...I hadn't had the chance to sit down with Bob Gates and I hadn't had my last conversation with Secretary Rumsfeld yet."

"Win or lose, Bob Gates was gonna become the nominee."

Q: You said, "Terrorists win, America loses." What has changed?

"What has changed today is that the elections are over and the Democrats won."

Q: It's "full speed ahead" on Iraq, Cheney said. Are you listening to the people or are you listening to Cheney?

"No question Iraq was on people's minds...As you have just learned, I have made a change in Secretary of Defense."

"We will work with Members of Congress. We will work with the Baker-Hamilton Commission." 

"Stay the course means get the job done, but it doesn't mean getting stuck on a strategy that isn't working."

"If we were to leave before the job is done, the country becomes more at risk."

Q: Pelosi's agenda has been clear. Which one can you support?

"I knew you'd try to get me to negotiate with myself...I do believe we have an opportunity to find some common ground to move forward on."

Q: Does Cheney have your confidence?

"Yes he does."

Q: Pelosi calling him incompetent...How will you work with someone with so little respect for your leadership?

"I understand when campaigns end and governing begins...If you hold grudges in this line of work, you're never gonna get anything done, and I intend to get things done."

"The individual races were close, but the cumulative effect was not close. It was a thumpin'."

"There's a responsibility that comes with victory."

"This isn't my first rodeo."

Q: Being interpreted as a repudiation of your leadership style. Should we expect a whole new style from you?

"Winning this War on Terror is by far the most important (priority)."

"It's tough in a time of war when people see carnage on their TV screens...A lot of times off-years are decided by the economy. The good news of the economy was overwhelmed by the toughness of this fight."

Q: Are you worried you won't be able to work with Dems on war?

"It's very important that people understand the consequences of failure."

"Obviously, we got a lot of work to do with some Members of Congress."

"If the goal is success, we can work together...If the goal is get out now regardless, then we're gonna have trouble working together."

"The enemy's gonna thing, 'well, America's gonna leave.' No, that's not what it means."

Q: You're going to Vietnam in a week. Are people wrong to look at this as another Vietnam?

Cites Constitution, unity government, votes for unity government, volunteer army.

"They (troops) understand...that's why re-enlistment rates are high."

Q: If you had any do-overs, what would they be?

"You don't get do-overs! You don't get 'em."

"It's hard to win an election when you're trying to win a write-in, like we did in our state of Texas...The Foley seat. That's a hard race to win."

"When you dig into the races...I'm not sure Iraq had a lot to do with that election."

Clinton, Rendell, Casey all were strong candidates with good turnout.

Q: What can you do to convince Americans you'll avoid gridlock?

"People are skeptical. And the way you defeat skepticism is with action."

"Entitlements. That's gonna be a very interesting issue to deal with...If we do not have Republicans and Democrats together for entitlements, we won't get anything done."

Q: Social Security is important to Dems. Are you willing to give on privatization in the spirit of bipartisanship? 

Yeah, we'll sit down and talk.

"People are generally risk-adverse when it comes to Social Security. My problem with that is that the longer you put it off, the bigger the problem becomes."

Q: Comprehensive immigration reform? Got a shot?

"I do. I think we have a good chance. It's an important issue and we need to get something done."

"Catch-and-release has virtually been ended over the last couple of months."

"That's gotta be an integral part of a comprehensive plan (guest-worker plan)."

Update: Stop the ACLU has a reax round-up.