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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Powell resigns as secretary of state

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush has selected Condoleezza Rice, his national security adviser and trusted confidant, to replace Colin Powell as secretary of state, officials said Monday, in a major shakeup of the president’s national security team.

Three other Cabinet secretaries also resigned.

Powell, a retired four-star general who often clashed on Iraq and other foreign-policy issues with more hawkish members of Bush’s administration, said he was returning to private life once his successor was in place.

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The Cabinet exodus promised a starkly different look to Bush’s second-term team. Rice is considered more of a foreign policy hard-liner than the moderate Powell.

The White House announced Powell’s exit along with the resignations of Education Secretary Rod Paige, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham. Veneman had said last week she wanted to stay.

Bush’s nomination of Rice is expected Tuesday afternoon, a senior administration official said.

Stephen Hadley, now the deputy national security adviser, is expected to replace Rice at the White House, the official said.

In a resignation letter dated Nov. 12, Powell told Bush that, with the election over, it was time to “step down … and return to private life.” The 35-year Army veteran said he would stay on “for a number of weeks, or a month or two” until his replacement was confirmed by the Senate.

In an appearance at the daily State Department midday briefing, Powell said he had a full end-of-year agenda. Asked what he plans to do next, the 67-year-old Powell said, “I don’t know.”

Powell, one of the architects of the 1991 Persian Gulf War in the administration of the first President Bush, often sparred with hard-line administration officials such as Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld over Iraq policy.

In a statement, Bush called Powell “one of the great public servants of our time.”

U.N. Ambassador John Danforth, the former Republican senator from Missouri, whose name was circulated in earlier speculation for the job, described Powell as “a great person” and “an outstanding public servant.”

Powell drew praise from overseas, where he was clearly the most popular member of the administration.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair described Powell as “a remarkable man and … a good friend to this country over a very long period.”

German Defense Minister Peter Struck called Powell’s retirement “regrettable” and described him as “a reliable partner in conversation in the area of defense policy.”

Combined with the resignations earlier this month of Commerce Secretary Don Evans and Attorney General John Ashcroft, six of Bush’s 15 Cabinet members will not be part of the president’s second term, which begins with his inauguration Jan. 20.

The resignations come as Bush faces major foreign policy challenges. The threat of terrorism looms, the fighting in Iraq continues with upcoming January elections in doubt, nuclear tensions remain with Iran and North Korea, and the Middle East landscape has shifted with the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Paige, 71, the nation’s seventh education secretary, is the first black to serve in the job. He oversaw Bush’s signature education law, the No Child Left Behind Act. The leading candidate to replace Paige is Margaret Spellings, a domestic policy adviser who helped Bush shape his school agenda when he was the Texas governor.

Abraham, 52, a former senator from Michigan, joined the administration after he lost a bid for re-election. Abraham struggled to persuade Congress to endorse the president’s broad energy agenda.

Veneman, 55, the daughter of a California peach grower, was the nation’s first woman agriculture secretary. Among those mentioned as a possible replacement are Chuck Conner, White House farm adviser; Allen Johnson, the chief U.S. agricultural negotiator; Bill Hawks, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, and Charles Kruse, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation.

Rep. Charles Stenholm, D-Texas, who lost his bid for re-election, was also mentioned.

In Ecuador for a meeting of defense ministers, Rumsfeld said, “I have not discussed that with the president,” when asked if he planned to resign.

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, attending a meeting in Hawaii, declined to say whether he, too, would resign, but he told reporters he has not submitted a letter of resignation.

“And when those decisions are made, I’d prefer to share it with the president first,” Ridge said.

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