Rumsfeld should have done this a couple of months ago. Might have saved the Senate for the President.WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld stepped down Wednesday, one day after congressional elections in which opposition to the war in Iraq contributed to heavy Republican Party losses.
President George W. Bush said he would nominate Robert Gates, a former CIA director, to replace Rumsfeld at the Pentagon.
Asked whether his announcement signaled a new direction in the war that has claimed the lives of more than 2,800 U.S. troops and thousands of Iraqis, Bush said, "Well, there's certainly going to be new leadership at the Pentagon." (Watch why the Army Times said Rumsfeld had to go -- 1:49 Video)
Bush lavished praise on Rumsfeld, who has spent six stormy years at the Pentagon. He disclosed he met with Gates last Sunday, two days before elections in which Democrats took control of the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate.