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Rummy exit rumored; Lieberman eyed for job

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/372921p-316984c.html Rummy exit rumored; Lieberman eyed for job BY THOMAS M. DEFRANK and KENNETH R. BAZINET DAILY NEWS
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 8, 2005
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      http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/372921p-316984c.html

      Rummy exit rumored; Lieberman eyed for job

      BY THOMAS M. DEFRANK and KENNETH R. BAZINET
      DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU

      WASHINGTON - White House officials are telling
      associates they expect Defense Secretary Donald
      Rumsfeld to quit early next year, once a new
      government is formed in Iraq, sources said yesterday.

      Rumsfeld's deputy, Gordon England, is the inside
      contender to replace him, but there's also speculation
      that Sen. Joe Lieberman - a Democrat who ran against
      Bush-Cheney in the 2000 election - might become top
      guy at the Pentagon.

      That's not as farfetched as it might first appear.

      The Daily News has learned that the White House
      considered Lieberman for the UN ambassador's job last
      year before giving the post to John Bolton, a Bush
      adviser said.

      "He thought about it for a week or so and finally said
      no," the adviser recalled.

      A source close to the White House said Rumsfeld wanted
      out a year ago, after Bush's reelection, but neither
      he nor President Bush wanted his departure to appear
      to have been forced.

      "They didn't want to give the critics the satisfaction
      that their piling on was what got rid of him," a Bush
      adviser said.

      Bush has told friends that Rumsfeld is a political
      liability, but the President has a history of sticking
      with his personnel baggage until an opportune moment.

      "Only Rumsfeld will make Rumsfeld leave," a White
      House source said.

      Rumors that Lieberman could replace Rumsfeld started
      flying early this week, and Bush and Vice President
      Cheney fanned the flames by quoting the former
      Democratic veep candidate's pro-war statements.

      The mention of Lieberman's name prompted some
      Democrats to whisper that he is lobbying for the job.

      "Lieberman seems to be coordinating his statements on
      the war with the White House," a Senate Democratic
      source said.

      The source pointed to a news conference this week
      where Lieberman urged his party not to undermine Bush.
      The timing of Lieberman's pitch, also this week, to
      form a bipartisan "war cabinet" to aid Bush was cited
      as well.

      But Lieberman and Team Bush dismissed the rumors.

      "The U.S. Senate is where Sen. Lieberman wants to be,
      which is why he is actively campaigning for reelection
      to his fourth term," the senator's spokeswoman, Casey
      Aden-Wansbury, said.

      Originally published on December 8, 2005
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