Rumsfeld out; Lieberman in
There are more reports that suggest that the Bush administation is seriously considering Joe Lieberman as the next Secretary of Defense and that Donald Rumsfeld will resign early next year.
From the New York Daily News
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.
It is also reported today that Lieberman had breakfast over at the Pentagon with Rumsfeld and other military officials today so it isn't farfetch to say that it seems that Lieberman might be considering the post.