Originally Posted by lizchris
Actually, there are six Cabinet membes leaving. The Energy Secretary (Spencer Abraham) and the Agricluture Secretary Ann Venemen submitted also their resignations today.
Unfortunately, political 'lapdog'
is by far the best description of Powell's role. But, yes...six and counting.
Powell, 3 others leaving Cabinet
Announcement raises to six the number of Bush inner circle changes
NBC News and news services
Updated: 2:28 p.m. ET Nov. 15, 2004
WASHINGTON - Accelerating the shake-up of President Bush's inner circle in advance of his second term, the White House announced Monday that Secretary of State Colin Powell and three other Cabinet members had submitted their resignations.
"I believe that now that the election is over, the time has come for me to step down as secretary of state and return to private life," Powell said in a resignation letter released by the White House.
At a brief news conference, Powell said he would stay "a month or two" until a successor is confirmed by Congress.
Powell, who often butted heads with fellow members of Bush’s foreign policy team, also said he never intended to serve beyond a first term.
“We came to the mutual agreement that it would be appropriate for me to leave at this time,” he said. Powell also dismissed reports that he had offered to stay longer.
The other members of Bush's 15-member Bush Cabinet whose departures were announced Monday are are Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Education Secretary Rod Paige and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that no nominations for the departing Cabinet members would be announced Monday.
Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Don Evans announced their resignations last week. Bush has so far moved to fill just one vacancy, nominating White House counsel Alberto Gonzales to succeed Ashcroft.
Rice seen as leading candidate
Powell, a retired four-star general and former chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, led the Bush administration's argument at the United Nations for a military attack to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Most notable was his U.N. Security Council appearance on Feb. 5, 2003, during which he argued that Saddam must be removed because of its possession of weapons of mass destruction.
There is no evidence that those claims had any foundation. Powell has maintained all along that the use of force of by the American coalition in Iraq was justified.
Despite his public support of the war effort, the son of Jamaican immigrants has generally been seen as representing more moderate views on foreign policy in the Bush administration.
After the Sept. 11 terror attacks, he helped fashion a fragile coalition of countries for the war against terrorism, careful to request all the help a country could give without pushing any country beyond its limits. Similarly, when leaders decided to end or shorten their troops' duty in postwar Iraq the State Department avoided any harsh reaction, saying simply that it was up to each country to make up its mind.
He also pressed for negotiations with North Korea over its suspected nuclear arsenal and has acquiesced on European talks with Iran over its atomic programs.
Powell intends to maintain a busy schedule until a successor is named, aides said. He was meeting Monday with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and was to attend a meeting of Pacific nation ministers in Chile on Wednesday and a multinational conference on Iraq next week.
Word of his impending departure came shortly after Pentagon officials said there was a "strong possibility" that the secretary of state will visit the West Bank next week and meet with Israeli leaders and the new Palestinian leadership.
Abraham had longest tenure at Energy
Abraham leaves after leading the Energy Department longer than any of his predecessors, but without delivering on a top Bush administration priority — getting Congress to enact a broad energy agenda.
In his resignation letter, the former Republican senator from Michigan expressed optimism that Bush would get the energy policy he has long desired, writing that larger Republican Senate and House majorities in the new Congress will ensure that "much needed energy legislation will finally be enacted."
Abraham faced a number of major issues during his tenure, from the nation’s worst power blackout to soaring crude oil and gasoline prices.
Abraham was credited with getting the White House to provide more money to work with Russia in protecting nuclear materials. He considered reducing the global nuclear nonproliferation threat his top priority. Abraham also took a personal interest in expanding research into hydrogen fuel vehicles.
Among those mentioned as possible successors to Abraham are:
Deputy Energy Secretary Kyle McSlarrow.
Retiring Democratic Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana, one of the few Senate Democrats to support Bush's plan to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute trade group.
U.S. ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza.
Domestic adviser seen as Paige successor
The leading candidate to replace Paige is Margaret Spellings, President Bush's domestic policy adviser who helped shape his school agenda when he was the Texas governor.
The 71-year-old Paige, the nation's seventh education secretary, is the first black person to serve in the job.
Paige is content to move on after overseeing Bush's aggressive education agenda for four years, said an administration official, who has spoken to him about his plans.
Paige, has been an outspoken defender of No Child Left Behind, the law at the center of Bush's domestic agenda.
The law, which aims to get all children up to grade level in reading and math, has faced sustained criticism from state and school leaders who say they need more money and support. But Paige says schools are showing improvement among students who have long been overlooked.
Paige has had rocky moments, with none more glaring than when he called the National Education Association a "terrorist organization" in a private meeting with governors.
He apologized but maintained that the NEA, the nation's largest teachers union, uses "obstructionist scare tactics" in opposing the law. The union called for his resignation.
Veneman praised for mad cow response
Veneman, the first woman to lead the USDA, won praise for deft handling of the mad cow crisis last winter, but came under fire in 2002 from some farm lobbyists after the administration argued for restraint in spending and more attention to land stewardship at a time when Congress wanted to expand crop subsidy spending.
Among those mentioned as possible successors are:
Farm trade negotiator Allen Johnson of the U.S. Trade Representative's office.
White House agriculture advisor Chuck Conner.
Texas Rep. Charles Stenholm, a Democrat who was defeated after 13 terms in the House.
Charles Kruse, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation.
NBC News' Tammy Kupperman and Norah O'Donnell and the Associated Press contributed to this report.