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Rumsfeld Steps Down As U.S. Defense Secretary --> U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (file photo) (epa) November 8, 2006 -- U.S. President George W. Bush said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will step down, one day after Democrats swept to victory in House elections in part on the back of a wave of public discontent with the war in Iraq.

Bush told reporters that "after a series of thoughtful conversations, Secretary Rumsfeld and I agreed that the timing is right for new leadership at the Pentagon."

Bush said he had offered Rumsfeld's post to a former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, Robert Gates.

Asked whether there would be a new direction in Iraq, Bush replied, "Well, there's certainly going to be new leadership at the Pentagon."

(compiled from agency reports)

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