Political Posturing: Terribly Disappointing

nice assCondi tapped to replace Colin. Administration wants to "control the government, not just the White House." Official: Letting Rumsfeld go "would have been tantamount to an acknowledgment of failure in Iraq and our policies there. Powell is the expendable one." Hadley would become national security advisor. [WP, NYT, WSJ, USAT, BG, WT]

Loss of Powell is victory for conservatives; the hard-liners run free; he supported the wars, but "they were somebody else's priorities." [WP, NYT, LAT, USAT, BG]

Rice has uphill battles in earning trust, respect at State Department and resolving problems including the Middle East and North Korea. 9/11 Report will provide fodder for confirmation hearings. Official: "State Department officials dislike her intensely because they love Powell and believe her staff demeaned the State Department." [WP, NYT, LAT]

Two top C.I.A. officials resign in protest over mismanagement. Hagel: "If we find ourselves without a senior group of C.I.A. hands, that would certainly not enhance American security and might undermine our security." [NYT, LAT, WSJ, USAT, WT]

Foreign leaders praise Powell as "man of dialogue," "voice of reason"; await changes from new Secretary. [WP]

It's quitting time, with more expected, but White House is expertly managing the appearance of chaos: "They have come out of the gate with incredible abandon. What is highly unusual is the breakneck speed with which they are disposing of these folks." [WP, USAT]

Abraham exits Energy Department. [WP, NYT]

Veneman out at Department of Agriculture. Environmentalist: "She offended the big government wing of the Republican Party in the subsidized crop states. They never trusted her after that." [WP, NYT]

Mehlman to replace Gillespie; intends to read out to women, minorities, Jews. [WP, WSJ, NYT, USAT, LAT]

Schumer nixes gubernatorial bid, will head Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and remain in Senate. [WP]

Republicans move to limit disclosure of personal financial information by top federal officials with provision in 9/11 bill. Advocate: "They're burying it in a large bill that is very controversial on other issues, so no one is going to pay any attention to this." [LAT]

Specter likely to lead Judiciary Committee; viewed as bad for business; abortion issue distracts from his position on tort reform. [WSJ, WT]

McCain calls administration's passive response to climate change "terribly disappointing." [NYT]

Kerry returns to Senate today with health care, traditional foreign policy as priorities. Cameron: "There is a process of transformation that you undergo when so many people invest their hopes and aspirations in you and your campaign. You become enlarged by the weight of all that." [USAT]

With Reid, Democrats pick legislative technician over powerful public presence. Schumer: "Beneath that soft-spoken exterior is a very tough guy. He's still got some of the boxer in him." [WP]

States allowed to amend NCLB rules to make requirements easier to achieve: "It's not about ducking accountability. It's about managing morale. These labels are morale busters." Next Education Secretary to face increased pressure, resistance. [WSJ, NYT]

[AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite/File]


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