sexta-feira, novembro 10, 2006
A grande notícia da semana...
Democrats sweep elections
by John Whitesides, Political Correspondent
Wed Nov 8, 2:10 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats swept Republicans from power in the U.S. House of Representatives and moved close to victory in the Senate on Wednesday, dealing a sharp rebuke to President George W. Bush that led quickly to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation.
Bush said he was "obviously disappointed" at the huge Democratic gains in elections fueled by voter anger over the Iraq war. But the resignation of Rumsfeld, a lightning rod for war critics, was not directly tied to the election results, he said.
"Secretary Rumsfeld and I agreed that sometimes it's good to have a fresh perspective," Bush told reporters. He added he shared "a large part" of the responsibility for the election losses and his Iraq policy was "not working well enough, fast enough."
He nominated former CIA director Robert Gates to replace Rumsfeld, but Gates would have to be confirmed by a dramatically reshaped Senate.
Democrats gained about 30 seats in the House and picked up five of the six Republican Senate seats they need for a majority. They led in the other one, Virginia, putting them near control of both chambers of Congress for the first time in 12 years.
But a final decision on Senate control could be delayed by a potential recount and possible legal challenges in Virginia, dredging up memories of the 2000 presidential election recount that lasted five weeks.
Virginia Democrat James Webb led Republican Sen. George Allen by about 7,000 votes out of 2.3 million cast. The final vote counting could take a week, with a winner certified on November 27 and any recount stretching into December, leaving Senate control uncertain.
The Allen campaign indicated it did not plan to concede before the process ended. "We'll see where the official tally stands on November 27 and we'll come back and visit with you then," Allen adviser Ed Gillespie told reporters in Richmond, Virginia.
The big Democratic victory, fueled by public discontent with the war in Iraq, corruption in Washington and Bush's leadership, was likely to increase pressure for a change of course in Iraq. Democratic leaders sought a summit with Bush on Iraq's future.
U.S. stock markets were trading slightly lower as investors took in the election results.
The split control of government and narrow majorities in Congress, especially the Senate, were almost certain to spawn more partisan gridlock and political warfare during Bush's final two years in the White House.
The Democratic victory gives the party control of House legislative committees that could investigate the Bush administration's most controversial decisions on foreign, military and energy policy.
Democratic control of the House will make liberal Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California the first female speaker and could slam the brakes on much of Bush's agenda and increase pressure for a change of course in Iraq.