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Analysts Discuss Rumsfeld Resignation, Iraq Policy

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resigned Wednesday, a day after Democrats won control of the House and several more Senate seats. Political analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks discuss the election, Rumsfeld's resignation and expectations for the next Congress.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And now, how it all looks to Shields and Brooks, syndicated columnist Mark Shields, New York Times columnist David Brooks.

    David, let's start with an easy question, the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld. Would it have happened today if the results of the election yesterday had been different?

  • DAVID BROOKS, Columnist, New York Times:

    Not so easy a question. It might not have happened today, but it would have happened.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    You're sure of that?

  • DAVID BROOKS:

    I'm pretty sure of that. There's been widespread unhappiness, first at the Pentagon, but also in the White House. I've been picking up signs for a long time that there's unhappiness with Donald Rumsfeld and the effect he's had on the war and the administration. And I had begun hearing a week ago that he was going to go.

    And the president, as he says, he thought his party was going to do fine in the elections. So I think he would have gone either way, and that's because he is the symbol of the broken conversation, of the inability to have honest conversations about options, the inability to change policies when things are obviously going poorly. So I think he was gone either way; this certainly accelerated things, though.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    Yes. Gone either way, Mark?

  • MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist:

    I don't know, Jim. I do know that the death of 3,000 Americans — we were staying the course. He was pleased with the progress, gave a ringing endorsement, the president did to Donald Rumsfeld, and the election of a Democratic Congress, and Donald Rumsfeld was gone. So the election results were an intervening event and I think a decisive event in that decision.

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