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Inside Politics

Bush nominates Kerik for Homeland Security

Former New York police commissioner to replace Ridge

President Bush announces Bernard Kerik's nomination Friday.
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Kerik will likely replace Ridge.

Ridge's resignation announcement.
Eight Cabinet members tendered their resignations after President Bush won re-election:

-- Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman; proposed replacement, Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns;

-- Secretary of Commerce Don Evans; proposed replacement, Carlos Gutierrez;

-- Secretary of Education Rod Paige; proposed replacement, Margaret;Spellings;

-- Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham; no potential replacement named;

-- Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson; no potential;replacement named;

-- Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge; proposed replacement, Bernard Kerik;

-- Attorney General John Ashcroft; proposed replacement, Alberto Gonzales;

-- Secretary of State Colin Powell; proposed replacement, Condoleezza Rice.
Department of Homeland Security
Tom Ridge
George W. Bush
Acts of terror

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Friday nominated former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik to take over as secretary of homeland security.

Bush called Kerik a "dedicated, innovative reformer who insists on getting results."

He cited Kerik's work in New York where Bush said Kerik "had great success in reducing crime in New York City."

Kerik, 49, led the New York City Police Department through the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and their aftermath.

"His broad practical hands-on experience makes Bernie superbly qualified to lead the Department of Homeland Security," Bush said.

Kerik is a senior vice president of Giuliani Partners, the consulting firm founded by Rudy Giuliani, who as mayor of New York appointed him police commissioner in 2000. (Profile)

In 2003, Kerik went to Iraq at Bush's request to help train the new Iraqi police force, and he campaigned for Bush's re-election, making a speech at the Republican National Convention in August. (CNN Access: Working hard | Retraining)

"I am deeply humbled and honored for the opportunity to serve you and this great country," Kerik said in accepting the nomination. "Should I receive the consent of the Senate, I will devote every power I posess toward fulfilling the vital mission you have set before me and the Department of Homeland Security."

An administration official said that on at least two occasions Giuliani made a personal pitch to the White House that Kerik be named to succeed Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, 59, who announced his resignation Tuesday.

A senior administration official described Kerik as a "proven crisis manager" with "credibility and firsthand understanding of the war on terror."

"The country is well aware of his courageous service in responding to the World Trade Center attack, his efforts to coordinate rescue and recovery work at Ground Zero," the senior administration official said.

New York's two senators, both Democrats, expressed support for Kerik's nomination.

"If ever a state deserves to have a citizen appointed to [head the Department of] Homeland Security, it is New York," said Sen. Charles Schumer.

"Bernard Kerik knows firsthand the challenges and needs of New York and other high-threat areas," Sen. Hillary Clinton said in a statement. "As a member of the president's Cabinet, he can make that case every single day."

New York officials have long complained that they receive an inadequate share of federal homeland security money, given the fact that the nation's largest city faces a heightened threat from terrorists.

Schumer said late Thursday that he expects the department to raise the appropriation for New York by about $100 million in an announcement Friday, which he said is an improvement but still not enough to meet New York's needs.

Kerik to be second secretary

The Department of Homeland Security was created in January 2003 as 22 government agencies were blended into the new department. Ridge was nation's first secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

The department is responsible for a variety of functions -- from overseeing border security and immigration to responding to natural disasters and screening airline passengers. It also includes the Secret Service and the Coast Guard.

The department was charged with developing and coordinating a national strategy to protect against terrorist threats.

Kerik served three years as an Army MP before becoming warden of the Passaic County jail. He worked in the NYPD from 1986 to 1994 and before becoming police commissioner, headed the city's Department of Correction.

The Bush administration has been busy in the weeks since the election, which also have seen the resignations of Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Commerce Secretary Don Evans, Education Secretary Rod Paige, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.

And this week, John Danforth, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, announced he will leave his post in January after less than seven months on the job. (Full story)

So far, Bush has tapped five replacements. He nominated White House counsel Alberto Gonzales to succeed Ashcroft, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to take over at the State Department, domestic policy adviser Margaret Spellings to replace Paige and Carlos Gutierrez to be the next commerce secretary.

On Thursday, Bush nominated Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns to be the new secretary of agriculture. (Full story)

All of the Cabinet nominees must be confirmed by the Senate.

CNN's Elaine Quijano and Jeanne Meserve contributed to this report.

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