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Quick Guide & Transcript: Democrats win House and Senate, Bush says Rumsfeld is stepping down

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(CNN Student News) -- November 9, 2006

Quick Guide

America Votes 2006 - Observe how Washington's political landscape changed in Tuesday's nationwide vote.

Madame Speaker - Get a profile of the woman who is likely to become the first female Speaker of the House.

Rumsfeld Resigns - Discover who's been nominated to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.



MONICA LLOYD, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Glad to have you along for CNN Student News! I'm Monica Lloyd. A democratic wave means a sea change in Washington. How it looks like Virginia may determine who rules in the Senate. The architect of an unpopular war exits the political stage. Why Donald Rumsfeld's resignation could signal changes ahead in Iraq. Democrats say a woman's place is "in the house." How Nancy Pelosi plans on shaking things up.

First Up: America Votes 2006

LLOYD: First up today, Washington adjusts to a significantly different political landscape. For the first time in 12 years, Democrats have won control of both the House and the Senate. This after the Associated Press reports Virginia's Senate race has landed in the Democratic column. Younger voters had their highest turnout in 20 years. 10-million voters under age 30 cast ballots.... and they picked democrats by a wide margin. Election-watchers, say those votes made a big difference in tight races. Kyung Lah is in Washington, where many are recovering from electoral shock.


KYUNG LAH, CNN REPORTER: Celebrating Democrats call the election a loud message from the American people. President Bush responded with a stunning announcement: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is leaving.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Your service has made America a stronger and safer nation. And I wish you and Joyce all the best in the years to come. You will be missed. Don Rumsfeld is a tough act to follow.

LAH: Rumsfeld had this to say about the men and women serving in the military.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: They have my respect -- they will remain in my prayers always. LAH: The likely next speaker of the House says it signals a change to the strategy in the war in Iraq.

NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA: I welcome this change. I think it will give a fresh start to finding a solution to Iraq rather than staying the course.

LAH: Democrat John Tester declared himself the winner of a Montana Senate seat. CNN projects Democrats have 50 seats -- one shy of control of the Senate. Senate control comes down to the Virginia race. Too close to call... with Republican George Allen trailing Democrat Jim Webb by only a few thousand votes. Allen's campaign says it's not over yet.

SEN. GEORGE ALLEN, (R) VIRGINIA: We're still counting votes.

LAH: That is still the official line from the Allen campaign. But sources close to the campaign say that the senator has no intention of dragging out the process much longer. The AP has called the Virginia race for the Democrat, Democrat Jim Webb. Significant because it hands over control of the Senate to the Democrats. In Washington, Kyung Lah, CNN Student News.


Fast Facts

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for some Fast Facts! You've heard a lot of talk about "control of Congress," but what does that mean? Well, by having a majority in one house of Congress or another, a party is said to control it. A majority vote is all that's needed to pass bills in the House and Senate. So if voting goes exactly along party lines, the majority party, in theory, can pass all the bills it wants, without concern for any other party. That doesn't usually happen, though. And the president can still veto any bill Congress passes. So...unless a party has the two-thirds 'super majority' necessary to override a veto...the control we're talking about is anything but absolute.

Madame Speaker

LLOYD:The Democratic takeover of the House all but assures Nancy Pelosi will be the first "Madame speaker" in U.S. history. The speaker is the presiding officer in the capitol's "lower chamber." In this role he or she controls floor debate and appoints committee chairmen and women. As speaker, Pelosi would also be third in line to the presidency. David Mattingly has more on her style and her personal story.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN REPORTER: Nancy Pelosi is what you call a rainmaker. And this election she made it pour ... the Democrats' second biggest fundraiser next to Hillary Clinton. That success at raising money is one reason she's now expected to become the first woman speaker of the House of Representatives.

NANCY PELOSI: Maybe it takes a woman to clean house.

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN REPORTER: That kind of has a sexist undertone to it? Is that deliberate?

PELOSI: Well, it is, because the fact is a woman represents what's new in politics.

KOPPLE: How is that?

PELOSI: Because it has never happened before.

MATTINGLY: Politics is in Pelosi's blood. When she was growing up in Baltimore the 1940s and 50s her father was a congressman, then the city's mayor. She married and moved to her husband's home town of San Francisco, where they raised their five children and where she rose up the ranks of the Democratic party. Many Republicans tried to make Pelosi an issue this election -- even though most Americans had never heard of her. Pelosi and the Democrats of course made President Bush the issue. This is the way the woman poised to be speaker has been speaking about him.

KOPPEL: You have yourself described President Bush as being being in denial.

PELOSI: In denial and dangerous. The president will have to have a different attitude now that he won't have a rubber stamp congress.

MATTINGLY: Among the priorities Nancy Pelosi says she'd push for as House Speaker: raising the minimum wage; supporting tax cuts for the middle class -- but not for the wealthy; encouraging embryonic stem cell research; giving the federal government power to negotiate with drug companies for lower medicare prescription costs. And unlike so many other Democrats, Nancy Pelosi voted against authorizing the war with Iraq. A war which will certainly weigh heavily on the agenda of the next two years. How rough can a Speaker Pelosi make things for President Bush? Are Republicans right to fear investigations of the administration? In her interview with CNN's Andrea Koppel, Pelosi would only say this:

KOPPEL: You said you'll have subpoena power.

PPELOSI: Of course we'll have subpoena power. And we all have constitutional responsibility to have checks and balances and oversight.

MATTINGLY: That, she says, is what the congress does. David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.


Is this Legit?

AZUZ: Is This Legit? The U.S. Senate has to approve any nominees to the position of defense secretary. Yep! The president has to seek the "advice and consent" of the Senate before any of his Cabinet nominees are confirmed.

Rumsfeld Resigns

LLOYD: As we mentioned earlier, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is resigning. His style rankled some four-star generals. Critics say his inflexibility led to a mismanaged war in Iraq. But just last week, Donald Rumsfeld got a vote of confidence from his boss. Confidence that quickly vanished immediately after Tuesday's Republican disaster. President Bush announced yesterday his longtime secretary of defense will resign. Rumsfeld's held that job for six years. Jamie McIntyre explains why the move was made and what it will mean.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN REPORTER: Returning to his home in Washington at day's end, Donald Rumsfeld showed no sign that he had been abruptly replaced by his boss, President Bush, who just last week gave him a public endorsement. As the chief architect of an increasingly unpopular war, Rumsfeld had become a political liability, who Mr. Bush says -- admitted in private conversations over the past few days -- the Iraq war needed a "fresh perspective."

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: He, himself, understands that Iraq is not working well enough, fast enough.

MCINTYRE: Rumsfeld -- who always said he served at the pleasure of the President, and gave NO indication he would leave on his own -- said in his parting statement the war against terrorism he oversaw is "little-understood":

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: It is not well-known, it was not well-understood; it is complex for people to comprehend.

MCINTYRE: While the Pentagon denied Rumsfeld had lost the respect of top military commanders, his departure was greeted by a blizzard of statements, from Capitol Hill -- both Republicans and Democratic all welcoming the opportunity for a fresh start.

MCINTYRE: Many Democrats advocate a "strategic redeployment" of U.S. troops away from the front lines. But by picking Robert Gates as Rumsfeld's replacement, President Bush appears to be signaling he'll give greater weight to the expected recommendations of the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group, of which Gates was a member and whose recommendations are due out soon.

BUSH: He has traveled to Iraq and met with the country's leaders and our military commanders on the ground. He'll provide the department with a fresh perspective and new ideas on how America can achieve our goals in Iraq."

MCINTYRE: The removal of Rumsfeld clears the way for a major course correction, if that's what both Democrats and Republicans agree is needed. And it's smart politics, too. It takes away an easy target for Democrats, and puts pressure on them to agree on any new strategy for Iraq. Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.



LLOYD: Teachers, be sure to record "Wounded Warriors" It's a "CNN Presents Classroom Edition" special. Get a rare glimpse of the frontlines of Iraq where the wounded get life-saving care. And follow these warriors back home where they struggle for health and recovery. This gripping program airs this Monday, November 13th. Go to for show times.

Before We Go

LLOYD: Before we go, let's head to Holland where the domino effect is currently on rich display. These steady-handed domino fans want to topple the world record for falling dominos. No bones about it, with "Domino Day" about a week away, the pressure's on. Last year, a sparrow flew in an open window and knocked over 23,000 tiles! Domino Day is now in its 8th year. And this toppling good time is broadcast live in 11 countries. In the spirit of dominoes and "shuffle" our way out. Thanks for joining us on CNN Student News. I'm Monica Lloyd.



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