- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 19, 2006

[1:15 p.m.]

The White House shake-up continued today as the president’s public spokesman, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, announced his resignation and President Bush reportedly shuffled his deputy chiefs of staff.

“I have given it my all, sir, and I’ve given you my all,” Mr. McClellan told the president this morning as they made the announcement in front of television cameras set up to photograph Mr. Bush’s departure for a speech.

“He’s made the decision and I accept it,” Mr. Bush said. He said Mr. McClellan handled his assignment, speaking for Mr. Bush on a daily basis to the press, “with class, integrity.”

Mr. McClellan had served as press secretary since July 2003.

In other changes, Mr. Bush tapped Joel D. Kaplan, currently the No. 2 person at OMB, to be a deputy chief of staff in charge of policy. That marks a shift for another deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove, who will now focus mainly on politics in the run-up to this year’s congressional elections.

The former director of OMB, Joshua Bolten, took over as chief of staff on Friday and has been given a free hand to restructure the White House staff.

Democrats said the change in Mr. Rove’s duties doesn’t go far enough.

“From the collapse of the president’s scheme to privatize social security to Rove’s involvement in the outing of a covert CIA agent’s identity while he still holds a security clearance, the president has abundant reason to fire Karl Rove,” said Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

Mr. McClellan said he will remain through a transition period of two or three weeks. Replacement names being mentioned include former Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke; Fox News Radio host Tony Snow, a speechwriter for former President Bush; and Dan Senor, who was spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

Mr. Bush and Mr. McClellan had their immediate departure for the speech delayed when Marine One, the president’s helicopter, developed a problem with the electronic systems in the cockpit.

Minutes after he boarded the aircraft, Mr. Bush emerged and shouted to the press, “We had an issue with the helicopter.” He rode to a waiting Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base by motorcade instead.

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