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Thursday, 24 May, 2001, 19:02 GMT 20:02 UK
Senator's move stuns Washington
Democratic Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota
Incoming Senate leader Tom Daschle promised a spirit of "principled compromise"
Senator Jim Jeffords' decision to leave the Republican Party - handing control of the Senate to the Democrats - has rocked Capitol Hill. These are some of the comments on the dramatic setback for President Bush.

President George W Bush:

I respect Senator Jeffords, but respectfully, I couldn't disagree more...

I was elected to get things done on behalf of the American people, and to work with both Republicans and Democrats, and we're doing just that.

Senate Democrat leader Tom Daschle:

What does not change with this new balance of power is the need for principled compromise.

Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona:

Republican Senator John McCain
Mr McCain: Jeffords was unfairly targeted

For his votes of conscience, he was unfairly targeted for abuse, usually anonymously, by short-sighted party operatives from their comfortable perches in K Street (Washington) offices, and by some Republican members of Congress and their staff.

Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine:

As a moderate Republican there are considerable differences within our party with respect to the issues... those views have to be respected as well as accommodated.

The (Republican) conference is crestfallen that it came to this point, that he felt so beleaguered and alienated that he was driven to make this kind of decision.

Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts:

Democratic Senator John Kerry
Mr Kerry: A reflection of "excessive ideological adamancy"
I think Jim Jeffords' statement and his move is a strong signal about the failure of the Bush administration to in fact practice a change of tone in Washington and to be inclusive.

I think it's a reflection of the excessive ideological adamancy that has governed the process.

Republican State Senator Barbara Snelling of Vermont:

I think it's unfortunate that the Republican Party has been such a difficult place for moderates.

The party has changed, and now it doesn't seem to be able to live with moderates.

Former mayor of Rutland, Vermont, Jeffrey Wennberg:

To honourably serve the people of this state, what he should do is resign his seat, allow the governor to appoint an interim, and then fulfil his right to seek election under another party affiliation. But let the voters decide.

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24 May 01 | Americas
Rebel tips US Senate balance
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