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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 November 2006, 06:58 GMT
Bush rules out replacing Rumsfeld
By Justin Webb
BBC News, Washington

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
Mr Rumsfeld has been criticised over planning for the Iraq war
President Bush has said he wants his defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, to stay in his job until the end of the Bush presidency in 2009.

There had been rumours that Mr Rumsfeld might leave after the US mid-term elections and some Republican candidates have suggested he should go.

Mr Bush is campaigning in western states in a last-ditch effort to stop Democrats winning control of Congress.

He will speak in Nevada, Montana and Missouri hoping to win support.

Republicans critical

Normally the fact a president backs his defence secretary would not be big news but Mr Rumsfeld has been under huge pressure in the run-up to next week's elections.

Much of the flak has come from his fellow Republicans.

A prominent candidate for the Senate has spoken out against him and others have distanced themselves from the defence secretary and the way the war in Iraq has been handled.

Mr Bush is having none of it.

In a bold rebuke to his own party sceptics, Mr Bush said in an interview that he wanted Mr Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, the vice-president, to stay for the full term of his administration.

Mr Bush is planning on Thursday to take that firm message to the states of Nevada, Montana and Missouri - part of an intense last-ditch effort to turn this election round.

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