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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 21:47 GMT
In full: President Bush's speech
The full transcript of US President George W Bush's statement on the mid-term election results and on the resignation of US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Say, why all the glum faces?

Yesterday, the people went to the polls and they cast their vote for a new direction in the House of Representatives.

US President George W Bush
Don Rumsfeld has been a superb leader during a time of change - yet appreciates the value of bringing in a fresh perspective
President Bush

And while the ballots are still being counted in the Senate, it's clear the Democrat Party had a good night last night. And I congratulate them on their victories.

This morning I spoke with the Republican and Democrat leadership in the House and the Senate.

I spoke with Republican leaders, Senator Frist and Senator McConnell and Speaker Hastert and John Boehner and Roy Blunt. I thanked them for their hard-fought contest. I appreciated the efforts they put in for our candidates.

I'm obviously disappointed with the outcome of the election and, as the head of the Republican Party, I share a large part of the responsibility.

'Finding common ground'

I told my party's leaders that it is now our duty to put the elections behind us and work together with the Democrats and independents on the great issues facing this country.

This morning I also spoke with the Democrats. I spoke with Senators Reid and Durbin. I congratulated them on running a strong campaign in the Senate. And I told them that, regardless of the final outcome, we can work together over the next two years.

I also congratulated Congresswoman Pelosi and Congressman Hoyer. They ran a disciplined campaign. Their candidates were well organised and did a superb job of turning out their votes.

I told Congresswoman Pelosi that I looked forward to working with her and her colleagues to find common ground in the next two years.

As the majority party in the House of Representatives, they recognise that in their new role they now have greater responsibilities.

And in my first act of bi-partisan outreach since the election, I shared with her the names of some Republican interior decorators... [LAUGHTER] ...who can help her pick out the new drapes in her new offices.

I believe that the leaders of both political parties must try to work through our differences. And I believe we will be able to work through differences.

I've reassured the House and Senate leaders that I intend to work with the new Congress in a bi-partisan way to address issues confronting this country.

I invited them to come to the White House in the coming days to discuss the important work remaining this year and to begin conversations about the agenda for next year.

'Historic times'

The message yesterday was clear: The American people want their leaders in Washington to set aside partisan differences, conduct ourselves in an ethical manner, and work together to address the challenges facing our nation.

We live in historic times. The challenges and opportunities are plain for all to see.

I recognise that many Americans voted last night to register their displeasure with the lack of progress being made [in Iraq]
President Bush

Will this country continue to strengthen our economy today and over the long run? Will we provide a first-class education for our children? And will we be prepared for the global challenges of the 21st century?

Will we build upon the recent progress we've made in addressing our energy dependence by aggressively pursuing new technologies to break our addiction to foreign sources of energy?

And, most importantly: Will this generation of leaders meet our obligation to protect the American people?

I know there's a lot of speculation on what the election means for the battle we're waging in Iraq. I recognise that many Americans voted last night to register their displeasure with the lack of progress being made there.

Yet, I also believe most Americans and leaders here in Washington from both political parties understand we cannot accept defeat.

In the coming days and weeks, I and members of my national security team will meet with the members of both parties to brief them on latest developments and listen to their views about the way forward.

We'll also provide briefings to the new members of Congress so they can be fully informed as they prepare for their new responsibilities.

As we work with the new leaders in Congress, I'm also looking forward to hearing the views of the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by Secretary James Baker and Congressman Lee Hamilton.

This group is assessing the situation in Iraq and are expected to provide - and the group is expected to provide recommendations on a way forward.

And I'm going to meet with them, I think, early next week.

Rumsfeld - 'A superb leader'

The election has changed many things in Washington, but it has not changed my fundamental responsibility, and that is to protect the American people from attack.

Former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
There have been growing calls for Mr Rumsfeld's resignation
As the commander-in-chief, I take these responsibilities seriously. And so does the man who served this nation honourably for almost six years as our Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

Now, after a series of thoughtful conversations, Secretary Rumsfeld and I agreed that the timing is right for new leadership at the Pentagon.

Our military has experienced an enormous amount of change and reform during the last five years while fighting the war on terror; one of the most consequential wars in our nation's history.

Don Rumsfeld has been a superb leader during a time of change. Yet he also appreciates the value of bringing in a fresh perspective during a critical period in this war.

Don Rumsfeld's a patriot who's served our country with honour and distinction. He is a trusted adviser and a friend, and I'm deeply grateful to his service to our country.

I've asked Bob Gates to serve as the secretary of defense. Bob is the former director of the CIA and current president of Texas A&M University.

If confirmed by the Senate, Bob will bring more than 25 years of national security experience and a stellar reputation as an effective leader with sound judgment.

He's served six presidents, from both political parties, and rose from an entry-level employee in the CIA to become the director of central intelligence.

During his service at the CIA and at the National Security Council, Bob Gates gained first-hand knowledge that will help him meet the challenges and opportunities that our country faces during the next two years.

He is serving as a member of the Baker-Hamilton commission. He is a steady, solid leader who can help make the necessary adjustments in our approach to meet our current challenges.

I will have more to say about Secretary Rumsfeld and Bob Gates later today here at the White House.

'Brave men and women'

Amid this time of change, I have a message for those on the frontlines: To our enemies, do not be joyful. Do not confuse the workings of our democracy with a lack of will. Our nation is committed to bringing you to justice.

I'm confident that we can overcome the temptation to divide this country between red and blue
President Bush

Liberty and democracy are the source of America's strength, and liberty and democracy will lift up the hopes and desires of those you are trying to destroy.

To the people of Iraq: Do not be fearful.

As you take the difficult steps toward democracy and peace, America's going to stand with you. We know you want a better way of life, and now is the time to seize it.

To our brave men and women in uniform: Don't be doubtful. America will always support you.

Our nation is blessed to have men and women who volunteer to serve and are willing to risk their own lives for the safety of our fellow citizens.

When I first came to Washington nearly six years ago, I was hopeful I could help change the tone here in the capital.

As governor of Texas, I had successfully worked with both Democrats and Republicans to find commonsense solutions to the problems facing our state.

While we made some progress on changing the tone, I'm disappointed we haven't made more. I'm confident that we can work together. I'm confident that we can overcome the temptation to divide this country between red and blue.

The issues before us are bigger than that and we are bigger than that.

By putting this election and partisanship behind us, we can launch a new era of co-operation and make these next two years productive ones for the American people.




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President Bush's statement in full





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