Democrats, not Bush or Cheney . Gates must immediately contact UN for replacement of troops.
Google News 18/11/2006
Gates to make Iraq priority if confirmed
By ANNE PLUMMER FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer 6 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Robert Gates, President Bush ‘s pick for defense secretary, emerged from meetings on Capitol Hill Friday to say Iraq would be a top priority for him if confirmed by the Senate.
Gates met with Senate Republicans and Democrats for the first time since President Bush named him on Nov. 8 to replace Donald H. Rumsfeld. The senators said they would push to confirm him by the end of the year, following a Dec. 5 hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee .
Gates also met privately with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Majority Whip Mitch McConnell.
Added McConnell, R-Ky.: "We‘re optimistic that Bob Gates will be confirmed before the first of the year."
The former CIA director was serving as a member of an independent, blue-ribbon panel assessing options in Iraq when Bush asked him to replace Rumsfeld as Pentagon chief. Gates, 63, has served in numerous national security jobs under six previous presidents, including Bush‘s father, and is president of Texas A&M University.
Sen. C, , ), D-Mich., in line to take over Warner‘s position as chairman next year, is expected to meet with Gates on Monday.
The war in Iraq is expected to be a dominant issue for lawmakers as they speak with Gates. One day after the Nov. 7 elections, Bush acknowledged that the lack of progress being made in Iraq cost Republicans votes and handed majority control of Congress to Democrats. In a bid to salvage American support, Bush said he would consider a change in course and asked Rumsfeld to step down.
Reid told The Associated Press that a top priority for the remainder of the lame-duck session will be confirming Gates. "The sooner we can move it forward the sooner we can get rid of Rumsfeld," he said.