Snow’s re­ply

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

While out­go­ing De­fense Sec­re­tary Don­ald H. Rums­feld was be­ing feted at the Pen­tagon on Dec. 8, White House press sec­re­tary Tony Snow was ad­dress­ing a gath­er­ing of the Con­ser­va­tive Women’s Net­work at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion and was asked about Mr. Rums­feld’s im­mi­nent de­par­ture.

Mr. Rums­feld, pil­lo­ried by crit­ics for­whatth­ey­con­sid­er­abotched­war plan in Iraq, was forced to re­sign the day af­ter the Nov. 7 elec­tions. He will leave of­fice Dec. 18.

Given the sour mood of the elec­torate re­gard­ing the war, Mr. Snow was asked whether Repub­li­can House and Se­nate losses might have been less­ened had Mr. Rums­feld stepped aside six weeks be­fore the elec­tion, rather than on Nov. 8.

“Idoubtit,”Mr.Snow­toldthe­gath­er­ing of about 135 — most of them women — on hand for the event, a monthly lun­cheon put on by the Hern­don, Va.-based Clare Boothe Luce Pol­icy In­sti­tute.

“I’mnot­sure­it­would­have”made a dif­fer­ence, he said, adding that it was “fruit­less” to spec­u­late. He said the losses were prob­a­bly more di­rectly at­trib­ut­able to the large num­ber of Repub­li­can in­cum­bents with “eth­i­cal prob­lems.”

Mr. Snow said that Mr. Rums­feld “di­da­m­ag­nif­i­cen­tjobas­de­fens­es­ec­re­tary”un­der­dif­fi­cult­cir­cum­stances.

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