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White House Spokesman Resigns


White House Spokesman Scott McClellan is stepping down as President Bush continues to shake up his staff at a time of record-low public approval ratings.

It has been a busy first week on the job for the new White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten as he has moved to fill his old job as budget director and will now replace White House Spokesman Scott McClellan.

Standing with the president on the White House South Lawn, McClellan announced his resignation after seven years with Mr. Bush, the last three as his senior spokesman.

"I am ready to move on," he said. "I have been in this position a long time, and my wife and I are excited about beginning the next chapter in our life together. You have accomplished a lot over the last several years with this team, and I have been honored and grateful to be a small part of a terrific and talented team of really good people."

President Bush thanked McClellan for his service to the nation and said it has been a job well done.

"I do not know whether or not the press corps realizes it, but his is a challenging assignment dealing with you all on a regular basis, and I thought he handled his assignment with class and integrity," said Mr. Bush.

McClellan took over from spokesman Ari Fleischer in June of 2003, shortly after the invasion of Iraq when a majority of Americans supported that war and the president.

McClellan was the public face of the Bush Administration through some difficult episodes, including the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a botched Supreme Court nomination, the revelation of secret domestic eavesdropping, and the dispute over the Dubai ports deal.

In twice daily briefings with the White House press corps, McClellan has defended the president's handling of the war in Iraq at a time of falling public support.

That drop, coupled with record low public approval ratings, has fueled this staff shake-up with Chief of Staff Bolten looking to reinvigorate the Bush team for its final two years.

McClellan spoke of that need in his resignation, saying it is a good time to move on as it is a period of transition at the White House and change can be helpful.

More changes are expected. Bolten has convinced long-time political adviser Karl Rove to give up his oversight of policy development and focus more on politics before mid-term congressional elections in November.

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