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Two Members of President Bush's Cabinet Resign

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Don Evans have both stepped down, the first resignations from President Bush's cabinet as he prepares for a second term in office.

In written statements, President Bush praised both men for their hard work during his first term.

The president says Secretary Evans is one of his most trusted friends and advisors who has been a valuable member of the economic team and has worked to advance economic security and prosperity for all Americans.

To encourage more job creation in the United States, President Bush says Secretary Evans has worked to reduce taxes, open markets for American goods and services, and promote a level playing field abroad.

Mr. Evans is a close friend of the president's from their days in Texas and was instrumental in helping Mr. Bush win the 2000 election. In his resignation letter, Secretary Evans said while the promise of the president's second term shines bright, he has concluded with deep regret that it is time to return home.

The president says Attorney General Ashcroft has served the nation with honor, distinction, and integrity, working tirelessly to help make the country safer. His four years at the Justice Department saw big changes following the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington as U.S. law enforcement made fighting terrorism its top priority.

President Bush says he applauds Mr. Ashcroft's efforts to prevent crime, vigorously enforce civil rights laws, crack down on corporate wrongdoing, stop human trafficking, and fight Internet pornography.

In his resignation letter, the Attorney General said the objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved, and he believes the Justice Department would now be well served by what he calls new leadership and fresh inspiration.

Both men have served in the Bush Cabinet from the start and are the first of what are expected to be a series of changes in the president's team for a second term.