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Senate Democrats Push for No-Confidence Vote on Rumsfeld


Opposition Democrats in the U.S. Senate are set to try to present a resolution calling for the resignation of U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday the Democrats hope to attach the no-confidence amendment to a defense appropriations bill that the Senate is discussing Wednesday.

Rumsfeld has been widely criticized by Democratic lawmakers and some Republicans for what they see as his mismanagement of the war in Iraq.

The measure is not expected to pass, even with the support of several Republican senators. Even if it did pass, its impact would be symbolic because Congress has no power to fire a Cabinet member.

But the resolution would force all senators to take a stand on the defense secretary's ability to do his job, ahead of mid-term congressional elections in November.

A presidential spokesman said Tuesday that President Bush strongly supports his defense secretary.

Rumsfeld angered many Democratic senators with a speech last week in which he said critics of the war suffer from what he called a "moral and intellectual confusion" that can weaken free societies. Anti-war critics interpreted his remarks as comparing them to appeasers of Adolph Hitler in Nazi Germany.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.