President Bush says he has strong confidence in Donald Rumsfeld,
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The president also said Tuesday that he listens to the talk in Washington, D.C., the latest of which has focused intently on an administration shake-up, but one change that will not happen is the replacement of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
“I hear the voices and I read the front page and I know the speculation,” the president said, answering a reporter’s question after his announcement about Portman’s nomination. “But I’m the decider and I decide what’s best. And what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense.”
But the president said he has strong confidence in his Cabinet officials and appreciates “the service they’ve rendered.” He said he does not appreciate the speculation surrounding the departure of Rumsfeld.
“Don Rumsfeld is doing a fine job,” Bush said. “A little flicker of gossip starts moving hard and people jump all over it.
“I have strong confidence in Don Rumsfeld,” he said.
In a briefing with reporters, Rumsfeld said he has not considered resigning following criticism from a handful of retired generals, some with experience in Iraq, who say Rumsfeld has mishandled the Iraq war and failed to listen to the advice of subordinates. Asked why he has not offered to resign, the way he did following the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, which did not implicate senior Pentagon officials, Rumsfeld replied: “Oh, just call it idiosyncratic.”