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Today's Big Story

Rumsfeld Resigns

Beleaguered architect of Iraq war quits in wake of big Democratic victory.

By Richard Warnica 8 Nov 2006 | TheTyee.ca

Richard Warnica is a senior editor at The Tyee.

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The American Democrats celebrated victory for the first time in a decade last night, as at least one, and possibly both, Houses of Congress fell from Republican control. 

What happened, what it means and for who continues to dominate news cycles this morning. With the big news coming from now-former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld.

From the CBC:

President George W. Bush confirmed Rumsfeld's resignation at a news conference at 1 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Rumsfeld, who held the post for six years, will be succeeded by former CIA director Robert Gates, Bush said....

Earlier on Wednesday, a spokesman for Rumsfeld said he had given no indication that he would step down in the wake of Democratic gains in Tuesday's election.

The spokesman said Rumsfeld would work with Congress on Iraq but added that the focus on stabilizing the country will remain the same.

The House of Representatives is firmly in Democrat control after last night, the big question, though, is what happens in the Senate. 

As it stands, each party has 49 seats in the 100 seat chamber. Two races, in Montana and Virginia, are still too close to call.

A victory in either race would be enough for the Republicans to keep control. (If they have to win one, here’s hoping it’s George “Macaca” Allen in Virginia. Still so many macaca jokes to get through.) But the outcome won't be clear for weeks and possibly months, as a recount in Virginia can’t start until Nov. 27 at the earliest.

The actual voting process seems to have been the least marred of recent US elections. According to most reports there were some issues with electronic voting, but nothing drastic.

Other, more old-fashioned malfeasance was alleged, however. Charges of voter intimidation, misleading pamphlets cropped up in a number of states.

In total, delays and other screw-ups led to extended polling hours in 8 states according to a survey by the Associated Press.

Even before the night was over, talk had turned to 2008. When, for the first time in years, no sitting member of the executive will be running for office. Right now, the nominal favourites remain Republican John McCain and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

But another name was on many lips last night. According to the poll crunchers at Angus Reid, support for one term Illinois Senator Barack Obama is rising fast.

Obama has refused to rule out a run in 2008. And, over at the Huffington Post, Nathan Gardels says last night’s results bode well for the would be uniter. Obama’s blog buzz, too, is strong.

Canada too was a hot topic last night. Actually, no. I made that up. Canadian relations were somewhere below Albanian imports in terms of importance for US voters.

Stephen Harper did issue an awkward, listen, I know we don’t like each other but let’s pretend for the kids, statement about maintaining strong trade relations this morning. And yesterday, the Post’s Don Martin warned the Democrats are no friends to Canadian trade.

Cheap Canadian drugs (not the kind grown in abandoned Chilliwack duplexes) were an issue in some states. And Canadian online pharmacies wasted no time claiming the Democrat win would be a victory for them. (The graphic from this release is also a finalist for most awkwardly photoshopped maple leaf  in history.)

Lots still to happen, lots to still to talk about. Check out the discussion still happening at The Tyee’s online forum. Or start a new one here.

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