April 19, 2006

Bush press secretary quits, Rove ends policy role

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House press secretary Scott
McClellan announced his resignation on Wednesday and political
adviser Karl Rove gave up his policy role in a shake-up of
President George W. Bush's senior aides.

The moves were part of an effort by new White House Chief
of Staff Josh Bolten, who started his job last weekend, to help
Bush rebound from sagging poll numbers and bolster American
confidence in his leadership.

"I have given it my all, sir," McClellan told Bush outside
the White House before a group of reporters.

One of a group of Texans brought to the White House by
Bush, McClellan said he would stay on over the next two or
three weeks to allow time for a transition to his successor,
who has not yet been named.

Administration officials said Rove would give up his policy
development duties in order to focus more on political affairs,
as Republicans try to hang on to control of both houses of
Congress in the November mid-term elections.

Rove, another Texas insider, has been keeping a low profile
while still remaining under investigation in a special
prosecutor's probe into the leak of a CIA officer's identity in

Rove has been deputy White House chief of staff for policy
development and Bush's top political adviser. His policy role
will be taken over by Joel Kaplan, currently the deputy White
House budget director, two administration officials said.

"This lifts a burden off of Karl," a top White House
official said.

McClellan, 38, has been in the job more than 2-1/2 years.
He has been one of the most visible faces of the Bush
administration and replacing him will give the president the
chance to put a fresh face on his White House.

"Change can be helpful," McClellan said. He said he was
ready to move on and suggested he would end up back in Texas
before Bush gets there at the end of his term.

"I don't 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," Bush said.

He added: "It's going to be hard to replace Scott, but
nevertheless he's made the decision, and I accept it."

(Additional reporting by Patricia Wilson and Caren Bohan)