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Senate loss is a final humiliation for Bush


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Senate loss is a final humiliation for Bush


Last updated at 12:54pm on 9th November 2006 commentIconSm.gif

bushEPA310506_228x296.jpgBush reigns supreme no more as the Democrats take charge of the House of Representatives and the US Senate




George Bush's defeat in the US Senate looked inevitable as the Democrats capped a spectacular series of election results with victory in Virginia.

The President had already reacted to Republican loss of the House of Representatives by sacrificing Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the main architect of the Iraq war, and replacing him with ex-CIA chief Robert Gates.



But the fall of Virginia is a big win for the Democrats, giving them control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 12 years. Although the result has yet to be officially declared, reports said Republican George Allen had lost to Democrat Jim Webb by 7,236 votes.

President Bush is now facing his final two years of office hounded by inquiries and dogged by the prospect of legislative gridlock.

The new Democrat leader of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is expected to increase pressure for a change of course in Iraq.

In a celebratory rally in Washington DC , she declared: "Today the American people voted for change, and for Democrats to take our country in a new direction."

Ms Pelosi added that she hoped the departure of Mr Rumsfeld would mark "a fresh start" towards a new policy in Iraq.

The President revealed that Mr Rumsfeld's departure had been discussed for several days before the elections, saying the two had agreed on polling day that he should resign.

His replacement, Robert Gates, 63, ran the CIA from 1991 to 1993, during the first Gulf war.

Mr Gates joined the CIA in 1966. But in 1987, while deputy director, questions were raised about his knowledge of the Iran-Contra scandal, in which members of the Reagan administration helped sell arms to Iran to fund right-wing paramilitaries in Nicaragua.

But Mr Gates has been described as a pragmatist opposed to the aggressive foreign policy advocated by the likes of Mr Rumsfeld.

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