colin's girlfriend gets his job!

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    Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 November, 2004, 08:34 GMT
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    Condoleezza Rice Rice is seen as more hawkish than Powell
    US President George W Bush has chosen National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice as his new secretary of state, senior US officials in Washington say.

    Ms Rice, 50, a close confidante of Mr Bush, could be named on Tuesday to succeed Colin Powell, US media report.

    As the first black female secretary of state she would win a place in the history books, correspondents say.

    Mr Powell, 67, resigned on Monday. He said it had always been his intention to serve only one term.

    His resignation was announced along with three other cabinet members, bringing to six the number of key figures to leave the 15-member cabinet.

    US media networks have said that Ms Rice has accepted the offer and a formal announcement is expected on Tuesday.

    Ms Rice is a trusted member of President's Bush innermost circle - some describe her as almost family, the BBC's Jill McGivering in Washington says.

    10 November:
    John Ashcroft, Attorney General
    Don Evans, Commerce
    15 November:
    Colin Powell, Secretary of State
    Spencer Abraham, Energy
    Ann Veneman, Agriculture
    Rod Paige, Education

    Profile: Condoleezza Rice
    Who's who in Bush cabinet

    She is also said to share many of his views, and is described as driven and highly ambitious, our correspondent says.

    Ms Rice is seen as a more abrasive character than UN ambassador John Danforth who was earlier also tipped as a possible successor to Mr Powell, analysts say.

    The president's choice will say much about how he intends to approach the world in his second term, which begins with his inauguration on 20 January, correspondents say.

    Much of the foreign policy focus in the second term is likely to be firmly on the Middle East but Miss Rice's background as a Russian expert would also prove useful at a time of concern about President Vladimir Putin's handling of political and civil rights, our correspondent says.

    The Bush administration seems keen to exert firm control over the state department, she says.

    Ms Rice's appointment would certainly bring the state department strongly back into the fold, our correspondent says.

    Colin Powell is one of the great public servants of our time
    George W Bush

    Profile: Colin Powell
    Text of resignation letter
    Powell's statement

    There was speculation that the only reason she might turn down the post was because she coveted the defence portfolio but that has not become vacant.

    President Bush earlier praised Mr Powell for his diplomatic skills as a key architect of the Broader Middle East initiative, and for defusing tensions with India and China.

    "Colin Powell is one of the great public servants of our time," he said in a statement.

    "He is a soldier, a diplomat, a civic leader, a statesman, and a great patriot."

    Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, and Education Secretary Rod Paige also announced their intention to step down.

    White House spokesman Scott McClellan said all had agreed to stay in their posts until successors could be found and approved by the Senate.

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