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7 Cards in this Set

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Bush taps Nebraska governor for Cabinet
Bush said Johanns was "an experienced public servant from America's agricultural heartland" with a long record of being "a faithful friend to America's farmers."

Johanns, 54, would succeed Ann M. Veneman, who recently announced her resignation despite saying earlier that she wanted to stay.

So far, seven of Bush's 15-member Cabinet have announced they won't be part of the second term. More are expected, and administration officials say Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson appears to be next.

Bush announced his intention to nominate the two-term governor in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

The nomination, which requires Senate confirmation, reflects the administration's desire to focus heavily on farm trade over the next four years.

As his wife Stephanie looked on, Johanns thanked Bush for inviting him to serve, saying "I have enormous respect for you."

"I look forward to advancing your rural agenda for the 21st century," Johanns said.

Born in Iowa and raised on a dairy farm, Johanns became a lawyer and served in county and city government before becoming mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1991. He won the governor's office in 1998 and in 2002 became the first Republican to win re-election in more than four decades.

"I'm very proud of my ag background. I do feel that those years on that dairy farm did much to define who I am as a person," Johanns said.

As governor, Johanns led a delegation of Nebraska's farm and business leaders on a trade mission to Japan, Taiwan, China, Singapore and a half dozen other countries.

Bush said that in his second term, he would put a high priority on helping farm families, including keeping taxes low and working to repeal the estate tax.

Bush praised Veneman, saying she had done a good job in dealing with agricultural issues, including fighting hunger, improvements in school nutrition programs, protecting forests and leading efforts "to prevent the spread of mad cow disease" when the nation's first case was reported a year ago.

Venman "earned the trust of farmers and ranchers across America," Bush said.

Veneman, a peach farmer's daughter who became the first woman to the head the Agriculture Department, presided during a period of unprecedented wariness about the safety of the nation's food supply.

Weeks after taking office in 2001, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Europe prompted Veneman to increase inspections and testing to prevent its arrival in the United States. After the September 11 attacks that year, concern grew that terrorists might seek to contaminate the nation's food supply.

In the only confirmed U.S. case of mad-cow disease, a Canadian-born Holstein was found to have been infected in Washington state last December.

Veneman quickly upgraded the country's defenses, banning high-risk meat products and meat from cows that could not stand or walk on their own, testing more cattle and promising to speed a nationwide animal tracking system.

Johanns had been considered a possible challenger to Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson in 2006.

Johanns graduated with a bachelor's degree from St. Mary's College in Winona, Minnesota, in 1971. He earned a law degree from Creighton University in 1974 and was a clerk for Nebraska Supreme Court Judge Hale McCown. He practiced law in the mid-1970s and became a partner in the Lincoln law firm of Nelson, Johanns, Morris, Holdeman & Titus in 1977.

First a Democrat, Johanns was elected to, and served as chairman of, the Lancaster Board of Commissioners in 1982. He left the board in 1987 and became a Republican in 1988. Before becoming mayor of Lincoln, he served on the Lincoln City Council in 1989 as an at-large member.
Bush attorney general pick is Alberto Gonzales
"His sharp intellect and sound judgment have helped shape our policies in the war on terror," Bush said at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

"He always gives me his frank opinion; he is a calm and steady voice in times of crisis. He has an unwavering principle of respect for the law."

Gonzales said the day was one of "conflicting emotions." He said if confirmed he would miss interacting with the members of the White House staff on a daily basis.

"I will work hard to build upon [Ashcroft's] record," he said.

In a news release, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said, "It's encouraging that the president has chosen someone less polarizing. We will have to review his record very carefully, but I can tell you already he's a better candidate than John Ashcroft."

Gonzales, a former Texas Supreme Court justice appointed by then-Gov. Bush, was named White House counsel in January 2001. He had also served as Texas' secretary of state. (Gonzales political fortunes tied to Bush's)

More conservative Republicans, however, have found some of Gonzales' relatively moderate votes on the Texas Supreme court troubling, including a majority vote not requiring some teenage girls to get parental permission for an abortion.

In his opinion on the ruling, Gonzales wrote, "While the ramifications of such a law may be personally troubling to me as a parent, it is my obligation as a judge to impartially apply the laws of this state without imposing my moral view on the decisions of the legislature."

Gonzales told associates at the time he felt the complaints about the memo -- written in January 2002 -- were taken out of context.

The memo warned Bush administration officials that they could be held accountable for "war crimes" if they did not agree with the conclusion of Justice Department attorneys that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to al Qaeda and Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Gonzales' memo was a result of the State Department's request that Bush reconsider his decision to follow the Justice Department conclusion.

If confirmed as attorney general, Gonzales will be the first Hispanic American to hold the Cabinet position.

Bush received Ashcroft's handwritten resignation letter a week ago, but did not formally accept the attorney general's resignation until this week.

The president praised the outgoing attorney general as "another superb public servant."

During his nearly four-year tenure as the nation's chief law enforcement officer, Ashcroft "reorganized the Department of Justice to meet the new threat of terrorism," Bush said. "He fairly and forcefully applied the Patriot Act and helped to dismantle terror cells inside the United States."

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, the judiciary committee's ranking Democrat, wrote in a news release, "I like and respect Judge Gonzales and look forward to our committee's consideration of his nomination.

"The Justice Department in the first Bush term was the least accountable Justice Department in my lifetime. Meaningful oversight and accountability were thwarted for years. We will be looking to see if Judge Gonzales intends to change that."

Ashcroft's resignation will become effective upon confirmation of Gonzales, Justice Department officials said.

Ashcroft, a former senator and two-term governor of Missouri, garnered criticism as attorney general on issues like the Patriot Act, which backers say helps the government in its fight against terrorism and critics say infringes on civil liberties.

Ashcroft was treated for gallstone pancreatitis in March, and his recovery kept him out of the office for nearly a month. In his handwritten resignation letter, dated November 2, he told Bush the job has been "both rewarding and depleting." (Text of resignation letter)

"I believe that the Department of Justice would be well served by new leadership and fresh inspiration," he said.
Bush fills half of open Cabinet positions
The administration has been busy in the weeks since the November 2 election, which has seen the resignations of Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Commerce Secretary Don Evans, Education Secretary Rod Paige, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.

So far, Bush has name three replacements, all very close associates

He nominated White House counsel Alberto Gonzales to succeed Ashcroft, Condoleezza Rice, his national security advisor and trusted confidant, to take over at the State Department and domestic policy adviser Margaret Spellings to replace Paige.

Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, spoke to Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska last Friday about the possibility of replacing Veneman at the Department of Agriculture, according to two sources familiar with their conversation.

Nelson told CNN he could not confirm or deny whether Rove made an offer, adding that he is "happy" in his current job.

But when pressed as to whether he would consider the job if Bush offered it, Nelson said, "Any time the president talks, you listen."

If Nelson took the job, he would be the second Democrat in the Bush Cabinet, joining Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. (Sources: Dem approached for agriculture post)

Such a move could also increase the GOP majority in the Senate to 56, because Republican Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns would choose Nelson's replacement.

Confirmation preparations
All of the Cabinet nominees must be confirmed by the Senate.

Gonzales was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, where he met with Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Leahy told reporters that Gonzales was "a more uniting figure" than Ashcroft and added that Gonzales "has a far better chance of confirmation with substantial votes from both sides of the aisle than a divisive candidate."

Gonzales is expected to face tough questions during his confirmation hearings, particularly about a January 2002 draft memo he authored as White House counsel on the treatment of suspected terrorist prisoners and whether the Geneva Conventions apply to them.

Leahy said he warned Gonzales the subject would be raised extensively in the confirmation hearings and that he must be responsive to the questions.

"I think it's important for his own credibility" and the credibility of the Department of Justice, said Leahy.

A date for the hearing has not been set. (Leahy: Gonzales likely to be confirmed)

Several Senate Republican staffers told CNN Wednesday that confirmation hearings for Rice would be held next month.

The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to hold the hearings either December 6, 7 or 8, staffers said, but the final Senate vote on confirmation would not take place until the new Congress is sworn in, in early January.
Kellogg CEO to head Commerce Dept
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Gutierrez, 51, will replace Donald Evans, who said earlier this month he was resigning. The Cuban-born Gutierrez is the second Hispanic-American to be nominated for a Cabinet post, following the recent appointment of White House counsel Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General.

President Bush, speaking at a press conference, called Gutierrez "one of America's most respected business leaders" and a "great American success story."

Gutierrez has served as CEO of Kellogg Company since 1999.

In picking Gutierrez for the Cabinet post, Bush signaled that he is moving fast to fill several high-level vacancies across multiple government agencies as he heads into his second term. Bush, who has pledged to overhaul Social Security and the federal income tax, is also revamping his economic team.

Peter Morici, a former U.S. trade official who is now a professor at University of Maryland's business school, said Gutierrez appears to fit Bush's pattern of hiring trusted managers over untested innovators.

"Bush has a clear idea of what he wants to do on the economy," said Morici. "He's really not looking for people to come in and create new policy for him, rather to be a messenger and execute according to his blueprint."

In the weeks since outgoing Commerce Secretary Evans resigned, widespread speculation about potential successors had centered on one individual: Mercer Reynolds, a Cincinnati businessman who led Bush's re-election fundraising efforts and whose ties to the president run deep.

White House officials did not publicly confirm or deny the rumors about Reynolds' candidacy.

From poverty to power
Gutierrez does not have the same close ties to Bush that either Evans, a friend of the president's for three decades, or Reynolds, has.

He donated $6,500 to Republican candidates since 2000 and nothing to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Gutierrez was born in Cuba but fled to the U.S. with his parents and a brother in 1960. After his family moved to Mexico, he studied business administration at the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Queretaro, in the country's center.

He did not graduate. Instead he got a job at Kellogg in 1975 as a sales representative in Mexico City -- work that he said Monday essentially involved selling Frosted Flakes out of a van.

He worked his way up the corporate chain of command in various marketing and product development roles. In 1984, at the age of 30, he took over the company's Mexico operations. He has also held senior positions at Kellogg's Canada and Asia-Pacific units. He moved into the parent company's executive offices in 1996.

In joining the Bush cabinet, Gutierrez gives up a post that paid him about $7.3 million in total compensation last year, including cash salary, bonus and incentive payments.

At the Commerce Department, Gutierrez will oversee an agency with more than 35,000 employees with a budget last year of $6 billion. The $175,000-a-year position entails promoting the U.S. economy, international trade and technological development.

The Commerce Department also runs the U.S. Census Bureau, the Patent and Trademark Office, and the National Weather Service.

Gutierrez said he would be honored to serve in the post and to "play a role in advancing the president's great and bold agenda for our country."

Kellogg shares fall
Kellogg investors were not happy to hear the news.

Although Kellogg moved quickly to announce that James Jenness, a company director and advertising industry veteran, would replace Gutierrez if he is confirmed by the Senate, the company's shares closed down more than three percent, to $43.47, in New York Stock Exchange trading Monday.

Analysts said the falling stock price, while not a no-confidence vote in Kellogg's new management, reflected how well-regarded Gutierrez is and some uncertainty about the company's future without him.

Gutierrez, who has also served as Kellogg's chairman, is credited with reinvigorating the Battle Creek, Mich.-based breakfast cereal and snack food giant. When he took over as president in 1998, Kellogg (Research) had been losing market share to arch rival General Mills for years and consistently missed earnings forecasts.

Gutierrez turned the company around, restoring growth in the cereal business and building an innovative culture, analysts said. He helped engineer the 2001 buyout of cookie and cracker maker Keebler Foods.

The company's stock has risen 26 percent in the last year.

"When he started as CEO I thought Kellogg was a very insular, not-very-worldly-wise type of company," said Timothy Ramey, an analyst with D.A. Davidson & Co., who does not own any Kellogg stock, nor does his firm have a banking relationship with the company. "It's now about as international and as sophisticated as they get."

Kellogg also reaffirmed its fiscal 2004 earnings guidance of between $2.11 and $2.13 a share and between $2.28 and $2.32 per share for 2005.

The 2004 outlook is roughly in line with Wall Street forecasts while the 2005 outlook is below or at the low end of analyst expectations. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call have forecast 2004 earnings per share of $2.12 to $2.15 and 2005 earnings per share of between $2.30 and $2.53.
Bush picks Spellings for education secretary
Spellings has served as a domestic policy adviser since Bush took office in 2001, with issues such as education, health and labor in her portfolio. She also was a key figure in drafting the president's No Child Left Behind education initiative.

Before coming to the White House, Spellings worked for six years as a senior adviser to Bush when he was governor of Texas, where she also was responsible for developing education policy.

Bush said he had known Spellings for more than a decade and had relied on her advice throughout his political career.

"I'm now calling on this energetic reformer to serve the children of America by continuing our vital work of improving our nation's public schools," he said.

He said that she would continue to push his education reforms.

"We must ensure that a high school diploma is a sign of real achievement so that our young people have the tools to go to college and to fill the jobs of the 21st century," Bush said. "In all our reforms, we will continue to stand behind our nation's teachers who work so hard for our children."

The No Child Left Behind Act, passed in January 2002, requires each state to demonstrate that it has developed challenging standards for students in reading and math and, in future years, science. Each state must annually test every child's progress in reading and math in third through eighth grades and at least once during 10th through 12th grades.

Some critics have complained that the program is underfunded, while others say it is too ambitious.

In a speech at the Republican National Convention, Paige lauded the measure, saying "All across America, test scores are rising; students are learning; the achievement gap is closing; teachers and principals are beaming with pride."

The nation's largest teacher's union, the National Education Association, which had a frosty relationship with Paige, called Spellings' nomination "a great opportunity for the administration to change the tone of its discourse with the education community."

"We look forward to finding common ground with Ms. Spellings in her new role," the NEA said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Paige called the NEA a "terrorist organization" for its opposition to No Child Left Behind. The union called on Bush to sack Paige, who later apologized.

Paige's resignation from the Cabinet was announced Monday. He said he plans to return to his home state of Texas.

Bush praised Paige on Wednesday as a "humble and decent man who inspired his department and implemented the most significant federal education reform in a generation."

"The nation's schools are stronger because of Rod Paige's leadership," Bush said.

Spellings is the latest new face nominated to Bush's second-term Cabinet. Her nomination comes after several resignations.

Six members of the Cabinet, including Paige, have announced their resignations.

They are Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Commerce Secretary Don Evans, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.

Two administration officials said that Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge also plans to leave, but a spokesman for the department said that Ridge has not made any decisions about his future.

Bush announced Tuesday that he had nominated national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to replace Powell. (Bush picks Rice to succeed Powell)

White House counsel Alberto Gonzales was nominated to replace Ashcroft. (Bush attorney general pick is Alberto Gonzales)

Bush has chosen Harriet Miers to replace Gonzales, a senior administration official said Wednesday.
Doctors say Bush a little heavier but still in good shape
BETHESDA, Md. - President Bush was found in good health and pronounced "fit for duty" by his doctors after his annual physical on Saturday. The checkup was delayed for four months because the 58-year-old president had a hectic travel schedule during the campaign.
They determined he is in superior health overall for a man his age," White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said.

The White House put out a short letter signed by the 10 doctors who participated in exam and planned to release further details late Saturday about what the team found. Buchan would not comment on any problems discovered during the exam, which last about three hours.

"I have interviewed and examined President George W. Bush and have reviewed his medical record," the doctors' statement said. "Within the scope of my specialty, I find him to be fit for duty and have every reasonable expectation that he will remain fit for duty for the duration of his presidency."

Bush won a second four-year term on Nov. 2. His inauguration is Jan. 20.

Presiding over the medical exam at the National Naval Medical Center outside Washington were White House physician Richard Tubb and Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the president of the Cooper Aerobics Center. Also involved were a radiologist, optometrist, sports physician, hearing specialist, skin specialist and cardiologist.

It was the fourth physical of Bush's presidency. He usually has his annual exam in August. This year, however, Bush found it more convenient to wait and his doctor had no problem with that, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.

After the checkup, Bush stayed at the medical facility to visit privately for about two hours with Marines, sailors and one soldier recovering from injuries suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The hospital is treating about 50 military members, most of whom were hurt in Iraq, Lt. Cmdr. Chito Peppler said. Bush saw about 45 of them, including two in the intensive care unit, and was awarding 14 Purple Hearts, Buchan said.

Bush asked if they had everything they needed and expressed appreciation for their sacrifice, Buchan said. For most of the visits, the president was accompanied by Michael W. Smith, the Christian pop singer who is a Bush family friend.

The naval facility has treated more than 1,100 Marines and sailors since the beginning of the two conflicts, Peppler said.

Bush has visited with wounded troops at Bethesda once before. He has made six trips to see injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

In his past three annual exams, the president was pronounced extremely fit.

At nearly 6 feet tall, Bush was found in his 2003 physical to weigh 194 pounds, with a 14.5 percent body fat, a healthy resting blood pressure of 110/62 and a resting pulse rate (45 beats per minute) that puts him in the range of a well-trained athlete.

The president's only reported health problems have been minor: a mild high frequency hearing loss that does not affect everyday conversation, an optic condition that has the effect of farsightedness, and a now-healed minor muscle tear in his right calf last summer.

Last winter, with his knees causing him increasing pain after nearly three decades of running, Bush switched to riding a mountain bike for exercise. Those who have biked with him say the president is as aggressive on the trails as he was on the track as a jogger.

The president made headlines in May when he was cut and bruised in a spill off his mountain bike while riding around his Texas ranch.

Bush has had several small skin growths treated as a preventive measure, including lesions around his nose that are common in people with sun damage. He has had four small lesions removed from his cheeks and arm with liquid nitrogen.

The president smokes an occasional cigar. He quit drinking alcohol when he was 40.