The day after voters handed Republicans a stinging rebuke in no small part for the messy, protracted aftermath of a successful deposal of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, President Bush replaced Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with former CIA chief Robert Gates. President Bush acknowledged that the Iraqi situation had contributed to Republican losses. However, he indicated that he had planned before Election Day to replace Rumsfeld with Gates if both concurred. The alacrity with which he did so underscored the veracity of Bush's assertion: nevertheless, conjecture has been made that Rumsfeld's replacement may have been merely the activation of a contingency plan if the Dems won. Regardless, the action post election sends an olive branch to Pelosi and the other new power players on Capitol Hill.