President Bush has revamped his economic team as Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and White House economics adviser Larry Lindsey hand in their resignations.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer declined to comment on the circumstances of the resignations or whether they represent a Bush administration housecleaning. He told reporters the president credits the two men with playing key roles in securing tax cuts and legislation promoting free trade and terrorism insurance guarantees for businesses.
However, Mr. Fleischer added that a search is underway for replacement candidates who have the confidence of Wall Street. He also said both men are likely to work through the end of the year before their replacements are named.
Senate Democratic Party leader Tom Daschle said -- in his words -- firing the economic team is an overdue admission by the Bush administration that its economic policies have failed. In a written statement, the outgoing Senate Majority Leader also claimed that the administration's fundamental problem is that the White House has no comprehensive plan to get the economy back on track.
But Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott said the resignations are good news for the administration. The incoming Majority Leader told reporters that the White House now has an opportunity to build a new team that will focus on economic growth and creating American jobs.