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Byline: Cam Simpson
WASHINGTON _ Secretary of State Colin Powell, a four-star general turned diplomat who called himself a "reluctant warrior" when it came to Iraq, announced Monday he was resigning after nearly four years filled with battles against administration hard-liners over U.S. foreign policy.
President Bush called Powell "one of the great public servants of our time." Senior administration officials said late Monday the president asked Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser and perhaps Bush's closest confidante, to fill the post, a move that could be announced as early as Tuesday.
While creating cohesion on national security and foreign policy issues for a second Bush term, Rice's appointment could also help Bush rein in a State Department that has at times been too independent in the eyes of some administration hard-liners. Aides said they expected she would win easy confirmation by the Senate.
Besides Powell, the resignations of three other Cabinet members were confirmed Monday _ Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Education Secretary Rod Paige and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.
After months of deflecting questions about his future by saying he served "at the pleasure of the president," the 67-year-old Powell told reporters Monday, "It has always been my intention that …