WASHINGTON – President Bush on Friday announced U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick (search) as his pick to become the No. 2 official at the State Department under Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice (search).
"Condoleezza Rice and Bob Zoellick will form one of the really strong, capable foreign policy teams our country has ever had," Bush said, flanked by Rice and Zoellick. The president made the announcement on the South Lawn of the White House just before he departed for a day trip to Michigan.
Rice is expected to be confirmed by the Senate to succeed Colin Powell (search) as the nation's top diplomat, after her Jan. 18 confirmation hearing. The deputy position to be filled by Zoellick is the No. 2 job at State and also requires Senate approval. The job has been held by Richard Armitage (search) under Powell.
Zoellick and Rice have a long history together, as they worked on foreign policy issues during the administration of Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush.
"Good choice," Bush said quietly to Rice as he turned toward his helicopter.
The selection of Zoellick means that Bush will have another Cabinet-level position to fill at the trade office.
Among those being mentioned to succeed Zoellick as the administration's top trade negotiator are Grant Aldonas, the undersecretary for international trade at the Commerce Department; U.S. Deputy Trade Representative Josette Shiner; Al Johnson, chief agriculture trade negotiator at the trade office; Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz.; and Robert Kimmitt, the head of global policy at Time Warner Inc.
Zoellick had an earlier tour of duty at the State Department as undersecretary for economic affairs during the administration of Bush's father when James A. Baker III was secretary of state. In that post, he worked with Rice, who was then serving at the National Security Council at the White House.
Zoellick had also been considered a top candidate to succeed James A. Wolfensohn as head of the World Bank.
Among others who have been mentioned for the World Bank job are Powell, who so far has not expressed interest in the position; John Taylor, Treasury undersecretary for international affairs; Peter McPherson, the former head of Michigan State University who served as Bush's point person on rebuilding Iraq's financial system; Randall Tobias, Bush's global AIDS coordinator; and Christine Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey and head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Wolfensohn announced on Sunday that he expects to step down as head of the World Bank in May when his second five-year term is up.
John Bolton (search), the State Department's top international security official, will leave the post in the second Bush administration and be replaced by Bob Joseph, an arms control specialist at the National Security Council.
Bolton promoted programs to slow the spread of sophisticated weapons technology around the world and has been serving as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security in the four years of the first Bush administration.