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Reports: Ridge, Armitage to step down
WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage will step down, broadcast networks reported this morning.

Both CNN and MSNBC reported this morning that the two will step down, although a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security told CNN he had no knowledge of any news that Ridge would leave. Ridge is vacationing in Hawaii.

The two apparent changes are the latest in a series over recent days, as Bush juggles his top administration positions in preparation for a second term.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Education Secretary Rod Paige and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham also said Monday they will leave. Commerce Secretary Don Evans and Attorney General John Ashcroft announced their exits last week.

Bush is expected to announce today that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice will replace Powell.

Ridge is the nation's first homeland security secretary, a position created after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. He was a two-term governor of Pennsylvania.

Armitage was serving in the second-ranking position at the State Department. He is the second top department official to announce his resignation in recent days, after Powell.

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