2 Powerful Politicians Step Down

Two powerful politicians, one in the United Kingdom, the other in the United States, stepped down after battling personal and political demons. Charles Kennedy, the leader of Britain’s opposition Liberal Democrats party, resigned under pressure from his party just days after he acknowledged that he was battling a drinking problem. He was initially opposed to the idea of stepping down, but changed course on Saturday, saying that his resignation was immediate and that he would not rule in the leadership elections that he had announced this past Thursday.

Kennedy had become a popular and respected politician through his relaxed, amiable style of debating. He gained national exposure by being an outspoken critic of the Iraq war. Kennedy is currently seeking medical help for his drinking problem. Kennedy’s deputy, Menzies Campbell, has taken over as interim leader of the party.

And in the United States, Tom DeLay officially stepped down as Majority Leader in the House of Representatives. DeLay, much like Kennedy, felt increasing pressure to step down from his post from his own party. DeLay temporarily gave up his leadership posts after he was indicted in an alleged money scandal, but always insisted he would reclaim his duties “after clearing his name”. But after lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s plea deal, which promises to take out many Congressional members, including DeLay, House Republicans wanted DeLay out of the top spot. Reps. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and John Boehner (R-OH) have made their intentions to run known.

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