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Changing the Guard

From NBC's Mary Beth Fay
Having been recommended by President Bush, Sen. Mel Martinez was chosen by his party leaders to become the RNC's general chairman as was widely expected. An official voice vote took place at today's session of the RNC winter meeting. Some members were expected to protest his nomination because of his pro-immigration views but only a handful voiced opposition. In addition, Mike Duncan, a national committeeman from Kentucky, was elected to replace outgoing chair Ken Mehlman.  Duncan will be running most of the daily operations at the RNC while Martinez will emerge as the new face of the party.

In a media availability after the nearly two hour meeting, Martinez said that -- as a Hispanic -- his nomination for general chairman is a "pretty good step" towards diversity within the organization. On Iraq, Martinez said that "those who oppose the president on his new plan and his new approach on Iraq owe the country a response on how they would treat it differently."