by Stephanie Griffith Democrats vowed to quickly press a post-election program including changing USIraq policy, which fueled the voter disgust that swept them to power and led to the resignation of Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to make history as the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives said her party’s election success signaled demand for a change in Iraq policy.”I think there has to be a signal of change of direction on the part of the president,” she said shortly before Bush’s news conference announcing Rumsfeld’s departure.”The voices of the military have spoken out. That is to change the leadership at thePentagon,” Pelosi said.Her remarks came about an hour before Bush announced he had also reached the conclusion that it was time for a change at the top of the Pentagon, and said he had named former CIA director Robert Gates to replace Rumsfeld.”Bob Gates will bring a fresh perspective and good managerial abilities,” he said, the US president said at a press conference.Meanwhile the top House Democrat on military affairs, Ike Skelton, issued a statement saying he welcomed the “fresh start” with a new Pentagon leader.”This change in leadership at the Department of Defense presents an important opportunity for our country to begin a new policy direction in Iraq and in the war on terrorism. I think it is critical that this change be more than just a different face on the old policy,” the Missouri Democrat said.”As we prepare to convene a new Congress in January, I encourage the administration and the civilian leadership of the Department of Defense to take advantage of this fresh start. I look forward to working with the new Secretary of Defense-designate to promote a stronger national defense.”Meanwhile, top Democrats said their party was already busy crafting the way forward for their takeover in two months’ time.”We’re going to move on the agenda that we laid out, the new direction agenda,” said Rahm Emanuel the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, tasked with working for the election of as many House Democrats as possible.”We’re going to march through our agenda to get this country moving again,” he told CNN Wednesday.Emanuel, who now looks likely to claim an even more senior leadership post in the new Democrat-led House, said there was a long list of reforms that Democrats were set to tackle.”We’re going to go for a vote on increasing the minimum wage, a vote on direct negotiations for lower prescription drug prices, a vote on the 9/11 Commission recommendations, a vote to redirect the 12.5 billion dollars in subsidies to big oil companies toward energy independence,” said Emanuel, who has widely been credited with engineering Democrats’ successful election strategy in the House.He also promised the Democrats would hold a vote on reducing rates on loans to college students and would work to reducing the yawning US budget deficit, and promised votes on stem cell research, as well as “a new ethics package to clean up Washington.”Republicans meanwhile continued to cling to dwindling hope that they might be able to eke out a victory in the US Senate Wednesday, although that prospect seemed increasingly slim after projections that Democratic challenger Jon Tester had narrowly won the Montana US Senate seat.That leaves just Virginia as the only Senate seat where the outcome of the election was still uncertain. But Republican odds there were considered long, with the Democratic challenger Jim Webb leading incumbent Senator George Allen by several thousand votes in the ballot count.