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EMBATTLED VA SECRETARY RESIGNS TO JOIN BUSH'S RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN

Embattled Secretary of Veterans Affairs Edward Derwinski resigned Saturday to become a deputy co-chairman of president Bush's re-election campaign, the White House announced.

Derwinski, a former Illinois congressman, has drawn the ire of veteran's groups, which charged he has not been sympathetic to their needs.During a recent appearance with Bush at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, Derwinski was loudly booed.

Bush named Derwinski deputy chairman for ethnic coalitions for his campaign, capitalizing on the secretary's strong appeal among Polish Americans.

He was the first person named to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, which became a cabinet department more than three years ago.