Bolten to replace Card as chief of staff

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON (AP) — White House chief of staff Andy Card has resigned and will be replaced by budget director Joshua Bolten, President Bush announced Tuesday amid growing calls for a White House shakeup and Republican concern about Bush’s tumbling poll ratings. Bush announced the changes in an nationally broadcast appearance in the Oval Office. “I have relied on Andy’s wise counsel, his calm in crisis, his absolute integrity and his tireless commitment to public service,” Bush said. “The next three years will demand much of those who serve our country. We have a global war to fight and win.” Card, 58, stood stoically with his hands by his sides as Bush lauded his years of service through the Sept. 11 attacks, war and legislative and economic challenges. Gripping the podium, Card said in his farewell: “You’re a good man, Mr. President.” Card’s eyes were watery. Card said he looks forward to just being Bush’s friend. Bush then gave him five quick slaps on the back and the two walked out of the Oval Office together. The president called Bolten, 51, a man with broad experience, both on Wall Street and in Washington, including the last three years as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Alarmed by Bush’s declining approval ratings and unhappiness about the war in Iraq, Republicans have been urging the president to bring in new advisers with fresh ideas and energy. Bolten has been with Bush since his first campaign for the White House. There was no immediate indication of other changes afoot. “The good news is the administration has finally realized it needs to change its ways, but the problems go far deeper than one staffer,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “Simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic by replacing Andy Card with Josh Bolten without a dramatic change in policy will not right this ship.” To the public, Card may be best known as the aide who calmly walked into a Florida school room and whispered into Bush’s ear that America was under attack on Sept. 11, 2001. He was known for keeping his cool under pressure. When Bush’s father, then President George H.W. Bush, got sick at a banquet in Tokyo, aides and security officials ran toward the president. Card ran in the opposite direction, out the door to make sure the motorcade was ready to rush Bush away. The president called Bolten a man with broad experience, both on Wall Street and in Washington, including the last three years as director of the Office of Management and Budget. “Josh is a creative policy thinker,” Bush said. “He is an expert on the budget and our economy. He is a man of candor and humor and directness. No person is better prepared for this important position.” “I’m deeply honored now by the opportunity to succeed Andy Card as White House chief of staff,” Bolten responded. “I said, ‘Succeed Andy Card, not replace him,’ because he cannot be replaced.” The move cames as Bush is buffeted by increasing criticism of the drawn-out war in Iraq and as fellow Republicans have suggested pointedly that the president bring in new aides with fresh ideas and new energy. Card came to Bush recently and suggested that he should step down from the job that he has held from the first day of Bush’s presidency, said an administration official earlier. Bush decided during a weekend stay at Camp David, Md., to accept Card’s resignation and to name Bolten as his replacement, said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to pre-empt the president. Bolten is widely experienced in Washington, both on Capitol Hill as well as at the White House, where he was deputy chief of staff before becoming director of the Office of Management and Budget. At a White House news conference last week, Bush was asked about rumors that a shake up in the White House staff was in the works. Bush said he was “satisfied with the people I’ve surrounded myself with.” “I’ve got a staff of people that have, first of all, placed their country above their self-interests,” he said at the time. “These are good, hard- working, decent people. And we’ve dealt with a lot. We’ve dealt with a lot. We’ve dealt with war. We’ve dealt with recession. We’ve dealt with scandal. We’ve dealt with Katrina. “I mean, they’ve had a lot on their plate. And I appreciate their performance and their hard work and they’ve got my confidence,” he said. Bush said, “I’m satisfied with the people I’ve surrounded myself with. We’ve been a remarkably stable administration, and I think that’s good for the country.” A veteran of the administrations of both President Ronald Reagan and the first President Bush, Card was widely respected by his colleagues in the Bush White House. They fondly called him “chief.” He usually arrived at work in the West Wing by around 5:30 a.m. and frequently did not leave until 9 or 10 p.m. Card plans to stay on the job until April 14, when the switch with Bolten takes place. Associates said that Card, who was secretary of Transportation and deputy chief of staff for the first President Bush, had wanted to establish himself as the longest serving White House chief of staff. James Steelman, who was President Harry S. Truman’s chief of staff, had served for six years and Card’s tenure will have gone not much longer than five years. A recent AP-Ipsos Poll found that Bush’s job approval has dipped to 37 percent, his lowest rating in that poll. Nearly 70 percent of people say the U.S. is on the wrong track, a six-point jump since February. Bush’s job approval among Republicans plummeted from 82 percent in February to 74 percent, a troubling sign for the White House in an election year. Card did not immediately disclose his plans. His resignation immediately prompted questions about whether he would return to Massachusetts to run for governor or perhaps challenge Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who currently faces no major GOP challenge for re-election this fall, or Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., whom he helped defeat as the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee and who faces re-election in 2008. Card, a Holbrook native, served as the state representative from his hometown from 1975 to 1982.last_img

Leave a Comment