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Bolten Replaces Card as White House Chief of Staff

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

First, we'll have this report from NPR's David Greene, at the White House.

DAVID GREENE: In January of 2003, Card told NPR that the president was ready to go to war in Iraq with or without support from the United Nations and other allies.

ANDREW CARD: The members of the United Nations didn't take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The president took that oath. And he happens to believe that our interests will complement the interests of a lot of other countries, and that they will choose to be with us.

GREENE: This morning, White House aides hastily called reporters into the Oval Office. Mr. Bush walked in with Card and announced that he had accepted the resignation of his Chief of Staff.

GEORGE W: Andy Card has served me and our country in historic times, on a terrible day when America was attacked, during economic recession and recovery, through storms of unprecedented destructive power, in peace and in war.

GREENE: Mr. Bush was standing at a lectern aides had put up in front of his Oval Office desk. On one side stood Bolten, a former Card deputy who is now Director of Management and Budget. Card stood to the other side, looking a bit tired, as he often does. It's no wonder. After more than five years in a backbreaking job, he's one of the longest-serving White House Chiefs of Staff in history.

BUSH: On most days, Andy is the first one to arrive in the West Wing and among the last to leave. And during those long days over many years I've come to know Andy as more than my Chief of Staff. He is leaving the White House, but he'll always be my friend.

GREENE: Bolten came to the lectern next and thanked Card for agreeing to stick around for a few weeks to help break him in. Card then came to speak. There has long been talk that he may return to his native Massachusetts to run for governor, and today's move refueled that speculation. But Card said nothing of his plans and used his time at the microphone to praise the president as a leader and a man.

CARD: And you're a good man, Mr. President, and you do great things. I'm grateful for the friendship that you've shown me. I'm grateful for the love that Laura has shared with Kathy and with me. I'm grateful for the White House staff that has served you so well and helped me do a better job. But it is a different season, and Josh Bolten is the right person for that season.

GREENE: Shortly after his announcement, Mr. Bush held a Cabinet meeting, then came outside in the Rose Garden to address reporters again. He bid farewell to Card and to his outgoing Interior Secretary, Gale Norton, but the question on the minds of reporters was obvious.

BUSH: Unidentified Reporter: Mr. President, will you make more staff changes?

GREENE: David Greene, NPR News, the White House. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

David Greene is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio news program in the United States, and also of NPR's popular morning news podcast, Up First.
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