Bolten Replaces Card as White House Chief of Staff

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Amid growing calls for a White House shakeup and concerns about low poll ratings, President Bush announces that Joshua Bolten will replace Andrew Card as White House Chief of Staff. Bolten is the current Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

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

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And I'm Michele Norris. He's been with the administration from day one, and today President Bush announced the resignation of his Chief of Staff, Andrew Card. Next month, Card will be replaced by another familiar face in the White House, Budget Director Joshua Bolten. He was once Card's deputy. The move comes at a critical time for the president. He's been struggling in the polls and facing calls from within his own party for a staff shakeup. We'll discuss the matter with two political observers in a few minutes.

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

DAVID GREENE reporting:

Many Americans may have no idea what Andy Card looks like. But quietly, behind the scenes, he's been the steady presence at Mr. Bush's side since the president took office. He managed his daily schedule, helped craft policy and may well have been face to face with the president more than any other advisor. The most memorable image of Card dates from September 11, 2001, when he turned to the president in a Florida elementary school and told him a second plane had hit the World Trade Center. The rare times that Card went on the airwaves, his mission was to defend his boss in tough times.

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.

Mr. ANDREW CARD (White House Chief of Staff): 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.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: 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.

President 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.

Mr. 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: But the issue of Bolten's fitness is sure to be at the forefront of Washington chatter for days to come. The last year has been tumultuous politically for Mr. Bush, and his approval ratings have dipped well down into the 30s in many polls. Some Republican allies have been calling for a major shakeup in the White House, and elevating Bolten to Chief of Staff won't satisfy all of them.

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.

President BUSH: I'm proud to work side by side with him, and I'm proud to call him friend. Thank you all very much.

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

GREENE: The president left the gathering leaving that question unanswered.

David Greene, NPR News, the White House.

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Budget-Cruncher Bolten Takes on Top Bush Post

Joshua Bolten

Joshua Bolten has been White House budget director since June 2003. Reuters hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush calls Joshua Bolten, his new chief of staff, a "creative policy thinker." In more informal circles, he's known as a budget cruncher who cruises around on a motorcycle.

About Joshua Bolten

Age: 51

 

Education:

 

• 1980, J.D., Stanford Law School

• 1976, B.A., Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

 

Experience:

 

• June 2003-present: Director, Office of Management and Budget

• January 2001-June 2003: Assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for policy

• March 1999-November 2000: Policy director of the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign

• 1994-1999: Executive director, legal and government affairs, Goldman Sachs International in London

• 1989-1993: Under President George H.W. Bush, general counsel to the U.S. Trade Representative, and deputy assistant to the president for legislative affairs

• 1985-1989: International trade counsel to Senate Finance Committee

Sources: Associated Press, OMB

After getting a two-week crash course from former White House chief of staff Andy Card, who is stepping down after more than five years in the job, Bolten, 51, will take on the arduous task of directing the West Wing and deciding who gets the ear of the president.

"He's a man of candor and humor and directness who's comfortable with the responsibility and knows how to lead," Bush said Tuesday in an Oval Office announcement.

Bolten, a discreet man generally viewed as a pragmatist who likes to get things done, said he is succeeding Card, but won't be filling his shoes.

"Andy cannot be replaced," Bolten said.

"I'm grateful for Andy's willingness to stay on for a couple of weeks to help break me in, and then I'm anxious to get to work," Bolten said.

Bolten has broad experience, having worked on Capitol Hill and Wall Street, on the White House staff, and for nearly three years as the director of the Office of Management and Budget.

"Josh is a creative policy thinker," Bush said. "He's an expert on the budget and our economy. He's respected by members of Congress from both parties. He's a strong advocate for effective, accountable management in the federal government."

Bolten has broad experience and has been with Bush from the moment he assumed the presidency.

In January 2001, he became assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for policy. In June 2003, Bolten was sworn in as the director of the Office of Management and Budget, a Cabinet-rank position. After Bush's announcement of Bolten's new duties, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called Bolten a "master of the budget and economic issues."

Bolten was budget chief when the government ran its three largest deficits ever, including the record $413 billion shortfall in 2004 — though the economy and years of decision-making by presidents and lawmakers were largely to blame.

He always insisted that the most important gauge was how the deficit compared to the size of the U.S. economy. Most economists agree that is the most telling way to understand how serious a problem the deficit is, but it is a measure that also made the red ink seem less severe because the economy is so huge.

Before sitting in the budget director seat, Bolten was assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for policy at the White House.

From March 1999 through November 2000, Bolten was policy director of the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign. Previously, he was executive director of legal and government affairs for Goldman Sachs International in London.

While a government worker, Bolten sheds his bureaucratic tendencies when he straddles his motorcycle. In 2004, Bolten was with members of the Rolling Thunder motorcycling group who revved their engines on the White House driveway during a visit with Bush. The group, dedicated to POW/MIA issues, was holding its annual "Ride for Freedom" rally in the capital that day.

Bolten also worked for former President George H.W. Bush, serving for three years as general counsel to the U.S. Trade Representative and one year in the White House as deputy assistant to the president for legislative affairs.

From 1985 to 1989, he was international trade counsel to the Senate Finance Committee. Earlier, Mr. Bolten was in a private law practice with O'Melveny & Myers, and worked in the legal office of the State Department. He also served as executive assistant to the director of the Kissinger Commission on Central America.

Bolten earned a bachelor's degree in international affairs from Princeton University in 1976 and a law degree in 1980 from Stanford University, where he was editor of the Stanford Law Review. Immediately after law school, he served as a law clerk at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. During the fall semester of 1993, Mr. Bolten taught international trade at Yale Law School.

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