Ex-Chiefs of Staff: Presidential Priorities, Limitations Amid a presidential campaign season in which the candidates are promising change, two former White House chiefs of staff — Leon Panetta of the Clinton administration and Andrew Card of the Bush administration — talk about the next president's priorities and some of the limitations on the president's ability to affect change.
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Ex-Chiefs of Staff: Presidential Priorities, Limitations

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Ex-Chiefs of Staff: Presidential Priorities, Limitations

Ex-Chiefs of Staff: Presidential Priorities, Limitations

Ex-Chiefs of Staff: Presidential Priorities, Limitations

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/88732683/88732641" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The 2008 presidential election campaign has been the longest in history, and the general election isn't until November. John McCain is the presumptive Republican nominee, but the Democrats are still deciding between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Amid a campaign season in which the candidates are promising change, Steve Inskeep talks to two former White House chiefs of staff about what the next president's priorities should be, and about some of the limitations on the president's ability to affect change.

Whoever wins the long campaign will face the question famously posed by the election victor in the movie The Candidate: "What do we do now?"

That question has been on the mind of Leon Panetta, who served under Clinton: "You wonder why individuals want to be president of the United States at this time, because whoever walks into the oval office is going to be facing an unprecedented set of crises that they're going to have to confront."

And Andrew Card, who served in the Bush administration, says the next president has a lot to learn: "None of the people who are running for president are as knowledgeable as the sitting president. That's just the truth."