Andrew Card: “Preserve, protect and defend”

The video conference with Andrew Card, the former chief of staff for George W. Bush, was an experience that doesn’t come too often.  It isn’t common for people to be a part of a video conference with someone that used to be high up in The White House, so this should be treasured for a long time.

In the conference, Card discussed his tenure with Bush, mostly focusing on the tragedy of September 11, 2001, and also discussed how he got into politics, the war in Iraq and today’s American government.

Card was Bush’s chief of staff from 2000-2006, and basically his “main man” and “go to guy” in times of trouble.  As the chief of staff, Card had to face probably the biggest challenge of his life.  That was to inform the president that the towers went down in the World Trade Center.

“I remember when I had to tell him that the second plane had hit the second tower.  I knew right then that America was under attack.”

It was also very rare for a president to be interrupted during an event, as Bush was in an elementary school, reading to some students.

The decision to go to war was also a decision that took a lot of time.  “We were comfortable with the decision to go to Iraq, even though President Bush originally did not want war.  Bringing democracy over there has been very difficult.”

Over Bush’s eight years, there has been plenty of criticism from both sides on how he and his staff handled things in The White House.  Plenty of the criticism circled around the war in Iraq.  Card believed that, over time, people will start to understand their decisions.

“I think Bush’s presidency is often misunderstood. History will be kind to him, as he demonstrated courage and made tough decisions during his presidency.  He had to make unprecedented challenges.”

Card also went over what Bush’s plan was within his first nine months of being president.  Bush’s main focus was education, as he and his staff helped create the Leave No Child Behind Act.  There was also the initial challenge of what to do with healthcare and economics.

When asked about the difference about the first and second term of Bush’s presidency, Card had a lot to say.  “There were lots of changes in the cabinet, which showed the reflection of the president’s priorities.  The politics side played a lesser role in the second term, as Bush had to be more statesman-like.  Bush also did not bring social security or immigration to where he wanted it to be.”

Card had plenty on his plate while chief of staff for George W. Bush.  No matter what the obstacles were he had to face, he believed it was the he and the president’s job to, “Preserve, protect and defend” and do what he believed was right to help make our country stronger.

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