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Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration officials and friends of the White House. Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.

Andy Card
Andy Card
White House Chief of Staff

August 12, 2004

Andy Card

Andy Card

Hello - I'm excited to join all of you today for Ask The White House. Thanks for taking the time to participate.

Jonathan, from Connecticut writes:
I'm sure you've been compared many times to Leo, President Bartlett's Chief of Staff on the TV drama The West Wing. On the show, Leo and the President have a very close relationship and he is, more or less, the President's closest and most trusted advisor.

In President Bush's administration, do you take this same role? And if so, what is it like working so closely with arguably the most powerful man in the world?

Andy Card
Jonathan ---- The role of Chief of Staff includes responsibility for all aspects of support for The President: from logistical, to policy counsel, to decision announcement, to implementation. I don't know if I would be considered The President's "most trusted" advisor -- Dr. Condi Rice, Steve Friedman, Margaret Spellings are certainly greatly trusted, but Laura Bush is rightfully The President's most trusted. John Spencer, who plays "Leo," is a fine fellow. We have had the opportunity to meet and compare notes. Thanks. Andy Card

Terri-Lynn, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada writes:
Are these months leading up to an election more intense and more of a udner pressure rollercoaster ride, with trying to run the White House and ensuring that the arms length Political spectrum gets the information they need to get the message out to the public. Or is this just a "normal" time in the life of a Chief of Staff?

Andy Card
Terri-Lynn ---- I'm not sure there is anything normal about the life of a Chief of Staff. My days are filled with seldom anticipated opportunities that seem to crowd out the previous expectations. I am very fortunate to be able to serve President Bush as his Chief of Staff, but realize it is NOT a job. It is a privilege --- and an even greater honor. Thanks. Andy Card

Andrew, from Undisclosed writes:
If you leave the White House, do you plan to return for Barneycam three?

Andy Card
Andrew --- Are you with the Vice President???? Does your "undisclosed" location have windows? Barney is such a star that he picks the supporting cast. My last couple of performances earned no Oscar nor Emmy nominations, so I may not make the cut. I do have to sit for occasional screen tests with Barney. The last one had him asleep before I finished delivering my lines. --- Stay tuned for the next "Barney Cam." Thanks. Andy Card

Shernard, from New York writes:
I'd like to participate but am unable to view the questions and responses. Is this the normal procedure?

Andy Card
Shernard --- Can you see me now? Here's my response. Make sure you do participate in our Nation's political process. Have a great day. Thank you. Andy Card

Dave, from Sault Ste. Marie, MI writes:
Is the President's physical condition such that he could endure the Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk as his father did 12 years ago?

Andy Card
Dave--- I've been to the Mackinac Bridge, but not the walk. President Bush (43) most certainly could do the walk. He is in phenomenal shape and gives those extremely fit Secret Service Agents a good challenge. Thank you. Andy Card

Cheryl, from UK writes:
You have worked with three very stong minded and sometimes controversial President's. Do you have a favourite?

Andy Card
Cheryl--- My favoUrite President is Abraham Lincoln. My favoUrite President to work with is President George W. Bush, probably because he is about my age, and I get to work so closely with him. He is a really fine, funny, witty, disciplined, faithful leader. Thank you. Andy Card

Sue, from Hayward, CA writes:
This is my first time here, and nothing is happening. Do you need more questions submitted, Sir?

Andy Card
Sue--- I'm a really slow typist. Glad to have you logged on. Send more questions! Thank you. Andy Card

Don, from Woodstock, GA writes:
Why is President Bush asking for outsiders to come in and monitor our elections this fall? I am a die hard President Bush supporter but I am also committed to holding on to our countrys sovereignty

Andy Card
Don--- The Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) has a standing right to send observers to any member state's election. I understand they have sent observers to our country before. The President made no specific request for OSCE election observers this year. Eligible bachelor (See People Magazine) Jim Wilkinson has a more detailed response to your question. Click here to read his answer. Thanks, Andy Card

Wayne, from Mt. Vernon, Ohio writes:
Given the facts that we are dependent upon foreign oil, and that our domestic natural resources are declining, what plan does the President have to reduce the federal deficit created by the Iraqi War? Secondly, based upon the fact that our natural resources are decling is there a plan to secure our country from foreign invasion in the future?

Andy Card
Wayne--- The President has an excellent energy plan for America and we continue to urge Congress to enact it. He also is very disciplined about the expenditure of taxpayers' money. Non-defense, non-homeland security discretionary spending in The President's Budget is held to less than one percent --- allowing for the deficit to be cut in half by 2009. Thanks. Andy Card

Victor, from Fall River, MA writes:
First let me begin by how much I appreciate the White House Staff taking time from your busy schedules to take questions from the citizens of this great country. Also I proud I am of the Presidents actions because he is leading not going around to see what his polls say. With all that said and aside as Chief of Staff how often does the President and you speak during a days time? Do you have daily meetings? How long does the President Schedule time for his meetings? And lastly how many times do you get disturbed from your own personally life for government important issues as 911, war in Iraq, etc?

Andy Card
Victor-- I generally get to the office by 5:30 am and pack in a lot of reading before I greet The President when he arrives in the Oval Office about 6:45 am. We spend a lot of time together! When The President is traveling, we speak several times during the day. My days and nights are usually filled with opportunities to address interesting and sometimes unanticipated challenges --- especially when Congress is in session. Say hi to my fellow Bay Staters! Andy Card

Janine, from Cincinnati, Ohio writes:
Hi Andy Are you ignoring me? ) I sent a question earlier...don't know if you received it. )


Andy Card
Janine- Not ignoring you. Hard to answer your question without upsetting the Secret Service. Look for The President to be in Ohio soon, and again, and again ... Andy Card

Mark, from Michigan writes:
Why does it seem like America is in more danger now than at any other time in history?

Andy Card
Mark --- Prior to 911 we had an expectation that the oceans would protect us. The 911 attacks presented a new reality. The President is doing everything he can to protect us. I do know America is safer today than it was on Sept 11, 2001. The 911 Commission cites that fact too. Andy Card

Monty, from Virginia writes:
Has anyone ever said to you, "You're such a card" WITHOUT knowing your last name in advance?

Andy Card
Monty --- Yes! Then they got to know me and just called me a Joker. Now, according to Politicards2004, I'm a 7 of Spades. Andy Card

Mike, from Pennsylvania writes:
Not to back to a horrific event, on the morning of 911 how did you react when you received the news? How did you and the President keep the school children from konwing what you were talking about? Thank you and Go Bush for 4 more years.

Andy Card
Mike-- I stood by the door of that classroom in Sarasota, Florida when I learned about the reality of the attack. Without disrupting the class, I approached The President and bent over to whisper in his ear, "A second plane hit the second Tower. America is under attack!" I stepped back so The President would not ask me a question. To The President's credit, he contemplated quietly and without causing fear among the young children or to the press corps, he excused himself from the classroom and met the awesome responsibilities the Oath he took required. Andy Card

Janine, from Cincinnat, Ohio writes:
Hi Andy Thanks for your response....I figured you couldn't give me any info for security reasons. However, if the President wants to learn more about computers...he is more than welcome to sit in my class My office is across the street from the VFW convention. Hee Hee

BTW, this is the first time at this site. VERY cool

Thanks again Have a great day

Andy Card
Janine --- Thank you!!!!! you have a G R E A T day. Andy Card

Spec, from Grantham, NH writes:
Did or will the President veto the bloated Transportation budget as he said he would?

Andy Card
Spec- The Highway Bill is still a work in progress. The President's fiscal discipline is proving to be a restraining influence on Congress. We need a Highway Bill, but not at bloated cost! Andy Card

CindyLou, from Bell County, Texas writes:
The Office of the U.S. President has access to an airplant, AIRFORCE ONE. Also available for travel is a helicopter, MARINE ONE. Is there an ARMY travel vessel, ARMY ONE - i.e. Bradley Tank or HUM V?

Andy Card
CindyLou--- The President wears Army boots! ---- okay, not all the time. Keep in touch. Andy Card

Richard, from Cape Coral, FL writes:
Why doesn't someone in the Whitehouse start a blog?The internet is an incredible means of communication and nothing is more effective than a blog or a forum.

Andy Card
Richard -- This and White House Interactive are close to a blog?/?!@#$

Andy Card

Haleema, from Rockville writes:
How does the Bush adminstration help and serve the needs of Arab-Americans in this country?

Andy Card
Haleema-- The President serves ALL of the people in our country. He has also been a true leader in inviting a climate of respect for all our citizens. Andy Card

Wade, from Boston writes:
Hello Secretary Card I was curious as to why you don't come back and run for Senate in Mass? I thought you might have run for governor last time before Gov. Romney joined the race.

Would you like to represent Mass. in Washington?

-Wade P.S. How is the food in the White House Mess? I hear the burgers are good.

Andy Card
Wade-- I truly doubt Massachusetts voters will be participating in any special election for U.S. Senate. My job is to make sure The President is able to meet all his responsibilities now and is well prepared for a well- deserved second term. The "West Wing Burgers" are really good and unfortunately I don't get permission from my wife to eat them often enough. (I am genetically predisposed to be a bowling ball with a head!) ---------- Go Red Sox! Andy Card

Newman, from Wolfforth, Texas writes:
Mr Card, I would like to know why the Administration has not yet termed the situation in Sudan as Genicide? I have been talking about this to my Sunday school class for well over a year. If everyday people can see it, why can the Administration see it and take the right steps to term it so, as to give those people the nesessary help they so need.Thank you

Newman Wheeler

Andy Card
Newman--- Secretary Powell had an excellent editorial in the WSJ last week. Click here. Thanks Andy Card

Adam, from Washington, DC writes:
Secretary Card, I worked as a Congressional Page in the US House, and whenever an official communication was received from the White House, the large, yellow envelope was sealed with wax and an impression of the presidential seal.

We were always told that the president stamped the seal on the wax himself. Any chance you can shed light on this Congressional Page lore?

Andy Card
Thanks for your good question, Adam. Actually, the Seal is only used when the President is not personally delivering the message, as he does for a State of the Union Message. All other official messages are delivered by staff of the White House Executive Clerk's Office. Traditionally, the Executive Clerk's Office places the President's Seal on the official envelopes containing Presidential messages so it is clear that the message is from the President of the United States. Thanks for participating in the political process. Andy Card

Sondra, from Washington, DC writes:
Is the rumor true that they are trying to do away with the IRS.

Andy Card
Sondra---- Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Simon, from Washington, DC writes:
Last week, Condoleeza Rice was on Meet the Press and said that the US and its allies "cannot allow the Iranians to develope nuclear weapons?" What do you think our best options are to deal with Iran and its possible weapons program?

Andy Card
Simon --- The President is using diplomacy, a multi-national entity (IAEA) and efforts with our European allies to address the Iranian situation.

Andy Card

Rick, from Haverhill, MA writes:
Mr. Card. I want to thank you for taking my question I am excited to be part of a nation with the genius of our governmental structure of checks and balances. However, there seems to be a loop hole in the system in that the judicial branch can legislate by 'interpreting' the law against the will of the people, as was the case recently in my home state of Massachusetts with same-sex marriages. As a young man just starting out pastoral ministry, this is especially troubling. What do you see as the best solution to this improper use of position and power the judicial branch is demonstrating? How does our nation protect itself from this happening, not only in the current situation but in the future? Thank you and God bless

Andy Card
Rick -- My wife is a pastor! -- The President does not believe that the judicial branch should legislate from the bench and redefine marriage. I know, as a proud citizen of Massachusetts, we should have had a chance to VOTE on what amounted to a state Constitutional Amendment rather than have the Supreme Judicial Court impose it by edict. Certainly, Massachusetts Judges should not dictate, even de facto, the definition of marriage used in other states. Andy Card

Sherri, from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho writes:
Hello. I am a 46-year-old single mother of two high school age children. My employer does not offer health insurance and I can't afford an individual plan. What is the president doing to work toward a national health care plan?

Andy Card
Sherri--- Check out /infocus/healthcare/

The President shares your concerns and understands the hardships single mothers face today. You and your employer should talk about the new Health Saving Accounts that can be established to better provide for your children and you. Thanks for your good question. Andy Card

Jessica, from South Carolina writes:
Mr. Card, Has President Bush ever pulled a practical joke on you? Can you please tell about one?

Andy Card
Jessica --- My lips are sealed. (The President has a great sense of humor!) I'm a proud graduate of South Carolina --- Go Gamecocks! Andy Card

Brad, from Birmingham, Alabama writes:
Dear Mr. Card, I am disappointed at the news we are allowing international observers to monitor our presidential election this fall. We are a sovereign nation, and such an act is one more surrender in this sovereignty.

This decision by our state department is outrageous and should be immediately reversed. Does the President have any plans to rescind this invitation?

Andy Card
Brad -- Please see my answer to a similar question a few minutes ago. Andy Card

Ricky, from Minneapolis, MN writes:
Is there a executive order that states during war time the presidential election can be upheld amd rescheduled for a later date?

Andy Card
Ricky-- I'm not aware of any such authority. Andy Card

Sabine, from Daly City writes:
I've submitted questions very often, and never was picked. I don't try anymore, it's waste of time. Governmenr should be more reachable, I think. ....

Andy Card
Sabine ---- Your e-mail reached me!!! You've been picked!!! Check with The White House web site every day --- guests are almost always available on "Ask The White House." Andy Card

Kyle, from Chestertown, NY writes:
Hi. What is the best part in your opioion about being Chief of Staff? Thank You

Andy Card
Kyle- The best part about being Chief of Staff is working with a terrific President, a wonderful First Lady and a spectacular staff ---- and of course, Barney! Andy Card

John, from Chicago writes:
Mr. Card: Our U.S. Soldiers have and continue to do a wonderful job in Iraq. Many of them have wives,children, Mom's and Dad's. I would like to send some type of Thankyou gift or Christmas gift to a family not because they may have financial problems because I am sure the US is taking good care of them but because I am a grateful American and understand what they as a family have done for us as Americans. What can I do?

Andy Card
Thank you for offering to help our troops who are serving our country with such distinction and honor. The USA Freedom Corps has a great resource for people seeking to support our troops, their families, and their communities called “On the Homefront.” If you (and others I hope) will click on this link, you'll find numerous ways you can support our troops:

Thanks! Andy Card

Darren, from Hextable, England writes:
For some summer school work I have to find out the full names of some American presidents. I cannot find what the S in Harry S Trueman and the W in George W Bush mean. Can you help. Many thanks.

Darren (aged 11)

Andy Card
Darren-- President Truman's S is just an S, no period and no other letters. President Bush's W can be followed by a period or the following letters "alker" Thanks. Andy Card

Andy Card
I appreciate being here and enjoy taking your questions. Hope to do so again soon.