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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
White House Chief of Staff
April 19, 2004

Andy Card
It is good to be here on the one-year anniversary of Ask the White House (a few days late). I'm excited to take your questions...

Suzanne, from Norfolk, VA writes:
Why do we still have our men and women in Iraq? Especially now that they are being kidnapped.

Andy Card
The men and women carrying our love for freedom are on an important mission. We liberated the Iraqi people and freed them from the horrible regime of Saddam. Now we have the collective obligation to help them bring democracy to reality. The President has said we will meet that obligation. The soldiers and marines make us proud. They earn the respect of every freedom loving person in the world!

Bill, from Jackson, MS writes:
Mr. Card, In the President's press conference the other night he said he would provide the military with all the soliders they requested. Many statements from DOD refer to an insufficient number of troops. If I wasn't a life long Republican, I'd think that President Bush plans to reinstate the draft to provide the soliders for his 'vision'. What's the President's stand on the draft ? God Bless America, Bill

Andy Card
The President has said he will take the advice regarding the need for troops from the military commanders responsible for winning the war against terror. We have an all volunteer military in this country and it serves us very well. I have heard no call from any of our military leaders for a return to the draft.

Faye, from Bloomington, Illinois writes:
In the November 2003 meeting President Bush had with five (5) Iraqi women, each woman expressed how the Iraqi people desire to live in freedom, and one woman stated that they dont want us to leave them.

How do the majority of the Iraqi people feel at this point about what America has done and is doing to free them from oppression and insure safety for all of us?

Andy Card
Just an hour or so ago, The President met in the Oval Office with two representatives of the Iraqi Olympic Committee. One of those representatives was a woman named Dr. Iman Sabeeh. She is the head of the Iraqi Women's Sports Federation and was a gifted sprinter, earning respect for an international career in the women's 400 meters and 800 meters. Dr. Sabeeh told The President that the Iraqi people are "extremely grateful" for the freedom that the United States brought to her country. Both Dr. Sabeeh and Olympic President for Iraq, Ahmed Al-Samarrai, praised our troops for freeing Iraq. They look forward to fielding an Olympic team for the games this summer in Athens.

Sarah, from Duson, Louisiana writes:
What do your children and grandchildren think about their dad (and grandfather) serving the President? What kind of legacy do you want to leave for them and for the rest of the country?

Andy Card
I am so blessed to have wonderful children and grandchildren. It would not be possible for me to do this job, if it were not for the support I get from my wife and family. I try to share as many of the experiences of working in The White House as I can with my family. (It is great that The President and First Lady allow me to do this!) My hope is that my children and grandchildren will gain an even greater appreciation for our great country and the Constitution that gives us a chance to participate in government because of the opportunities I have had. I grew up in a small town, Holbrook, Massachusetts and never dreamed that I would be working at The White House. What a GREAT country!!

William, from Santa Rosa writes:
Per NYT: "But Mr. Powell's apparent decision to lay out his misgivings even more explicitly to the journalist Bob Woodward for a book has jolted the White House and aggravated long-festering tensions in the Bush cabinet."

Please tell me "it ain't so"..

Andy Card
Secretary Powell is a respected and valuable counselor to The President. He, like all of the Cabinet and Senior White House staffers, gives The President candid advice and counsel. I am confident that Sec Powell's leadership makes a difference and that he supports The President.

Iain, from Scotland. writes:
Curiousity really, if the President is so close to the British Prime Minister, why no official reception? Seemed a bit insulting, even to a casual observer.

Andy Card
Both The President and the British PM have had many opportunities for "official receptions." Last year The President went to London at the invitation of The Queen for a "State Visit." The President stayed at Buckingham Palace and attended really fancy dinners. The PM was part of that experience. I have found that The President and The PM are most comfortable at Camp David, the ranch in Crawford, or at Chequers (PM's Camp David). The visit of PM Blair last Friday was to The White House. We had a very nice lunch in the private dining room upstairs.

Heidi, from PA writes:
I've noticed that Pennsylvania Avenue is under construction, what are they doing and when will it be finished?

Andy Card
Heidi -- We have a special web-page devoted to this project with our White House kids reporter, Spencer, with updates every two weeks. So far he has interviewed Mrs. Bush and the Foreman of the project. Barney pays close attention to the work too!!! To go to this page, click here.

Cassie, from School writes:
Are you the presidents best friend.

Andy Card
No, that would be Barney! I am just The President's staffer -- responsible for the rest of the staff. I do get to share a lot of time with The President and Mrs. Bush. They are soooooooo nice to me and my wife Kathi.

Edwin, from Washington, D.C. writes:
If John Kerry were elected president and asked that you be his Chief of Staff, would you accept or decline?

Andy Card
Nice try. He won't be President!

Mandy, from Ny writes:
Why did you move it to monday?

Andy Card
That was my doing! My schedule last Friday was just too hectic. PM Tony Blair and The President had meetings in The Oval Office, a press conference in The Rose Garden and then lunch in the residence. After that, the President allowed me and my wife to helicopter to Camp David with the First Family for the weekend. --- I'm glad to be with you today. It is a great way to start the week.

Desiree, from Worcester, MA writes:
Hi Andy, I saw the 60 Minutes interview last night with Bob Woodward, and I don't buy it. He said he talked to 75 people in the Administration to get his info, and their names can't be revealed. Does he think we'll believe he can find 75 people who will leak info on private meetings ? It's nonsense.

Also, he gave information about private conversations between the President and VP, and also the President and Secy Powell. Woodward wasn't a fly on the wall, and there were no so-called 75 people taking part in those private meetings, so how does Woodward know what was said between President and VP, and President and Powell ?

This is just another hatchet job like Richard Clark.



Andy Card
Desiree -- Don"t believe all that is "edited" for 60 Minutes. They take long interviews with subjects and then allocate only a very little time for airing. I have not read the book, but hear it's not as was presented on the TV show. Bob Woodward is a very respected writer. He has a nickname for me . . . but he won't tell.

Dillon, from Indianapolis writes:
Did you pick the tie that the President wore on TV the other night?

Andy Card
No !! (All I can say is that Mrs. Bush was not here that day.)

Meagan, from Arizona writes:
Mr. Card, Everyone appreciates so deeply the great work you do in keeping things organized and flowing with the West Wing team. Do you find that there are times or situations that simply require prayer? What is the role of prayer in your managment style?


Andy Card
It is a pleasure to work for this President. He attracts great people and gives great leadership. I feel very blessed to work for our President. I do pray and know that others pray for me too.

Joshua, from Princeton, NJ writes:
Given the Bush administration's repuation for leading a close-lipped, tight-ship executive branch, what do you make of the recent spat of ex- and current officials voicing discordant notes on the decision-making process leading to White House policy?

Andy Card
I can't talk about it!

Beth, from White writes:
Mr. Card; Obviously, the worst part of your job was having to tell President Bush about 911 that morning. What is the best part of your job?

Andy Card
Beth -- It is unbelievable to be able to say, "Good morning, Mr. President" every day that he comes into The Oval Office.

Wayne, from Plymouth, MN writes:
Hi Mr. Card. I understand that President Bush received the customary letter from President Clinton after the Inauguration. Did you receive a letter from your predecessor also?

How will you and your staff balance your time between the fall campaign and the day to day responsibilities in the White House?

Andy Card
Wayne -- John Podesta was the last COS to President Clinton. He was very kind to me as I prepared to take on my current assignment. Almost every living former WHCOS has had some level of communication with me since I took office. I value their counsel and empathy!

Rich, from Boston writes:
Is it true that a Saudi Prince was shown secret invasion plans of Iraq before Secretary of State Powell was shown them? Amazing if true.

Andy Card
Not true!

Chris, from Missouri writes:
Is the TV show "West Wing" realistic?

Andy Card
Chris -- It is not a "reality show!"

Shelly, from Austin Texas writes:
Does anyone in the White House ever get lost in the White House? I know I would if I lived there. I'm sure of it. It is just such a big house to live in for 4 years i mean don't you think so?

Andy Card
Shelly-- As big as it looks, it can be very confining. It is "The People's House" and The President and Mrs. Bush feel extremely honored to be able to live here. I know after eight years, they will look forward to going home to their ranch in Texas.

Jimmy, from Green Bay , WI writes:
First off I would like to thank you for taking the time to do this. I am a high school senior and it is really neat to get an opprotunity to listen to influential government officals such as your self. My question is: What advice would you give to young adult persuing a career in American government?

Thank you for your time and keep up the good work in Washington, you guys have my vote

Andy Card
Jimmy -- Read the newspaper. Argue about current events. Get involved in local politics and campaigns. Vote!! Our government truly is "of, by and for the people!"

Jim, from Bluefield,WV writes:
Mr.Card, What was it like to be around the two greatest world leaders-President Bush and Prime Minister Blair this weekend?

Andy Card
Jim-- What an honor it was to be with two great leaders, committed to protecting thier people and spreading freedom!

Dale, from Tacoma, Washington writes:
I just noticed that Independence Day is now the 5th of July. I know a lot of seemingly more pressing matters are at hand, but please pass on to the President that, to me, the idea of moving Independence Day to the 5th is absolutely outrageous.

Andy Card
Independence Day is still July 4th. Celebrate! You can recover on the 5th!

Iraqi people will have a new Independence Day this year!!!

Sara, from Michigan writes:
Secretary Card, Every time I see you on TV or read about you in the newspaper, you always seem so calm and collected. With such a demanding and stressful job, how are you able to maintain this commendable composure? I'm sure your staff must enjoy your demeanor

P.S. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to take questions

Andy Card
Sara -- My job is a dream. I am so fortunate to be able to serve here, especially for President George W. Bush. His leadership allows me to be calm.

An, from U.S.A writes:
Why haven't we capture Bin Laden yet (who is most likely hanging out in Western China)?

Andy Card
An -- We're working hard -- 24-7! The good news is that he doesn't have a comfortable base of operations. Thanks for the tip about Western China.

John, from Minneapolis writes:
Why have press briefings by Scott McClellan been held so infrequently lately? How often should we expect them to be held?

Andy Card
John-- Nothing has changed. He generally briefs on days The President is NOT traveling. Today The President is traveling to PA. (Scott does "gaggle" with the press every weekday, and frequently on AF One.)

Holly, from Glendale, AZ writes:
I watched BarneyCam II and it looked like you all had a great deal of fun. How hard was it to keep a straight face and talk to Barney about decorating, especially when he was playing cards with Ari Fleischer?

Andy Card
Holly-- It was easier to talk with Barney than some of the others I work with here. Barney is a star!! Look for Barney in future web-productions, maybe even from AF - One!

Andy Card
Thank you very much for signing on to chat with me. I am glad that you take the time to write your questions and put up with my responses. Keep in touch!

Andy Card

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