Woodward: Card, first lady wanted Bush to fire Rumsfeld
Woodward: Card, first lady wanted Bush to fire
POSTED: 10:10 a.m. EDT, September 30, 2006
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former White House Chief of Staff
Andrew Card twice sought to persuade President Bush to
fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the second
time with the support of first lady Laura Bush, Bob
Woodward writes in a new book on the Bush
administration's Iraq war policy.
Card on Friday did not dispute that he had talked
about a Rumsfeld resignation with the president but
said it was his job to discuss a wide range of
possible replacements, including his own. He denied
talking to Mrs. Bush about the subject.
The Washington Post assistant managing editor's third
book on the Bush administration, "State of Denial,"
comes out next week. Some details have already
appeared, however, including on the newspaper's Web
White House spokesman Tony Snow shrugged off the book
as "cotton candy. It kind of melts on contact."
"We've read this book before. This tends to repeat
what we've seen in a number of other books that have
been out this year where people are ventilating old
disputes over troop levels," Snow said Friday.
Woodward writes that Card sought and failed in
November 2004, right after Bush won a second term, and
again a year later, to persuade the president to fire
In an interview with The Associated Press, Card
rejected any suggestion that he led a campaign to dump
Rumsfeld but said he did discuss with the president
Rumsfeld's role in Bush's second term.
After re-election, he and the president "talked about
every Cabinet post and senior White House position,"
He said he kept a notebook listing all top jobs and
possible replacements. "It's the chief of staff's job
to give the lay of the land, have the president
consider a lot of different options," Card said.
As to whether the first lady had any particular views
about Rumsfeld, "Mrs. Bush and I never discussed it,"
Dorrance Smith, the assistant secretary of defense for
public affairs, responded to a request for comment by
referring a reporter to Card's comments on the matter.
As for the war, Woodward writes that White House and
Pentagon officials voiced concern about the conduct of
the fighting in reports and internal memos and that a
secret intelligence report circulated last May
predicted violence would continue for the rest of 2006
and increase in 2007.
At the same time, Bush, Rumsfeld and other senior
officials insisted publicly the situation was going
well, Woodward writes, according to the Post.
Snow insisted that the president "was not, in fact,
painting a rose-colored picture. He has been saying
that it's a tough war, it's a long war, it's a war
that's going to outlive his presidency."
The White House spokesman did confirm one detail in
Woodward's forthcoming book -- that Henry Kissinger
has been advising Bush about Iraq.
"The president has a lot of people in, and he listens
to them. And Dr. Kissinger was one of them," Snow
said. He said Bush listens to Kissinger's advice even
when the two men disagree.
In an interview scheduled to air Sunday night on
CBS-TV's "60 Minutes," Woodward says Kissinger, who
served in the Nixon and Ford administrations, has been
telling Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney that in
Iraq, "victory is the only meaningful exit strategy."
As for accounts in the book of administration
infighting, Snow said, "Quite often in a book like
this you're going to see people who are on the losing
side of arguments be especially outspoken about their
opinions that nobody listened to."
"As a matter of fact, the average Washington memoir
ought to be subtitled 'If only they listened to me,'"
said the White House spokesman.