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Woodward: Card, first lady wanted Bush to fire Rumsfeld

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/09/29/books.woodward.ap/index.html Woodward: Card, first lady wanted Bush to fire Rumsfeld POSTED: 10:10 a.m. EDT, September
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30 9:27 AM
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      http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/09/29/books.woodward.ap/index.html

      Woodward: Card, first lady wanted Bush to fire
      Rumsfeld

      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
      site.

      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
      Rumsfeld.

      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,"
      Card said.

      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,"
      Card said.

      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.
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