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Top Bush aide leaving White House

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070601/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush_aide_resignation_11;_ylt=AirdcxzDaNrKKLpASg.roDVbbBAF Top Bush aide leaving White House By TERENCE
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2007

      Top Bush aide leaving White House

      By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent 1 hour,
      36 minutes ago

      WASHINGTON - Dan Bartlett, one of President Bush's
      most trusted advisers and his longest-serving aide,
      said Friday he is resigning to begin a career outside
      of government.

      The move was announced on Bartlett's 36th birthday. He
      has been with Bush for nearly 14 years, from Bush's
      first campaign as governor of Texas, through two races
      for the White House and more than six years of a
      presidency marked by costly wars in Iraq and
      Afghanistan and an ongoing battle against terrorism.

      "His contribution has been immeasurable. I value his
      judgment and I treasure his friendship," Bush said in
      a statement. "Since coming to work for me fourteen
      years ago as I prepared to run for governor, Dan has
      become a husband and a father. I understand his
      decision to make his young family his first priority."

      As counselor to the president, Bartlett has been at
      the center of White House decision-making, stepping
      into the public eye in times of trouble to defend Bush
      on everything from the unpopular war in Iraq to the
      government's bungled response to Hurricane Katrina and
      the Republicans' loss of Congress.

      He is known as someone who has Bush's ear, one of few
      people who can give the president bad news or tease
      him about wearing a brown suit disliked by the White
      House staff and nicknamed Big Brown.

      "He can talk to the president in a candid way, in sort
      of a family way, that almost nobody else can," White
      House chief of staff Joshua Bolten told The Associated
      Press. "He can talk to him about Big Brown, he can
      joke with him. He's got the Texas roots that make it
      possible for them to talk about characters in Texas
      politics or Longhorn football or Texas Rangers'
      baseball. He's been a good friend of the president as
      well as a counselor."

      With the exception of Defense Secretary Donald
      Rumsfeld's resignation last November, Bartlett's
      departure marks the first major turnover in Bush's
      senior staff since a major reshuffling a year ago to
      reinvigorate the administration and overcome low poll
      ratings. Within a period of weeks, Bush had named a
      new chief of staff, treasury secretary, press
      CIA chief, budget director, and trade representative.
      Despite the changes, Bush a year later still remains
      near record lows in the polls.

      Bolten said Bartlett's resignation, effective around
      July 4, did not signal a new round of changes as Bush
      moves into the final 600 days of his presidency.

      With twin, 3-year-old boys and another son born in
      January, Bartlett said it was time to pursue a new
      chapter of his life and "reacquaint myself with my
      family." His wife, Allyson, had joked that they should
      name their newborn "Exit Strategy."

      Bartlett said he was open to job opportunities and had
      retained Washington attorney Bob Barnett to help him
      in the search.

      It is a point of pride with Bartlett that he is Bush's
      longest serving staffer — longer than even political
      strategist Karl Rove, another Bush confidant whose
      tenure was interrupted by work as a political
      consultant. Before teaming up with Bush, Bartlett
      worked for Rove's Austin-based consulting firm.

      Bartlett said he would not write a book about his
      experiences, would not seek a political career in
      Texas and would not align himself with any Republican
      candidate in the 2008 presidential election.

      "It's been a roller coaster that seems always to go
      up," Bartlett said of his White House years. "There
      have been extremely proud moments to see our country
      rise up during a time of national challenge."

      He said he had no regrets about the Iraq war and he
      believes Bush's low approval ratings were the result
      of making tough decisions.

      "Sometimes when you lead the country you do difficult
      things, that you're going to experience periods that
      are going to be rocky, particularly when it has to do
      with war and loss of life," Bartlett said.

      "It will be one of those things, when I hang up the
      spurs for the last time, I'll be able to look in the
      mirror and say, `I know this president and this White
      House did what they thought was right.' And at the end
      of the day, that's all you can do."

      Bolten said Bartlett had made "a big contribution on
      almost everything that's important. He's one of the
      two or three people under 40 whose judgment, I think,
      rivals anybody else's judgment in government today.
      The president has a lot of confidence in him, and
      everybody else around here does, too."
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