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Comments by YACCS
Monday, March 13, 2006

The poor White House staff

I bet they're tired too

Senior White House Staff May Be Wearing Down

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 13, 2006; Page A04

Andrew H. Card Jr. wakes at 4:20 in the morning, shows up at the White House an hour or so later, convenes his senior staff at 7:30 and then proceeds to a blur of other meetings that do not let up until long after the sun sets. He gets home at 9 or 10 at night and sometimes fields phone calls until 11 p.m. Then he gets up and does it all over again.


The succession of crisis after crisis has taken its toll. Some in the White House sound frazzled. While there are few stories of aides nodding off in meetings, some duck outside during the day so the fresh air will wake them up. "We're all burned out," said one White House official who did not want to be named for fear of angering superiors. "People are just tired."

White House officials are never genuinely away from the job. Tied to their BlackBerrys and cellular telephones, they are often called to duty even during rare vacations. Weekends are often just another workday. Hadley, for one, schedules a full day of meetings every Saturday. Card comes to the White House on days off to go bicycle riding with Bush.

While other professions demand 14-hour days and six- or seven-day weeks, few involve as much consequence, much less the intense scrutiny of the Internet age. A former Bush aide said, "You don't really realize until you're gone" just how exhausting it really is.

For the record, White House officials reject the suggestion that exhaustion has dulled their political instincts or contributed to the spate of trouble. "People work very, very hard," said White House communications director Nicolle Wallace, and "I'd be lying to say that there aren't some people on some days" who are weary. But "the other side of being here six years is incredible wisdom and steadiness and experience." Moreover, she added, "there's been enough turnover that there's new energy."

Any discussion of the fatigue factor in Republican circles invariably turns to Card, a low-key, self-effacing and well-liked Washington veteran who has been managing Bush's White House team since three weeks after the November 2000 election. Card brought considerable experience to the task, having worked in the Reagan White House, then serving President George H.W. Bush as deputy White House chief of staff and later transportation secretary.

In his current role, Card has proved to be a marathon man, capable of enduring the most brutal hours in perhaps the most brutal job in Washington for longer than anyone in modern times. Only one other person has served as White House chief of staff longer, Sherman Adams, the top aide to President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a far less frenetic, wired era. And if Card makes it to Nov. 1, he will surpass Adams's record, according to the Eisenhower library.

Card retains enormous respect inside and outside the White House, but some Republicans whisper about his judgment in the ill-fated selection of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court and the handling of Hurricane Katrina, to name two examples. Card declined to be interviewed, but has publicly dismissed concerns that his schedule has sapped his energy.

"All my life I have worked kind of this schedule," he told C-SPAN last fall. "When I was in college, I delivered newspapers early in the morning and worked at McDonald's late at night. So even when I was in high school, I would get up in the morning and get the newspapers ready for the paper boys early in the morning. So I've had this kind of lifestyle of early-to-bed and early-to-rise -- and so far seem to be doing pretty well."

Speculation among Republicans that Card would leave at the beginning of the year proved false or premature. Bush has resisted emulating Reagan, who brought in a fresh team led by Howard H. Baker Jr. when his second term was threatened by the Iran-contra scandal. Reagan and Clinton accepted Washington figures outside their own circles, and each had four chiefs of staff during their tenures. Bush emphasizes loyalty and surrounds himself mainly with people he knows.


You know I'd feel bad for them if they weren't incompetent morons getting people killed. Who gives a fuck about Andy Card's schedule. Some kid wakes up in Walter Reed and has to figure out how to live the rest of his life without a leg. So you think Andy Card really has problems?

This makes these people seem more human to the Beltway folks, when to most Americans, they could give a shit. Andy Card could quit tomorrow and be a multi-millionaire betraying America for the Bush family's Saudi friends. If he's tired, he can quit any time. Hopefully, he isn't running a scam on Wal Mart

posted by Steve @ 10:59:00 AM

10:59:00 AM

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