Andy Card C-SPAN Interview

9 04 2011

Andy Card knew more information than the President of the United States. Each day he would get up and receive official reports and then he would decide what was the most important information out of it all and tell it to the POTUS ( aka President of the United States), and that is what the Chief of Staff to the president would do.

Card, who was George W. Bush’s Chief of Staff from 2000 to 2006, joined students participating from the George Mason University Video Studio along with Steve Scully, the political editor for the C-SPAN networks, and students from the Georgetown University and  Purdue University.

The distance learning course, which is produced by C-Span, is a unique opportunity for students to interview guests via video conference. The course airs on C-SPAN3 on Fridays at 5 pm and also streams online (

Card’s job entitled him to have more knowledge than our own President, which is astounding because you would think the President would have to know everything. This heavy flow of daily information, called the President’s Daily Brief (one of the most secret documents in Washington), is what Andy Card said he missed the most about working in the White House. That brings us to a point though, a point that one student asked Mr. Card in the form of a question: What don’t we as normal citizens know?

“It’s scary,” said Card about the information that he received, “the enemy really wants to get us.” Card was not only the Chief of Staff to W but was also appointed head of George W. Bush’s White House Iraq Group, and talked greatly about the ‘War on Terror’ and what the country was going through during his time at the White House.

Card was the man who infamously had to tell the president during his talk at a Florida elementary school that the country was attacked on September 11, 2001. He recounted the moment when he heard that a private plane had hit the first tower, and then the stunning news that a second plane had hit as well. Hearing that it wasn’t a private plane after all, but two commercial planes, Card had to break protocol and interrupt the president by whispering in his ear “a second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack.”

Card said that September 14, 2001, just three days after the 9/11 attacks, was his most memorable day at the White House when Bush made his speech and spoke the words “our country was attacked with deliberate and massive cruelty…You are not alone.” Card recalled how they couldn’t allow emotion of 9/11 cloud the decision making process that was going on in the White House at that time.

Card’s detailed recounting of 9/11 was extremely fascinating, as the students got a first hand account of someone who was right in the middle of it, someone who got the information first. Now, I will always think of Chief of Staff’s and know that they are probably the most knowledgable person in the country when it comes to what issues are facing our country and national security.