Playing his Card right
When the history of the Bush presidency is written, Andy Card may be referred to as the most powerful White House Chief of Staff of the modern era. He has had an extraordinary influence over the execution of policy, the management of personnel and the direct control of the flow of information to the President. In a White House famous for its control of the message, it was notable recently when reporters' profiles of Mr. Card started mentioning his long work hours and weekly schedule -- seemingly always in the first paragraph. Looking back, it was the first sign that these past five years in a tough job and at an unforgiving pace, had taken their toll. In a political family that venerates loyalty, he is an icon. He was the man who first told the President the nation had been attacked on 9/11, and it was then incumbent on him to re-design the Bush Presidency for an era of global terrorism.
Today an emotional President Bush announced his friend Andy Card will be moving on. He'll be replaced by Josh Bolten, a well-known Washington hand in this administration, who brings a fresh budget background to the job. Those who Googled Bolten today no doubt saw mention of Bo Derek and a Harley-Davidson. That keeps life interesting. The White House staff shuffle (is there more to come?) will be at or near the top of our broadcast tonight.
Also this evening: the loss of two major figures from the Reagan years, today's case before the Supreme Court, and the troubles in Paris (more on that later). We will also check in on the Gulf Coast tonight for an update on the Mississippi coast, as part of our "Long Road Back" series of reports.
And we'll look at a developing trend in this country that is horrifying to those of us with an aversion to mornings: the increasingly-early wake-up time across the United States. Who better than Dawn Fratangelo to bring us that report tonight?
The perils of a live feed
With the cable networks airing the very same live pool pictures from Paris, I just saw a young man using his bare buttocks to express his sentiments to French Police spraying the protestors with water cannons. His aforementioned derrière aired simultaneously on two different cable networks, followed by various one-finger salutes (it could be a regional thing, but I fear it means the same thing as it does where I grew up in Jersey) aired live on CNN. It all makes for interesting, albeit R-rated, afternoon cable viewing.
From the author
I got a huge kick out of the e-mail posted on the blog last night asking if I was truly the author of this blog. It was sympathetic in tone, noting the demands on my time. But allow me to say, once and for all: Yes, it's me. And while, as the nice man notes, it's time-consuming (considering I can't post until after our editorial meeting, which is then followed by a studio session taping promos for the next day, which is then followed by sitting down to write and edit copy for air) I've come to enjoy it enormously and I do feel it has made for a personal connection with our most-involved viewers that I don't think existed before.
Following the broadcast tonight, I will be with the one group of living Americans that I respect more than any other. Each year I try to volunteer my time to help out the Medal of Honor Society, and this evening I will be hosting their dinner in lower Manhattan. We will be honoring a huge contingent of living recipients and hearing from General Richard Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, now retired. It is an awe-inspiring group of men, and it is always a wonderful evening that serves to remind all of us in attendance about the very best of this country. To a man, I contend they are all demonstrably better men than I am, by dint of their extraordinary service, selflessness and bravery while under fire. As their citations say: theirs is service performed in total disregard for their own personal safety. Can we ask any more of a fellow citizen? In a society sometimes devoid of good role models for our children, I will be in a room full of them tonight. In a society that too often attaches the "hero" label to those who don't truly deserve it, these men do. While they walk through our airports and malls unrecognized, and while their faces have never been on the front of a trading card or a magazine, these are the Americans we should publicly celebrate. I will try to do my small part tonight.
We have a good broadcast planned for this evening, and we hope you can join us.