WASHINGTON – It's been such a persistent rumor in Washington that many had begun to accept it as fact. But White House chief of staff Andy Card said Wednesday it's not true that he is heading to the Treasury Department to take over from Secretary John Snow.
"It is not going to happen," Card said in a chat with reporters in a White House hallway. But he didn't rule out the possibility of a move to some other job.
"I serve at the pleasure of (the president) for the time being and am very comfortable with that insecurity," he said. "I'd be ready, willing and able to change but not planning to go to the Treasury Department."
Speculation about Snow's departure has persisted for more than a year, even after the White House made a very public show last December of President Bush's request that Snow remain on the job amid a Cabinet shake-up. Unlike his predecessor, Paul O'Neill, who was fired after earning White House ire for his blunt talking style and for at times being at odds with administration economic policy, Snow has been a loyal soldier and enthusiastic pitchman since he took over as Treasury chief in February 2003.
However, some in Congress have complained that he has not been effective. His reputation suffered when he was the point man for selling Bush's proposed Social Security overhaul to lawmakers -- an effort that did not meet with success.
Card, meanwhile, has served longer in his high-stress post than any chief of staff in half a century. His ready admissions of exhaustion and rumored interest in possibly seeking elected office in his home state of Massachusetts have helped fuel speculation he is ready to leave the White House for another administration job.