Andrew Card Responds to Bob Woodward's Claim of Confused, Divided Bush Administration

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 2, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight, as mentioned, reporter Bob Woodward paints a disturbing picture of the Bush administration, confused and divided over Iraq.

Joining us from Washington with his take, former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card.

You did talk to Bob Woodward for many hours, I understand?

ANDREW CARD, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I did. I met with him at least five times and talked with him much longer than I should have. And I talked with him when I was still chief of staff. And I talked with him two or three times, maybe three or four times after I left the position as chief of staff.

O'REILLY: Now why do you say you talked with him more than you should have?

CARD: Well, clearly much more than I would have if I were still functioning as a chief of staff. Time, if nothing else, would have been a constraint.

But I did. I was counseled by the White House to cooperate with him and to talk with him. And I did. And I found that he was an easy person to talk to. I have great respect for Bob Woodward. He's a great reporter and a terrific journalist. And he's been a successful author. And I was hoping that he was going to tell a story that would reflect the president's leadership and the resolve that he has to do the right thing and to get the job done.

O'REILLY: Did he…

CARD: And I hoped that he would highlight the diversity in the White House opinion...

O'REILLY: All right, and he did the first two books. He was complimentary of Mr. Bush's management style. So you know, you would have no reason to think the third book would be different, but you better be — everybody's got to be careful.

But the key question here is, Mr. Card, did Mr. Woodward misrepresent your remarks?

CARD: I can't imagine that he misquoted me. So I think that all of the quotes that are there are accurate. I am concerned that the perception that he was creating may be a perception to reflect his bias, than the reality that I lived in.

O'REILLY: All right, let me get specific, then.

CARD: Go ahead.

O'REILLY: He makes it very clear that you wanted Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of Defense, removed.

CARD: I wanted the president to have the benefit of a healthy debate as to whether or not Secretary Rumsfeld should be changed or not changed — in the context of change that the president said he wanted throughout his administration, especially in the national security team. And it started right after the November 2004 election, when the president told me he wanted to enter a second term with a lot of change.

And I sat with the president and talked about every single senior White House staff position and every single member of the cabinet.

O'REILLY: OK, but that's not the impression the book gives. The impression the book gives is that you wanted Rumsfeld to be out, Laura Bush wanted Rumsfeld to be out, but Dick Cheney didn't. And Cheney won. Is that an accurate representation?

CARD: Not from my perspective, it is not.

O'REILLY: OK. That's all we need, that's why.

CARD: Laura Bush never said to me that she wanted to have Secretary Rumsfeld removed. Never. She would talk about people who were helping the president. And I would listen to her, because we both cared deeply about the president, but no one cares more than Laura Bush.

O'REILLY: OK, and I don't want to get into the micro of this. I just want to get a broad interpretation, your interpretation, because I do have to talk to Mr. Woodward tomorrow. And I'm going to say here's what Andy Card said. And you know…

CARD: Well, I can understand why he might have a perception that he does. But it's the wrong perception. And his perception may reflect his own bias.

O'REILLY: OK, maybe so.

CARD: And my reflection reflects my bias.

O'REILLY: Sure, it does. I mean, you're sticking up for the president. And he's trying to write a book from his point of view. And we'll find out what his point of view is. But…

CARD: I'm not doing this to stick up for the president. I'm doing this to reflect the truth. I was the party involved, making these comments. So…

O'REILLY: All right. Do you think he did you wrong, Woodward?

CARD: I felt that the book included much more about me than it should have. It wasn't — it shouldn't have been my book. And I also was disappointed that it is as much as about Secretary Rumsfeld or Condi Rice.

O'REILLY: OK, but that's what his choice.

CARD: I was worried about the president.

O'REILLY: Yes. He has a choice to write whatever he wants to write. Now…

CARD: But I had the expectation it was different.

O'REILLY: Colin Powell, by Woodward's account, was strongly against the Iraq War. Is that true?

CARD: I think that's an overstatement. He was cautious in his counsel to the president. And he was sometimes appropriately skeptical of what was being recommended by others in the administration. And that's something that we encouraged and invited. And the president wanted a healthy debate about it.

But I think Secretary Powell was very supportive of what the president was doing. And he certainly contributed an awful lot to the president's strategy.

O'REILLY: In the book, it says Powell wanted Rumsfeld to leave when Powell resigned. Is that true?

CARD: That has been represented by others. And I know it to be consistent with my expectation.

O'REILLY: All right, so you're saying it is true?

CARD: Well, there's another book out that was not written by Bob Woodward. And it has…

O'REILLY: Well, Mr. Card, I don't care about the other book. Is it true or not?

CARD: Well, Secretary Powell was — he understood the value of change in the administration.


CARD: I think that he would say.

O'REILLY: I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I'm saying — I'm taking away from your statement that it is true, that Powell wanted Rumsfeld to leave when he left.

Now, the Iraq War. Most people have lost confidence that we can win the Iraq War. The poll numbers are way, way down. And the media is seizing upon Woodward's book to ram that home.

As an American, not as a former chief of staff, should Americans be concerned about the outcome of the Iraq War, sir?

CARD: No. Victory is the only option. And we will be victorious in Iraq.

O'REILLY: How do you know that?

CARD: It's important subset — because our troops are out there doing a fabulous job. Our diplomats are doing a great job. And those in the CIA that are in the clandestine services are doing a terrific job.

Victory is the most important aspect in Iraq, because victory in Iraq will help us have victory in the War on Terror.

O'REILLY: No question victory in Iraq is a victory for America. But you say that victory is assured? You're positive we're going to win there?

CARD: Well, I don't think it'll come on the timeline that we all expected. And we're frustrated that the timeline isn't shorter than it will be.

But there is no option besides victory. And we cannot allow Iraq to be a country where terrorists would find safe harbor, and have access to huge amounts of money because of the oil revenues that go into Iraq.

O'REILLY: All right.

CARD: And so victory is the only solution. And victory in Iraq is a very important victory in the march to a victory War on Terror.

O'REILLY: I agree. I just hope we have the right strategy. I really do.

CARD: I think — we have a dynamic strategy that is difficult to achieve. And the president has been very candid with the American people, saying that this is a long, tough war, and there will be potholes and bumps…

O'REILLY: Yes, I know.

CARD: And turns in the road. But we will make it down the road.

O'REILLY: OK, Mr. Card, you're welcome any time. We appreciate you coming on the program this evening. Once again, Bob Woodward here tomorrow night.

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