News

    Bolten Prepares to Assume Top White House Post

    Republicans in Congress are hoping that incoming White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten will help turn around President Bush's faltering political fortunes. Bolten will soon replace long-time Bush chief of staff Andy Card.

    The high-level staff change comes in the wake of low public approval ratings for the president and demands from Republicans to shakeup the White House staff.

    Mr. Bush describes Josh Bolten as a creative policy thinker.

    "He is a man of candor and humor and directness, who is comfortable with responsibility, and knows how to lead," he said.

    Bolten is currently budget director, and served in the White House during the president's first term.

    "You have set a clear course to protect our people at home, to promote freedom abroad and to expand our prosperity," he said.

    Bolten replaces Andy Card, who is returning to private life after having served as Mr. Bush's chief of staff for nearly five-and-one-half years, the second longest tenure in that White House post in history.

    Card is best remembered as the aide who whispered in the president's ear that America was under attack on September 11, 2001.

    Stephen Hess, a presidential expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington says, presidents often make staff changes in their second terms, especially when faced with low public approval ratings.

    "Lots of people have been demanding a shakeup," he said. "It happens in every administration, when a president is in trouble. Those in Washington, the so-called pundits, sometimes others, say, 'do not just stand there, do something.'"

    Republicans, who control both houses of Congress, are concerned that President Bush's weak position in public opinion polls could hurt their re-election chances in November.

    Some Republicans had urged the president to go outside his inner circle, and choose a more senior figure to head the White House staff, in hopes of turning around negative views of the administration's handling of Iraq and the response to Hurricane Katrina.

    "I think, people will be happy with Josh Bolten as a competent person, who will come in and fill the shoes that Andy Card filled before. But, there really is no new blood," said John Fortier, a political expert at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

    "I think, what people are looking for is some senior person, some senior Republican, who has standing on his own, to come into the White House, and be able to talk to Bush outside of the existing staff that he has," he added.

    University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato expects Bolten will be given the opportunity to make other changes, as well.

    "People have been expecting a staff change, and, certainly, Republicans have been encouraging it. Whether this is a significant enough staff change is another question," he said.

    Experts say staff changes usually make little difference in public perceptions of a president's performance or policies.

    But analyst Stephen Hess says there have been times when it did have an impact.

    "I think, it made a difference that Ronald Reagan brought in Howard Baker after the Iran Contra Scandal," he said. "Why? It was a scandal. Things needed a cleaning out, and a new person came in to help do that. That was a fairly unique thing. This present situation with George W. Bush, whatever his problems are, they do not have to do with an individual scandal."

    Instead, Stephen Hess says, public discontent about Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq remains at the heart of the administration's political problems.

    "I mean, this is primarily about Iraq," he said. "There is no sense in talking about his education policy, or something like that. I mean, he has been in office now for nearly six years. He has got one major policy, in which he has thrown all the chips into the game. Is it going to work? We shall see."

    After a brief transition period with Andy Card, Josh Bolten will assume his new duties in mid-April.


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora