For 5½ years, Andrew Card has built a reputation as a relentlessly hard-working guy in one of the world's toughest jobs. As President Bush's chief of staff, Card found that his plate overflowed with responsibilities.
But the former chief lobbyist for the Big 3 and then General Motors managed to maintain industry ties, personally and philosophically.
In 2002, with the country shaken from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Card appeared at a retirement event for GM Washington staffer Bill Noack. Card said graciously that he valued Noack's advice "even now."
In another speech, Card quipped that Americans should use money from Bush-backed tax cuts to buy new vehicles, "especially if they are made in the United States."
Some critics speculated that he overdid it, intervening to keep fuel economy standards milder than they should be. But there's no concrete evidence that Card altered policies to benefit automakers. In fact, there are people in some embattled car companies' executive offices who wish he had, an industry insider said last week.
Card leaves the White House on April 14. What's next?