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Bush wants to name a Democrat to some post, perhaps the Department of Energy, if he can just find one who'll go along. The job of whittling down the options has fallen to Cheney, who has spent the past few weeks since his heart attack gathering resumes and making tentative feelers and offers so Bush is never turned down. "Cheney doesn't decide," explained an aide, "but he does tee up the choices." Giving Cheney the job of sifting through the names may turn out to be a nifty bit of Bush judo: if the party's base doesn't like the outcome, Bush may be figuring, they can take it up with the Veep, who is the most conservative guy on Bush's team, at the moment anyway. Bush has told intimates that each Cabinet post is a riddle in miniature: you never know, he says, who will be a good manager and who merely a good public salesman. So he is trying to build strong management teams at the deputy level in every agency in case the top guy washes out.
In an interview with TIME last week, Bush singled out one Governor in particular for praise: Racicot, of Montana, who emerged during the Florida fiasco as a take-no-prisoners surrogate for the Governor. Racicot's accusation that Gore had declared war on U.S. troops by trying to toss out their absentee ballots has already made him a target among some Democrats on Capitol Hill. But Bush is unbowed and is considering the former state attorney general for Justice or Interior. "He's a genuinely good person," said Bush, "a genuine guy. I promise you that whatever position he's in, he'll be a star--in a very quiet and humble way. He'll be a great success."
Bush is quite aware that many Governors have been flops at Cabinet jobs, and has seen others come to Washington with personal agendas of their own. He watched his father wrestle for three years with a White House chief of staff named John Sununu, a former New Hampshire Governor, who ran the White House as if he were President. The Bush family--Dubya included--long ago decided that one reason the old man lost in 1992 was that Sununu kept many good ideas from reaching the Oval Office.
So it makes perfect sense that the son plans to turn his West Wing over to the one man from his father's era who was seen inside as the anti-Sununu: Andy Card. Described as fair, tireless and completely loyal by colleagues, Card was the one person Bush aides and family members could go to with their complaints and requests when Sununu was being his usual unpleasant self. Says Bush now: "Andy Card is an experienced, low-keyed person who understands the definition of chief of staff is not junior President, but is the chief of a staff of very high-powered people whose job is to never deny access but to enhance access to me, and if there is a tie to be broken, he can break it in a good thoughtful way."
Card has come far since way back in 1974, when he first met Bush's father. He has worked as a garbageman, run a McDonald's, been a Massachusetts legislator, run and lost a bid for Governor and then came to Washington to work in the Reagan White House. For more than a year in 1987 and 1988, he slept on a cot in Bush's father's New Hampshire campaign headquarters. After three years as Sununu's deputy, he served as Transportation Secretary, then spent the Clinton years as a lobbyist for the automakers. His wife Kathleene is a Methodist minister; they have three grown children.