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Former Chief of Staff for the Bush Administration, Andrew Card, shares stories and insight with those up-and-coming in the media industry. On Thursday, April 7, 2011, Card joined students from George Mason University and the University of Denver in a video conference to be aired on C-SPAN three the following day at five p.m.

Hosted by Steve Scully, political editor of the C-SPAN networks, the conference and interview session provided insight into Card’s political career, particularly his time spent with the Bush family, and how he got to where he was.

“I used to be a newspaper boy,” chuckles Card. Having been surrounded by media from a very young age, it’s no wonder Card’s most memorable moment was telling President George W. Bush that the Twin Towers had been hit on 9/11.

Card notes that as soon as he got word of a second tower being hit, he “knew it was Bin Ladin.” After recounting the morning’s events, it was clear that this memory stuck out to Card more than any other. Likewise, this event would be the primary moment that Card is remembered for in the media – he, of course, being the bearer of the worst possible news.

But of course, it’s all in the job description.

Being the Chief of Staff, Card’s job is to decide what is necessary to bring to the president’s attention. That being said, Card maintains that he was privy to terrifying information; now that he’s no longer in the limelight, however, he is more fearful of what he doesn’t know.

Speaking in terms of the Bush presidency as a whole, Card maintains that the Bush administration was “misunderstood”. Having approval ratings soar after 9/11 and plummet after the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, there’s no denying the public’s fickle mindset regarding former president George W. Bush.

According to Card, however, this is typical of any political candidate.

“They’re love magnets when they run for office and lonely when they serve”, he states. It is this theory, in addition to his home state’s distaste for Bush that steered Card away from running for the late Ted Kennedy’s senatorial seat in Massachusetts, despite his opponents offer to step down should he decide to run.

“I would have had to run three campaigns, with the main one being ‘I am not George Bush’,” states Card.

“The Chief of Staff’s job is to help the president do the president’s job”, maintains Card. In this particular case, Card used a close personal relationship with the President to determine what was pertinent. Stating that he feels “comfortable telling the President almost anything”, it could be considered a challenge to maintain the boundary between friendship and professionalism. Card, however, seemed to have found the right balance.

For Senator-elect George Allen, freedom is the name of the game

Former Virginia Senator George Allen is on the campaign trail again, only this time he’s hitting the digital realm as well. On Thursday, February 17, 2011, Allen joined students from George Mason University and the University of Denver in a video conference to be aired on C-SPAN three the following day at five p.m.

Hosted by Steve Scully, political editor of the C-SPAN networks, the conference and interview session provided insight into Allen’s political platform. Given that he is running for Senate again in the coming term, these discussions provided some key insight into the lawmaker’s policy ideas.

Student questions ranged from rising tuition concerns all the way to the budget crisis. Throughout the interviews, however, Allen’s response to fiscal issues remained constant; if the country does not currently have the revenue coming in, it is necessary to have budget cuts and curtail spending.

“This country was founded on the concepts of freedom and responsibility” says Allen. No doubt Allen, a ‘common sense Jeffersonian conservative’, was influenced by his father, former Redskins coach George Allen Sr. However, the younger Allen claims that he learned his ideas about political and governmental freedoms from his mother, a woman of Tunisian descent who grew up during the oppressive Axis powers in WWII.

Throughout the interviews, many of the questions were not necessarily political in nature; yet all of them allowed the audience to gain insight into Allen as a person and his beliefs about the world today.

One question asked by George Mason University professor Steve Klein, discussed the advent of social media on the world today – particularly from the perspective of someone running for a second Senate term. From his response, Allen seemed aware of the social media basics and states that even his campaign video is on However, his lack of elaboration leads one to believe that he is maybe not as tech-savvy as he leads on.

The discussion ends on a light note, with a student wondering how aside from sharing the same Senatorial seat as Thomas Jefferson, in what ways does he consider himself to be like Thomas Jefferson – one of the founding fathers of the United States of America.

While admittedly Allen has not written any nation-altering documents, he does reiterate his attempts to retain personal freedoms for all Americans; line item veto, and social security reform are just a few of the ways that Allen is attempting to give some power back to the American people – or so he says.

There were several sports analogies thrown in to further explain these issues – but that’s nothing that can’t be found in his new book, What Washington Can Learn from the World of Sports. No matter what side of the political fence the audience is on, it is undeniable that Allen is not just looking to score a touchdown in the upcoming Senatorial elections; he’s looking to win the big game.

To view the conference at the University of Denver’s online Distance Learning center , click here.