Bolten’s First Act As Chief of Staff Is To Defend Rumsfeld

When it was announced last month that Josh Bolten would be replacing Andrew Card as the White House chief of staff, the media interpreted the move as “a modest attempt at a fresh start for a White House that had stumbled recently.” Lately, the media has been pronouncing that Bolten would be aiming for “sweeping staff changes.”

Bolten’s first day on the job yesterday served to dismiss the media’s theories. Bolten’s “fresh start” began with defending the administration’s old mistakes:

The defense of Rumsfeld in effect was the first act of new White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten, who took over as Andrew H. Card Jr. left the West Wing yesterday afternoon for the final time as Bush’s top aide. White House aides decided that press secretary Scott McClellan’s statement of support Thursday was inadequate to stem the growing chorus of resignation calls from the military.

Meanwhile, a seventh general has added his name to the growing chorus:


“I admire those who have stepped forward, and I agree with the arguments they are making,” retired Marine Lt. Gen. Paul K. Van Riper said in an interview yesterday. “I count myself in the same camp.”