Former Bush chief of staff reflects on 9/11 attacks
Andy Card looks back at day that changed America
- Duration 9:15
- Date Sep 11, 2012
Andy Card looks back at day that changed America
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This transcript is automatically generated
It's as Eric points out there are so many searing.
Images that car burned really into our minds and into our hearts for that day who can forget the scene.
That then White House chief of staff Andy card walked into a classroom.
At MIE Booker elementary school in Sarasota Florida.
Leaning over leaning down whispering to the president that America.
Was under attack.
-- -- -- -- -- Who can forget -- reaction on President Bush's face.
Clearly in the news with syncing and for him he's stayed com for the children who -- fun of him.
On the floor reading a book by years later even the children say that they -- of course that something was terribly wrong.
Andy card former chief of staff for president George W.
Bush joins us now -- welcome thank you for being with us today.
Thank you and thank you for the remembrances the -- generating.
You know -- I've heard you many times your account what that moment was like.
But but today you know as we look back.
Tell us again you know what it's sunk in to you when you relayed the message to the president what was -- lack.
While standing at the door of the classroom and the president did know that a plane -- hit one of the towers at the World Trade Center he thought it was a small twin engine prop plane.
And when I was told that it wasn't a small -- -- -- -- -- -- commercial jetliner and then that the second place het.
I knew the president had to know about it I decided to pass on.
Just facts and make one editorial comment.
And do nothing to -- a question so -- opened the door of the classroom and when it was appropriate I walked up to the -- I've leaned over and whispered into his right here.
A second plane hit the second tower.
America is under attack I stood back from him so they -- and asked me a question.
I was pleased with how is respond to because he did nothing to introduce fear to those very young students.
That I went back to the door and when he did not -- up which I thought was appropriate.
I left the classroom and I thought that he was contemplating his responsibilities as commander in chief.
Where he took the oath to preserve protect and defend.
And there is no conditional clause to that both the president has to do it.
He can't do without a lot of help in today's a day for us to remember the victims.
Remember the heroes.
And to thank those who with a shield and sword of America.
Because they're the ones that are protecting us today now.
You know I was struck in the just a couple of weeks ago before the conventions I watched the tape.
Of President Bush -- his own convention.
Talking about how we were in prosperous times how things were good.
You know that countries are challenged even in the best of times -- was such a different moments as he came into the presidency.
No president can ever anticipate.
What he will be tested with what he will be face to it.
What was your impressions of him as she watched him on that day facing something that he never imagined it would come his way and our country's way.
I actually believe that they even though -- had taken the oath to be president of the United States January 20 2001.
I think it was September 11 2001 with the the real responsibility.
Of president being president -- you know.
Was received by the president of the United States.
He had to be commander in chief he had to be -- comforter in chief he had to be the rally UN chief he had to be the leader not only for America but for the world.
And he lived up all of those responsibilities I thought he did an awesome job of being a truly great leader for our country during the most.
Unimaginable challenge in the history of our country we -- we were attacked on our own soil.
Thousands of innocent people died thousands of people who took all -- stick into a call to duty died and -- others had to take the call to duty.
And get into action to protect us and to.
Keep us safe and and thankfully President Obama recognizes the responsibilities of -- -- -- -- well in Houston a lot to protect us.
-- for the families here you know that.
They approach this day every year with a sense of dread and for good reason and even the people who live in New York City and Washington.
Who were not directly impacted by the events eleven years ago.
They -- hell of a sense of dread when the -- -- approaches but it seems a little bit of that has chipped off every year as we move further and further away.
Even if you look at some of the video that was filed that -- It's starting to take on -- age when you see the taxis.
The police cars the firefighter uniforms.
And as we move further away from that moment.
I guess we'll digest -- their own personal way.
As we always do I was just curious about you how do you approach this day.
Well you know I was there when the president.
Asked by -- Howard.
This was on Friday September 14 2001 when the president visited.
The World Trade Center aftermath and met with the families of the policeman -- that would missing.
And Arlene Howard -- the president the badge and she looked him right in the eyes and she's I want you to have this.
This is my son's badge his name is George Howard don't ever forget him.
And President Bush with tears in his eyes looked into mrs.
Howard's eyes and said.
America will start to forget -- move on but don't worry about me I will never forget.
I feel that same obligation.
I promised never to forget.
I don't look forward to this day.
But I do remember on this day and I think it's important for all of us to do that.
There were so many heroes and so many innocent victims.
And that -- did change America changed us.
-- -- change the nature of the world that put the world on notice.
President Bush was a strong leader when he said you're either with us or against us.
When he said that we would do everything we could to prevent the next attack not just respond to the next attack.
Those were dramatic changes for our country and I was proud of his leadership and where you communicate with him today.
In any -- he NIX check he and I exchanged.
An email very very early this morning so.
This is a day of remembrance for him in.
Yes this was a day the change President Bush.
And all of those who worked with them you care to share.
With us and our audience.
Transaction from earlier today about -- -- I just I thanked him for his leadership and called attention to -- remembrance that we promised we would have the victims and the here rose and those that help -- protect us and the courage and compassion of a great American people when.
And he had the same views it was as simple exchange.
President -- very efficient with his.
Zeros and ones and is as he -- but.
He's a very compassionate man who cares deeply about our country and all the people in -- -- what do you remember about that the moments you know we talked about you relayed the message to him.
But I -- remember you also talking about what happened once he came into the -- the questions that he began to ask and the way.
That his leadership kind of kicked in in those moments when he realized what was going -- Well he was very deliberate.
He was all action -- -- the first thing you said when he walked into that the holding room which was just off of that classroom where I had told about the attack.
He said that the FBI director on the phone.
The instructions have been gotten to get the FBI director in the fall before the president -- we could say he's right -- Mr.
He then talked to the vice president and he talked -- Governor Pataki and other leaders.
He Whitman's remarks for the American people that he delivered in front of an audience of 600 people who thought he was did it talked about leaving no child behind in education.
But he said that it was gonna go back to Washington DC.
I knew that we were not going right back to Washington DC -- -- -- quite an argument on the airplane after we left.
Sarasota Florida because he want to go back to Washington the Secret Service and pilot of Air Force One colonel Tillman did not wanna go back there with out understanding -- -- the nature of the attack so.
We headed to Barksdale Air Force Base Louisiana.
-- ended there then took some of the people -- of course one and we food at all of Omaha Nebraska in the strategic air command center went down into a deep bunker.
The whole time the president it was a very very deliberate decisive strong leader.
And he did not want to be disruptive.
To the responsibilities that were being met by the people who -- getting playing safely on the ground and come to better understand the nature of the -- so that we could mitigate any challenges.