S President George W. Bush has decided to replace John Snow as treasury secretary and has been looking closely at a number of possible replacements, including the White House chief of staff, Andrew Card Jr., Republicans with ties to the White House say.
Recently, administration officials have been hinting that Snow would go sooner rather than later. And an adviser to the White House, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that a firm decision had been made to replace Snow as soon as Bush can settle on a successor.
Treasury secretary is a high-profile job, and one likely to be especially prominent in the next few years if Bush makes good on his vow to press for big changes to Social Security and a rethinking of the tax code.
Card, who was transportation secretary under the president's father, has been at Bush's side for four years. It was Card who whispered into Bush's ear on Sept. 11, 2001, that the nation was under a terrorist attack, and since then he has had a hand in nearly every big political and policy decision made by the White House.
Card is said by some Republicans to be very interested in the treasury job. Bush had already moved several loyalists from White House staff positions into top Cabinet posts, including Condoleezza Rice, who is going from national security adviser to secretary of state.
Snow, an economist and formal railroad executive who was named treasury secretary two years ago after Bush ousted Paul O'Neill from the job, has been a workhorse for the White House this year, selling Bush's economic plan nationwide during the presidential campaign and to Congress during legislative battles.
But he upset some White House officials with a remark this fall in Ohio, a state that had suffered especially intense economic woes in recent years, that job losses were a myth. Snow later said he had been misinterpreted.