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Bush Plays Convention Card

"What's past is prologue" seems to be the current modus operandi of George W. Bush's campaign for president.

The Texas governor has picked Andrew Card, transportation secretary under Bush's father, to head his operations at this summer's Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

Bush's decision to place Card in such a significant post marks the second time in two weeks that his campaign has reached back to the administration of his father for someone to perform key tasks.

On April 25, this year's Republican standard-bearer picked former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney to run his vice presidential selection committee.

In an interview on Wednesday, the 52-year-old Card said, "Governor Bush and I are the same age, and I am a passionate supporter of Governor Bush's initiatives and his leadership, and that is independent of the tremendous and absolute respect I have for his dad."

In a statement, Bush said, "Andy is a good man who will do a great job at the convention."

Card currently works as head of government affairs for General Motors. He said he will take an unpaid "unambiguous temporary leave" from the Detroit automaker beginning Friday. He also has represented automakers' interests in Washington as head of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association.

A former state representative from Massachusetts, Card started his Washington career as liaison to state elected officials for President Reagan. He served three years as deputy chief of staff for President Bush before spending the administration's last year as transportation secretary. After the elder Bush was defeated by Bill Clinton in 1992, Card supervised the administration's transition out of office.

On paper, Card will serve as chairman of the Bush-for-President operation at the convention, which will run from July 31 to August 3. But in reality, he will have a say in all convention matters.

While the run-up to the 1996 GOP convention was marred by an intra-party squabble over abortion rights, Card said he will work to avoid any such disruption.

"I want to make sure that the convention provides significant forward momentum to the Bush campaign and the campaigns that will be run by Republican candidates around the country," he said.