White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said it's "really hard to fully express the high regard with which the White House staff" holds Card. He said Card has earned the staff's highest respect and admiration and those who have worked with Card will miss him.
President Bush gave Card a personal sendoff Thursday, posing with him at the White House before heading off to spend Easter weekend at Camp David, Maryland.
Card's last day working with Mr. Bush started at 5:50 a.m. — a little late for the West Wing boss.
Card is known for being one of the first members of the president's staff to arrive to work, but on Thursday, about 150 staffers beat him in.
As Card's driver pulled through the White House gate, White House staff members lined both sides of the drive and greeted him with applause. Card joked that he was tardy.
There have been formal goodbye parties to recognize Card's more than five years on the job. But Thursday's early morning gathering was attended by a wide range of White House employees, from custodians up to Card's replacement, Joshua Bolten.
As Card walked inside, the corridor's walls were lined with jumbo prints of him during his years of service. Later, some items were moved from Card's office and hauled away in black vans.
Before Mr. Bush departed for the presidential retreat, he and Card walked out of the Oval Office and strolled arm-in-arm around the colonnade, which is adorned with red tulips.
Mr. Bush gave Card a hearty handshake and the two patted each other on the back before wandering back inside.