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Presidential adviser launches online chats

©Associated Press
April 17, 2003

WACO, Texas -- White House chief of staff Andrew Card told an online audience Wednesday that he believes Saddam Hussein has been killed.

Card made the statement as he launched a new interactive feature on the White House Web site in which Internet users around the world had the chance to question one of President Bush's most powerful aides on any topic they liked.

Of course, he got to choose which questions to answer. But Card did not shy away from difficult topics, taking queries on such subjects as the United States' commitment to civilians hurt during the hostilities in Iraq, tensions with North Korea, wartime protests, and the role of nations that didn't support the U.S.-led war in Iraq's postwar future.

"Casey" from Quincy, Mass., asked if there was any new information on the deposed Iraqi leader's location and if the war in Iraq could be deemed successful without Saddam Hussein's death or capture.

"He is not likely to be in Quincy, Braintree or my hometown of Holbrook," replied Card, a Massachusetts native. "I think he is dead. The good news is that his regime is no longer a threat to the people of Iraq nor to the U.S. or our allies."

Card ignored the second half of the question.

Hussein's whereabouts are unknown. Other U.S. officials have said they don't know if he is dead or alive.

The chat -- featured on the Web site complete with a White House-supplied picture of Card tapping away at his computer keyboard -- got off to a slow start, with the first answer not up on the site until eight minutes into the 30-minute session.

The online White House chats -- dubbed "Ask the White House" -- are to continue periodically with other Bush administration officials.

"I had a great time and look forward to doing this again," Card wrote as he signed off.

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