Andy Card to Run Romney '08 Campaign?

The latest and most popular game on the Washington, D.C., cocktail and dinner party circuit is to guess what Andrew Card will do now that he’s left the White House.

Days after leaving his job as the second-longest serving White House chief of staff since the job was created in 1953 (the first and longest-serving holder of the post was Sherman Adams, Dwight Eisenhower’s chief of staff from 1953-59), speculation is rampant over where Card — former Massachusetts state legislator and secretary of Transportation under the elder Bush — will land.

Much of the early guessing has the 58-year-old Card going back to the private sector, either as head of a major trade association or as a partner in a Washington lobbying/consulting company. Following his stint in the Cabinet of Bush 41, Card served as president of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association from 1993-98 and as vice president for government relations of General Motors.

Other Card-watchers such as veteran Massachusetts political consultant Holly Robichaud point out that his exit from the White House comes one month before his fellow Bay State Republicans meet in convention to select candidates for statewide offices this year.

"Andy could easily come back and make another run for governor," said Robichaud, recalling how Card unsuccessfully sought the GOP nod for governor back in 1982.

But the rumor that is rapidly taking hold and being discussed is that Card will eventually return to the hurly-burly world of national politics and wind up as campaign manager for Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s anticipated bid for president in 2008.

Along with his brother-in-law Ron Kaufman (who is Republican National Committeeman from Massachusetts), Card is a veteran of the elder Bush’s 1980 and ’88 campaigns for president; both Card and Kaufman are close friends and strategists for Romney and deployed their insider skills in 2002 to help the former U.S. Olympics overseer nail down the GOP nomination for governor without opposition.

So will Card soon re-enter presidential politics as captain of the Romney team? No one is sure. Kaufman recently told me, "Andy hasn’t spent two seconds in the last five years worrying about anything other than George W. Bush or thinking of himself. On April 15, he will walk out of the White House, pay his taxes, and go relax in Poland Springs, Maine. Beyond that, no one knows what he will do — including Andy."