Top Bush administration officials reached out to loved ones - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Calling home

Top Bush administration officials reached out to loved ones

WASHINGTON (AP) - Condoleezza Rice called her aunt and uncle. Dan Bartlett used Karl Rove's pager to e-mail his wife. Andrew Card never called home and regrets it.

Like other Americans, senior Bush administration officials' thoughts turned to loved ones amid the confusion of Sept. 11.

RICE: Her parents deceased, the national security adviser thought of her large extended family in Alabama as Secret Service agents rushed her from the Situation Room in the West Wing to a nuclear shelter beneath the White House. "I did stop to make one call," she said. "That was to my aunt and uncle in Birmingham, to say, `I'm OK and you should start a phone tree and let everyone know I'm OK."'

BARTLETT: Jammed phone lines kept Bartlett, then a deputy communications director, from reaching his wife back in Washington. Then it dawned on him: Use Rove's pager. Rove, a White House adviser who was also aboard Air Force One, punched Bartlett's message into his pager and e-mailed it away. It said: "From Dan: I'm OK. We're safe. Love you. Call you as soon as possible."

ANDREW CARD: The White House chief of staff was first to tell Bush terrorists had struck the World Trade Center. He immediately went into overdrive, handling logistics to get Bush out of Florida and to a secure location. He was too busy to call his wife and now says that was selfish. "You can't change yesterday, but I kind of wish ... that I had called Kathi and said, `I'm OK. Are you OK? And I didn't."'

JOE ALLBAUGH: The Federal Emergency Management Agency director was in Montana for a conference when he learned of the attacks. He ran to his hotel room, packed his bags, called the White House and headed to the airport. He reached his wife, Diane, on her cell phone. She was stuck in traffic trying to pick up their daughter, Taylor, from school. The traffic jam lasted 4 1/2 hours. "Our conversations were sporadic. Hit and miss," Allbaugh said. In the car, Mrs. Allbaugh heard on the radio that their friend, lawyer Barbara Olson, wife of Solicitor General Theodore Olson, was on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

BUSH: He called first lady Laura Bush twice as Air Force One zigzagged from Florida to Washington. By the second call, she was in a secure location and he had just landed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Bush asked about their twin daughters.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-08-22-02 1450EDT

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