In August, President George W Bush lost two key members of his inner circle.
Karl Rove, the man widely seen as the mastermind behind President Bush's two election wins, announced on 13 August that he was leaving the White House.
Two weeks later, Alberto Gonzales tendered his resignation as US attorney general, effective from 17 September.
Here is a rundown of what has happened to some of the men and women who came to power with President Bush in January 2001.
JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL 2001 - 2005
Mr Ashcroft stay at the justice department was controversial
The appointment of the staunchly religious, anti-abortion John Ashcroft as attorney general, in charge of the Department of Justice, was an early sign that the Bush White House would be keen to reward the religious right for its electoral support.
Ashcroft was widely disliked by liberals for his package of security measures after 9/11, perceived as an attack on civil liberties.
However, this opposition turned to grudging admiration when it later emerged that Mr Ashcroft - whilst ill in hospital in 2004 - had rejected a White House request to authorise a scheme to allow the warrantless wire-tapping of US citizens.
After his departure in 2005, Mr Ashcroft set up a lobbying company advising clients involved in the homeland security industry.
ANDREW CARD, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF
Although he was one of the longest-serving chiefs of staff in over 40 years, Andrew Card was never a particularly high-profile member of the president's team.
Mr Bush's inner circle from the time of 9/11 is no longer in place
Mr Bush valued him for his loyalty and dedication. His wife is said to have asked once: "Are you married to me or George W Bush?"
Mr Card resigned in March 2006, a move reportedly prompted by concern that the Iraq War would be perceived as another Vietnam. He now sits on the board of directors at Union Pacific Railroad.
DICK CHENEY, VICE-PRESIDENT
Mr Cheney: one of the most powerful vice-presidents in history
When Mr Bush chose Mr Cheney as his running mate in 2000 the decision was seen as an attempt to reassure voters that the young Bush would be able to draw on Mr Cheney's wisdom and experience.
A long-standing political operator, Mr Cheney had served in Congress and in the administrations of a number of former presidents.
After the election, Mr Cheney used his knowledge of the mechanics of government to become one of the most powerful vice-presidents in US history, seen by some as the "power behind the throne".
With the president's approval, Mr Cheney has had a great deal of influence over a number of policy areas, in particular energy and foreign affairs.
He has also developed a reputation for secrecy, refusing to allow congressional oversight of some of his activities.
Health permitting, he will remain in office until the end of the administration's second term.
KARL ROVE, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT
Karl Rove was once described as "Bush's Brain"
Mr Rove managed Mr Bush's two successful Texas gubernatorial campaigns in the 1990s as well as the 2000 presidential campaign.
He has been described variously as "Bush's Brain", "evil Rasputin" and - by the president himself - "Turd Blossom", a reference to a Texan flower which blooms on manure.
His success in producing Republican electoral victories and the often cunning, partisan way in which the victories have been achieved has made him unpopular with the president's political opponents.
His resignation came amid calls for him to testify in the Senate about his role in the sacking of a number of US attorneys and the launch of a probe into political briefings to government officials by him and his team.
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY
Ari Fleischer now works as a communications consultant
Mr Fleischer was the public face of the administration from 2001 until 2003.
His primary job was to answer journalists' questions at daily White House press conferences, and he was seen as a safe pair of hands in the role.
He later became a key player in the "Scooter" Libby trial, after his testimony to a grand jury showed that Mr Libby had in fact known the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame weeks before he claimed to have been informed of it by journalists.
Mr Fleischer now works in the private sector as a communications consultant, and has denied reports that he is seeking to run for Congress in his home district in New York.
ALBERTO GONZALES, ATTORNEY GENERAL 2005 - 2007
Alberto Gonzales served as Mr Bush's counsel during his time as Texas governor and followed him to the White House in 2001.
As White House counsel he was one of the officials who went to John Ashcroft's hospital bed in 2004 to persuade him to approve the warrantless wiretap programme.
Alberto Gonzales resisted many calls to resign as attorney general
He went on to replace Mr Ashcroft as attorney general in 2005, and later became embroiled in the row over the sacking of a number of US attorneys.
He repeatedly rejected calls for his resignation by members of Congress but on 27 August he announced he was leaving his post.
KAREN HUGHES, FORMER DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
Ms Hughes is charged with improving her country's image
Ms Hughes worked for Mr Bush as director of communications for five years when he was Texas governor and then became one of his closest advisers when he first arrived in the White House.
After a two-year spell back in Texas from 2002-04, she rejoined Mr Bush's team, first as an election planner and then - from 2005 - as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, charged with improving the image of the US abroad.
Ms Hughes announced on 31 October that she would be leaving the State Department by the end of the year.
HARRIET MIERS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL
Harriet Miers was another of George W Bush's Texan inner circle to follow him to Washington when he became president.
She replaced another Texan - Alberto Gonzales - as counsel to the president when Mr Gonzales became attorney general.
Ms Miers was President Bush's Supreme Court nominee
She shot to prominence in October 2005 when Mr Bush announced her as his nominee for the vacancy on the Supreme Court after the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor.
But she withdrew her nomination after critics from both parties complained that she was not sufficiently qualified.
She remained as White House counsel until January 2007, when she resigned, reportedly at the instigation of the White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten.
JOHN NEGROPONTE, FORMER UN AMBASSADOR
Mr Negroponte was appointed despite strong opposition from a number of members of Congress concerned about reports that he had turned a blind eye to human rights abuses while ambassador to Honduras in the 1980s, in return for Honduran assistance in the fight against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.
Mr Negroponte was the inaugural director of national intelligence
Following his stint at the UN, Mr Negroponte became first the US ambassador to Iraq, and then the inaugural director of national intelligence, a new role set up after 9/11 to co-ordinate US intelligence agencies. He now serves as deputy secretary of state.
COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE
Mr Powell was a key figure in the build up to the Iraq war
Colin Powell, the first-ever African-American secretary of state, was more politically moderate than many of Mr Bush's other senior appointees.
His time at the state department was dominated by disputes with the vice-president and with Donald Rumsfeld, both of whom favoured a more belligerent policy towards Iraq.
Despite private misgivings, Mr Powell played a prominent role in administration attempts to make a public case for war.
It later emerged that he had also disagreed with Mr Rumsfeld's war strategy, and had argued that more troops should be sent than had been allocated in Mr Rumsfeld's plans.
Since his resignation in 2004, Mr Powell has become increasingly critical of the Bush administration, in particular of the conduct of the war and the treatment of detainees.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
Prior to her appointment as national security adviser (NSA) Ms Rice was a professor of political science at Stanford University, with a successful academic track record in foreign policy.
Although her time as NSA coincided with the decision to invade Iraq, Ms Rice has never been closely associated with the policy.
Ms Rice has not been tarnished by the US' invasion of Iraq
She is seen as an incredibly loyal servant of the president, however, and her 2005 promotion to secretary of state was not unexpected.
Her distance from the decision to invade Iraq and her relative popularity in the US and abroad suggest that she will be one of the few members of the Bush inner circle to have a political future after the president's departure.
DONALD RUMSFELD, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENCE
Mr Rumsfeld was a controversial defence secretary and the key architect of the "shock and awe" strategy used to fight the war in Iraq.
His bluff style and belief in a smaller, more mobile army alienated some in the military.
Mr Rumsfeld quit soon after major Republican losses
The worsening news from Iraq led to major Republican losses in the 2006 mid-term elections and Mr Rumsfeld resigned soon afterwards.
He is now working on his memoirs and planning the establishment of an educational foundation.
PAUL WOLFOWITZ, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENCE
A key intellectual architect of neo-conservatism, Paul Wolfowitz was a strong advocate of the war in Iraq and his subsequent appointment in 2005 as World Bank president was unpopular with those who had opposed the war.
Mr Wolfowitz was forced to resign over a pay-rise to his partner
He was forced to resign in 2007 over his role in awarding a $60,000 pay-rise to his partner, Shaha Riza, who had worked at the bank, and is now a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank.