Card and 12 others who were on board were not injured when the Gulfstream 4 plane bound for Washington D.C. landed at the Nashville International Airport around 4 p.m., said Lynne Lowrance, an airport spokeswoman.
"They thought they could be having some trouble with the Avionics instruments but they weren't sure what was causing the smoke," said Lowrance.
The plane left from Texas where Card has been meeting with President Bush throughout the Thanksgiving holiday at the president's ranch in Crawford, said White House spokesman Ken Lisaius Saturday.
"They made the decision to be safe rather than sorry," said Lisaius. "I was told it was a fairly routine matter."
Lowrance said the 12 other passengers on board included secret service officials. Lisaius said he didn't know exactly how many people were on board or who they were.
Lisaius said he expects Card and the passengers to fly back to Washington Saturday evening.
Bush arrived in Texas on Tuesday and plans to stay through Monday morning, when he departs for a two-day trip focused on border security that includes stops in Arizona and El Paso, Texas.