Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Story of the Day-Karl Rove

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Rove, Bush's Key Political Strategist, to Leave White House

Karl Rove, Presidential Advisor

* Born: 25 December 1950

* Birthplace: Denver, Colorado

* Best Known As: The chief political advisor to George W. Bush

Karl Christian Rove (born December 25, 1950) is Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush. He has headed the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives. For most of his career prior to his employment at the White House, Rove was a political consultant.

Rove's election campaign clients have included George W. Bush (2000 and 2004 presidential elections, 1994 and 1998 Texas gubernatorial elections), Senator John Ashcroft (1994 US Senate election), Bill Clements (1986 Texas gubernatorial election), Senator John Cornyn, Governor Rick Perry (1990 Texas Agriculture Commission election), and Phil Gramm (1982 US House and 1984 U.S. Senate elections).

On April, 23, 2007, a federal agency launched an extensive investigation into the activities of the White House's political operation and its architect, Karl Rove. It is checking whether Rove or other White House aides broke federal laws by making political presentations to government employees encouraging them to find ways to support Republican candidates.

Personal life and early political experiences

Early life and high school

Rove was born in Denver, Colorado and later raised in Sparks, Nevada, a suburb of Reno, and the second of five children. His biological father abandoned the family early on and his mother remarried. His new adoptive father, Louis Claude Rove Jr., was a mineral geologist, and his mother, Reba Wood, was a gift shop manager. His older brother is Eric P. Rove, and his younger sister is Reba A. Rove-Hammond. His adoptive father is of Norwegian descent.

In 1960, at the age of nine, Rove decided to support Richard Nixon. According to Rove, "There was a little girl across the street who was Catholic and found out I was for Nixon, and she was avidly for Kennedy. She put me down on the pavement and whaled on me and gave me a bloody nose. I lost my first political battle."[1]

His family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1965 when Rove was entering high school. While at Olympus High School, he was elected student council president his junior and senior years. He became skilled in debate.[2] He says "I was the complete nerd. I had the briefcase. I had the pocket protector. I wore Hush Puppies when they were not cool. I was the thin, scrawny little guy. I was definitely uncool."

Rove began his involvement in American politics in 1968. In a 2002 Deseret News interview, Rove explained, "I was the Olympus High chairman for (former United States Senator) Wallace F. Bennett's re-election campaign, where he was opposed by the dynamic, young, aggressive political science professor at the University of Utah, J.D. Williams."[1] Bennett was reelected to a third six-year term. Through Rove's campaign involvement, Bennett's son, Bob Bennett — a future United States Senator from Utah — would become a friend. Williams would later become a mentor of Rove's.

College years at the University of Utah, and the Dixon campaign incident

In the fall of 1969, Rove entered the University of Utah, on a $1,000 scholarship,[3] as a political science major and joined the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.

Through the University's Hinckley Institute of Politics, Rove got an internship with the Utah Republican Party. That position and contacts from the 1968 Bennett campaign, helped Rove land a job in 1970 in Illinois, helping on the unsuccessful re-election campaign of Ralph Tyler Smith for Senate. Smith lost to Democrat Adlai E. Stevenson III.

In the fall of 1970, Rove used a false identity to enter the campaign office of Democrat Alan J. Dixon, who was running for Illinois State Treasurer, and stole 1000 sheets of paper with campaign letterhead. Rove then printed fake campaign rally fliers promising "free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing", and distributed them at rock concerts and homeless shelters, with the effect of disrupting Dixon's rally (Dixon eventually won the election). Rove's role would not become publicly known until August 1973. Rove told the Dallas Morning News in 1999, "It was a youthful prank at the age of 19 and I regret it."[4]

Adoption, parents' divorce, and mother's death

In December 1969, Rove's father left the family, and divorced Rove's mother soon afterward. After his parents' separation, Rove learned from his aunt and uncle that the man who had raised him was not his biological father; both he and his older brother Eric were the children of another man. Rove has expressed great love and admiration for his adoptive father and for "how selfless" his love had been.[5] Rove's mother committed suicide in Reno, Nevada, in 1981, when Rove was 30 years old.

Leaves College for position in the College Republicans

In June 1971, Rove dropped out of college to take a paid position as the Executive Director of the College Republican National Committee. Joe Abate, who was National Chairman of the College Republicans at the time, became a mentor to Rove.

Rove traveled extensively, participating as an instructor at weekend seminars for campus conservatives across the country. He was an active participant in Richard Nixon's 1972 Presidential campaign. As a protégé of Donald Segretti (later convicted as a Watergate conspirator), Rove painted the Nixon opponent George McGovern as a "left-wing peacenik", in spite of McGovern's World War II stint piloting a B-24.[6]

Vietnam War and the draft

In December 1969, the Selective Service System held its first lottery drawing. Those born on December 25, like Rove, received number 84. That number placed him in the middle of those (with numbers 1 [first priority] through 195) who would eventually be drafted.

On February 17, 1970, Rove was reclassified as 2-S, a deferment from the draft because of his enrollment at the University of Utah in the fall of 1969. He maintained this deferment until 14 December 1971, despite being only a part-time student in the autumn and spring quarters of 1971 (registered for between six and 12 credit hours) and dropping out of the university in June 1971. Rove was a student at the University of Maryland in College Park in the fall of 1971; as such, he would have been eligible for 2-S status, but registrar's records show that he withdrew from classes during the first half of the semester. In December 1971 he was reclassified as 1-A.

On April 27, 1972, he was reclassified as 1-H, or "not currently subject to processing for induction." The draft ended on June 30 1973.

College Republicans, Watergate, and the Bushes

Rove held the position of executive director of the College Republicans until early 1973. He left the job to spend five months, without pay, campaigning full time for the position of national chairman of the organization, for the 1973-1975 term.[5] Lee Atwater, the group's Southern regional coordinator who was two months younger than Rove, managed Rove's campaign. The two spent the spring of 1973 crisscrossing the country in a Ford Pinto, lining up the support of Republican state chairs.

The College Republicans summer 1973 convention at the Lake of the Ozarks resort in Missouri was contentious. Rove's opponent was Robert Edgeworth (the other major candidate, Terry Dolan, dropped out, supporting Edgeworth). A number of states had sent two competing delegates, because Rove and his supporters had made credentials challenges at state and regional conventions. For example, after the Midwest regional convention, Rove forces had produced a version of the Midwestern College Republicans constitution which differed significantly from the constitution that the Edgeworth forces were using, in order to justify the unseating of the Edgeworth delegates on procedural grounds.[5] In the end, there were two votes, conducted by two convention chairs, and two winners—Rove and Edgeworth, each of whom delivered an acceptance speech. After the convention, both Edgeworth and Rove appealed to Republican National Committee Chairman George H.W. Bush, each contending that he was the new College Republican chairman.

While resolution was pending, Dolan went (anonymously) to the Washington Post with recordings of several training seminars for young Republicans where Rove discussed campaign techniques that included rooting through opponents' garbage cans. On August 10, 1973, in the midst of the Watergate scandal, the Post broke the story in an article titled "Republican Party Probes Official as Teacher of Tricks."

At Bush's request, an FBI agent questioned Rove. As part of the investigation, Atwater signed an affidavit, dated August 13 1973, stating that he had heard a "20 minute anecdote similar to the one described in the Washington Post" in July 1972, but that "it was a funny story during a coffee break."[7] Former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean, who was implicated in the Watergate break-in and became the star witness for the prosecution, has been quoted as saying that "Based on my review of the files, it appears the Watergate prosecutors were interested in Rove's activities in 1972, but because they had bigger fish to fry they did not aggressively investigate him."[8]

On September 6, 1972, three weeks after announcing his intent to investigate the allegations against Rove, Bush chose Rove to be chairman of the College Republicans. Bush then wrote Edgeworth a letter saying that he had concluded that Rove had fairly won the vote at the convention. Edgeworth wrote back, asking about the basis of that conclusion. Not long after that, Edgeworth has said, "Bush sent me back the angriest letter I have ever received in my life. I had leaked to the Washington Post, and now I was out of the Party forever."

As National Chairman, Rove introduced Bush to Atwater, who had taken Rove's job as the College Republican's executive director, and who would become Bush's main campaign strategist in future years. Bush hired Rove as a special assistant in the Republican National Committee, a job Rove left in 1974 to become executive assistant to the co-chair of the RNC, Richard D. Obenshain.

As special assistant, the 22-year old Rove also performed small personal tasks for Bush. In November 1973, Bush asked Rove to take a set of car keys to his son George W. Bush, who was visiting home during a break from Harvard Business School. It was the first time the two met. "Huge amounts of charisma, swagger, cowboy boots, flight jacket, wonderful smile, just charisma - you know, wow", Rove recalled years later.[9]

Virginia Republican Party

In 1976, Rove became the Finance Director for the Virginia Republican Party, which did not have a single fundraising event on its schedule at the time. Rove moved to Richmond, Virginia. Within a year, Rove had pulled in more than $400,000 through direct mail fundraising.

First marriage
On July 10 1976, Rove married Houston socialite Valerie Mather Wainwright. In January 1977, he moved to Texas. "The wedding was so extravagant that his sister and father still recall it with awe. But the marriage of the society daughter and the hardworking political hack didn't last long."[10] Wainright divorced Rove on January 14 1980, when Wainwright was 26 and Rove was 29.[11]

Second marriage
In January 1986, Rove married Darby Tara Hickson, a graphic designer and former employee of Rove + Co. They have a son, Andrew Madison Rove, born in 1987.[5] Hickson is a survivor of breast cancer.

In addition to the University of Utah and the University of Maryland, Rove attended George Mason University from 1973 to 1975, and the University of Texas at Austin in 1977. He does not have a college degree; in July 1999, the Washington Post quoted Rove as saying "I lack at this point one math class, which I can take by exam, and my foreign language requirement."

Residences and voting registration — Texas, DC, and Florida
Rove left Texas after Bush was elected President in late 2000, and now owns a home in the District of Columbia that is valued at $1.1 million. Rove sold his longtime home in Austin in 2003.

In September 2005, the Washington Post reported that Rove had agreed to reimburse the District for an estimated $3,400 in back taxes. The taxes were owed because since 2002, when the law changed, Rove was not entitled to a homestead exemption for his DC house because he was voting elsewhere (in Texas).[12]

Rove registered to vote in Kerr County, about 80 miles west of Austin in the Texas Hill Country, on May 26 2004. The residence that Rove claims on Texas voter registration rolls is two tiny rental cottages, the largest being only 814 square feet. The cottages were part of the River Oaks Lodge[13] that Mr. Rove and his wife, Darby, once owned on the Guadalupe River near Ingram. They sold the lodge in 2003, after renovating it,[4] but kept the two cottages, which the lodge rents to guests. (Darby T. Rove is listed as a director of the new owner of the lodge, Estadio Partners, LLC.)

In early October 2005, a resident of Kerr County filed a complaint with the District Attorney of the county, requesting an investigation into whether Rove and his wife violated Texas state law by illegally registering as voters in Kerr County, since neither had ever lived there.[14] Texas law defines a residence, for voting purposes, as "one's home and fixed place of habitation to which one intends to return after any temporary absence."[15] On November 3 2005, Rex Emerson, the District Attorney, announced that he had determined there was insufficient evidence to prosecute either Rove or his wife, and that his office would close the case without further action.[16][17]

In addition to the $1.1 million home he owns in the District, Rove and his wife have built a home in Florida worth more than $1 million, according to Rove's 2005 financial disclosure form.[18]

The Texas years and notable political campaigns

Rove's initial job in Texas was as a legislative aide for Fred Agnich, a Texas state representative, in Agnich's Dallas office. Later in 1977, Rove got a job as executive director of the Fund for Limited Government, a political action committee (PAC) in Houston headed by James A. Baker, a Houston lawyer (later President George H.W. Bush's Secretary of State). The PAC eventually became the genesis of the Bush-for-President campaign of 1979–1980.

His work for Bill Clements during the Texas gubernatorial race of 1978 helped Clements become the first Republican Governor of Texas in over 100 years. Clements was elected to a four-year term, succeeding scandal-plagued Democrat Dolph Briscoe. Rove was deputy director of the Governor William P. Clements Junior Committee in 1979 and 1980, and deputy executive assistant to the governor of Texas (roughly, Deputy Chief of Staff) in 1980 and 1981.[19]

In 1981, Rove founded a direct mail consulting firm, Karl Rove & Company, in Austin. The firm's first clients included Texas Governor Bill Clements and Democratic congressman Phil Gramm, who later became a Republican congressman and United States Senator. Rove operated his consulting business until 1999, when he sold the firm to take a full-time position in George W. Bush's presidential campaign.

Between 1981 and 1999, Rove worked on hundreds of races. Most were in a supporting role, doing direct mail fundraising. A November 2004 Atlantic Monthly article[20] estimated that he was the primary strategist for 41 statewide, congressional, and national races, and Rove's candidates won 34 races.

Rove also did work during those years for non-political clients. From 1991 to 1996, Rove advised tobacco giant Phillip Morris, and ultimately earned $3,000 a month via a consulting contract. In a deposition, Rove testified that he severed the tie in 1996 because he felt awkward "about balancing that responsibility with his role as Bush's top political advisor" while Bush was governor of Texas and Texas was suing the tobacco industry.[21]

1978 George W. Bush congressional campaign

Rove advised the younger Bush during his unsuccessful Texas congressional campaign in 1978.

1980 George H. W. Bush presidential campaign

In 1977, Rove was the first person hired by George H. W. Bush for his official (ultimately unsuccessful) 1980 presidential campaign, which ended with Bush being selected as Ronald Reagan's vice-presidential nominee. Reagan and Bush won the election, but Rove was fired in the middle of the campaign for leaking information to the press.

1982 William Clements, Jr. gubernatorial campaign

In 1982, Clements ran for reelection, but was defeated by Democrat Mark White.

1982 Phil Gramm congressional campaign

In 1982, Phil Gramm was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a conservative Texas Democrat.

1984 Phil Gramm senatorial campaign

In 1984, Rove helped Gramm, who had become a Republican in 1983, defeat Democrat Lloyd Doggett in the race for U.S. Senate.

1984 Ronald Reagan presidential campaign

Rove handled direct-mail for the Reagan-Bush campaign.

1986 William Clements, Jr. gubernatorial campaign

In 1986, Rove helped Clements become governor a second time. In a strategy memo Rove wrote for his client prior to the race, now among Clements's papers in the Texas A&M University library, Rove quoted Napoleon: "The whole art of war consists in a well-reasoned and extremely circumspect defensive, followed by rapid and audacious attack."

In 1986, just before a crucial debate in campaign, Rove claimed that his office had been bugged by Democrats.[22] The police and FBI investigated and discovered that the bug's battery was so small that it needed to be changed every few hours, and the investigation was dropped.[23] Critics suspected Rove had bugged his own office to garner sympathy votes in the close governor's race.[24]

1988 Texas Supreme Court races

In 1988, Rove helped Tom Phillips become the first Republican elected as Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Phillips had been appointed to the position in November 1987 by Clements. Phillips was re-elected in 1990, 1996 and 2002.

Phillips' election in 1988 was part of an aggressive grassroots campaign called "Clean Slate '88", a bi-partisan (and conservative) effort that was successful in getting five of its six candidates elected. (Ordinarily there were three justices on the ballot each year, on a nine-justice court, but, because of resignations, there were six races for the Supreme Court on the ballot in November 1988.) By 1998, Republicans held all nine seats on the Court.

1990 Texas gubernatorial campaign

In 1989, Rove encouraged George W. Bush to run for Texas governor, brought in experts to tutor him on policy, and introduced him to local reporters. Eventually, Bush decided not to run, and Rove backed another Republican for governor who lost in the primary.

Other 1990 Texas statewide races

In 1990, two other Rove candidates won: Rick Perry, the future governor of the state, became agricultural commissioner, and Kay Bailey Hutchison became state treasurer. The 1990 election was notable because the FBI, earlier that year, had investigated every Democratic officeholder in the state. The FBI investigation nailed Agriculture Commission employees Mike Moeller and senior administrator Pete McRae for soliciting contributions for then-agricultural commissioner Jim Hightower.

1991 Richard Thornburgh senatorial campaign and lawsuit

In 1991, Richard L. Thornburgh resigned as United States Attorney General to run in a special election for a Senate seat in Pennsylvania (vacated by John Heinz, who was killed in a helicopter crash), and hired Rove's company. After Thornburgh's loss to Democrat Harris Wofford, Rove sued Thornburgh and alleged Thornburgh had not paid for services rendered. The Republican National Committee, worried that the suit would make it hard to recruit good candidates, urged Rove to back off. When Rove refused, the RNC hired Kenneth Starr to write an amicus brief on Thornburgh's behalf. The case went to trial in Austin, and Rove won.[25] The Karl Rove & Co. v. Thornburgh case was heard by US Federal Judge Sam Sparks who had been appointed by George HW Bush in 1991.

1992 George H. W. Bush presidential campaign

"Sources close to the former president George H.W. Bush say Rove was fired from the 1992 Bush presidential campaign after he planted a negative story with columnist Robert Novak about dissatisfaction with campaign fundraising chief and Bush loyalist Robert Mosbacher Jr. It was smoked out, and he was summarily ousted" (Esquire Magazine, January 2003). Novak provided some evidence of motive in his column describing the firing of Mosbacher by former Senator Phil Gramm: "Also attending the session was political consultant Karl Rove, who had been shoved aside by Mosbacher." Novak and Rove deny that Rove was the leaker, but Mosbacher maintains, "Rove is the only one with a motive to leak this. We let him go. I still believe he did it."[26] During testimony before the CIA leak grand jury, Rove apparently confirmed his prior involvement with Novak in the 1992 campaign leak, according to National Journal reporter Murray Waas.[27]


1993 Kay Bailey Hutchison senatorial campaign

Rove helped Hutchison win a special Senate election in June 1993. Hutchison defeated Democrat Bob Krueger to fill the last two years of Lloyd Bentsen's term. Bentsen resigned to become Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration.

1994 Alabama Supreme Court races

In 1994, a group called the Business Council of Alabama hired Rove to help run a slate of Republican candidates for the state supreme court. No Republican had been elected to that court in more than a century. The campaign by the Republicans was unprecedented in the state, which had previously only seen low-key contests. After the election, a court battle over absentee and other ballots followed that lasted more than 11 months. It ended when a federal appeals court judge ruled that disputed absentee ballots could not be counted, and ordered the Alabama Secretary of State to certify the Republican candidate for Chief Justice, Perry Hooper, as the winner. An appeal to the Supreme Court by the Democratic candidate was turned down within a few days, making the ruling final. Hooper won by 262 votes.

Another candidate, Harold See, ran against Mark Kennedy, an incumbent Democratic justice and the son-in-law of George Wallace. The race included charges that Kennedy was mingling campaign funds with those of a nonprofit children's foundation he was involved with. A former Rove staffer reported that some within the See camp initiated a whisper campaign that Kennedy was a pedophile.[20] Kennedy won by less than one percentage point.

1994 John Ashcroft senatorial campaign
In 1993, according to the New York Times, Karl Rove & Company was paid $300,000 in consulting fees by Ashcroft's successful 1994 Senate campaign. Ashcroft was a satisfied customer, and paid Rove's company more than $700,000 over the course of three campaigns.

1994 George W. Bush gubernatorial campaign
In 1993, Rove began advising George W. Bush in his successful campaign to become governor of Texas. Bush announced his candidacy in November 1993. By January 1994, Bush had spent more than $600,000 on the race against incumbent Democrat Ann Richards, with $340,000 of that paid to Rove's firm.
Rove has been accused of using supposed pollsters to call voters to ask such things as whether people would be "more or less likely to vote for Governor Richards if [they] knew her staff is dominated by lesbians." During the race, a regional chairman of the Bush campaign was quoted criticizing Richards for "appointing avowed homosexual activists" to state jobs. Only circumstantial evidence links Rove to the push-polling.

1996 Harold See campaign for Associate Justice, Alabama Supreme Court
According to a Rove employee, Rove was dissatisfied with the campaign's progress and printed flyers — absent any trace of who was behind them — attacking See and his family. See won the race.[20]

1998 George W. Bush gubernatorial campaign
Rove was an adviser for Bush's 1998 reelection campaign. From July through December 1998, Bush’s reelection committee paid Karl Rove & Co. nearly $2.5 million, and also paid the Rove-owned Praxis List Company $267,000 for use of mailing lists. Rove says his work for the Bush campaign included direct mail, voter contact, phone banks, computer services, and travel expenses. Of the $2.5 million, Rove said, "About 30 percent of that is postage." In all, Bush (primarily through Rove's efforts) raised $17.7 million, with $3.4 million unspent as of March 1999.[28]

2000 Harold See campaign for Chief Justice

For the race to succeed Perry Hooper, who was retiring as Alabama's chief justice, Rove lined up support for See from a majority of the state's important Republicans. The See campaign significantly outspent the opposition, but See was badly beaten by Roy Moore, who succeeded in making the race about religion.

2000 George W. Bush presidential campaign and the sale of Rove + Company

In early 1999, Rove sold his 20-year-old direct-mail business, Rove + Co., which provided campaign services to candidates, along with Praxis List Company (in whole or part) to Ted Delisi and Todd Olsen, two young political operatives who had worked on campaigns of some other Rove candidates. Rove helped finance the sale of the company, which had 11 employees. Selling Rove + Company was a condition that George W. Bush had insisted on before Rove took the job of chief strategist for Bush's presidential bid.[29]

During the bitterly-contested 2000 Republican primary, allegations were made that Rove was responsible for a South Carolina push poll that used racist innuendo intended to undermine the support of Bush rival John McCain: "Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?"[30] Although McCain campaign manager Richard Davis said he "had no idea who had made those calls, who paid for them, or how many were made", the authors of the 2003 book and subsequent film Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential,[31] allege that Rove was involved. In the movie, John Weaver, political director for McCain's 2000 campaign bid, says "I believe I know where that decision was made; it was at the top of the [Bush] campaign." Rove has denied any such involvement. [32]

After the presidential elections in November 2000, Rove organized an emergency response of Republican politicians and supporters to go to Florida to assist the Bush campaign's position during the Florida recount.

George W. Bush Administration

George W. Bush was first inaugurated in January 2001, and Rove accepted a position in the Bush administration as Senior Advisor to the President. The President's confidence in Rove has been so strong that during a meeting with South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun on 14 May 2003, he brought only Rove and then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Rove has played a significant role in shaping policy at the White House. One oft-cited example is that terror warnings were regularly made at times when John Kerry's ratings rose during the 2004 presidential election, or the 2006 announcement that planned terrorist attacks had been thwarted, which was made at a time of increased pressure on the White House due to the a domestic wire-tapping scandal.[citation needed] Karl Rove was reassigned from his policy development role to one focusing on strategic and tactical planning in April 2006, the same month that Joshua Bolten replaced Andrew Card as White House Chief of Staff.[33]

White House Iraq Group

In 2002 and 2003 Rove chaired meetings of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), a secretive internal White House working group established by August 2002, eight months prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. According to CNN and Newsweek, WHIG was “charged with developing a strategy for publicizing the White House's assertion that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the United States.”[34] WHIG's existence and membership was first identified in a Washington Post article by Barton Gellman and Walter Pincus on August 10 2003; members of WHIG included Bush’s Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Rice, her deputy Stephen Hadley, Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby, legislative liaison Nicholas E. Calio, and communication strategists Mary Matalin, Karen Hughes, and James R. Wilkinson. Quoting one of WHIG's members without identifying him or her by name, the Washington Post explained that the task force's mission was to “educate the public” about the threat posed by Hussein and (in the reporters' words) “to set strategy for each stage of the confrontation with Baghdad.” Rove's "strategic communications" task force within WHIG helped write and coordinate speeches by senior Bush administration officials, emphasizing in September 2002 the theme of Iraq's purported nuclear threat.[35]

The White House Iraq Group was “little known” until a subpoena for its notes, email, and attendance records was issued by CIA leak investigator Patrick Fitzgerald in January 2004, a legal move first reported in the press and acknowledged by the White House on March 5 2004.[36][37]

Allegations of conflict of interest

In March 2001, Rove met with executives from Intel and successfully advocated a merger between a Dutch company and an Intel company supplier. Rove owned $100,000 in Intel stock at the time but had been advised by Fred Fielding, the White House's transition counsel, to defer selling the stock in January to obtain ethics panel approval. Rove offered no advice on the merger which needed to be approved by a joint Pentagon-Treasury Department panel since it would give a foreign company access to sensitive military technology.[38] In June 2001, Rove met with two pharmaceutical industry lobbyists. At the time, Rove held almost $250,000 in drug industry stocks. On June 30 2001, Rove divested his stocks in 23 companies, which included more than $100,000 in each of Enron, Boeing, General Electric, and Pfizer. The same day, the White House confirmed reports that Rove had been involved in administration energy policy meetings while at the same time holding stock in energy companies including Enron.

Criticized "liberal response" to 9/11

At a fund-raiser in New York City for the Conservative Party of New York State in June 2005, Rove said, "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." Democrats demanded Rove's resignation or an apology, and pointed out that every Democratic Senator voted for military force against Al-Qaeda in retaliation for the September 11 attacks in the United States.[39][40]

Families Of September 11, an organization founded in October 2001 by families of some of those who died in the terrorist attack, requested Rove "stop trying to reap political gain in the tragic misfortune of others."[41] In contrast, the Bush administration characterized Rove's comments as "very accurate" and stated that the calls for an apology were "somewhat puzzling", since he was "simply pointing out the different philosophies when it comes to winning the War on Terrorism."[42][43]

2004 George W. Bush presidential campaign

Bush publicly thanked Rove and called him "the architect" in his 2004 victory speech, after defeating John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.[44]

During the campaign, critics alleged that Rove had professional ties to the producers of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth television ads that criticized Kerry's Vietnam-era military service and public testimony against American soldiers, although no evidence of Rove's direct involvement was ever produced.[1]

A few months after the election, Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) publicly alleged that Rove engineered the Killian documents controversy during the 2004 campaign, by planting fake anti-Bush documents with CBS News to deflect attention from Bush's service record during the Vietnam War, but other than Rove's supposed motive, no evidence supporting this speculation has ever been publicized. Rove himself has denied any involvement, and Hinchey himself admitted he had no evidence to support this claim.[2], [3]

Administration response to Hurricane Katrina

In August 2005, Bush assigned Rove to oversee the administration's political 'damage control' effort following Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.

Plame affair

Main article: Plame affair

On 29 August 2003, retired ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV claimed that Rove leaked the identity of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA employee,[45] allegedly in retaliation for Wilson's op-ed in The New York Times in which he criticized the Bush Administration's citation of the yellowcake documents among the justifications for the War in Iraq enumerated in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address. Wilson further claimed that as his wife was a CIA "operative" this was a criminal act. On June 13, 2006, prosecutors determined there was no reason to charge Rove with any wrongdoing.[46] Though the Plame investigation continues, Fitzgerald stated previously that "very rarely do you bring a charge in a case that's going to be tried in which you ever end a grand jury investigation. I can tell you that the substantial bulk of the work of this investigation is concluded." In late August 2006 it became known that Richard L. Armitage was responsible for the leak. The investigation led to felony charges being filed against Scooter Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice. Eventually, Libby was found guilty by a jury. One juror announced that she felt that Libby was being used as a scapegoat and wondered why Rove himself wasn't charged.[47]

Rove's email to Hadley

In an email sent by Karl Rove to top White House security official Stephen Hadley immediately after his 11 July 2003 discussion with Matt Cooper, Rove claimed that he tried to steer Cooper away from allegations Wilson was making about faulty Iraq intelligence. "Matt Cooper called to give me a heads-up that he's got a welfare reform story coming", Rove wrote to Hadley. "When he finished his brief heads-up he immediately launched into Niger. Isn't this damaging? Hasn't the president been hurt? I didn't take the bait, but I said if I were him I wouldn't get Time far out in front on this." Rove made no mention to Hadley in the e-mail of having leaked Plame's CIA identity, nor of having revealed classified information to a reporter, nor of having told the reporter that certain sensitive information would soon be declassified.[48] Although Rove wrote to Hadley (and perhaps testified) that the initial subject of his conversation with Cooper was welfare reform and that Cooper turned the conversation to Wilson and the Niger mission, Cooper disputed this suggestion in his grand jury testimony and subsequent statements: "I can't find any record of talking about [welfare reform] with him on July 11 [2003], and I don't recall doing so", Cooper said.[49]

Karl Rove revealed as one source of TIME article

On 10 July 2005, Newsweek posted a story from its July 18 print edition which quoted one of the e-mails written by Time reporter Matthew Cooper in the days following the publication of Wilson's op-ed piece.[50] Writing to TIME bureau chief Michael Duffy on 11 July 2003, three days before Novak's column was published, Cooper recounted a two-minute conversation with Karl Rove "on double super secret background" in which Rove said that Wilson's wife was a CIA employee: "it was, KR [Karl Rove] said, Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on WMD issues who authorized the trip." In a TIME article released 17 July 2005, Cooper says Rove ended his conversation by saying "I've already said too much."

In addition, Rove told Cooper that CIA Director George Tenet did not authorize Wilson's trip to Niger, and that "not only the genesis of the trip [to Niger] is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report" which Wilson made upon his return from Africa. Rove "implied strongly there's still plenty to implicate Iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger", gave Cooper a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." Cooper recommended that his bureau chief assign a reporter to contact the CIA for further confirmation, and indicated that the tip should not be sourced to Rove or even to the White House.

Cooper testified before a grand jury on 13 July 2005, confirming that Rove was the source who told him Wilson's wife was an employee of the CIA. In the 17 July 2005 TIME Magazine article detailing his grand jury testimony, Cooper wrote that Rove never used Plame's name nor indicated that she had covert status, although Rove did apparently convey that certain information relating to her was classified: "As for Wilson's wife, I told the grand jury I was certain that Rove never used her name and that, indeed, I did not learn her name until the following week, when I either saw it in Robert Novak's column or Googled her, I can't recall which,...[but] was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the C.I.A. and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes. Did Rove say that she worked at the 'agency' on 'W.M.D.'? Yes. When he said things would be declassified soon, was that itself impermissible? I don't know. Is any of this a crime? Beats me."[49]

On 13 August 2005 journalist Murray Waas reported that Justice Department and FBI officials had recommended appointing a special prosecutor to the case because they felt that Rove had not been truthful in early interviews, withholding from FBI investigators his conversation with Cooper about Plame and maintaining that he had first learned of Plame's CIA identity from a journalist whose name Rove could not recall.[51]

Following the revelations in the Libby indictment, sixteen former CIA and military intelligence officials urged President Bush to suspend Karl Rove's security clearance for his part in outing CIA officer Valerie Plame.[52]

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, told reporters on June 13 2006 that he had received notification from Fitzgerald indicating that Rove would not be charged with any crimes in the investigation into the leak of Plame's identity, effectively ending the matter for Karl Rove.

* On 12 May 2006, freelance journalist Jason Leopold, writing for Truthout, claimed that Rove had been served with an indictment: "[Fitzgerald] instructed one of the attorneys to tell Rove that he has 24 [business] hours to get his affairs in order."[53] This was met by a categorical denial from a Rove spokesman. Rumors of Rove's possible impending indictment swirled through the blogosphere multiple times in the Spring of 2006.
* On July 11, 2005, Robert Novak said that Rove had discussed Plame with him. On July 15, 2005, Rove's lawyers said that Rove told Novak he had "heard that, too" in reference to Valerie Plame's status as a CIA employee, but was unaware at the time of the name "Valerie Plame." Rove claims to have learned of her name from his conversation with Novak.[54]
* On July 13, 2006 Valerie Plame sued Vice President Cheney, Rove, Libby, and others, accusing them of conspiring to destroy her career.[55]

2006 Congressional elections and beyond

On October 24, two weeks before the election, in an interview with National Public Radio's Robert Siegel, Rove brashly insisted that his insider polling data forecast Republican retention of both houses:

SIEGEL: I'm looking at all the same polls that you are looking at.

ROVE: No, you are not. I'm looking at 68 polls a week for candidates for the US House and US Senate, and Governor and you may be looking at 4-5 public polls a week that talk attitudes nationally.

SIEGEL: I don't want to have you to call races...

ROVE: I'm looking at all of these Robert and adding them up. I add up to a Republican Senate and Republican House. You may end up with a different math but you are entitled to your math and I'm entitled to THE math.[56]

In the election the Democrats won both houses of Congress. The White House Bulletin, published by Bulletin News, cited rumors of Rove's impending departure from the White House staff: "'Karl represents the old style and he’s got to go if the Democrats are going to believe Bush’s talk of getting along,' said a key Bush advisor."[57] However, while allowing that many Republican members of Congress are "resentful of the way he and the White House conducted the losing campaign", the New York Times also stated that, "White House officials say President Bush has every intention of keeping Mr. Rove on through the rest of his term."[58]

Prior to the election, Rove voiced impatience with the notion that his own reputation is on the ballot. He told the Washington Post, "I understand some will see the election as a judgment on me, but the fact of the matter is that, look what has been set in motion -- a broader, deeper, strengthened Republican Party, and with an emphasis on grass-roots neighbor-to-neighbor politics, is going to continue."[59] After the election, Rove continued to express optimism, telling the Post, "The Republican philosophy is alive and well and likely to reemerge in the majority in 2008." Rove also told the Post that the GOP election strategy was working until the Mark Foley scandal put the Republican campaign "back on its heels." Rove added "We were on a roll, and [the Foley scandal] stopped it...It revived all the stuff about Jack Abramoff and added to it." In Rove's analysis, 10 of the 28 House seats Republicans lost were sacrificed because of various scandals. Another six, he said, were lost because incumbents did not recognize and react quickly enough to the threat. So without corruption and complacency, he argued, Republicans could have kept narrow control of the house regardless of Bush's troubles and the war.[60]

In analyzing the results of the 2006 midterm election, Rove told Time, "The profile of corruption in the exit polls was bigger than I'd expected...Abramoff, lobbying, Foley and Haggard added to the general distaste that people have for all things Washington, and it just reached critical mass...Iraq mattered, but it was more frustration than it was an explicit call for withdrawal. If this was a get-out-now call for withdrawal, then Lamont would not have been beaten by Lieberman. Iraq does play a role, but not the critical, central role." Again, Rove expressed optimism for the future of the GOP, and defended the role of the Republican get-out-the-vote program he helped invent. He told Time, "I see this as much more of a transient, passing thing...The Republican Party remains at its core a small-government, low-tax, limit-spending, traditional-values, strong-defense party. I see the power of the ideas, even in a tough year...People were talking 35, 40 or more and it didn't happen. There were a number of elections which were supposed to be close and ended up not being close."[61] He added that he has "fundamental confidence in the power of the underlying agenda of this President", and cited fighting the war on terror, entitlement reform, energy, tax cuts, immigration reform, No Child Left Behind reauthorization, democracy agenda in the Middle East, reducing trade barriers, spending restraint and legal reform.

In the January 29, 2007 issue of Newsweek, GOP activist Grover Norquist described how Rove showed up at a weekly meeting of influential D.C. conservatives early in the month, surprising attendees with his bubbly demeanor after weeks of rumors that he might be headed out. Norquist was quoted as saying "I think some people had given him up for dead, but he was good old Karl, upbeat and enthusiastic." At the meeting Rove previewed Bush's final two years in office, saying Social Security reform was likely off the table and that Iraq and the economy would be the biggest issues for 2008. "I don't know anyone who holds him personally responsible for what happened to us in the election", said a GOP national committee member, who declined to be named talking about the inner circle. "But his stature isn't quite the same." According to Newsweek, "behind the scenes, according to administration officials (anonymous in order to discuss White House matters), Rove has been laying the groundwork for Bush's State of the Union address and mulling how the GOP can regain momentum in 2008...Rove has been busy trying to find common ground with Dems, organizing two meetings between Bush and the Blue Dog Democrats, a coalition of conservative lawmakers who offer the White House its best chance at compromise with the new Congress. Rove also sat in on many of Bush's meetings with members of Congress in recent weeks about Iraq."[62]

Firing of US Attorneys
Allen Weh, chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, said he complained in 2005 about then-U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to a White House aid for Rove, asking that Iglesias be removed.[63] Then in 2006 Rove personally told Weh “He’s gone,” Rove said.[63] Weh was dissatisfied with Iglesias due in part to his failure to indict Democrats in a voter fraud investigation. Weh followed up with, "There’s nothing we’ve done that’s wrong."[63] Last week the White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, said Rove "wasn’t involved in who was going to be fired or hired."[63]

According to Newsweek, "Kyle Sampson, Alberto Gonzales's chief of staff, developed the list of eight prosecutors to be fired last October—with input from the White House."[64]

Timothy Griffin, a former Rove aide, was the a replacement for fired attorney Henry Cummins.[65] Specifically, Sampson sent an email that stated "The vast majority of U.S. attorneys, 80-85 percent I would guess, are doing a great job, are loyal Bushies, etc., etc." Later in the e-mail, Sampson wrote that home-state senators may resist replacing prosecutors "they recommended. That said, if Karl thinks there would be political will to do it, then so do I."[66]

On March 14 2007 Sen. Peter Fitzgerald "believes Rove was trying to influence the selection in reaction to pressure from Rep. Dennis Hastert, then speaker of the House, and allies of then-Gov. George Ryan, who knew Fitzgerald was seeking someone from outside Illinois to attack political corruption."[67]

In emails released by Congress on March 15 2007 "the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys was raised by Karl Rove in early January 2005, indicating Rove was more involved in the plan than previously acknowledged by the White House"[68]

E-Mail scandal
Due to investigations into White House staffers e-mail communication related to the firing of United States Attorneys, it was discovered that many White House staff members including Karl Rove had exchanged documents using Republican National Committee e-mail servers such as gwb43.com[69], or personal e-mail accounts with third party providers such as BlackBerry[70], considered a violation of the Presidential Records Act. Over 500 of Karl Rove's emails were mistakenly sent to a parody web site, who forwarded them to an investigative reporter[71].

Suspicion of involvement in providing the potentially illegal e-mail accounts was cast on two Chattanooga, TN companies, Smartech Corporation and Coptix. Coptix received national media attention during the first week of April in which they created and distributed a photoshopped photo of Karl Rove making him appear to be holding a folder with the Coptix logo on the cover, 'causing many to conclude that a connection between Karl Rove and Coptix was real. This was shown to have been a "prank"[72] and was called an "experiment."[73] Blogs such as Wonkette - which called the hoax photo "a crime scene"[74] - and DailyKos ran the doctored photo and claimed (as Wonkette put it) that it proved "without a doubt that Karl Rove is illegally running all the White House e-mail through a private company" to avoid the automatic archiving of the White House email system.[75] The faked photograph contained Sleestaks on a television in the background of the photo.

Investigation by the Office of Special Counsel
On April 24, 2007, it was revealed that Karl Rove is being investigated by the Office of Special Counsel for his involvement in the email scandal, the firing of US attorneys, and for "improper political influence over government decision-making." "The 106-person Office of Special Counsel has never conducted such a broad and high-profile inquiry."[76] In response to this investigation and other pending complaints, 2004 Democratic candidate for U.S. Vice President and current 2008 presidential hopeful John Edwards initiated a petition drive calling for Rove's firing by President Bush.[77]

Rove / Nixon

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Karl Christian Rove (born December 25, 1950) is Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush until his scheduled departure due to resignation at the end of August 2007. He has headed the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives. For most of his career prior to his employment at the White House, Rove was a political consultant almost exclusively for Republican candidates.

Rove's election campaign clients have included George W. Bush (2000 and 2004 presidential elections, 1994 and 1998 Texas gubernatorial elections), Senator John Ashcroft (1994 US Senate election), Bill Clements (1986 Texas gubernatorial election), Senator John Cornyn, Governor Rick Perry (1990 Texas Agriculture Commission election), and Phil Gramm (1982 US House and 1984 U.S. Senate elections).

On April 23, 2007, a federal agency launched an extensive investigation into the activities of the White House's political operation and its architect, Karl Rove. It is checking whether Rove or other White House aides broke federal laws by making political presentations to government employees encouraging them to find ways to support Republican candidates.

On August 13, 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported that Rove would resign from his role in the Administration to return to Texas, effective August 31.[1] According to an interview with Rove conducted by the editor of the Journal editorial page, Rove first floated the idea of resigning in mid-2006 but stayed with the administration through the mid-term election cycle. He plans to focus his time after resignation on teaching and writing.

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Top aide to Bush steps down

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Karl Rove to Resign at End of August
Rove Leaving Bush Administration at End of August, Plans to Spend Time With Family
Karl Rove, President Bush's close friend and chief political strategist, announced Monday he will leave the White House at the end of August, joining a lengthening line of senior officials heading for the exits in the final 1½ years of the administration.

On board with Bush since the beginning of his political career in Texas, Rove was nicknamed "the architect" and "boy genius" by the president for designing the strategy that twice won him the White House. Critics call Rove "Bush's brain."

"Karl Rove is moving on down the road," Bush said. "We've been friends for a long time and we're still going to be friends. Bush looked grim, standing with Rove on the South Lawn. "I would call Karl Rove a dear friend," Bush said, noting that his own term is running down. "I'll be on the road behind you here in a bit."

Rove, his voice quivering at times, said, "I'm grateful to have been a witness to history. It has been the joy and the honor of a lifetime."

"At month's end," Rove said, "I will join those whom you meet in your travels, the ordinary Americans who tell you they are praying for you."

A criminal investigation put Rove under scrutiny for months during the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's name but he was never charged with any crime. In a more recent controversy, Rove, citing executive privilege, has refused to testify before Congress about the firing of U.S. attorneys.

Bush was expected to make a statement Monday with Rove. Later Monday, Rove, his wife and their son were to accompany Bush on Air Force One when the president flies to Texas for his vacation.

Rove's departure reinforces Bush's lame-duck stature and declining influence, particularly with Democrats in control on Capitol hill.

"Obviously it's a big loss to us," White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said. "He's a great colleague, a good friend, and a brilliant mind. He will be greatly missed, but we know he wouldn't be going if he wasn't sure this was the right time to be giving more to his family, his wife Darby and their son. He will continue to be one of the president's greatest friends.

Since Democrats won control of Congress in November, some top administration officials have announced their resignations. Among those who have left are White House counselor Dan Bartlett, budget director Rob Portman, chief White House attorney Harriet Miers, political director Sara Taylor, deputy national security adviser J.D. Crouch and Meghan O'Sullivan, another deputy national security adviser who worked on Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was forced out immediately after the election as the unpopular war in Iraq dragged on.

Rove became one of Washington's most influential figures during Bush's presidency. He is known as a ruthless political warrior who has an encyclopedic command of political minutiae and a wonkish love of policy. Rove met Bush in the early 1970s, when both men were in their 20s.

Once inside the White House, Rove grew into a right-hand man. Rove is expected to write a book after he leaves. He disclosed his departure in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. He said he decided to leave after White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten told senior aides that if they stayed past Labor Day they would be obliged to remain through the end of the president's term in January 2009.

"I just think it's time," Rove said in an interview at his home on Saturday. He first floated the idea of leaving to Bush a year ago, the newspaper said, and friends confirmed he'd been talking about it even earlier. However, he said he didn't want to depart right after the Democrats regained control of Congress and then got drawn into policy battles over the Iraq war and immigration.

"There's always something that can keep you here, and as much as I'd like to be here, I've got to do this for the sake of my family," said Rove, who has been in the White House since Bush took office in 2001.

Rove's son attends college in San Antonio and he said he and his wife plan to spend much of their time at their nearby home in Ingram.

Rove, currently the deputy White House chief of staff, has been the president's political guru for years and worked with Bush since he first ran for governor of Texas in 1993.

Even as he discussed his departure, Rove remained characteristically sunny. This quality of unrelenting optimism about the president, which matches Bush's own upbeat, never-admit-disappointment nature, has at times gotten Rove into trouble.

Up to the end of the 2006 midterm elections, the political guru predicted a Republican win. That of course was not to be, and there was grumbling that Rove wasn't on his game during those elections as much as he had been before.

In the interview, Rove predicted Bush will regain his popularity, which has sunk to record lows because of the war in Iraq.

Rove also predicted conditions in Iraq would improve and that the Democrats would nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, calling her "a tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate."

Rove does not intend to work for any candidate in the 2008 presidential election, White House press secretary Tony Snow said.

Rove testified before a federal grand jury in the investigation into the leak of the name of Valerie Plame, a CIA officer whose husband was a critic of the war in Iraq. That investigation led to the conviction of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby on charges of lying and obstructing justice. Plame contends the White House was trying to discredit her husband.

Attorneys for Libby told jurors at the onset of his trial that Libby was the victim of a conspiracy to protect Rove. Details of any save-Rove conspiracy were promised but never materialized.

The most explicit testimony on Rove came from columnist Robert Novak, who outed Plame in a July 2003 column. He testified that Rove, a frequent source, was one of two officials who told him about Plame. Libby, with whom he seldom spoke, was not a source.

Rove, though, was not indicted after testifying five times before the grand jury, occasionally correcting misstatements he made in his earlier testimony.

The jury in Libby's trial did not hear that testimony, nor did it hear that Rove is credited as an architect of Republican political victories and has been accused by opponents of playing dirty tricks.

All that jurors heard is that Rove leaked Plame's identity and, from the outset, got political cover from the White House. He was never charged with a crime.

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Rove's dream lost in sands of Iraq

Karl Rove will enter history as the most influential political strategist of the modern presidency. James Carville, Dick Morris, Lee Atwater, etc. -- all were important but none as significant. One has to go back some 60 years to the partnership between Clark Clifford and Harry Truman or further back to Louis Howe with Franklin Roosevelt to find anyone as close and instrumental in helping a candidate win and then exercise power.

But the historical analogy that once seemed to fit even better has now vanished into the mist. Early on, Karl Rove was to Bush what Mark Hanna was to William McKinley -- the power behind the throne of a president who built an enduring Republican majority, one that lasted more than 30 years. Rove and Bush together brought that dream to the White House and for a while they were succeeding -- witness the elections of 2000, 2002 and 2004. But that dream has now gone smash, disappearing into the sands of Iraq.

What will Rove's final legacy be? To be fair to him, the final chapters have not been written. If fortunes turn up for his boss -- as Rove doggedly insists -- his own legacy will brighten, too. But let us hope that with Rove's departure, we may also see an end to some of the ways he and his boss have practiced political leadership. To wit:

* Bush and Rove have tried to govern most of the time by steamrolling their opponents -- often demonizing them -- and winning with just 51 percent of the vote. It doesn't work and it undermines our politics. The next president needs to get back to the tradition that the best way to make big changes in the country is through a bipartisanship that builds super-majorities. That's what the great leaders like FDR and Reagan did.
* Bush and Rove introduced the idea that the way to win the White House as a Republican is to run to the right to gain the GOP nomination and then stay to the right to win the election. They thought the center had disappeared. But their approach deepened the partisan divides and made our politics even more poisonous. Let us hope the nominees in 2008 run a race more to the center, trying to build coalitions that will not only bring victory but make governance possible.
* Finally, Bush and Rove came to be seen as practicing a mean-spirited politics -- a politics that seemed comfortable with smearing opponents. Just ask John and Cindy McCain about their experience in the South Carolina primary in 2000. Bush and Rove were not the first to engage in the politics of personal destruction -- some Democrats of the past have come straight out of the pages of Machiavelli. And no doubt, Bush and Rove believe they, too, have been vilified. They are right. But with the country now facing challenges that are both huge and urgent, could we not find a better way with Rove heading out the door?

Strangely enough, maybe Rove can even help. He has one of the best minds in modern politics, and underneath the veneer, I have often found him to have a decency that gets lost to view in the hurly burly. As he steps back from the fray, he could well become an advocate of a better politics. Remember Lee Atwater's conversion?

Patrick Leahy: Hearing Statements about Whitehouse Refusals

Rove, Still Under Subpoena, Remains Unlikely to Testify
WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 — Karl Rove will depart the White House still under subpoena to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but his resignation will almost certainly not make his appearance more likely.

Mr. Rove had been summoned to appear before the Senate panel on Aug. 2 to testify about last year’s dismissals of federal prosecutors and efforts by the Justice Department to favor Bush loyalists for nonpartisan legal jobs.

Two junior former White House officials, Sara M. Taylor, a former political director, and J. Scott Jennings, a former deputy political director, have testified before the Senate panel. But the White House refused to make Mr. Rove available, just as it has refused to allow testimony by others, including Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, who was subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee but did not appear before it.

In these cases, Fred F. Fielding, the White House counsel, has invoked executive privilege, citing the need for confidentiality in White House deliberations.

A White House spokesman said Monday that the privilege claim would not be affected by Mr. Rove’s resignation. The spokesman, Tony Fratto, said, “The privilege assertions remain intact.”

Legal experts said that while the executive privilege is a murky legal area, Mr. Rove had a valid claim that it remained in effect after he left the White House.

“It would be amazing if the White House considered executive privilege to be waived by his departure,” said Cass R. Sunstein, a law professor at the University of Chicago.

Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Senate committee, suggested Monday that Mr. Rove was resigning under Congressional pressure.

“The list of senior White House and Justice Department officials who have resigned during the course of these Congressional investigations continues to grow,” Mr. Leahy said, “and today, Mr. Rove added his name to that list.”

Representative John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the investigations had raised many unanswered questions.

“We will continue to seek answers to these questions and expect full cooperation of Mr. Rove and other officials regardless of whether they are employed by the White House,” Mr. Conyers said.

The White House has said Mr. Rove did not instigate the dismissals of the United States attorneys and had little role in the matter. But evidence of his involvement has surfaced in e-mail and other communications released by the Justice Department.

At one point, department officials said in e-mail messages that Mr. Rove wanted to oust a sitting prosecutor in Arkansas to make room for J. Timothy Griffin, a former Rove aide. Mr. Rove was also among those at the White House who pushed for more vigorous enforcement of voter fraud cases.

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Rove's departure the latest loss for Bush
WASHINGTON - Karl Rove's dramatic departure as President George W. Bush's closest White House adviser is the latest sign that Bush is heading toward the exit as Americans prepare to choose his replacement next year.

Rove's departure - effective at the end of the month - leaves Bush facing the loss of his most trusted political adviser as he heads into the final year and a half of his presidency. The two men have been friends for three decades and have been politically inseparable for the past 14 years.

But Rove, in a telephone interview with McClatchy Newspapers, said he expects to continue to have an advisory role with Bush, who told him, "I know your phone number and you'd better know mine." Rove also expects congressional Democrats to continue efforts to get him to testify in an inquiry into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys.

"They're going to keep coming after me," Rove said. "They've got a bunch of guys auditioning for the role of Captain Ahab, and I'm Moby Dick."

Rove, widely credited with Bush's 2000 presidential victory and subsequent re-election, said he is leaving to spend more time with his family.

But key Democrats questioned the timing of the decision while Congress is demanding Rove's testimony in its U.S. attorneys investigation.

"Now that he is leaving the White House while under subpoena, I continue to ask what Mr. Rove and others at the White House are so desperate to hide," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

Bush and Rove appeared before reporters on the South Lawn of the White House yesterday to discuss the decision, then embraced afterward.

Rove earlier announced his intentions in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

"It's been an exhilarating and eventful time," an emotional Rove told Bush. "Through it all, you've been the same man."

"Karl is moving on down the road," Bush said, calling Rove a "dear friend." The president, who leaves office in January 2009, told his longtime aide, "I'll be on the road behind you here in a little bit." Rove's decision marks the latest in a series of high-profile departures from an administration beset by internal problems and mounting disapproval from the public. He is the last of a cadre of Texas advisers who followed Bush to Washington to become part of the White House inner circle.

Some of Rove's duties are likely to be absorbed by White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and recently named presidential counselor Ed Gillespie, a former National Republican Committee chairman. But no one is expected to fill Rove's shoes completely or replicate the bond that existed between Bush and his longtime aide.

"It's a big loss for Bush from the standpoint that Rove combined in one person a variety of attributes that Bush will now get from a variety of people," said Bruce Buchanan of Austin, a presidential scholar at the University of Texas. "I don't know of anyone other than his dad [former President George H.W. Bush] with whom the president will have a similar bond of trust."



Rove became chairman of the College Republicans. During his time in Washington, D.C., he became a special assistant to then-Republican National Committee Chairman George H.W. Bush and met George W. Bush.


Worked for a political action committee dedicated to making the elder Bush president in 1980.


Advised younger Bush during his unsuccessful Texas congressional campaign.


Assisted George H.W. Bush's unsuccessful presidential campaign.

Adviser for George W. Bush's successful Texas gubernatorial campaign.


Adviser for Gov. Bush's successful re-election campaign.


Chief strategist for Bush's presidential campaign.


Chief strategist for re-election campaign.


Assistant to the president, deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to President George W. Bush.

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Exit the architect
He twice secured the ultimate political prize for George Bush - the Oval Office - but Karl Rove's legacy may eventually damage his beloved Republican Party. By Ken Herman and Peter Baker.

Karl Rove, the architect behind President's George Bush's two electoral victories and who became his chief adviser, leaves the White House far from victorious.

The deputy White House chief of staff - who on Monday announced he will resign to spend time with his family - will exit unbowed and unindicted, but also under investigation and unsuccessful in meeting a goal even more ambitious than navigating his friend to the Oval Office.

For Rove, the bigger picture has always been establishing a durable Republican majority to serve as a marker in American history and a linchpin of the legacy of the presidency he crafted.

"Karl Rove is moving on down the road," an emotional President Bush said on Monday on the White House south lawn.

It's a road that began when the two men met in 1973 and has included a string of victorious election days that came to a resounding end last November when voters gave Democrats control of Congress.

A thumpin', is what Bush called it.

But the description by presidential historian Rick Shenkman, editor of George Mason University's History News Network, is more clinical and devastating: "In fact, Rove has killed the Republicans and assured that at least for one election cycle, and maybe several, the Democrats are going to benefit from George W. Bush having been in power."

Wrong, Rove said on Monday in a telephone interview after flying to Texas on board Air Force One with Bush.

The durable majority, he insisted, remains doable, and any current indicators are merely temporary lows on a political road always marked by highs and lows.

Rove's 35 years on the political scene have been marked by highs and lows - election-day victories surrounded by the hint of intrigue and scandal.

Funny, gracious, energetic, crafty, acerbic, cutthroat and tempestuous, Rove has been perhaps the Administration's most celebrated and polarising figure. A college dropout who worked in the 1970s for George Bush snr, he got to know George Bush jnr and later orchestrated his rise to the Texas governor's mansion and the White House.

"The Architect," the younger Bush once called him. "Bush's brain," derided the critics.

Rove became famous for a brand of politics that emphasised appealing to his party's conservative base and painting Democrats as weak on national security. With his eye on history, he hoped to realign national politics with far-reaching plans to steer taxpayer money to faith-based groups, rewrite immigration laws to appeal to the growing Hispanic population and redefine government to favour more market-based approaches in social security, taxes and other arenas.

But his second-term agenda collapsed with the popularity of the President and the Iraq war.

A former Texas Republican Party chairman and long-time Rove critic, Thomas Pauken, says it is dangerous to put political consultants in charge of policy. "The combination of big government conservatism and the extraordinary neo-conservative influence on foreign policy has been devastating," he says.

Colleagues have dismissed what they called the caricature of Rove. "There's this notion that there's this devious puppetmaster in the back room pulling all the strings," said Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes, a former White House colleague and Texas compatriot. "It's just absurd to all of us who have worked with Karl closely."

At the same time, Rove was at the heart of nearly every decision. "Basically, any important policy of the President has been something that Karl has been involved in the development of," said fellow deputy chief of staff Joel Kaplan.

Still others have branded him a liar and criminal for a career that left a trail of political skullduggery, including continuing congressional investigations and grand jury testimony about the leaking of the name of a covert CIA officer, Valerie Plame Wilson.

Calling Rove's resignation "the final chapter" in the Administration's betrayal of his wife's identity, former ambassador Joe Wilson deplored the nature of Rove's exit.

"Not only was (Rove) not summarily dismissed," Wilson said, "but (he) has been allowed to leave on his own terms, to praise from the President."

Rove was identified by journalists as one of the leakers of Plame's identity, ostensibly in retaliation for her husband's questioning of the Bush motive for the war in Iraq.

Grand jurors examined Rove's role in the case but did not indict him.

More recently, citing executive privilege, Rove refused to show up for a congressional hearing concerning the firing of federal prosecutors. Congressional Democrats want to know if Rove engineered improper political firings, something the White House has denied. On Monday, they vowed to continue their investigations.

"I'm a myth," Rove told The Wall Street Journal. "I read about some of the things I'm supposed to have done and I have to try not to laugh."

LIKE the President he serves, Rove is a polarising presence. Around the White House, Rove is feared by those who have felt his wrath and beloved by those who know him as a playful, thoughtful man known to send flowers to the ill and man the carpet sweeper to tidy up his own office. Mostly everyone admires his accomplishments; not all respect his tactics, including a hardball style that frequently placed him in the vicinity of scandal and controversy.

"Karl Rove was an architect of a political strategy that has left the country more divided, the special interests more powerful and the American people more shut out from their government than any time in memory," says Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

One of Obama's rivals for the Democratic nomination, former senator John Edwards, was more succinct: "Goodbye, good riddance," read a statement he released.

Unlike the man he rode to the White House, Rove, born in Denver on Christmas day 1950, did not come into the world blessed with place and status. He grew up in Colorado, Nevada and Utah as his father, a geologist, moved around. It was not until his parents' 1969 divorce that he learned that the man who raised him was not his biological father. In 1981, Rove's mother committed suicide.

It was through the College Republicans that Rove met George Bush snr, then the Republican National Committee chairman. In 1977, Rove moved to Texas, maintaining his links with the Bush family, and set up shop. His Karl Rove & Company firm, established in 1981, became ground zero for the Republican revolution in Texas.

Along the way, Rove's stature grew, as did the legend surrounding him.

By 1998, the Republican Party - once a distant-second party in Texas - held all 29 statewide offices, with Bush at the top and en route to the White House.

Rove dropped all else to work for Bush. He sold his direct-mail firm and choreographed the presidential campaign, including a parade of A-list Republicans making the trip to Austin in 1999, ostensibly to talk Bush into running.

For that, Rove - who had been fired from the elder Bush's 1992 re-election campaign for planting a negative story about another campaign operative - earned the younger Bush's enduring trust and loyalty.

Rove says he plans to quit politics for now, move back to Ingram, Texas, write a book on the Bush presidency and maybe teach. He says he will not join any of the presidential campaigns but will give quiet advice if any of the candidates want it. "I'm not going to play any formal role," he says.

He was also not ready to define his legacy: "I'm going to have to sit on a beach to figure out ... what I'm most proud of. But I felt like I contributed and I worked hard at trying to be a good colleague."

But many will remember Rove's lofty ambitions - his talk of overseeing a political realignment that would marginalise Democrats for a generation - and think he aimed too high. Many now wonder if a strategy aimed entirely at methodically identifying and stoking the party's conservative base, with issues such as gay marriage, abortion and terrorism, was ever a recipe for long-term political dominance, much less for governing a country.

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The next Karl Rove?

George W. Bush had Karl Rove, Bill Clinton had James Carville. Top presidential advisers have often been given high-profile jobs in the West Wing when their candidate wins. These are a few of the key strategists that could land in the White House:

David Axelrod: While he may lack Karl Rove's tool bag of dirty tricks, Barack Obama's chief adviser isn't apologetic about taking a page from the Rove playbook by trying to get his candidate elected more on the basis of his personality than his policies.

Patti Solis Doyle: She is the ruler of Hillaryland, shorthand for Ms. Clinton's all-women cabal of advisers who campaign with cool efficiency and a steady supply of cookies - for the visiting kids of campaign workers.

Tony Carbonetti: He's been with Rudy Giuliani since volunteering on his unsuccessful 1989 campaign to lead New York, through 9/11, and now leads the team trying to take the former New York mayor to the White House.

Rick Davis: John McCain's campaign manager for the 2000 bid, he returned to the post and took over as top adviser after an internal struggle in the Arizona senator's camp led to the departure of long-time right-hand man John Weaver and other key staff.
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Karl Rove Rapping It Up

Olbermann's Worst - Karl Rove


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