August 13, 2007


Karl Rove, top Bush aide, to step down (Jim Rutenberg, August 13, 2007, NY Times)

Karl Rove, the political adviser who masterminded George W. Bush's two winning presidential campaigns and secured his own place in history as a political strategist with extraordinary influence, is resigning, the White House said Monday.

In an interview published in The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news Monday, Rove said, "I just think it's time," adding, "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."

Rove said he had first considered leaving a year ago but stayed after his party lost the crucial midterm elections last fall, which put Congress in Democratic hands, and as Bush's problems mounted in Iraq and in his pursuit of a new immigration policy.

He said his hand was forced now when the White House chief of staff, Joshua Bolten, recently told senior aides that if they stayed past Labor Day he would expect them to stay through the rest of Bush's term.

'The Mark of Rove' (PAUL A. GIGOT, August 13, 2007, Wall Street Journal)
Sitting in the book-lined living room of his townhome on Saturday afternoon, a relaxed, cheerful and typically rambunctious Mr. Rove hands over two sheets of paper on which he has tapped out a pair of outlines. One says "Up to Now," and summarizes what he thinks are the achievements to date of the Bush presidency. The second, "Months Ahead," lays out an agenda for the next year and a half.

"He will move back up in the polls," says Mr. Rove, who interrupts my reference to Mr. Bush's 30% approval rating by saying it's heading close to "40%," and "higher than Congress."

Looking ahead, he adds, "Iraq will be in a better place" as the surge continues. Come the autumn, too, "we'll see in the battle over FISA" -- the wiretapping of foreign terrorists -- "a fissure in the Democratic Party." Also in the fall, "the budget fight will have been fought to our advantage," helping the GOP restore, through a series of presidential vetoes, its brand name on spending restraint and taxes.

As for the Democrats, "They are likely to nominate a tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate" by the name of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Holding the White House for a third term is always difficult given the pent-up desire for change, he says, but "I think we've got a very good chance to do so."

If that quinella pays off, however, Mr. Rove will have to savor it from somewhere other than his West Wing office.

Can't run the McCain/Bush campaign from the Oval and a big hunk of his historical legacy is tied up in holding the White House in '08.

On Karl Rove (Peter Wehner, 8/13/07, Real Clear Politics)

Before taking my job as director of the Office of the Office of Strategic Initiatives - I had until then been deputy director for Presidential speechwriting -- I asked others who knew Karl Rove about him; after all, I didn't know Karl all that well and I was about to work directly for him. And so I spoke to Josh Bolten, then deputy chief of staff, who had recommended me for the OSI job. And Josh had a very short summary of Karl: "He's brilliant, he's a genius, and he's a deeply wonderful human being."

I suspected the first two things said about Karl were true - but having not worked with him, I could not possibly have known about the third. Now I do.

Karl is sui generis; no other White House aide in modern times has played the indispensable role he has.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 13, 2007 10:22 AM

So that's your prediction for the GOP ticket in '08? McCain/(Jeb) Bush?
Even though McCain is doing slightly less well in Republican polling than Ralph Nader and Jeb Bush has all but said he'd rather gnaw off his left arm than run in the coming presidential campaign.

Hey, you've made wackier predictions that have come true, but it sure does seem like a long shot.

Posted by: Bryan at August 13, 2007 1:32 PM

The next in line always wins the GOP nomination and what will McCain need from a VP?: executive experience, solidify the religious base, lock down the Red states, appeal to Catholics and Latinos...

Posted by: oj at August 13, 2007 5:38 PM