The rumors that chief White House political architect Karl Rove will leave sometime next year are being bolstered with new insider reports that his partisan style is a hurdle to President Bush’s new push for bipartisanship. “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.
Other elements are also at play: The election yesterday of Sen. Trent Lott to the number two GOP leadership position in the Senate is also a threat to the White House and Rove, who worked against him when he battled to save his majority leader’s job after his insensitive remarks about Sen. Strom Thurmond.
And insiders report that Bush counsel Harriet Miers isn’t a fan, believing that Rove didn’t do enough to help her failed Supreme Court nomination among conservatives. In fact, one top West Wing advisor said that the unexpected ouster of Rove aide Susan Ralston over ethics questions was orchestrated by Miers as a signal to Rove to leave. The advisor said that Rove is aware of the situation and that a departure might come in “weeks, not months.” A Rove ally, however, noted that he has a record of out-witting his critics.
Early this year, Rove gave up his role of overseeing policy development to focus more on politics with the approach of the fall midterm elections.
Rove said prior to the midterm elections that he had “the math” to prove the Republicans would win back the House and Senate. Rove’s predictions were proved wrong, earning him a public sniping at the hands of President Bush who said: “I obviously was working harder in the campaign than he was.”