Karl Rove

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Karl Christian Rove (born December 25, 1950 in Denver, Colorado) is the political consultant for George W. Bush. Since Bush became President he served as Bush's senior advisor and chief political strategist. On February 8, 2005, Rove was appointed deputy chief of staff in charge of policy. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published on August 13, 2007, Rove announced he was leaving the White House at the end of August 2007, stating "I just think it's time."

Contents

Background

Early life and political experiences

Rove was raised in Colorado and Nevada. His family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah when Rove was in high school. At Olympus High School, Rove began his involvement in 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] Williams then took Rove under his wing, leading to Rove's internship with the Utah Republican Party.

According to a 2003 New Yorker profile, Rove, the second of five children, found out at nineteen (during his parents' divorce negotiations) that the man who raised him was not his biological father. Rove's mother would later commit suicide (in Reno, Nevada in 1981).[2]

In 1970, at the age of nineteen and while a protege of Donald Segretti (later convicted as a Watergate conspirator), Rove sneaked into the campaign office of Illinois Democrat Alan Dixon and stole some letterhead, which he used to print 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. Admitting to the incident much later, Rove said, "I was nineteen and I got involved in a political prank." (The Nation).

Rove dropped out of the University of Utah in 1971 to become the Executive Director of the College Republican National Committee and held this position until 1972 when he became their National Chairman (1973-1974). As Chairman, Rove had access to many powerful politicians and government officials of the Republican party, and formed ties with George H. W. Bush, then Chairman of the Republican National Committee (1973-1974).

Work for Bush family

For the next few years, Rove worked in various Republican circles and assisted George H. W. Bush's 1980 vice-presidential campaign. Rove's greatest claim to fame at the time was that he had introduced Bush to Lee Atwater. A signature tactic of Rove was to attack an opponent on the opponent's strongest issue.

In 1981, Rove founded direct mail consulting firm, Karl Rove & Co., based out of Austin, Texas. This firm's first clients included Republican Governor Bill Clements and Democratic Congressman Phil Gramm, who later became a Republican Congressman and United States Senator. In 1993, Rove began advising George W. Bush's gubernatorial campaign. He continued, however, to operate his consulting business until 1999, when he sold the firm to focus his efforts on Bush's bid for the presidency.

In 1986, just before a crucial debate in the election for governor of Texas, Karl Rove announced that his office had been bugged by the Democrats. There was no evidence for this, and it was later discovered that he had bugged his own phone to garner media coverage. [3]

In 1992, Rove was fired from the Bush presidential re-election campaign for leaking information to journalist Robert Novak.

Consulting business and work in politics in 1990-2000

In 1993, according to the New York Times, John Ashcroft's campaign paid Karl Rove & Co. over $300,000 to aid his (eventually successful) Senate race. In 1999, the George W. Bush campaign effort paid Karl Rove & Co. $2.5 million for July through December. According to Rove, "About 30 percent of that is postage."

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

George W. Bush was inaugurated in January 2001. Rove accepted a position in the Bush administration as Senior Advisor to the President. The President's confidence in Rove is such that during a meeting with South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun on 14 May 2003, President George W. Bush brought only Rove and then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

Other Republican politicians who have sought Rove's advice include Arnold Schwarzenegger, who met with Rove on 10 April 2003, to discuss whether the actor should run for Governor of California in 2006.

Controversies

In March 2001, Rove met with executives from Intel, successfully advocating a merger between a Dutch company and an Intel company supplier. Rove owned $100,000 in Intel stock at the time. In June 2001, Rove met with two pharmaceutical industry lobbyists. At the time, Rove held almost $250,000 in drug industry stocks. On 30 June 2001, Rove divested his stocks in 23 companies, which included more than $100,000 in each Enron, Boeing, General Electric, and Pfizer. On 30 June 2001, the White House admitted that Rove was involved in administration energy policy meetings, while at the same time holding stock in energy companies including Enron.

June 23, 2005 marked another controversial statement from Rove, when he said that "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." Conservatives, he said, "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war." [4] The U.S. Senate voted unanimously on S.J. 23 - (98 yeas, 2 republicans not voting) to authorize the use of military force in retaliation for the September 11th terrorist attacks. [5] Rove's comment has caused Democrats to demand an apology or resignation, while the White House and other Republicans stand behind him. Families of September 11, a nonprofit organization founded in October 2001 by families of those who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks, issued a statement requesting Rove "resist his temptations and stop trying to reap political gain in the tragic misfortune of others."[6][7]

Valerie Plame Scandal

Origins

On 29 August 2003, retired ambassador Joseph C. Wilson alleged that Rove leaked the identity of his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative. The leak was a potential violation of federal law.

Wilson, who in February 2002 investigated claims of attempted 1990s uranium ore purchases by Iraq from Niger, wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times, published 6 July 2003,[8] suggesting that the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence findings to justify war against Iraq. Wilson said that his African diplomatic experience led to his selection for the mission: He is the former ambassador to Gabon, another uranium-producing African nation, and was once posted in the 1970s to Niamey, Niger's capital. Wilson wrote that he had been "informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report" relating to the sale of uranium yellowcake from Niger (see also Yellowcake Forgery). Of his trip to Niger Wilson wrote, "I spent the next eight days drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people: current government officials, former government officials, people associated with the country's uranium business. It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction [purchase of uranium ore] had ever taken place."

Eight days after publication of Wilson's article, syndicated columnist Robert Novak wrote that the choice to use Wilson "was made routinely at a low level without [CIA] Director George Tenet's knowledge." Novak went on to identify Plame as Wilson's wife: "Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him."[9] Novak questioned the accuracy of Wilson's report and whether it was important enough for Tenet even to have read it. Wilson himself was certain that his findings were circulated within the CIA and reported to Vice President Cheney.

Nearly a year after Wilson's editorial was published (12 July 2004), the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's Report on the US Intelligence Community's Prewar Assessments on Iraq stated that Plame "offered up [Wilson's] name" for the trip. Several high ranking CIA officials disputed this claim, however, and indicated that the person who made the claim was not present at the meeting where Wilson was chosen. "In an interview with TIME, Wilson, who served as an ambassador to Gabon and as a senior American diplomat in Baghdad under the current president's father, angrily said that his wife had nothing to do with his trip to Africa. 'That is bulls__t. That is absolutely not the case,' Wilson told TIME. 'I met with between six and eight analysts and operators from CIA and elsewhere [before the Feb 2002 trip]. None of the people in that meeting did I know, and they took the decision to send me. This is a smear job.'" [10]

Spreading the Leak

Walter Pincus, a Washington Post columnist, has written that he was told in confidence by an (unnamed) Bush administration official on 12 July 2003, two days before Novak's column appeared, that "the White House had not paid attention to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s CIA-sponsored February 2002 trip to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction."[11] Because he did not believe it to be true, Pincus did not report the story.

Days after Novak's initial column appeared, several other journalists, notably Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine, published Plame's name citing unnamed government officials as sources. In his article, titled "A War on Wilson?", Cooper raised the possibility that that the White House had "declared war" on Wilson for speaking out against the Bush Administration.[12]

Both NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell and MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews have been mentioned in the press as having early knowledge of the Plame leak, although their conversations with (unnamed) White House officials may have taken place after Novak's article was published.[13] Two Newsday reporters who also confirmed and expanded upon Novak's account, Timothy M. Phelps and Knut Royce, were also mentioned in October 2003 in connection to an ongoing judicial inquiry.[14]

Anger from the CIA, Independent Counsel Investigation

Though Plame's exposure was claimed to be retaliation for Wilson's outspokenness, the White House denied any involvement. Wilson and both current and former CIA officials claimed the leak not only damaged his wife's career, but arguably endangered and ruined the viability of many other CIA agents who worked abroad like Plame under nonofficial cover (as "NOCs"), passing as private citizens. Plame, who worked undercover for the CIA for nearly 20 years,[15] was identified as an NOC by New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller (among others) on 5 October 2003.[16] Articles in the The Washington Post,[17] The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications have pointed to Plame's association with Brewster Jennings & Associates, nominally an oil exploration firm, but in fact a CIA front company (now defunct) spying on Saudi and other interests across the Middle East. Under certain circumstances, disclosure of the identity of a covert agent is illegal under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, though the language of the statute raises the issue of whether Rove is within the class of persons to whom the statute applies.[18]

In September 2003, the CIA requested that the Justice Department investigate the matter.[19] Rove was identified by the New York Times in connection to the Plame leak on 2 October 2003, in an article that both highlighted Attorney General John Ashcroft's employment of Rove in three previous political campaigns and which pointed to Ashcroft's potential conflict of interest in investigating Rove. After recusing himself from the case, Ashcroft appointed Independent Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald on 31 December 2003 to pursue an investigation into the leak, working initially from White House telephone records turned over to the FBI in October 2003.[20]

Both Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush have been interviewed by Fitzgerald. Colleagues of Rove who have testified before the grand jury include current White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Deputy Press Secretary Claire Buchan, former White House communications aide Adam Levine, and former advisor to the Vice President Mary Matalin.[21] On 13 May 2005, citing "close followers of the case," The Washington Post reported that the length of the investigation, and the particular importance paid to the testimony of reporters, suggested that the counsel's role had expanded to include investigation of perjury charges against witnesses.[22] Other observers have suggested that the testimony of journalists was needed to show a pattern of intent by the leaker or leakers.[23]

Supreme Court Decision, Testimony of Journalists

New York Times investigative reporter Judith Miller, who (according to a subpoena) met with an unnamed White House official on July 8 2003, two days after Wilson's editorial was published, never wrote or reported a story on the Wilson/Plame matter,[24] but nevertheless refused (with Cooper) to answer questions before a grand jury in 2004 pertaining to sources. Both reporters were held in contempt of court. On 27 June 2005, after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on the reporters' request for appeal, [25] Time magazine said it would surrender to Fitzgerald e-mail records and notes taken by Cooper. Miller and Cooper faced potential jail terms for failure to cooperate with the independent counsel's investigations.[26] Columnist Robert Novak, who later admitted that the CIA attempted to dissuade him from revealing Plame's name in print, "appears to have made some kind of arrangement with the special prosecutor" (according to Newsweek).[27]

Miller was jailed on 7 July 2005, and is expected to remain there until October 2005. She is being held in Washington, DC in the same facility as Zacarias Moussaoui.

Rove's Role Revealed

On 1 July 2005 Lawrence O'Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, on the McLaughlin Group stated: "And I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this but the source of...for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time Magazine's going to do with the grand jury." The document dump has since occurred.[28]

On 2 July 2005, Karl Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, said that his client spoke to Time reporter Matt Cooper "three or four days" before Plame's identity was first revealed in print by commentator Robert Novak. (Cooper's article in Time, citing unnamed and anonymous "government officials," confirmed Plame to be a "CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction." Cooper's article appeared three days after Novak's column was published.) Rove's lawyer, however, asserted that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and that "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA." This second statement has since been called into question by an e-mail, written three days before Novak's column, in which Cooper indicated that Rove had told him Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. If Rove were aware that this was classified information at the time then both disclaimers by his lawyer would be untrue. Furthermore, Luskin said that Rove himself had testified before the grand jury "two or three times" (three times, according to the Los Angeles Times of 3 July 2005 [29]) and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him and that Rove "has answered every question that has been put to him about his conversations with Cooper and anybody else." Rove's lawyer declined to share with Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff the nature or contents of his client's conversations with Cooper. [30] [31] [32][33] [34]

On 6 July 2005, Cooper agreed to testify, thus avoiding being held in contempt of court and sent to jail. Cooper said "I went to bed ready to accept the sanctions for not testifying," but told the judge that not long before his early afternoon appearance at court he had received "in somewhat dramatic fashion" a direct personal communication from his source freeing him from his commitment to keep his source's identity secret. For some observers this called into question the allegations against Rove, who had signed a waiver months before permitting reporters to testify about their conversations with him (see above paragraph). [35] Cooper, however, stated in court that he did not previously accept a general waiver to journalists signed by his source (whom he did not identify by name), because he had made a personal pledge of confidentiality to his source. Citing a "person who has been officially briefed on the case," The New York Times identified Rove as the individual in question,[36] a fact later confirmed by Rove's own lawyer.[37] According to one of Cooper's lawyers, Cooper has previously testified before the grand jury regarding conversations with Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr., chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, after having received Libby's specific permission to testify.[38]

Publication of the Leak

On 10 July 2005, Newsweek posted a story from its forthcoming July 18 print edition which quoted one of the e-mails written by Time reporter Matt Cooper in the days following the publication of Wilson's Op-Ed piece.[39] 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." If true, this would indicate that Rove identified Wilson's wife as a CIA employee prior to Novak's column being published. Statements by Rove and the White House that he did not reveal her name would still be strictly accurate if he mentioned her only as 'wilson's wife', although this distinction would likely have no bearing on the alleged illegality of the disclosure. Whether Rove's statement to Cooper that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA in fact violated any laws has not been resolved. It would not have been illegal if Rove was unaware that Plame's CIA employment was classified information.

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," and in an apparent effort to discourage Cooper from taking the former ambassador's assertions seriously, 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. Rove's reported claim that Wilson's mission to Niger was "authorized" by his wife was not strictly true, as Valerie Wilson did not have the authority to authorize such a trip. However, CIA sources still differ on the extent of Valerie Wilson's involvement in her husband's selection.[40]

White House Reaction

From the beginning, the White House has called the allegation that Rove deliberately disclosed classified information "totally ridiculous" and "simply not true."[41]

President George Bush, who has repeatedly denied knowing the identity of the leaker, called the leak a "criminal action" for the first time on 6 October 2003, stating "[i]f anybody has got any information inside our government or outside our government who leaked, you ought to take it to the Justice Department so we can find the leaker."[42][43] Speaking to a crowd of journalists the following day, Bush said "I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is -- partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very good job of protecting the leakers."[44] On 8 October 2003, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that "no one has more of an interest in getting to the bottom of this than the White House does, than the President does."[45] On 10 October 2003, after the Justice Department began its formal investigation into the leak, McClellan specifically said that neither Rove nor two other officials whom he had personally questioned – Elliot Abrams, a national security aide, and I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff – were involved.[46] On 10 June 2004, eight months after the formal outside investigation was begun and five months after the appointment of an Independent Counsel, President Bush pledged to fire any individuals involved in the leaking of classified information.[47][48]

On 11 July 2005, White House spokesman Scott McClellan, who had since become a grand jury witness himself, refused at a press conference to answer certain questions, saying that the Bush Administration had made a decision not to comment on the case while it was still under investigation.[49] McClellan declined to answer whether Rove had committed a crime. McClellan also declined to repeat prior categorical denials of Rove's involvement in the leak,[50] nor would he state whether Bush would honor his prior promise to fire individuals involved in the leak.[51][52][53] Although Democratic critics called for Rove's dismissal, or at the very least immediate suspension of Rove's security clearances and access to meetings in which classified material was under discussion, Rove remained working in the White House. Neither Rove nor the President offered public comment on the unfolding scandal.[54][55][56][57]

Possible voter fraud

Karl Rove is registered to vote in Kerr County, Texas, when he and his wife do not actually live there. The Washington Post explains: [58]

Kerr County, about 80 miles west of Austin in the Texas Hill Country. He and his wife, Darby, have owned property there, on the Guadalupe River, since at least 1997, according to county property records.
But as far as the locals know, the couple have never actually lived in either of two tiny rental cottages Rove claims as his residence on Texas voter registration rolls. The largest is 814 square feet and valued by the county at about $25,000.
"I've been here 10 years and I've never seen him. There are only, like, three grocery stores in town. You'd think you'd at least see him at the HEB" grocery, said Greg Shrader, editor and publisher of the Kerrville Daily Times.
Down in Texas, when you register to vote in a place where you don't actually live, the county prosecutor can come after you for voter fraud, said Elizabeth Reyes, an attorney with the elections division of the Texas Secretary of State. Rove's rental cottage "doesn't sound like a residence to me, because it's not a fixed place of habitation," she said. "If it's just property that they own, ownership doesn't make that a residence."

The Rove Doctrines

(Original Research) Karl Rove, the modern Machiavelli, has become the model for Republican political consultants. Looking at his activities in the 2000 and 2004 election campaigns, and in the Bush Administration, we can draw the following lessons.

  • Whatever your side does that is evil, accuse the other side of it first. This makes it extremely difficult for the other side to complain about you.
  • You can fool almost enough of the people enough of the time, and your dirty tricksters can steal enough votes to make up the difference.

Trivia

  • On 8 December 2004, Rove was named by Barbara Walters as the "Most Fascinating Person" of the year.
  • George W. Bush has referred to Karl Rove as "The Boy Genius", "Turd Blossom", and "The Architect". [59]
  • Karl Rove is known for careful management of the press, including the use of humor to put reporters at ease.
  • Karl Rove is a Norwegian-American. According to Bob Woodward's recent book, Rove is obsessed with the "historical duplicity" of the Swedes, who seized Norway back in 1814. According to Woodward, this nationalism manifested itself as hatred for Swedish weapons inspector Hans Blix. [60]
  • Rove is also fascinated by Mark Hanna, President William McKinley's political adviser.
  • Karl Rove's reputation for political dirty tricks is such that, among both his supporters and critics, the phrase Rovian has come to be used as a synonym for "Machiavellian". The documentary "Bush's Brain" - “Depicts Rove as the most powerful political consultant in American history and, in essence, a co-president.” - USA TODAY - www.karlrove.com
  • The television show American Dad depicted Rove as a shadowy figure clad in a red robe and cowl, a visual allusion to the villainous Star Wars character Emperor Palpatine. Whenever his name is said a wolf howls (In much the same way that horses whinny when in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, Frau Blücher's name is said). When he tried to enter a church, he began to emit smoke; when he later departed the scene, he transformed into a swarm of bats.
  • Rove can not sing dance tell jokes or rap as proven by this video [61]

Affiliations

Related articles

Further reading

External Links

Biographical data

  • Rotten.com - 'Karl Rove' (critical biography), Rotten.com
  • SourceWatch.org - 'Karl Rove' (wiki profile)
  • TheAtlantic.com - 'Karl Rove in a Corner: Karl Rove is at his most formidable when running close races, and his skills would be notable even if he used no extreme methods', Joshua Green, Atlantic Monthly (November, 2004)

Media accounts

  • BBC.co.uk - 'Drawing up Blueprints for Bush Victory', Rachel Clarke, BBC (November 6, 2004)
  • BNFP.org - 'The Controller: Karl Rove is working to get George Bush reelected, but he has bigger plans' (profile), Nicholas Lemann New Yorker (May 12, 2003)
  • EditorAndPublisher.com - 'MSNBC Analyst and a Newsweek Reporter Say Karl Rove Named in Matt Cooper Documents', Greg Mitchell (July 2, 2005)
  • FoxNews.com - 'White House 'Puzzled' Over Rove Flap', Fox News (June 24, 2005)
  • HuffingtonPost.com - "Rove Blew CIA Agent's Cover", Lawrence O'Donnell, The Huffington Post (July 2, 2005)
  • PBS.org - 'Karl Rove The Architect' (documentary), PBS Frontline (April 12, 2005)
  • Salon.com - 'It's time for Karl Rove to go: The president needs to ask for a special prosecutor in the Valerie Plame case', Congressman John Conyers Jr., Salon.com (October 15, 2003)
  • WashingtonTimes.com - 'Rove rejects charges he was CBS source', Stephen Dinan, Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times (July 2, 2005)
  • 10/15/04 Rove spends 2 hours testifying in front of Valerie Plame Grand Jury
  • 10/19/04 Rovian Dirty Trick in Tennessee In the spirt of Mr. Rove.

Books about Karl Rove

  • Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential by James Moore and Wayne Slater (February 21, 2003) (ISBN 0471423270)
  • Boy Genius: Karl Rove, the Brains Behind the Remarkable Political Triumph of George W. Bush by Lou Dubose, Jan Reid, Carl M. Cannon (January 21, 2003) (ISBN 1586481924)
  • Made In Texas: George W. Bush and the Southern Takeover of American Politics by Michael Lind (December 17, 2002) (ISBN 0465041213)

Films about Karl Rove

  • Bush's Brain (2004) by filmmakers Michael Paradies Shoob and Joseph Mealey


Satire and blogs

  • ILoveKarlRove.com - 'I Love Karl Rove! Are you a Roveho, too?' (satirical blogsite)
  • TakeItToKarl.blogspot.com - 'Taking the Fight to Karl: American Service Men and Women Mad at Karl Rove'
  • Powerline Blog - 'Closing in on Karl,' about the possible legal implications, written by lawyer John Hinderaker.
  • The Godless Liberal - 'The Godless Liberal- By John McDonald' (satirical blogsite)

Search compilations

  • LookSmart.com - 'Karl Rove' (search engine category)
  • Newsmeat.com - 'Campaign Contribution Search' (Karl Rove's individual political campaign donations of $200 or more, since 1977)
  • Yahoo.com - 'Karl Rove' (search engine category)

Whitehouse Media


References

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