Update 4pm Eastern. Radar talks to Fred Thompson rep Mark Corallo, who seems to shoot down rumors of a Rove jump to the campaign.
Update: Press conference at 11:35am. Update: 11:25am Eastern.
The President is talking about Rove’s family “making huge sacrifices. We’re going to be friends for a long time. I would call Karl Rove a dear friend…I thank my friend for making a tremendous sacrifice. Wish you all the very best. I’ll be on the road behind you soon.”
Rove speaks: He’s “grateful to have been a witness to history. It has been a joy and honor. Praises Bush for putting America on a war footing. I’ve seen a reformer…We’ve been at this a long time.”
(Rove is choked up.)
“Right time to start thinking about the next chapter of my family’s life…now is the time. I will deeply miss my work here…looking forward to continuing our friendship of 34 years…I will ask for God’s gifts of eternal strength and..Thank you again for this extraordinary opportunity.”
Rove was much more articulate and emotional than Bush, FWIW.
Fox News Channel’s E.D. Hill notes the curious playing of the “family” card…Rove’s son is going off to college. “I’m not sure how many kids going off to college have time for more ‘family’ time.” Now, there’s on-air banter about which campaign Rove’s headed to: Thompson or Giuliani?
Well, isn’t this interesting news to greet us on a Monday morning in the dog days of August:
Karl Rove, President Bush’s longtime political adviser, is resigning as White House deputy chief of staff effective Aug. 31, and returning to Texas, he said in an interview with Paul Gigot, editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page.
Mr. Rove, who has held a senior post in the White House since President Bush took office in January 2001, told Mr. Gigot he first floated the idea of leaving a year ago. But he delayed his departure as, first, Democrats took Congress, and then as the White House tackled debates on immigration and Iraq, he said. 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,” Mr. Rove said in the interview. “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.” Mr. Rove and his wife have a home in Ingram, Texas, and a son who attends college in nearby San Antonio.
Gigot’s interview is titled “The Mark of Rove.” Gigot lets Rove defend himself and his legacy, and what I see, alas, is the mark of self-delusion and blindness that has damaged the White House and the Beltway GOP. Rove pats President Bush (and himself) on the back for the disastrous Medicare entitlement expansion and the aborted Social Security reform effort. We get this admission: “His biggest error, Mr. Rove says, was in not working soon enough to replace Republicans tainted by scandal.” And then this:
As for what his own White House mistakes have been, Mr. Rove winces and says, “I’ll put my feet up in September and think about that.”
The Left will harp on Plameout. John Little rounds-up reaction and fresh conspiracy theories from the far Left.
But here’s what I find striking about Rove’s exit interview:
Not a word here about the Harriet Miers debacle, the botching of the Dubai ports battle, or the undeniable stumbles in post-Iraq invasion policies.
And not a word about the spectacular disaster of the illegal alien shamnesty, which will be the everlasting stain Rove leaves behind.
I repeat from the WSJ news article:
“Mr. Rove, who has held a senior post in the White House since President Bush took office in January 2001, told Mr. Gigot he first floated the idea of leaving a year ago.”
Imagine how much better off the White House and the Republican Party might be now if he had, in fact, left a year ago.
Yes, there’s the legacy Rove should ponder as he puts his feet up.
Flashback: What is your name? MC Rove: