To Republicans, he is a brilliant strategist who kept their man in power. To Democrats, he is a ruthless manipulator whose machinations banished them to the sidelines. Now Karl Rove is retiring.
By Leonard Doyle
Published: 14 August 2007
"Karl Rove RESIGNS!!! Karl Rove Resigns - Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead [breaking news - no irony] Short and Sweet: Rove resigns!"
The bloggers were at it early yesterday morning, as the online bush telegraph breathlessly passed on the news that the man the Democrats love to hate, the tousle-haired and bespectacled Andy Warhol lookalike, Karl Rove, had announced his departure from the Bush White House.
For the past seven years, Karl Christian Rove, who holds the titles of deputy chief of staff and senior adviser, has been the unseen hand of American politics, the invisible mender of the Republican Party and the Rasputin of the White House all rolled into one. He steered George Bush to victory after victory. Using every weapon that came to hand, he helped engineer Mr Bush's re-election, before coming to grief in last year's midterm elections when the increasingly unpopular Republicans lost their grip on Congress.
The man known as "Bush's Brain" has been talking about leaving for the past year, and the spin yesterday morning was that he was quitting to spend more time with his family, especially his wife Darby and his 17-year-old son. Soon he will be packing up his beloved books from his elegant three-storey brick home and heading back to Texas.