Karl Rove to quit at end of August
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Karl Rove, President Bush's senior political adviser, will voluntarily step down from his White House post at the end of the month, senior administration officials said Monday.
"Obviously it's a big loss to us, said deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino. "He is a great colleague, good friend and a brilliant mind."
Perino said Rove "wouldn't be going if he wasn't sure this is the right time to be giving more time to his family."
The president and Rove are expected to speak before boarding Marine One at the White House at 11:35 a.m. ET. Bush will head to his Crawford, Texas, ranch where he will remain for the rest of the week.
Rove, who has held a top position in the White House since Bush took office in January 2001, is to stand down on August 31.
Journal. "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."
He denied that his departure is designed to avoid Congressional scrutiny as the Democratically controlled Congress tries to force White House staffers to testify in the case of several fired U.S. attorneys.
"I know they'll say that," Rove told the Wall Street Journal, "But I'm not going to stay or leave based on whether it pleases the mob."
Both Rove and Scott Jennings, who is a special assistant to the president and deputy political director, were subpoenaed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating the fired attorneys case.
Rove did not appear to testify earlier this month, which angered panel Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont.
The author of Monday's newspaper piece, Paul Gigot, said Rove "knows he'll continue to be a target, even from afar," because of widespread belief that his influence extends into every aspect of White House decision making.
Bush nicknamed Rove "the architect" for creating the plan that won the White House in 2000 and 2004.
"I'm a myth. There's the Mark of Rove," he told Gigot. "I read about some of the things I'm supposed to have done, and I have to try not to laugh." Gigot writes that Rove believes "the real target is Mr. Bush, whom many Democrats have never accepted as a legitimate president and 'never will.'"
Rove told the newspaper that he would leave Washington to return to Texas and that he had first suggested the idea of leaving a year ago.
However a series of problems for the Bush administration, starting when the Democrats took control of Congress and then as immigration and the Iraq war topped the agenda, made the enormously powerful Rove stay on.
But one of Bush's most trusted advisers claimed his hand was forced when White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten announced that any senior staff working past Labor Day [September 3] would be expected to stay on until the end of Bush's term in January 2007.
A Bush loyalist to the end Rove, who instrumental in all aspects of the executive conservative agenda, told the Wall Street Journal that he expected the president's approval ratings to rise and that conditions in Iraq would improve due to the work of the U.S. military.
Rove also took the opportunity to fire a parting shot at the Democrats, adding that he thought Hillary Clinton -- a "tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate" -- would win the 2008 presidential nomination.
Loved by conservatives but a hate figure for many Democrats, Rove said he expected his rival party to be divided over the wireless wiretapping issue while the Republicans should come out top in economic issues closer to the 2008 poll.