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Rove's loyal memoir

Karl Rove was President Bush’s closest advisor for almost two terms in the White House - so close that he earned the nickname "Bush's Brain."

Last modified: 10 Mar 2010 03:00
It's the memoir of a long-time loyalist and senior adviser who followed former US President George W. Bush from Texas to the White House.  
In his new book, Courage and Consequence, Republican strategist Karl Rove talks about the Bush-era, defending Bush's record on the Iraq war, as well as his own reputation for being a controversial politician.
Karl Rove was President Bush’s closest advisor for almost two terms in the White House - so close in fact that he earned the nickname, "Bush's Brain."
But critics say Rove’s used "Courage and Consequence" to put the best possible spin on key events like the Iraq War and whether Bush lied to the American people that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction – something Rove says even rival Democrats believed at the time.
“At that moment we as a nation were faced with the belief that he had WMDs that he was a threat to the stability of the region.  If President Bush lied, then President Clinton lied, Senator Clinton lied, Kerry lied," he said.
In the book Rove asks the following question:
“Would the Iraq War have occurred without WMD?  I doubt it:  Congress was very unlikely to have supported the use-of-force resolution without the threat of WMD.”
Now - you don’t have to be too big a cynic to say well of course they beat the drum over WMD.  Rove counters that by saying:
“The President was restrained.  The President said you know if there are things we don’t have confidence in, we’re not going to say them.”
Rove’s also come out swinging in the book against critics who accuse him of running fear based - smear based - election campaigns for Bush.
“You know that’s a pretty nasty view of the American voting public – it assumes that these people are easily misled,"he said.
The most notorious of the so-called Rove dirty tricks allegedly took place in South Carolina during the 2000 presidential primaries where he’s accused of orchestrating a rumour that Bush opponent John McCain was the father of an illegitimate black baby girl.
Rove says he had nothing to do with the smear and that McCain missed an opportunity to turn the ugly rumour to his advantage.
“John McCain said I’m a victim and was angry and complained about it and pointed the finger at Bush when he had no evidence whatsoever that Bush was behind it.”
But while Rove denies involvement in any smears some prominent Republicans have pointed the finger directly at him over South Carolina.  Roy Fletcher who was John McCain's deputy campaign manager in 200 has said:
“This whole thing, it was orchestrated by Rove”
While Matt Latimer a former Bush speech writer has written:
“He was what all the liberals said he was – the villain – and to make matters worse a clumsy one at that”
To Americans Karl Rove’s either a political genius or a political pariah depending on their point of view.
He uses the book to defend Bush era politics, whether it was the use of water boarding or the Valerie Plame affair, where the CIA operative's name was leaked to the press.
Early reviews suggest it doesn't offer anything new, though Rove does write surprisingly movingly about the possibility his father may have been gay and the suicide of his mother.
But publication of Courage and Consequence does set the stage for the release of the eagerly awaited White House memoirs of Vice President Dick Cheney and, of course, of President Bush himself.