Karl Rove Likes What He Sees

Is that because it's not right? It's wrong. But not only that, it's counterproductive. In politics, there are arguments that are seen as not factual and not fair, or trivial, and they blow up in your face. And this is one that people look at and say, "You're trying to imply something about him that's not true. I think you're going a bridge too far, and I'm reacting negatively." I mean, he didn't pick his middle name, somebody else did. And he doesn't go out of his way, like Hillary Rodham Clinton to, you know, emphasize it.

You probably never thought, eight years ago, that John McCain would be the nominee. You know what? In politics, second acts are either really bad or really good. And so the question was gonna be, Who might want to succeed Bush? McCain was always a possibility. He's always harbored a desire.

What do you think of him now? I like him. We bonded in the '04 campaign.

Do you have to hold your nose to vote for him? No, no, not at all. I enthusiastically voted for him. I just sent in my absentee ballot [in Texas], and I gave him $2,300.

So what's your life like now, Karl? Are you based in Washington still? We're splitting our time between Washington and a place we have in the panhandle in Florida. And a little place in Texas. We're looking to be in Texas more permanently starting this fall. We've enjoyed Washington, but look, I don't wanna be like… I got a guy, lives around the corner from us in Washington, who had a prominent role for six months in the Reagan administration, and he's still living off of it twenty-some-odd years later. I don't intend to do that.

What do you intend to do? I'm trying to figure that out. I've got a couple years between the book and the speeches and Fox and my Newsweek column and my writing for the Wall Street Journal and some things I'm doing in politics under the radar.

What do you do for kicks? I read and go hunting. And travel with my wife.

Tell us about your wife. She's a terrific, courageous person.

Is it hard being married to you? Uh, I don't think it's hard being married to me. I think it's hard being married in public with me.

Let's talk about the last couple of scandals you've been involved in. Don Siegelman in Alabama [the Democratic governor whom Rove was recently accused of trying to sabotage by forcing U.S. attorneys to bring corruption charges against him prior to an election]. What happened?

[rolls his eyes] Will you do me a favor and go on Power Line and Google "Dana Jill Simpson" [the Republican lawyer who told 60 Minutes that Rove asked her to take a picture of Governor Siegelman cheating on his wife]? She's a complete lunatic. I've never met this woman. This woman was not involved in any campaign in which I was involved. I have yet to find anybody who knows her. And what the media has done on this… No one has read the 143-page deposition that she gave congressional investigators—143 pages. When she shows up to give her explanation of all this, do you know how many times my name appears? Zero times. Nobody checked!

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