Karl Rove told Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003 that he would not succeed in recalling California Gov. Gray Davis, instead pushing Condoleezza Rice to run against the Democrat in 2006 , according to excerpts of Schwarzenegger’s new book “Total Recall” obtained by The Associated Press.
Schwarzenegger, was visiting the White House when Rove, President George W. Bush’s political analyst, introduced him to Rice, then the White House National Security Adviser, as his choice for the next California governor.
“How could Rove have been so wrong?” said Schwarzenegger according to his book.
Rice, who has not sought public office, does not recall that conversation with Rove ever taking place, her chief of staff told ABC News.
“Dr. Rice has no recollection of any conversation on this subject. She has stated many times in the past that she has no desire to run for public office and those sentiments have still not changed,” said Georgia Godfrey, Rice’s chief of staff.
Rove could not be reached immediately for comment when ABC News reached out to his staff.
Schwarzenegger won the recall election in 2003 and went on to serve a second term after being re-elected in 2006. His political career took a severe hit when it was announced in 2007 that he and his wife Maria Shriver were separating and that he had fathered a child with the family’s housekeeper years earlier.
He also confirmed more details to the AP, admitting that he had a “hot affair” with actress Brigitte Nielsen after he and Shriver were living together, though before they were married.
In experts released from a “60 Minutes” interview, Schwarzenegger calls the decision to cheat on his wife ”the stupidest thing” that he had ever done to his wife.
According to the AP, Shriver almost killed her husband’s political ambitions but was told by her mother to back off because women “always support the men when they want to do something.” Shriver supposedly loosened her stance after that conversation and Schwarzenegger reversed his decision not to run now with his wife’s blessing.
ABC News’ Reena Ninan contributed to this report.