Rove's Resignation an Amicable Breakup

Bush's long-time ally says "it's time," but some ask if he's dodging Congress.

ByABC News via logo
January 8, 2009, 1:40 AM

Aug. 13, 2007 — -- Call it an amicable breakup.

Upon Karl Rove's announcement today that he will resign from his role as political adviser to President Bush, White House officials called Rove "a great colleague, a good friend and a brilliant mind," noting that his departure at the end of August will be a big loss for them.

Before the Bush administration existed, Rove was there. He was Bush's most trusted political adviser the so-called "Architect," the man with the plan.

But after so many years of service, why leave now? Rove told the Wall Street Journal, "I just think it's time," adding that he is leaving "for the sake of his family."

In 2000, Rove helped propel Bush to the White House, in part by positioning him as a "compassionate conservative" and family man, the antidote to President Clinton.

He helped the president's party gain seats in Congress in 2002 and 2004, for which the newly re-elected president gave him credit, publicly thanking the "architect Karl Rove."

But Rove has also been a lightning rod for criticism, most notably over the "outing" of CIA agent Valerie Plame as punishment for the actions of her husband, who was undermining the case for the Iraq War.

Congress is now investigating the attorney general's office over the firing of several U.S. attorneys, but Rove has refused to cooperate in the congressional hearings.

"Where is Karl Rove? Why is he hiding? Why does he throw a young staffer like you into the line of fire while he hides behind the White House curtains?" asked Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., during a judiciary committee hearing.

As for questions on whether he is resigning to avoid testifying in front of Congress, Rove told Wall Street Journal editor Paul Gigot, "I know they'll say that. But I'm not going to stay or leave based on whether it pleases the mob."