Colin Powell: 'Private Rove: Drop and Give Me 20'

Bush adviser's book recounts clashes with former secretary of state.

WASHINGTON, Mar. 5, 2010— -- A book by Karl Rove, "Courage and Consequences: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight," set to be published Tuesday, includes an eye-catching photo of the former Bush adviser giving then-Secretary of State Colin Powell 20 push-ups outside of the Oval Office in 2004.

What's the story behind the photo?

Rove, who served as senior adviser and deputy chief of staff in the White House, said it was his way of getting back at Powell for referring to him as "Private Rove" anytime the general was "annoyed" at Rove, whom he viewed as a "politico" who should not have been so heavily involved in policy.

The photo, which was taken by White House photographer Joyce N. Boghosian, is not currently in the public domain.

It shows Rove, who is wearing a suit, on the ground doing a push-up. Powell is seen crouched in front of him. Several top Bush aides are all watching the spectacle including then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, then-White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, and then-White House communications director Dan Bartlett.

Rove identifies the image as being made available to his book courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

"According to news reports, Powell was 'put off' by me," writes Rove. "I could tell when Powell was annoyed at me, because he would address me as 'Private Rove' and order me to drop and give him twenty push-ups.

"He'd say it with a smile on his face -- but only when he felt I was messing where he didn't think I should be. ... I usually laughed off Powell's occasional sarcastic greeting, but on May 27, 2004, with Powell irritated at me over something now long forgotten, I followed orders. I dropped and gave him twenty push-ups. Right at the entrance of the Oval Office. I could tell it had unsettled him as he nervously encouraged me to stop and get up. But I finished, then jumped to attention and saluted. Powell was rattled. He had an awkward smile. Mine was real. It was the last time Powell ever asked me to drop and give him twenty."

In a section of the book discussing who revealed the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to columnist Robert Novak, Rove expresses his frustration with Powell, whose deputy, Richard Armitage, was the source of the original leak.

Rove Discusses CIA Leak, Case for War in Iraq

Rove writes that Powell, Armitage and William H. Taft IV, the general counsel of the State Department, "hid from the White House the fact that Armitage had been Novak's source even as I coughed up what I'd said, to whom, and when. Powell even went on television at the end of September 2003 and denied any knowledge of the incident. Had Armitage not told even his boss by then?

"Powell had an odd reaction to the whole affair," writes Rove. "I ran into him at a formal Washington dinner in 2007. He was blocking the aisle and grandly grabbed my hand and boomed out that he had someone he wanted me to say hello to. With that, he turned aside to reveal his guest, Rich Armitage, standing behind him. Powell laughed and grinned broadly as Armitage and I awkwardly shook hands and said hello. The former secretary enjoyed the spectacle."

Earlier in the book, Rove describes Powell's presentation to the United Nations Security Council on the case for war in Iraq as being viewed within the White House as "extremely significant."

"Powell, after all, had wide bipartisan respect and, while he supported the war (and has never backed away from that fact), he was not viewed as a 'hawk,'" writes Rove. " He had enormous credibility from having personally reviewed the evidence exhaustively. "

In 2008, Powell broke ranks with the Republican Party and endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., over Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for president, saying that the GOP had "moved more to the right than I would like to see it."

ABC News' Lindsey Ellerson and Matt Loffman contributed to this report.

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