Spurning Criticism, Rove Blames Democrats
WACO, Tex., Aug. 18 — During the last eight years, Karl Rove has been lionized and vilified, heralded as making the unlikely election victories of President Bush possible and impugned as reaching too high from an unusually powerful White House perch.
In the eyes of his many detractors, he has helped to send the Bush presidency off track in the process.
But in an interview at an IHOP restaurant here, days after he announced his resignation as Mr. Bush’s top political adviser, Mr. Rove defiantly dismissed the rash of fresh critiques that have come his way in the last several days, blaming the Democrats for the divisive tone that has dominated Mr. Bush’s tenure and for which he has frequently taken the blame.
He said he had no regrets over what some even some allies have called his greatest missteps, like his trying and failing to pass a sweeping overhaul of the Social Security system at the start of Mr. Bush’s second term, and the degree to which he seemed to meld partisan politics and official White House policy in his dual duties as a deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush’s top political strategist.
He strenuously argued with the dominant characterization of him as the Oz — or, with Vice President Dick Cheney, the co-Oz — behind the curtain of Mr. Bush’s White House and presidency, declaring, “I’m the facilitator,” who has merely helped Mr. Bush as he has sought to shape his own views.
Finally where he can do no harm, at the International House of Pancakes.