- The Washington Times - Monday, August 13, 2007

Presidential adviser Karl Rove today announced that he will resign at the end of this month.

Mr. Rove, 56, who melded politics and policy in the White House at an unprecedented level during his 6 ½ years as a senior adviser to Mr. Bush, announced his departure this morning with Mr. Bush on the White House South Lawn.

“It always seemed there was a better time to leave somewhere out there in the future, but now is the time,” Mr. Rove said.

Mr. Bush said that he and Mr. Rove, who have been friends for 34 years, “worked together so we could be in a position to serve this country.”

“I would call Karl Rove a dear friend,” said Mr. Bush, who has seen many of his longtime advisers leave in the past year. “I thank my friend. I’ll be on the road behind you here in a little bit.”

Mr. Rove helped elect Mr. Bush in 2000 and then orchestrated Mr. Bush’s 2004 re-election, along with Republican gains in Congress in the 2002 and 2004 elections.

“There is no replacing Karl Rove. No one has the combination of closeness to Bush and political smarts,” said conservative activist Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform.

Mr. Rove began his White House career as a senior presidential adviser in 2001, then became deputy chief of staff in early 2005.

However, he gave up many of his policy-making responsibilities last year to focus on strategy and politics during a shake-up by Joshua B. Bolten, incoming White House chief of staff.

Mr. Rove also has been blamed by some for crafting a political strategy that they said was divisive and contributed to the Republicans’ loss of the House and the Senate last fall. Mr. Rove has blamed the losses on personal scandals involving Republican lawmakers.

Mr. Rove said he first mentioned resigning to the president a year ago but stayed on after Democrats took control of Congress to help Mr. Bush with debates about the Iraq war and immigration.

Mr. Rove said Mr. Bolten told White House officials that they would be expected to remain for the rest of Mr. Bush’s term if they remained in the administration past Labor Day.

One former administration official said Mr. Rove is leaving to focus all his energies on shaping Mr. Bush’s legacy, partly through building the presidential library, which will be based at first lady Laura Bush’s alma mater, Southern Methodist University.

“I think he’s got the legacy mission now,” the former administration official said. “He wants to make sure that the president’s place in history is appropriately shaped.”

“I don’t think Karl will have anything to do with the 2008 election. I think he’ll be consumed with the library and shaping the president’s legacy,” the official said.

Story Continues →