- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 26, 2001

White House chief political strategist Karl Rove's Hispanic outreach strategy is only part of a broader plan to elect more Republicans to Congress and win President Bush a second term.
In an interview in his White House office the one that used to be occupied by Hillary Rodham Clinton Mr. Rove made clear that he is running what amounts to a permanent Bush re-election campaign from the White House and coordinating it with the Republican National Committee and Republican Senate and House campaign committees.
"Seeking progress on Bush's agenda is the thing most divorced from politics, and at the same time something that is so intricately connected to his political fortunes that it's unbelievable," he said.
"Working in concert [with the three Republican campaign committees] and being able to coordinate your messages, have clarity about direction, being able to focus resources, is fabulous," he said.
He credits White House Political Director Ken Mehlman with "doing a masterful job in that regard. He works with the committees every day, making sure that the message of the president is shared by all of them."
An early success under this broader plan came last week with the victory of Virginia state Sen. J. Randy Forbes, who defeated Democrat L. Louise Lucas in a special election for a U.S. House seat.
"The vice president, the secretary of education, the secretary of Veterans Affairs, and someone from the faith-based office went down there [to help Mr. Forbes]," Mr. Rove said. "Being able to say here's the agenda of this administration, which this candidate supports, is a powerful message.
"The Democrats' message was: Vote for Senator Lucas she'll support Dick Gephardt," he said. "Our message was: Vote for Senator Forbes he'll support President Bush."
Mr. Rove was asked how his job meshes with that of Karen Hughes, the highly visible Bush campaign communications director who now keeps a relatively low profile in the White House.
"The best way to describe Karen and my jobs is that we're both generalists," he said. "Where Karen has greater emphasis on message what the president says, his speeches and public appearances, and how the message is framed my job as a generalist is to think about issues that may be coming up and how to deal with them and when.
"Also, it's to plan what it is that the president wants to talk about in the way of issues and when and what emphasis he wants to put on them," he said. "And how to rally public support for them and share information about that with the American people in such a way that they support his policy."
Even though he drives his own car to the White House for his first daily 6:45 a.m. meeting and then back home at 8 p.m. or later, his personal life hasn't suffered, he said, because he manages to find time with his wife, Darby, and his son, Andrew, 12.
"When I go home at night, since it is such precious time, I try not to focus on work," he said. "On the weekend I'll take some time for work, because my son may have a buddy over and he wants Dad to disappear for a couple hours, so I can do my paperwork and dictation."

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