Rove's Final Retreat

Bush's "architect" leaves Washington as he came in — dismissing his critics and clinging to visions of a brighter Republican future

Chris Usher for TIME

White House advisor Karl Rove makes a statement with President George W. Bush on the south lawn of the White House after announcing his plans to leave at the end of August in Washington, D.C. on August 13, 2007.

It wasn't so long ago that Karl Rove was being hailed as perhaps the greatest political strategist in American history, "the architect," as President Bush dubbed him after election night in 2004, of three successive national election victories for the Republican Party. Even ideological foes admired Rove's seemingly unparalleled acumen. James Carville, another famous campaign strategist, wrote in this magazine that Rove's ability to win a second term for Bush was "the signature political achievement of my lifetime." In Rove's grand plan, it was just the beginning. What he had really created, Rove believed, was a governing strategy that...

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