Presidential pitbull Karl Rove has built his political career retailing his opponents’ dirty laundry, but that hasn’t stopped him from mounting a fierce campaign against an upcoming bio that delves a little too deeply into details of his own personal life. Sources say Rove has been furiously lobbying the authors to protest the impending publication of The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power.
The book was co-authored by Wayne Slater and James Moore, the veteran Texas journalists who previously wrote the Dubya-bashing bestseller, Bush’s Brain. Their new book paints the beleaguered presidential aide as a ruthless political opportunist who let few things obstruct his march to power.
While the authors’ description of Rove’s relationship with indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff is certain to have D.C. buzzing, their revelations about his family life are even more intriguing: According to the book, the architect of the Bush administration’s anti-gay policies was raised by a homosexual father who abandoned his family to lead an openly gay life in Palm Springs. A decade later, Rove’s mother, Reba, committed suicide, a tragedy the authors attribute to her husband’s departure.
Rove has always been circumspect about his childhood. He told one reporter that he had not heard from his father since his youth. But the book claims Rove maintained a close relationship with Louis Rove until his death two years ago. Friends say he visited his father in Palm Springs at least twice a year, and frequently dined with him and his gay pals.
“He lived life exactly the way he wanted to live it,” Rove said of Louis, who died just as his son was launching the Bush campaign’s attack on same-sex marriage. Of course, his admiration for his father did not stop him from using the “gay issue” for his own political advantage.
For starters, the authors claim Rove was behind a series of lesbian rumors that helped defeat incumbent Texas governor Ann Richards in the 1994 gubernatorial election. During the same campaign he also allegedly intimidated a reporter at the <>Dallas Morning News<>, Anne Marie Kilday, by telling her he had obtained telephone records showing numerous late-night calls to her home from a lesbian state official. “You’ve got to be careful about your reputation and what people might think,” Rove said.
Among the books other revelations:
Soon after Rove moved into his new office in the West Wing, previously occupied by Hillary Clinton, he invited three top Catholic priests to conduct a ceremony to purge the room of evil spirits. “It was an actual liturgical ceremony,” says participant Deal Hudson. “We sat at the table, we prayed. A priest said a series of prayers, including a blessing.”
Rove was so paranoid about his meetings with indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff that he’d stroll a few blocks to meet Abramoff’s limo on a nearby street corner where they would discuss business through a lowered window. “Like I said, everything that comes out of the White House is logged in,” explained Abramoff. “The phone calls he makes. The phone calls he receives. So this is just easier. It keeps things a lot cleaner. And he’s a fat fuck, and he can use the exercise.”
Texas’s then-governor George W. Bush once asked a reporter, “You know what I’m gonna tell those Jews when I get to Israel, don’t you Herman?” When the journalist, Ken Herman, replied that he did not know, Bush reportedly quipped: “I’m telling ’em they’re all going to hell.”
Bush shocked Israel’s Ariel Sharon at their first Oval Office meeting when, discussing Yasser Arafat, he asked, “Are you going to kill him?” Later he added, “No. If he needs killing, I’ll do it.”
Rove’s longtime mentor is Michael Ledeen, an Iran-Contra dealmaker and plagiarist suspected of being linked to the forged documents the administration used to make the case for war in Iraq.
Though he earned his political stripes in his father’s White House, the authors say Bush regularly derides his dad’s tenure: “Don’t underestimate what you can learn from a failed presidency,” he once told campaign media consultant Don Sipple.
The senior Bush apparently holds his fortunate son in similarly low regard.