Karl Rove to resign

Facing a subpoena from Congress, the president's political advisor says he wants to spend more time with his family.

Published August 13, 2007 10:36AM (EDT)

Karl Rove, whose role in the firing of U.S. attorneys last year sits at the center of a looming constitutional showdown between Congress and the executive branch, tells the Wall Street Journal that he'll resign at the end of this month.

The reason? He wants to spend more time with his family, of course.

"I just think it's time," Rove tells the Journal's Paul Gigot. "There's always something that can keep you here, and as much as I'd like to be here, I've got to do this for the sake of my family."

It's not clear why, after six and a half years of the Bush-Rove presidency, Rove's wife and college-age son need him so much on Aug. 31, 2007, that they can't wait until Jan. 20, 2009. What is clear: Rove leaves the White House with his dream of a permanent Republican majority pretty much in shambles. The Democrats control the House and the Senate -- thus, the U.S. attorneys investigation and the subpoena for Rove's testimony -- and the president's approval ratings are wallowing around the low 30s. The real number is "close to 40 percent," the Man Who Used to Be Called Bush's Brain is reduced to telling Gigot in an interview.

Rove says Bush will move back up in the polls and that his Republicans will hold on to the White House in 2008 "if we keep our nerve and represent big things." Rove? He says he'll be writing a book, and we say it's hard to imagine that he won't end up profitably pontificating about the 2008 race for Fox News and others.

As for those who wonder whether Rove is really leaving now in order to escape some of the scrutiny Congress is aiming in his direction? "I know they'll say that," Rove tells Gigot. "But I'm not going to stay or leave based on whether it pleases the mob."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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