In a round-table chat with reporters on Air Force One, Karl Rove just came as close as he ever has to admitting that part of George W. Bush's folksy appeal is actually an act.
Responding to a question about what it's like to be known as "Bush's brain," Rove said: "Well, that is -- that's not me. That's an attack on the president. That is the critics of the president trying to be cute. This guy is a Yale undergraduate and history major, a Harvard MBA, and one of the best-read, most thoughtful people I know. Now, I know he likes to play sort of the Midland/West Texas -- but he is smart."
Although Rove is leaving the government payroll -- all the better to get on someone else's -- he said he's not actually going away. "Look, there's a robust set of issues that we're dealing with," he said. "I 'd love to be around for them. In a way, I'll be kibitzing from the outside -- [the president] knows my phone number, and I know his."
Rove also seems to understand that Congress isn't going away, either. "Look, I'm realistic enough to understand that the subpoenas are going to keep flying my way," he said. "I'm Moby Dick and we've got three or four members of Congress who are trying to cast themselves in the part of Captain Ahab -- so they're going to keep coming."