Karl Rove in 2008

Would any of the GOP contenders have him?

Published August 14, 2007 12:33PM (EDT)

Karl Rove told reporters Monday that he doesn't anticipate taking a "formal role" in the campaign of any Republican contender in 2008. His reason: He said his wife might kill him if he did.

But there's another reason, and it should be obvious to anyone familiar with the way Americans -- even Republicans -- have come to view the Bush administration. As Adam Nagourney writes in today's New York Times, campaign aides for the 2008 Republican contenders responded with "silence" Monday when asked if Rove would be welcome to join their teams.

Of course, Rove doesn't have to take a "formal" role in any Republican campaign to make his mark on it. As Nagourney notes, "A look at the roster of every Republican presidential candidate finds people who have worked with [Rove], and they have brought some of his methods to this race." Rove's protégés and the men for whom they work would surely be happy to have the help of the man who put George W. Bush in the White House twice, just as long as no one sees them getting it.

Rove said Monday that he'll never be more than a phone call away. He said he'd be "happy" to offer his opinion to his "friends" in the 2008 campaign because he's an "opinionated person" and would like to see a Republican win.

By Tim Grieve

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

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