Karl Rove, President Bush's longtime political adviser, is resigning as White House deputy chief of staff effective Aug. 31, and returning to Texas, he said in an interview with Paul Gigot, editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page.
Mr. Rove, who has held a senior post in the White House since President Bush took office in January 2001, told Mr. Gigot he first floated the idea of leaving a year ago. But he delayed his departure as, first, Democrats took Congress, and then as the White House tackled debates on immigration and Iraq, he said. He said he decided to leave after White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten told senior aides that if they stayed past Labor Day they would be obliged to remain through the end of the president's term in January 2009.
"I just think it's time," Mr. Rove said in the interview. "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."
We're coming down to the wire on the Bush administration. With public approval ratings approaching those of Michael Vick, many have been expecting this administration to begin losing key players like a damaged plane shedding parts as it approaches the runway. I am surprised, however, that more of an effort wasn't made to come up with a different pretense. The phrase "spending time with the family" has become so hackneyed that it's a staple of late night comedians. In the end, Bush will be left to run out the clock, virtually alone, on Iraq, outsourcing of jobs, tax cuts for the rich and a variety of other ills plaguing the country.
The one remaining question would seem to be... will Rove be pardoned now, or will the pardons wait until January '09 and come in a massive batch as they turn out the lights?