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IN THE NEWS - As Karl Rove Resigns, Democrats Wonder Where He Might Resurface

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This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

The news that Karl Rove will leave his job at the end of the month has the political world debating why and what effect it will have.

President Bush and Karl Rove announcing Rove's resignation
President Bush and Karl Rove announcing Rove's resignation

President Bush and his closest political adviser announced the resignation on Monday (pictured). The president called his deputy chief of staff a "dear friend" and thanked him for his service to the country.

The two men have known each other since the nineteen seventies. George W. Bush was elected governor of Texas in nineteen ninety-four and later re-elected by a bigger majority. Karl Rove led both campaigns.

He was influential in bringing widespread change in Texas politics. The state went from traditionally Democratic to governed by Republicans.

Karl Rove and George Bush went national with the presidential election of two thousand. Mister Bush campaigned as a "compassionate conservative" on issues like education, crime and family values. He won after the Supreme Court stopped a recount of disputed votes in Florida. The election was one of the closest in American history.

After that, Karl Rove worked state by state and issue by issue to expand the president's base of support. He worked with groups that traditionally vote Democratic such as Hispanics, women, and Catholics. He especially sought to build the conservative Christian base.

President Bush went on to re-election victory in two thousand four. In his acceptance speech he thanked Karl Rove and gave him a new nickname, "the Architect." Some call him "Bush's Brain."

From raising money to shaping political debate in America, and attacking opponents, Karl Rove made his mark. His hopes included a Republican majority in Congress that would last a generation.

Yet he leaves a weakened administration with less than a year and a half in office. Last November, Democrats retook both houses of Congress. Now, the continuing Iraq war raises their hopes to win the White House next year.

The war has brought down the president's approval ratings. But, as Karl Rove pointed out Monday, ratings for the Democratic-controlled Congress are even lower. And, he said, they got there a lot quicker.

Mister Rove says he is leaving to spend more time with his family. He also says he will write a book as the president has urged him to do.

Many Democratic leaders are happy to see Karl Rove go. But others worry that he could hurt their party more from outside the White House than inside.

Democrats in Congress could still call him to give evidence in their investigation into the dismissal of several federal prosecutors. Accusations of political misuse of federal agencies could also follow him.

Karl Rove says he expects the Democrats to keep coming after him. He compared it to Herman Melville's novel about the endless hunt by a sea captain for the great white whale that bit off his leg. Karl Rove says he is Moby-Dick and a few members of Congress are trying to act like Captain Ahab.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Caty Weaver. I'm Steve Ember.

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