Rove, Karl Christian

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Karl Christian Rove, 1950–, U.S. political consultant and government official, b. Denver, Colo. Politically active in high school, he joined College Republicans while at the Univ. of Utah and became its chairman (1973–77) after a bruising campaign and a decision in Rove's favor by then Republican national chairman George H. W. Bush, to whom Rove subsequently was (1973–74) an assistant. After working for his party and candidates in Virginia and Texas, Rove headed (1981–99) an Austin-based political consulting and direct mail firm that became extremely influential in Texas, working on campaigns that by the late 1990s had turned the former largely Democratic state into a Republican bastion. Rove was an early supporter of George W. Bush, and was chief political strategist in Bush's successful runs for Texas governor (1994, 1998) and U.S. president (2000, 2004).

Special adviser to President Bush from 2001 and assistant to the president, deputy chief of staff, and senior adviser from 2005, Rove was regarded as one of the main architects of the Republicans' national ascendancy in the early 21st cent. Capable of skillfully blending politics and government policy to win elections and maintain governing coalitions, Rove also has a reputation for unscrupulous campaigning that dates to his 1973 College Republicans campaign. As President Bush's popularity waned in 2006, Rove relinquished his role as policy adviser to concentrate on political matters. After the Republicans' reversals in the 2006 midterm elections, however, Rove's reputation as a canny political operative lost some of its luster, but he continued to serve in the White House until Aug., 2007, when he resigned. He subsequently worked as a political commentator and columnist as well as continuing his involvement in Republican politics.

See his memoir, Courage and Consequence (2010); L. Dubose and J. Reid, Boy Genius (2003); J. C. Moore and W. Slater, Bush's Brain (2003).