New release claims Republican strategist used homophobia as tool to mobilize conservatives while remaining close to gay stepfather
DALLAS White House political strategist Karl Rove used homosexuality as a political issue to elect Republicans while maintaining a close relationship with his gay stepfather, according to a new book.
“The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power” looks at efforts by Rove, a former Texas political operative who guided President Bush’s rise, to build a GOP majority.
Dana Perino, deputy White House press secretary, said that it is hard to take seriously a book whose subtitle is “The plan for absolute power.”
The book, written by Wayne Slater and James Moore, was published last week by Crown Books/Random House. Slater is senior political writer for The Dallas Morning News and co-author of “Bush’s Brain,” a previous book about Rove.
Rove, Bush’s chief political consultant, made opposing gay marriage part of the effort to mobilize religious conservatives in Bush’s re-election bid. The strategy paid off in states such as Ohio, which had a gay marriage ban on the 2004 ballot. Republicans maintained that court rulings recognizing such unions made the matter a key issue.
Geologist Louis Rove left the family in 1969 when the younger Rove was 19, according to the book. He moved to California, where he retired.
The book quotes friends of the elder Rove as saying Karl Rove was a loving and attentive son who periodically visited his stepfather in Palm Springs, often having dinner with Louis and his friends, including other retired gay men in the community.
Perino said “Karl loves his father very much, and his father loved him and was very proud of his son.”
Rove’s stepfather suffered from respiratory ailments and died in July 2004.
The book also says Rove met in 2002 with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff on a street corner near the White House to discuss having then Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas “clamp down” on a House member who “was not cooperating with a piece of legislation.”
Rove said that while he recalls an accidental meeting with Abramoff on the street, it was not a formal meeting and that he hardly knew the lobbyist, The Dallas Morning News reported in Sept. 6 online edition.
The book also says that when Rove moved into the West Wing office once occupied by first lady Hillary Clinton, he called for a priest and two other Catholic leaders to bless the office. He joked that it needed to be purged of evil spirits.
When Clinton was told of the book’s description of the exorcism, Newsday, a New York daily newspaper, reported on its Web site late on Sept. 6 that she smiled and shook her head in disbelief.
“I’m speechless,” she said, turning and heading toward a Senate elevator.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 15, 2006.