Bush aide Karl Rove quits

Leading presidential adviser cites "family" as reason but resigns under cloud.

    Bush called Karl Rove a "dear friend" [EPA] 
    "I will miss, deeply miss my work here, my colleagues, and the opportunity to serve you and our nation, Mr President," Rove said on Monday.

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    "Thank you Mr Bush. For showing the world that America can do anything it wants and get away with it"

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    Rove's departure means he will not be around to help when the top US general and diplomat in Iraq deliver their progress reports on the administration's "surge" strategy in September.
    "I'm grateful to have been witness to history," an emotional Rove said on Monday as he appeared side by side with Bush and made his resignation official.
    "I've seen a man of farsighted courage put America on a war footing and protect us against a brutal enemy in a dangerous conflict that will shape this new century."
    Bush, who called Rove "a dear friend" and praised him for making "enormous sacrifices" to serve, acknowledged his own few days left in power, saying: "I will be on the road behind you here in a little bit."
    Plame affair
    Rove spent much of last year trying to avoid indictment for leaking the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame after her husband criticised Bush's justification for invading Iraq.
    Tensions began when Joseph Wilson, a retired US diplomat, claimed Rove had illegally leaked to the media the identity of his wife, Plame.
    Wilson stated the leak had been planned in retaliation for his New York Times article, in which he refuted a claim by the Bush administration that the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein had explored ways of purchasing uranium ore from Niger.

    Rove was accused of leaking Valerie
    Plame's identity as a CIA agent [EPA]

    The claim, made by Bush in his 2003 state of the union address, was widely used to justify the subsequent invasion of Iraq. An investigation into the Plame leak led to perjury and obstruction of justice charges, and subsequent conviction of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a former chief-of-staff for Dick Cheney, the vice-president.
    But prosecutors decided last year not to charge Rove with any wrongdoing.
    More recently Rove has been subpoenaed by the Democratic congress to tell what he knows about the firing of federal prosecutors deemed insufficiently loyal to the Bush administration.
    Bush has refused to allow Rove to testify.
    Enormous power
    Rove wielded enormous power in Bush's White House. Former cabinet officials say every policy decision went through him.
    Rove's style was relentlessly partisan and hard hitting.
    He carefully orchestrated each of Bush's public appearances for maximum political impact and seized on the September 11, 2001 attacks as an opportunity to portray Democrats as soft on security and insufficiently patriotic.
    The tactics worked - for a time. But the growing unpopularity of the war in Iraq, a botched response to Hurricane Katrina and proliferating Republican scandals have driven Bush's popularity to record lows.
    Rove's dream was to create a permanent Republican majority. Instead, his legacy is a Democratic revival and a failed presidency.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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