(CNN) – Enemies of President Bush take heed: Karl Rove is set to name names.
The man widely credited with Bush’s two presidential victories says his new book will include an accounting of those in Washington who never accepted the president as a legitimate commander-in-chief.
Ooooh!!! I’m shaking! And I bet the other 60,000,000 people are shaking, too!
“I’ve got behind-the-scenes episodes that are going to show how unreceiving they were of this man as president of the United States,” Rove told Cox News in an interview published Sunday. “I’m going to name names and show examples.”
Rove signed a deal with publishing giant Simon & Schuster last year, reported be worth over $1.5 million.
In the wide-ranging interview, Rove also suggested the criticisms the president and his aides took were partly because they were not part of the Washington establishment.
From the Austin American-Statesman:
WASHINGTON — On a sofa on the second floor of the comfortable Washington home that George W. Bush’s career helped put him in, Karl Rove reflects on an administration that didn’t turn out as anticipated.
“No. It all turns out different,” he said. Not bad, he insists, just different. “We were all smarter before we showed up here.”
Much of Washington, Rove said, never accepted Bush as a legitimate president and “acted accordingly.”
In the seventh-floor government office where Bush put her, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, a Bushie since the first gubernatorial campaign, said, “Some things have happened … that no one could have predicted.”
From the Colorado vacation home that Bush’s career helped him purchase, longtime adviser Mark McKinnon also talks about how things turned out.
“It was a different world then,” he said. “It was a time of relative peace and prosperity, and there were things on the agenda — the compassionate conservatism agenda — that we thought would make for a very domestic-focused presidency.”
“External events intervened, starting with the recount,” McKinnon said.
For some of the longtime Bushies, it was the recount — and all it meant in the tumultuous weeks following the 2000 election — that set the tone for a presidency that was challenged before it began.
Rove, a hall-of-famer when it comes to partisan politics, says Bush was hampered by partisan politics magnified by the recount.
Spellings has seen such partisanship in the education battles she has fought on Bush’s behalf.
“I do believe, like all the Bushies, that the president’s record will be vindicated upon historical reflection,” she said.
Moments later, she said: “I cannot predict whether (history) will judge him well or not. I think it will judge him differently. People will see, and our successors will see, there are some big, hairy issues before our country and if they were easy they would have easy solutions. But they’re not.”
Rove sees a presidency clouded by the way it began.
“There were people who never accepted the legitimacy of George W. Bush and acted accordingly,” he said.
For now, that’s the Bushies’ story, and they’re sticking to it.
Yes, mistakes were made by the administration, Rove acknowledges, teasingly referencing his work-in-progress book for the list.
“Look,” Rove said, “he didn’t come here to play small ball.”
Rove said Bush did what he thought was right, not what he thought was popular.
Also reserved for between the covers of Rove’s book is his checklist of the “great many of the political actors in this town (who) never accepted him as a legitimate president.”
“I’ve got behind-the-scenes episodes that are going to show how unreceiving they were of this man as president of the United States,” Rove said, adding: “I’m going to name names and show examples.”
Rove also blames Washington partisanship for the scandals and subpoenas embedded in the Bush legacy, including leaks involving a clandestine CIA agent’s identity.
He offered himself as an example.
“You’ll notice there was outrage when it was thought that I was the person behind outing Valerie Plame. And then when it came out that it was the sainted (Deputy Secretary of State) Richard Armitage, there was no interest. I don’t remember seeing anybody camped out on his doorstep like they were camped out on mine. (It’s) because he was part of the acceptable culture of Washington, and I was not. I was one of those Texans who came up. He was one of those perpetual I’ll-scratch-your-back-if-you’ll-scratch-mine Washington leakers,” Rove vented.
“No administration in the foreseeable future is going to go in and say, ‘You know what, we’re repealing the Patriot Act. You know what, we’re throwing out that terrorist surveillance program,’ ” Rove said of legislation making it easier for the government to gather intelligence on U.S. soil and about U.S. citizens.
And no one, Rove added, ever will say that taking out Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was a mistake or that the broader war on terrorism was a miscalculation.
Not long after the Republican National Convention in September , Bush gathered many of the Texas Bushies for a Camp David retreat that included a trip to Gettysburg, Pa.
Among them were Rove, Spellings, Karen Hughes, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Assistant Commerce Secretary Israel Hernandez and Albert Hawkins, former White House secretary to the Cabinet.
“When you look at history, you don’t know what history is going to present you or what kind of events are going to be part of your tenure,” said Hernandez, who said he views Bush as “a mentor, at times a father, at times an older brother.”
[Spellings said,] “I think he is smart and able and has a great big heart and is a good human being,” Spellings said. “I’m sad that more Americans don’t see him as I do. Maybe they will eventually. I certainly hope so.”