"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." -- Karl Rove
Karl Christian Rove (born December 25, 1950) was Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to former President George W. Bush until his resignation on August 31, 2007. He has headed the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives. Since leaving the White House, Rove has worked as a political analyst and contributor for Fox News,Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal.
Prior to his White House appointments, Rove was a Republican political consultant and strategist. He is credited with the successful 1994 and 1998 Texas gubernatorial victories of George W. Bush, as well as Bush's 2000 and 2004 successful presidential campaigns. In his 2004 victory speech Bush referred to Rove as "the Architect." Rove has also been credited for the successful campaigns of John Ashcroft (1994 U.S. Senate election), Bill Clements (1986 Texas gubernatorial election), Senator John Cornyn (2002 U.S. Senate election), Governor Rick Perry (1990 Texas Agriculture Commission election), and Phil Gramm (1982 U.S. House and 1984 U.S. Senate elections).
Though no allegations have been proven or sustained, Rove's name has come up in political scandals, including the Valerie Plame affair, the Bush White House e-mail controversy and the related dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy.
"Alinsky's 1971 book, "Rules for Radicals," is a favorite of the Obamas. Michele Obama quoted it at the Democratic Convention. One Alinsky tactic is to "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." That's what the White House did in targeting Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer.""As people do better, they start voting like Republicans - unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing.""At the core, we are dealing with two parties that have fundamentally different views of the world.""Cindy Sheehan is a clown. There is no real antiwar movement. No serious politician, with anything to do with anything, would show his face at an antiwar rally."""Empathy" is the latest code word for liberal activism, for treating the Constitution as malleable clay to be kneaded and molded in whatever form justices want. It represents an expansive view of the judiciary in which courts create policy that couldn't pass the legislative branch or, if it did, would generate voter backlash.""For a person who promised hope and civility in politics, Mr. Obama has shown a borderline obsessiveness in blaming Mr. Bush.""Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year? Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.""I think it's dawning on some Democrats that obstructing the Patriot Act, like they've been obstructing everything else, is bad for them politically.""I wish I had the billions of dollars that George Soros has that he has used to fund Democratic causes in the past.""If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is.""If you really want to diminish a candidate, depict him as the foil of his handler. This is as old in American politics as politics itself.""In his first 100 days, Mr. Obama has put the fate of his presidency in the hands of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He may come to regret that decision.""Many Democrats have a pre-9/11 worldview.""Memo to White House: Calling voters stupid is not a winning strategy.""Mr. Obama denounced the $2.3 trillion added to the national debt on Mr. Bush's watch as "deficits as far as the eye can see." But Mr. Obama's budget adds $9.3 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years. What happened to Obama the deficit hawk?""Mr. Obama has an ingenious approach to job losses: He describes them as job gains.""Mr. Obama plans to boost federal spending 25 percent while nearly tripling the national debt over 10 years. Americans know that this kind of spending will have economic consequences, including new taxes being imposed by the new progressives.""Remember the Tea Party movement didn't get started in September of 2008 when the bank bailout was passed. It really began on Feb. 19th, 2009 when a television commentator named Rick Santelli stood up and said what the hell are we doing bailing out people who couldn't afford a mortgage by taking money from people like me who are prudent?""Somebody gets to be smart and somebody gets to be dumb. If we win, it'll be because of the president. And if we lose, it'll be because of me.""The claim made by Team Obama that every dollar in stimulus translates into a dollar-and-a-half in growth is economic fiction. The costs of stimulus reduce future growth. No country has ever spent itself to prosperity. The price of stimulus has to be paid sometime.""The difficulty for Mr. Obama will be when the public sees where his decisions lead - higher inflation, higher interest rates, higher taxes, sluggish growth, and a jobless recovery.""We've been probably to some degree too successful.""What Mr. Obama wants in a nominee isn't really "empathy" and "understanding." He wants a liberal, activist Supreme Court justice.""You all had something to do with keeping me employed.""You may be right that people say: 'You know what, we had Obama. He was inexperienced. The guy had great rhetoric, sounded good, looked good, but has turned out to be an utter disaster. I want someone where I have confidence and credibility that they're up to the job and that I can trust what they tell me.'"
Rove was born in Denver, Colorado, the second of five children and was later raised in Sparks, Nevada. His biological father left the family when Rove and his older brother were children. His mother, Reba Louise (née Wood), was a gift shop manager, and his mother's second husband, Louis Claude Rove Jr. (1928—2004), who adopted him and whom Rove knew as his father, was a geologist whose ancestry was Norwegian.
In 1965, his family moved to Salt Lake City where Rove entered high school, becoming a skilled debator. Rove described his high school years as "I was the complete nerd. I had the briefcase. I had the pocket protector. I wore Hush Puppies when they were not cool. I was the thin, scrawny little guy. I was definitely uncool." Encouraged by a teacher to run for class senate, Rove won the election. As part of his campaign strategy he rode in the back of a convertible inside the school gymnasium sitting between two attractive girls before his election speech. While at Olympus High School, he was elected student council president his junior and senior years.
Entry into politics
Rove began his involvement in American politics in 1968. In a 2002 Deseret News interview, Rove explained, "I was the Olympus High chairman for (former United States Senator) Wallace F. Bennett's re-election campaign, where he was opposed by the dynamic, young, aggressive political science professor at the University of Utah, J.D. Williams." Bennett was reelected to a third six-year term. Through Rove's campaign involvement, Bennett's son, Bob Bennett — a future United States Senator from Utah — would become a friend. Williams would later become a mentor to Rove.
In December 1969, the man Rove had known as his father left the family, and divorced Rove's mother soon afterwards. After his parents' divorce, Rove learned from his aunt and uncle that the man who had raised him was not his biological father; both he and his older brother Eric were the children of another man. Rove has expressed great love and admiration for his adoptive father and for "how selfless" his love had been. On September 11, 1981, Rove's mother committed suicide in Reno, Nevada.
College and the Dixon campaign incident
In the fall of 1969, Rove entered the University of Utah, on a $1,000 scholarship, as a political science major and joined the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Through the University's Hinckley Institute of Politics, he got an internship with the Utah Republican Party. That position, and contacts from the 1968 Bennett campaign, helped him land a job in 1970 on Ralph Tyler Smith's unsuccessful re-election campaign for Senate from Illinois. Democrat Adlai E. Stevenson III won.
In the fall of 1970, Rove used a false identity to enter the campaign office of Democrat Alan J. Dixon, who was running for Treasurer of Illinois. He stole 1000 sheets of paper with campaign letterhead, printed fake campaign rally fliers promising "free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing", and distributed them at rock concerts and homeless shelters, with the effect of disrupting Dixon's rally. (Dixon eventually won the election). Rove's role would not become publicly known until August 1973. Rove told the Dallas Morning News in 1999, "It was a youthful prank at the age of 19 and I regret it." In his memoir, Rove wrote that when he was later nominated to the Board for International Broadcasting by President George H.W. Bush, Senator Dixon did not kill his nomination. In Rove's account, "Dixon displayed more grace than I had shown and kindly excused this youthful prank."
College Republicans, Watergate, and the Bushes
In June 1971, Rove dropped out of college to take a paid position as the Executive Director of the College Republican National Committee. Joe Abate, who was National Chairman of the College Republicans at the time, became a mentor to Rove.
Rove traveled extensively, participating as an instructor at weekend seminars for campus conservatives across the country. He was an active participant in Richard Nixon's 1972 Presidential campaign. A CBS report on the organization of the Nixon campaign from June 1972 includes an interview with a young Rove working for the College Republican National Committee.
Rove held the position of executive director of the College Republicans until early 1973. He left the job to spend five months, without pay, campaigning full time for the position of national chairman of the organization, for the 1973-1975 term in the same years he attended George Mason University. Lee Atwater, the group's Southern regional coordinator, who was two months younger than Rove, managed Rove's campaign. The two spent the spring of 1973 crisscrossing the country in a Ford Pinto, lining up the support of Republican state chairs.
The College Republicans summer 1973 convention at the Lake of the Ozarks resort in Missouri was quite contentious. Rove's opponent was Robert Edgeworth of Michigan (the other major candidate, Terry Dolan of California, dropped out, supporting Edgeworth). A number of states had sent two competing delegates, because Rove and his supporters had made credentials challenges at state and regional conventions. For example, after the Midwest regional convention, Rove forces had produced a version of the Midwestern College Republicans constitution which differed significantly from the constitution that the Edgeworth forces were using, in order to justify the unseating of the Edgeworth delegates on procedural grounds, including delegations, such as Ohio and Missouri, which had been certified earlier by Rove himself. In the end, there were two votes, conducted by two convention chairs, and two winners — Rove and Edgeworth, each of whom delivered an acceptance speech. After the convention, both Edgeworth and Rove appealed to Republican National Committee Chairman George H. W. Bush, each contending that he was the new College Republican chairman.
While resolution was pending, Dolan went (anonymously) to the Washington Post with recordings of several training seminars for young Republicans where a co-presenter of Rove's, Bernie Robinson, cautioned against doing the same thing he had done: rooting through opponents' garbage cans. The tape with this story on it, as well as Rove's admonition not to copy similar tricks as Rove's against Dixon, was secretly recorded and edited by Rich Evans, who had hoped to receive an appointment from Rove's competitor in CRNC chairmanship race. On August 10, 1973, in the midst of the Watergate scandal, the Post broke the story in article titled "GOP Party Probes Official as Teacher of Tricks."
In response, then RNC Chairman George H.W. Bush had an FBI agent question Rove. As part of the investigation, Atwater signed an affidavit, dated August 13, 1973, stating that he had heard a "20 minute anecdote similar to the one described in the Washington Post" in July 1972, but that "it was a funny story during a coffee break". Former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean, who was implicated in the Watergate break-in and became the star witness for the prosecution, has been quoted as saying "[B]ased on my review of the files, it appears the Watergate prosecutors were interested in Rove's activities in 1972, but because they had bigger fish to fry they did not aggressively investigate him."
On September 6, 1973, three weeks after announcing his intent to investigate the allegations against Rove, George H.W. Bush chose Rove to be chairman of the College Republicans. Bush then wrote Edgeworth a letter saying that he had concluded that Rove had fairly won the vote at the convention. Edgeworth wrote back, asking about the basis of that conclusion. Not long after that, Edgeworth stated "Bush sent me back the angriest letter I have ever received in my life. I had leaked to the Washington Post, and now I was out of the Party forever."
As National Chairman, Rove introduced Bush to Atwater, who had taken Rove's job as the College Republican's executive director, and who would become Bush's main campaign strategist in future years. Bush hired Rove as a special assistant in the Republican National Committee, a job Rove left in 1974 to become executive assistant to the co-chair of the RNC, Richard D. Obenshain.
As special assistant, Rove also performed small personal tasks for Bush. In November 1973, Bush asked Rove to take a set of car keys to his son George W. Bush, who was visiting home during a break from Harvard Business School. It was the first time the two met. "Huge amounts of charisma, swagger, cowboy boots, flight jacket, wonderful smile, just charisma - you know, wow", Rove recalled years later.
The Texas Years and Notable Political Campaignsmoreless
Rove's initial job in Texas was as a legislative aide for Fred Agnich, a Texas state representative, in Agnich's Dallas office. Later in 1977, Rove got a job as executive director of the Fund for Limited Government, a political action committee (PAC) in Houston headed by James A. Baker, a Houston lawyer (later President George H.W. Bush's Secretary of State). The PAC eventually became the genesis of the Bush-for-President campaign of 1979—1980.
His work for Bill Clements during the Texas gubernatorial election of 1978 helped Clements become the first Republican Governor of Texas in over 100 years. Clements was elected to a four-year term, succeeding Democrat Dolph Briscoe. Rove was deputy director of the Governor William P. Clements Junior Committee in 1979 and 1980, and deputy executive assistant to the governor of Texas (roughly, Deputy Chief of Staff) in 1980 and 1981.
In 1981, Rove founded a direct mail consulting firm, Karl Rove & Co., in Austin. The firm's first clients included Texas Governor Bill Clements and Democratic congressman Phil Gramm, who later became a Republican congressman and United States Senator. Rove operated his consulting business until 1999, when he sold the firm to take a full-time position in George W. Bush's presidential campaign.
Between 1981 and 1999, Rove worked on hundreds of races. Most were in a supporting role, doing direct mail fundraising. A November 2004 Atlantic Monthly article estimated that he was the primary strategist for 41 statewide, congressional, and national races, and Rove's candidates won 34 races.
Rove also did work during those years for non-political clients. From 1991 to 1996, Rove advised tobacco giant Philip Morris, and ultimately earned $3,000 a month via a consulting contract. In a deposition, Rove testified that he severed the tie in 1996 because he felt awkward "about balancing that responsibility with his role as Bush's top political advisor" while Bush was governor of Texas and Texas was suing the tobacco industry.
1978 George W. Bush congressional campaign
Rove advised the younger Bush during his unsuccessful Texas congressional campaign in 1978.
1980 George H. W. Bush presidential campaign
In 1977, Rove was the first person hired by George H. W. Bush for his unsuccessful 1980 presidential campaign, which ended with Bush as the vice-presidential nominee.
1982 William Clements, Jr. gubernatorial campaign
In 1982, Bill Clements ran for reelection, but was defeated by Democrat Mark White.
1982 Phil Gramm congressional campaign
In 1982, Phil Gramm was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a conservative Texas Democrat.
1984 Phil Gramm senatorial campaign
In 1984, Rove helped Gramm, who had become a Republican in 1983, defeat Republican Ron Paul in the primary and Democrat Lloyd Doggett in the race for U.S. Senate.
1984 Ronald Reagan presidential campaign
Rove handled direct-mail for the Reagan-Bush campaign.
1986 William Clements, Jr. gubernatorial campaign
In 1986, Rove helped Clements become governor a second time. In a strategy memo Rove wrote for his client prior to the race, now among Clements's papers in the Texas A&M University library, Rove quoted Napoleon: "The whole art of war consists in a well-reasoned and extremely circumspect defensive, followed by rapid and audacious attack."
In 1986, just before a crucial debate in campaign, Rove claimed that his office had been bugged by Democrats. The police and FBI investigated and discovered that the bug's battery was so small that it needed to be changed every few hours, and the investigation was dropped. Critics, including other Republican operatives, suspected Rove had bugged his own office to garner sympathy votes in the close governor's race.
1988 Texas Supreme Court races
In 1988, Rove helped Thomas R. Phillips become the first Republican elected as Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Phillips had been appointed to the position in November 1987 by Clements. Phillips was re-elected in 1990, 1996 and 2002.
Phillips' election in 1988 was part of an aggressive grassroots campaign called "Clean Slate '88", a conservative effort that was successful in getting five of its six candidates elected. (Ordinarily there were three justices on the ballot each year, on a nine-justice court, but, because of resignations, there were six races for the Supreme Court on the ballot in November 1988.) By 1998, Republicans held all nine seats on the Court.
1990 Texas gubernatorial campaign
In 1989, Rove encouraged George W. Bush to run for Texas governor, brought in experts to tutor him on policy, and introduced him to local reporters. Eventually, Bush decided not to run, and Rove backed another Republican for governor who lost in the primary.
Other 1990 Texas statewide races
In 1990, two other Rove candidates won: Rick Perry, the future governor of the state, became agricultural commissioner, and Kay Bailey Hutchison became state treasurer. The 1990 election was notable because the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), earlier that year, had investigated every Democratic officeholder in the state.
1991 Richard L. Thornburgh senatorial campaign and lawsuit
In 1991, United States Attorney General Dick Thornburgh resigned to run for a Senate seat in Pennsylvania, one made vacant by John Heinz's death in a helicopter crash. Rove's company worked for the campaign, but it ended with an upset loss to Democrat Harris Wofford. Rove subsequently sued Thornburgh alleging non-payment for services rendered. The Republican National Committee, worried that the suit would make it hard to recruit good candidates, urged Rove to back off. When Rove refused, the RNC hired Kenneth Starr to write an amicus brief on Thornburgh's behalf. After a trial in Austin, Rove prevailed. Karl Rove & Co. v. Thornburgh was heard by U.S. Federal Judge Sam Sparks (who had been appointed by George H.W. Bush in 1991).
1992 George H. W. Bush presidential campaign
Rove was fired from the 1992 Bush presidential campaign after he planted a negative story with columnist Robert Novak about dissatisfaction with campaign fundraising chief Robert Mosbacher Jr. (Esquire Magazine, January 2003). Novak provided some evidence of motive in his column describing the firing of Mosbacher by former Senator Phil Gramm: "Also attending the session was political consultant Karl Rove, who had been shoved aside by Mosbacher." Novak and Rove deny that Rove was the leaker, but Mosbacher maintained that "Rove is the only one with a motive to leak this. We let him go. I still believe he did it."During testimony before the CIA leak grand jury, Rove apparently confirmed his prior involvement with Novak in the 1992 campaign leak, according to National Journal reporter Murray Waas.
1993 Kay Bailey Hutchison senatorial campaignRove helped Hutchison win a special Senate election in June 1993. Hutchison defeated Democrat Bob Krueger to fill the last two years of Lloyd Bentsen's term. Bentsen resigned to become Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration.
1994 Alabama Supreme Court racesIn 1994, a group called the Business Council of Alabama hired Rove to help run a slate of Republican candidates for the state supreme court. No Republican had been elected to that court in more than a century. The campaign by the Republicans was unprecedented in the state, which had previously only seen low-key contests. After the election, a court battle over absentee and other ballots followed that lasted more than 11 months. It ended when a federal appeals court judge ruled that disputed absentee ballots could not be counted, and ordered the Alabama Secretary of State to certify the Republican candidate for Chief Justice, Perry Hooper, as the winner. An appeal to the Supreme Court by the Democratic candidate was turned down within a few days, making the ruling final. Hooper won by 262 votes.
Another candidate, Harold See, ran against Mark Kennedy, an incumbent Democratic justice and the son-in-law of George Wallace. The race included charges that Kennedy was mingling campaign funds with those of a non-profit children's foundation he was involved with. A former Rove staffer reported that some within the See camp initiated a whisper campaign that Kennedy was a pedophile. Kennedy won by less than one percentage point.
1994 John Ashcroft senatorial campaignIn 1993, according to the New York Times, Karl Rove & Company was paid $300,000 in consulting fees by Ashcroft's successful 1994 Senate campaign. Ashcroft paid Rove's company more than $700,000 over the course of three campaigns.
1994 George W. Bush gubernatorial campaignIn 1993, Rove began advising George W. Bush in his successful campaign to become governor of Texas. Bush announced his candidacy in November 1993. By January 1994, Bush had spent more than $600,000 on the race against incumbent Democrat Ann Richards, with $340,000 of that paid to Rove's firm.
Rove has been accused of using the push poll technique to call voters to ask such things as whether people would be "more or less likely to vote for Governor Richards if [they] knew her staff is dominated by lesbians." Rove has denied having been involved in circulating these rumors about Richards during the campaign, although many critics nonetheless identify this technique, particularly as utilized in this instance against Richards, as a hallmark of his career.
1996 Harold See's campaign for Associate Justice, Alabama Supreme CourtA former campaign worker charged that, at Rove's behest, he distributed flyers that anonymously attacked Harold See, their own client. This put the opponent's campaign in an awkward position; public denials of responsibility for the scurrilous flyers would be implausible. Rove's client was elected.
1998 George W. Bush gubernatorial campaignRove was an adviser for Bush's 1998 reelection campaign. From July through December 1998, Bush's reelection committee paid Rove & Co. nearly $2.5 million, and also paid the Rove-owned Praxis List Company $267,000 for use of mailing lists. Rove says his work for the Bush campaign included direct mail, voter contact, phone banks, computer services, and travel expenses. Of the $2.5 million, Rove said, "[a]bout 30 percent of that is postage". In all, Bush (primarily through Rove's efforts) raised $17.7 million, with $3.4 million unspent as of March 1999.
2000 Harold See campaign for Chief JusticeFor the race to succeed Perry Hooper, who was retiring as Alabama's chief justice, Rove lined up support for See from a majority of the state's important Republicans.
2000 George W. Bush presidential campaign and the sale of Karl Rove & Co.
In early 1999, Rove sold his 20-year-old direct-mail business, Karl Rove & Co., which provided campaign services to candidates, along with Praxis List Company (in whole or part) to Ted Delisi and Todd Olsen, two young political operatives who had worked on campaigns of some other Rove candidates. Rove helped finance the sale of the company, which had 11 employees. Selling Karl Rove & Co. was a condition that George W. Bush had insisted on before Rove took the job of chief strategist for Bush's presidential bid.
2004 George W. Bush Presidential Re-election Campaign
Bush publicly thanked Rove and called him "the architect" in his 2004 victory speech, after defeating John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.
Shortly after leaving the White House, Rove was hired to write about the 2008 Presidential Election for Newsweek. He was also later hired as a contributor for the Wall Street Journal and a political analyst for Fox News. Rove was an informal advisor to 2008 Republican Presidential candidate John McCain, and donated $2,300 to his campaign. His memoir, titled Courage and Consequence, was published March, 2010. One advance reviewer, Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, said of the book that Rove "revives claims discredited long ago." The controversial book has inspired a grassroots rock and roll compilation of a similar name Courage and Consequence that was released a week before the memoir.
Rove has also spent significant time on the road giving speeches to schools and other groups. Rove was scheduled to give the commencement address at Choate Rosemary Hall, a New England boarding school, but canceled after protests from students and faculty. He instead made a private appearance at the school on February 11, 2008.
On March 9, 2008, Rove appeared at the University of Iowa as a paid speaker to a crowd of approximately 1,000. He was met with hostility and two students were removed by police after attempting a citizen's arrest for alleged crimes committed during his time with the Bush administration. Near the end of the speech, a member of the audience asked, "Can we have our $40,000 back?" Rove replied, "No, you can't."
On May 22, 2008, Rove was subpoenaed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers to testify on the politicization of the Department of Justice. However, on July 10, Rove refused to acknowledge his congressional subpoena citing executive privilege as his reason.
On June 24, 2008, Rove said of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, "Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone."
Rove agreed to debate one-time presidential candidate and former Senator John Edwards on September 26, 2008 at the University at Buffalo. However Edwards later dropped out and was replaced with General Wesley Clark.
Rove, who was hired by Fox News to provide analysis for the network's election coverage, defended his role on the news team to the Television Critics Association.
On November 3, 2008, Rove spoke on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis on the eve of Election Day.
On February 23, 2009 Karl Rove was again required by Congressional subpoena to testify before the House Judiciary Committee concerning his knowledge of the US Attorney firings and the alleged political prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman but did not appear on this date. He and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers have since agreed to testify under oath before Congress about these matters.
On July 7, 2009, and July 30, 2009, Karl Rove testified before the House Judiciary Committee regarding questions about the dismissal of seven U.S. Attorneys under the Bush Administration. Rove was also questioned regarding the federal prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegleman who was convicted of fraud. The Committee concluded that Rove had played a significant role in the attorney firings. No conclusions were made public regarding Siegleman’s prosecution. Siegleman’s supporters have claimed that Rove was behind Siegleman’s prosecution, although Siegleman’s defense made no such claim either at his original trial, nor at his appeal before the 11th Circuit Court which upheld his conviction on the bribery and fraud counts, but dismissed two counts of mail fraud. The 11th Circuit handed down its decision March 6, 2009.
In 2010, Rove became an advisor to American Crossroads, a Republican 527 organization raising money in competition with the Republican National Committee.
Rove was the guest host of The Rush Limbaugh Show on Monday, August 9, 2010., marking his first time hosting a radio talk show.
Rove married Houston socialite Valerie Mather Wainwright, on July 10, 1976. He moved to Texas in January 1977. His sister and father still remembered "the wedding [that] was so extravagant that [we] ... still recall it with awe."Rove and Wainwright were divorced in early 1980; she was 26 and he 29. He attended the University of Texas at Austin in 1977; he still lacked a degree. In July 1999 he told The Washington Post that he did not have a degree because "I lack at this point one math class, which I can take by exam, and my foreign language requirement."
In January 1986, Rove married Darby Tara Hickson. She is a breast cancer survivor, a graphic designer, and former employee of Karl Rove & Co. Their son, Andrew Madison Rove (b. 1989), is an undergraduate at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
On December 29, 2009, it was reported that Rove and Hickson had been granted a divorce in Texas after 24 years of marriage. Dana Perino, Rove's spokesperson, said: “Karl Rove and his wife, Darby, were granted a divorce last week. The couple came to the decision mutually and amicably, and they maintain a close relationship and a strong friendship. There will be no further comment and the family requests that its privacy be respected.”
Rove left Texas after Bush was elected President in late 2000. He currently resides in Washington, D.C.