NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t


listen.gifFRESH AIR

Karl Rove’s new memoir, Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight, details his lengthy time on the campaign trail and also responds to his many critics. In the book, Rove distances himself from the rumors that he spread false information during the 2000 election about John McCain fathering an illegitimate black child — a rumor credited with helping George W. Bush defeat McCain in the South Carolina primary. Rove also blames himself for improperly defending President Bush against accusations that Bush misled the American public about the reasons for the Iraq invasion in 2003. “I am under no illusions: the failure to find stockpiles of WMD did great damage to the administration’s credibility,” Rove writes in Courage and Consequence. “Our weak response in defense of the president and in setting the record straight is, I believe, one of the biggest mistakes of the Bush years.” Rove says the decision to go to war in 2003 was not based on wrong information from the Bush administration, but was based on wrong information from courage200_custom.jpgthe intelligence community.”Let’s stipulate: they got it wrong. And that’s a problem. Because policy makers make decisions based on the best available intelligence,” Rove tells Fresh Air. “In this instance, they got it wrong. Part of the reason is … because Saddam wanted us to get it wrong and part of the reason was, [Saddam] was doing things that were necessary to reconstitute these programs. … This is troubling. We’re great at doing things electronically and sweeping electrons out of the air … and mapping patterns but we are really not good — particularly in facing the enemy that we face — in getting actionable intelligence that’s based on human sources. It’s really difficult to do and as a result, we get it wrong.” Rove emphasizes that the Bush administration “did the right thing given what we knew at the time.” “Our country is safer for having removed [Saddam],” he says. “The world is safer. … We had to act in the aftermath of 9/11 on the basis of what we thought we knew. And the world is a better place for him being gone.” A year after the Iraq invasion, Rove helped Bush win a second presidential term. Rove continued to act as a senior advisor to President Bush until he left the White House in 2007. He currently works as a political analyst for Fox News and The Wall Street Journal and says he doesn’t plan to go back to managing campaigns. “You can’t go back in life.” he says. “I did that, and I enjoyed it. But you gotta go on to the next chapter in life.”

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