Washington Prowler

Vintage Rove

He makes sure to leave his policy post in good hands. Plus: Who will save White House-Congressional relations?

By 4.20.06

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A couple of thoughts on the decision by Karl Rove give up the deputy chief of staff for policy designation.

What most people forget (after all, it was six years ago) was that in Austin, there was the "Iron Triangle" of Karl Rove, Joe Allbaugh, and Karen Hughes, and then there were the "Three Amigos": Rove, Joshua Bolten, and Joel Kaplan. The three men worked as a team on policy issues, and unlike past White Houses, the long-term guys (Rove, Bolten, Dan Bartlett) don't care much about the titles. According to sources both inside the White House and out, Rove was more than happy to surrender the deputy slot to Kaplan, in part, because he had taken the title to prevent others in the White House from handing it to more liberal or less reliable folks.

"Karl's first two choices for the deputy slot got passed over, and that raised concerns with Karl," says a current White House source. "He likes policy, and he saw this as an opportunity to block an Andy Card acolyte and at the same time protect some turf for one his guys down the road. Kaplan is a Bolten guy and he's a Rove guy. This is not a problem for Karl or anyone else."

More of a problem may be the rumored move of Candida Wolff from her job as White House director of legislative affairs. Rumors have been swirling for weeks that her job was in jeopardy, in part, because House leadership has been doing what it can to push her out the door.

Wolff has taken the brunt of the criticism for perceived lack of communications and chemistry with Congressional leadership for the past six months. And there is talk that the White House was looking to bring in a high visibility hire to smooth things over. Names floated have included former Senators Dan Coats and Phil Gramm, to name a couple. That announcement may come as early as Thursday morning, leading into the return of Congress next week.

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