Why He Matters
Rove, who at age 9 cheered for Republican Richard Nixon to defeat Democrat John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential race, became one of the most powerful and controversial backstage political operatives of his generation. Admirers cite Rove's winning track record and lifelong effort to create a lasting national Republican majority. Detractors deride him for a ruthless, win-at-all-costs campaign style, yet few willingly crossed him.
Rove is credited with transforming Texas from a century-old Democratic bastion to a ruby-red Republican state, but is best known as the powerful strategic force behind the rise of George W. Bush, first to the Texas governor's mansion and then the White House. Rove's outsized influence in Bush's ascent earned him the nicknames "Boy Genius" and "Bush's Brain." Bush, acknowledging Rove's role in his own success, called him "The Architect."And indeed, Rove can be credited for successfully building the 2000 Republican phenomenon that was George W. Bush's presidential campaign, despite its historically narrow margins, and in helping Republicans increase their numbers, at least temporarily, on Capitol Hill.