Karl Rove sets the record straight -- sort of

By Dana Milbank
Sunday, March 7, 2010

As a White House reporter during the Bush presidency, I often worried that I wasn't getting the whole story. Now, Karl Rove has finally given it to me.

His new book, "Courage and Consequence," promises to "pull back the curtain on my journey to the White House and my years there." What he divulges nearly made me choke on a pretzel.

That business about President George W. Bush misleading the nation about Iraq? Didn't happen. "Did Bush lie us into war? Absolutely not," Rove writes.

Condoning torture? Wrong! "The president never authorized torture. He did just the opposite."

Foot-dragging on global warming? Au contraire. "He was aggressive and smart on this front."

You thought Bush was responsible for turning a budget surplus into a record deficit and nearly doubling the national debt? That he was in charge when the economy plunged into the worst collapse since the Great Depression? Guess again. Spending was "far below average" under Bush, who led the nation through "the longest period of economic growth since President Reagan."

Even Bush's televised claim that the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Michael "Brownie" Brown was doing a "heckuva" job after Hurricane Katrina wasn't what our lying ears told us it was. "Bush was responding to compliments others had offered to Brown."

Heckuva job, Architect. In fact, these new disclosures call for a correction of some of my past reporting:


Every article about George W. Bush ever written by Dana Milbank was wrong. The Post regrets the error.


Rove's book is 600 pages thick, the work of a man with a lot of scores to settle. But it deserves a better title. In the model of Karen Hughes's memoir, "Ten Minutes from Normal," Rove's work should be called "Ten Thousand Miles from Self-Aware."

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