Bush's 'Iron Triangle' Points Way to Washington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 23, 1999; Page C1 AUSTIN Gov. George W. Bush was sitting in his office in the Texas Capitol building, a few days before his first campaign trip to Iowa and New Hampshire. He was restless, like a boxer impatient to climb into the ring. The newsmagazine photographers had just finished shooting his portrait. Outside in the ornate reception area, a foreign visitor awaited him.
Bush was explaining why he had selected a trio of political advisers with virtually no experience in presidential politics to guide his candidacy.
Their names are little known outside Texas. Some among Bush's extended family have grumbled that the inner circle may not be up to this challenge. But as he prepared to leave the cocoon of Austin that day, the candidate had no second thoughts.
"This campaign is going to have rough spots," Bush said. "These polls aren't going to be quite as glamorous as they are now. There are going to be instances where people [say], 'The Bush campaign's wheels are coming off.' Those are the moments when your friends stand up, and every one of these three people are friends. We've grown up together politically."
The three Karl Rove, Joe Allbaugh and Karen Hughes have formed Bush's political inner circle since he first ran for governor in 1994. Known as the "Iron Triangle," their control over the campaign is near absolute as others are learning. Last week, for instance, Washington veteran and campaign spokesman David Beckwith was forced to resign over differences with the Bush team.
Rove is the campaign's chief strategist, Allbaugh the campaign manager and Hughes the communications director. But Allbaugh has a more colorful description. He calls them: "the brain, the brawn and the bite."
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