Rove finally given title in US government

GEORGE BUSH yesterday made official what has long been an acknowledged fact of Washington life - the involvement of his top strategist Karl Rove not just in politics but in almost every aspect of administration strategy.

Henceforth the senior adviser often referred to as "Bush's Brain" will have the formal title of deputy chief of staff, a post that will involve him in policymaking across the board, from domestic issues to foreign affairs.

In a sense the move is logical. Mr Rove, 54, at Mr Bush's side throughout his political career, is widely seen as the architect of his four major election victories, for the Texas governorship in 1994 and 1998, and to the presidency in 2000 and 2004.

After Karen Hughes, Mr Bush's first communications director, returned to her native Texas in 2002, he became the President's most influential single adviser.

Last November is generally considered Mr Rove's finest hour, when he saw that the key to winning lay less in capturing the centre than in getting the Republican base to the polls, above all evangelical Christians.

Now, however, Mr Bush has fought his last campaign - but, as yesterday's promotion shows, still plainly values Mr Rove's advice as much as ever.

In the meantime, however, the 2008 Republican presidential hopefuls are quietly jostling to secure the services of Mr Rove for that election, assuming that he wants to stay in electoral politics.

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