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Can Rove mastermind book sales too?

Publishers consider the ex-Bush advisor's intention to write about his White House years.

August 15, 2007|Hillel Italie | Associated Press

NEW YORK -- In announcing that he was stepping down as President Bush's top political advisor, Karl Rove said Monday that he wanted to write a book about his White House years.

Publishers, with some reservations, would like to see what he has in mind.

"If he's ready to talk about what he's been doing, to lay out how he developed his architectural plans and then implemented them and what his vision is, I think that book would have significant readership," says Steve Ross, publisher of the Collins division at HarperCollins and former head of the Crown Publishing Group, where he put out Sen. Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope."

Rove, a ruthless and relentless strategist who masterminded Bush's races for the White House and became the most influential political advisor of his time, said Monday that he wanted to "start thinking about the next chapter in our family's life."

Rove and Bush have known each other for more than 30 years, dating back to Bush's years in Texas. Bush nicknamed Rove "the architect" and "boy genius" for successfully plotting two national election strategies and helping strengthen Republican majorities in Congress in 2002 and 2004.

"He's clearly one of the most controversial, notorious and elusive figures in politics, and I think that people would be interested in looking behind the curtain and seeing what the Wizard of Oz is actually saying," says Jonathan Karp, publisher of the Twelve Imprint at Grand Central Publishing.

But Karp says he wonders how much Rove would reveal.

"He said the president has encouraged him to write a book, so one would not expect complete candor. Rove's historical value would be in a candid rendering of the Bush presidency," says Karp, who just published a book by Sen. John McCain, a Republican contender for the 2008 race.

Ashbel Green, a senior editor at Alfred A. Knopf, says that any book from Rove would be of interest, if only because of Rove's well publicized passion for politics and history. He has invited numerous scholars to the White House and prides himself on his knowledge of the past.

"I think there will be a lot of interest from publishers, because he is obviously a very intelligent guy," says Green, who edited a book, "A World Transformed," co-authored by the first President Bush.

Asked what kind of money Rove might receive, Karp and Green each said they doubted he would receive anything close to the multimillion dollar contracts of former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan or of former President Clinton.

Karp noted that Rove's reputation has declined since the Republicans lost control of Congress in 2006, despite Rove's boastful predictions of long-term GOP dominance. Green said Rove's advance could reach no higher than the mid-six figures, if only because Rove lacked the charisma of Clinton.

"He doesn't have the personality," Green said.

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