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Would a Perry Win Be a 'Deathblow' to Karl Rove?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

It’s not Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Fraser, and it may not even be a fight, but much is being written about a feud between Governor Perry’s team and former George W. Bush loyalists. In particular, how a Perry run could affect the fortunes of Karl Rove.


In a story by Kenneth Vogel at Politico, he takes the position that a Perry presidential run will put Rove in a tricky position. Vogel quotes an unidentified source as saying “Perry winning would be a deathblow for Rove.”

Deathblow? Rick Perry’s consultant doesn’t even see the feud.

“To have a feud, it has to be two ways.” Adding “The Governor doesn’t hold any animosity or any ill-will, he and Karl have had a relationship over the years…I just don’t see there being [any feud], I just see that’s another distraction by the national media.”

While Karl Rove is known as "the architect", Dave Carney very well could be known as “the orchestrator” because he doesn’t see him as the central figure but one who puts the pieces together and manages them to a successful outcome.

In an exclusive interview for an upcoming Townhall Magazine article, Carney spoke candidly about a range of issues. Known as a larger than life figure, Carney has managed the last four statewide races for Perry that included ’98 that may have started the whole issue.

The mastermind behind Perry’s campaigns, he and his team reads the political tea leaves like few can. Rove, as the story goes, wanted a fashionable campaign that set up his strategy for Bush’s 2000 White House run. Carney just wanted a win, and had a much more difficult race to run. Bush was facing someone with little chance of winning; Perry was facing a tough competitor whom he had a longstanding rivalry since their days at Texas A&M.


Rove thought Perry had the advantage, but Perry pollster Mike Baselice disagreed. He knew Perry had to take the fight to John Sharp. Carney agreed and they ran their style of television ads. Baselice knew the numbers and knew it would be tight, and he was right. Had Perry not run the ads, would he have won? We don’t know, but we know he won and because he did – George W. Bush could run for President.

Carney has conceded there have been disagreements but still sees these as a manufactured story. It was replayed in 2010 when Rove supported Perry’s opponent, in a Republican primary. After backing out 2006, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison decided to take on Perry. Carney and his team successfully painted Hutchison as part of the problem with Washington, even labeling her “Kay Bailout.” Rove, as you know, is a frequent guest on cable news talking about, amongst other things, Washington.

Carney, and Team Perry, developed a new strategy that included the use of social media and outreach to the conservative blogosphere that paid off with a Perry win. It’s a plan that perhaps could be used in 2012. The question is will it be needed? Only Rick Perry can answer that, and perhaps the “orchestrator” will be back in business.

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