AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Though it's not even out yet, tea party firebrand Ted Cruz's new book is already irking at least one member of the Republican establishment: Karl Rove.
The veteran GOP strategist is denying Cruz's assertion in his forthcoming book that Rove pressed him not to publicize former President George H.W. Bush 2009 endorsement of Cruz's then-campaign for Texas attorney general. Cruz writes that Rove was then raising money for George W. Bush's presidential library, and top donors were backing another Republican in the attorney general race.
Now a senator from Texas seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Cruz also writes that Rove suggested "that the elder Bush was too old to have good judgment anymore."
"A Time for Truth," is being released Tuesday. The Associated Press purchased an early copy.
Rove, who was a close adviser to President George W. Bush, responded that his recollection of conversations with Cruz in 2009 differed substantially. Among other objections, he said he wasn't raising money for Bush's library then.
He also said Cruz was wrong to say "I would question the judgment of one of the finest men I have ever known, President Bush 41."
In response, Cruz released a 2009 email exchange between the two. In it, Cruz apologizes to Rove for having "done anything to distress you or President Bush 43." Rove's response says "the distress you mention is not mine or 43 — it is the people raising money for the library" and suggests they are backing another candidate for attorney general.
"I have known Karl Rove for a long time, and have considered him a friend," Cruz said in a statement. He said he knew the "threats" Rove made in the 2009 Texas attorney general race and his "disparaging remarks" about the elder Bush "would cause him some discomfort."
Cruz writes in the book about a sailing outing with George H.W. Bush that ended with the former president presenting him with a $1,000 check. At the time, Cruz was running for attorney general — a bid he eventually abandoned because the incumbent, Republican Greg Abbott, ultimately decided to seek re-election in 2010.
Cruz writes that, because of donors to President George W. Bush's library who were backing other attorney general candidates, Rove called and demanded that he return the Bush check — but he'd already cashed it. He says Rove responded: "Then I want you to do nothing whatsoever to draw attention to it."
Cruz agreed, but recalls his wife angrily objecting to the notion that donors to the library would have anything to do with a primary for attorney general.
Cruz says that a short time later, the elder Bush's office sent a draft statement endorsing Cruz as "the future of the Republican party."
He writes that it was hard to imagine that the elder Bush was unaware of the consternation that his endorsement would cause Rove. But Cruz said he called Bush's office and asked that the would-be endorsement announcement be thrown "in the trash."