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March 05, 2010

Rove Says DUI Revelations Nearly Sunk Bush

Mike Allen has some good nuggets from Karl Rove's Courage and Consequence, which will be published next week.

Most interesting is Rove's analysis of the timing of news -- just four days before Election Day 2000 -- that George W. Bush had been arrested for drunk driving. Rove fingers Gore spokesman Chris Lehane as the person behind the attack, though Lehane denies it.

"Did this last-minute revelation of Bush's decades-old DUI hurt? Yes, a lot. First, it knocked us off message at a critical time. ... Second, we had made a big issue of Gore's credibility and now we had a problem with Bush's. ... [A] number of people who supported Bush flipped and went for Gore. Second, a larger number of voters - especially evangelicals and social conservatives - decided not to vote, taking votes away from Bush. ... Before the news broke, we were up in Maine ... Bush went on to lose Maine ... If Bush did drop 2 percent nationally in the vote because of the DUI revelation, then it probably cost him four additional states that he lost by less than 1 percent -- New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Oregon. Had he won them, ... [it] would have allowed him to win the White House without Florida. ... Of the things I would redo in the 2000 election, making a timely announcement about Bush's DUI would top the list."


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