Republican strategist Karl Rove Thursday lauded former President George W. Bush for his personal qualities as political luminaries gathered in Dallas Thursday for the dedication of Bush’s presidential library.
“His flaws are greatly overshadowed by his virtues, starting with his moral clarity,” Rove, who was Bush’s deputy chief of staff and the architect of his campaign for the presidency, wrote in The Wall Street Journal
“It was this trait that led him to use all the energy of his office to keep America safe after 9/11. It drove his response to the AIDS pandemic in Africa, where American leadership has saved millions of lives.”
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Bush applied his moral views on issues ranging from immigration to education to stem-cell research, Rove said. “Even his use of phrases like ‘the axis of evil,’ which drove critics batty, was grounded in a true understanding of the North Korean, Iranian and Saddam Hussein-ruled Iraqi regimes.”
But Bush had more than moral clarity, Rove said.
“Moral clarity without courage is worth little in a political leader, and President Bush possessed courage in abundance. I saw it many times, such as when he touched the ‘third rail’ of American politics, calling for Social Security reform in two presidential elections.”
Bush showed his courage most prominently in the 2007 surge in Iraq, “a policy opposed by nearly every Democrat, many Republicans, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and some members of his own cabinet,” Rove said.
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