Karl Rove

Excerpts from a Monitor lunch with President Bush's top adviser on the plight of the Democratic party.

Karl Rove, senior adviser to the president, and the person Mr. Bush called 'the architect" of his re-election victory, was the guest at a Monitor lunch on Tuesday. Here are excerpts of his remarks:

On what Republicans need to do to keep the advantage they had in the 2004 election:

"The main thing is Republicans need to focus on delivering. We have laid out an agenda, we have laid out a vision, people now want to see results...The biggest potential concern for the party is to make certain it fulfills these commitments we made to the American people."

On his role in a new Bush administration:

"If the president wants and my wife agrees, I will continue to focus on my responsibilities as senior adviser...and to kibitz on issues and receive the brunt of the president's displeasure when I screw up."

On immigration reform in the second Bush term:

"We are formulating plans for the legislative agenda for next year...and immigration will be on that agenda...We intend to make it an important item... We understand that this is in the economic and security interest of the United States to gain full and complete control of our borders."

On the President's goal of working with Democrats:

"Texas politics is like Friday night football - a blood sport. But after you get it done, you sort of put it aside for a couple of years and try and find some ways to work together. And he [the president] is going to continue to do that and he thinks he's got a real opportunity now that the election is past and the margin is clear..."

On the plight of the Democratic Party:

"I barely understand Republicans and the electorate. I claim no divine understanding of Democrats...I will say that there are big swaths of the country where Democrats are becoming less and less acceptable. You have seen it already happen in the prairie states and in the South."

On the election impact of a decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court allowing gay marriage:

"Stepping back from the outcome on this election, if you look at things that intrude into American politics, through the nonpolitical methods, through a judicial vein, they tend to have a huge impact. And I will grant you that the actions of a few activist judges in Massachusetts captured and colored the national imagination."

On independent groups - called 527s - that sponsored political advertisements in the last election:

"Would our system have been better off if the 527s had not been players? I think so... I am a firm believer in strong parties. And things that weaken the parties and place the outcomes of elections in the hands of billionaires who can write checks and political consultants who can get themselves hired by billionaires who write checks gives me some concern."

On whether the Bush campaign met its goal of turning out an additional 4 million evangelical Christians to vote for the president:

"I don't think there is enough conclusive data yet... My gut tells me yes, they did. But I would make it broader, I would make it people of faith. Remember, we gained 5 points among Catholics. Catholics are 25 percent of the electorate. That's a big movement...it is more than evangelicals and fundamentalists and Charismatics and Pentecostals which are probably about 20 percent of the electorate..."

On whether he would take part in the 2008 presidential campaign:

"I am focused on 2005, 2006, 2007. And 2008 is going to be left to someone who has a little bit more energy and interest than me. This will be the last presidential campaign I will ever do."

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