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Never before seen photo! Karl Rove with Robert Gibbs

March 16, 2010 |  6:14 am

RoveGibbsFNS3-14-10

Other than that, gentlemen, how was the surgery?

George W. Bush's brain, Karl Rove, and Barack Obama's mouth, Robert Gibbs, meet up behind the scenes Sunday after separate appearances by both on "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace."

Neither man has been reticent about criticizing the other's boss, whether it was Gibbs on eight years of failed Republican policies or Rove on 14 months of partisan, hard-left policies by Obama.

Gibbs, Obama's press secretary, was on the White House's least favorite TV network to profess profound optimism about the imminent passage of the healthcare bill which his boss won't stop talking about no matter what so you better be ready for more any minute now.

Gibbs on healthcare: "We'll have the votes when the House votes, I think within the next week. And I think whoever sits here this time next week, you all will be talking about healthcare reform not as a presidential proposal but as something that will soon be the law of the land....Because I think the American people understand and I think there's growing momentum in Congress that we can't do nothing,"

On Obama's focus on healthcare: "You know, Chris, being president isn't about doing what....

...is just politically popular. If doing what was just politically popular -- we have two auto companies that were bankrupt. We'd have an economy likely that fell off even deeper into a greater recession or maybe even the next depression.
 
"The president has looked at the issues that are before him and done what's right. There were many in his party that didn't want him to send additional troops to Afghanistan. But he didn't pay attention to the polls.  He did what he thought was right."

Karl Rove's new Book Courage and Consequence On the appropriateness of a president denouncing a Supreme Court decision to the justices' faces during a State of the Union: "The president was elected to make, as I said, hard decisions and not just tell people all the things they want to hear but some of the things they need to hear.  

"And I think the president wanted to express on behalf of the American people his strong disagreement on a Supreme Court case, as I said, that could potentially open the flood gates to a lot of special interests."

Rove was there to talk about his memoirs.-- "Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight" -- and to answer questions about attack ads, Laura Bush, Colin Powell, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Rove also talked about his first political fight, which he lost.

And the 59-year-old dropped a tantalizing hint about his own future. A return to politics?

On childhood politics when he put a Nixon sticker on his bicycle basket: "It went well until the little girl across the street of about three years and 30 pounds put me down on the sidewalk and wailed the heck out of me, gave me a bloody nose.  And I've never liked losing a political battle since....I was a little guy and pretty much of a nerd."

On Powell: "Oh, I think the world of him. I think he is a great leader and I think he was a terrific secretary of State. But I did get under his skin. And whenever I got under his skin he would address me as Private Rove and demand that I drop and give him 20 push-ups."

On Reid:  "Harry Reid and I share a common Nevada root. I tried to develop a cordial relationship with him but he was, as you will see in episodes in the book, breathtakingly political in his approach to virtually everything and unreliable even when he was with you."

 On Pelosi: "Very tough. Very liberal. And you know, there's -- she's got a lot of skill in keeping that coalition together."

On himself: "I don't know what life holds, but each chapter has been interesting and I've got a bunch more chapters yet to go through."

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Fox News Sunday

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