Maybe it was wishful thinking by his foes or insiders looking to move up to a nicer office in the West Wing, but all those rumors that Karl Rove was planning to exit soon appear to be dead, killed by none other than King Karl himself.
We hear that the top White House political aide, chastened by the huge Republican losses in November, has his spark back and is raring to fight the new majority that takes power in Congress this week. In fact, he's boldly betting that the president will veto any Democratic tax increase.
Rove appeared Wednesday morning at the weekly meeting of conservative thinkers hosted by Grover Norquist, president of Americans For Tax Reform. There, he displayed good humor and his old swagger when talking about the president's plans over the coming two years. He even bet one attendee $5 that President Bush won't agree to any tax increases.
But what many of those in attendance felt was that Rove has no plans to flee the scene anytime soon. Said one: "He sounds like he plans to be around working hard until they turn the lights out."