July 16th, 2007
12:33 PM ET
11 years ago

GOP senator to Rove: Bush legacy on the line in Iraq

Voinovich told CNN he has warned Karl Rove that the president needs to salvage his legacy.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Republican senator says he warned top White House aide Karl Rove that President Bush quickly needs to craft a workable plan to withdraw U.S. troops fom Iraq in order to salvage his legacy.

White House spokesman Tony Snow insisted last week that Bush's GOP allies in Congress are not breaking with Bush over the war. But Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, told CNN that he warned Rove last week that "The president is a young man and should think about his legacy."

He should know history will not be kind unless he can come up with a plan that protects the troops and stabilizes the region," Voinovich said he told Karl Rove, whom Bush dubbed "the architect" of his 2004 re-election.

Voinovich added that other Republicans are close to speaking out against the President's current strategy.

"I won't mention anyone's name. But I have every reason to believe that the fur is going to start to fly, perhaps sooner than what they may have wanted."

In private, Voinovich is more blunt, using a profanity to describe the White House's handling of Iraq by charging the administration "f-ed up" the war.

Voinovich stressed he expressed his views to Rove as a positive "opportunity" for the president to come together with Democrats and Republicans on an exit strategy that will be good for the country.

A White House spokeswoman confirmed to CNN that Rove, who speaks with Voinovich frequently, had the phone conversation with the senator last week and they did discuss the President's legacy. But the spokeswoman declined to provide further details, citing Rove's desire to keep phone conversations with senators private.

"I got into this to get them to move, and they're moving," said Voinovich, who is pushing for the president to put together a workable plan for withdrawing U.S. troops that will be ready in time for a September progress report on the military surge from Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

"I really think that they understand," said Voinovich. "We'll see by September what they put together. But the main thing is were running out of time - we should take advantage of this time."

And while Voinovich is giving the White House some breathing space until September to receive the progress report from Gen. Petraeus, the senator is privately warning if there's not a dramatic new strategy ready to be unveiled in the fall, he will endorse a Democratic plan mandating a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq within 120 days.

In June, Voinovich urged Bush to take a new tack in Iraq - one he dubbed "Plan E," for exit. Voinovich called for a decrease in U.S. military engagement, coupled with a "surge" in diplomatic engagement.

His break with the White House came one day after another senior Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, delivered a dramatic Senate floor speech declaring the president's current strategy was not working.

Since then, Voinovich said he has spoken to both Rove and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and is expressing some satisfaction that in the short term, the White House has heard his concerns.

- CNN's Ed Henry and Dana Bash


Filed under: Iraq • President Bush
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. SB - Miami, FL

    What is more important, the legacy of Mr. Bush or the lives of thousands of people?

    He is willing to sacrifice his legacy for the billions of dollars he and his friends are making out of this war.

    So I guess It is not human lives, or legacy, is just greed.

    July 16, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Curtis Sommer Tanana, Ak

    The most secretive Administration led by a Failure with a lifelong history of failures.
    His legacy is having Bin Laden and al-Qaeda in his grasp and, because of greed and avarice, he withdrew the American Troops and invaded and occupied a country with absolutely no ties to 9/11.
    Lies, Half Truths, and Manipulation of Intelligence to suck us into a Iraqi Civil War Maelstrom with no end in sight.
    Like Vietnam before, We are in Iraq on lies, the rebels attack us and blend back in to the population, U.S. troops commit attrocities, The puppet government is ineffectual and Corrupted with no incentive to fight for their country.
    The entire Bush Administration must be IMPEACHED! Any and ALL Neo Con Judges, Lawyers, and Prosecutor's Bush put on the bench must be removed and their decisions rendered null and void.
    We all know that Corruption, Conflict of Interest and Collusion is rampant in Washington and the refusal of the Legislators to withdraw from Iraq begs a question.
    Who and how many Bush Adminiatration Officials, Advisors, Family members, Friends, and Political Donors and Cronies, have financial holdings in any companies making a profit off the Iraqi Civil War Debacle?
    Ask the same question to the Republican and Democratic Legislators and their Campaign Contributors.

    July 16, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. skyreader7

    The Staller-in-Chief is busting his a** (between vacations) figuring out how to extend his delusional failed war policy out to Jan. 09.

    July 16, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  4. Wes, Florida

    Screw his legacy. There is no saving that at this point in the game.

    George Bush and President Cheney need to start thinking about the citizens, troops, and the constitution of this nation that they swore to protect and uphold.

    July 16, 2007 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Chico, California

    The war is only 1 of 100 things the White House has "f–ed up"

    July 16, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. Andrew Fairfax Virginia

    I just listened to Dana Bash cover this story on "The Situation Room". I am writing to comment on her right-wing slant and repeated emphasis on "Democrats Political Theatre" with the overnight session planned for Tuesday 7.17.07. Miss Bash, It is not political theatre. People are dying and families are being destroyed. I know you benefit from the current war related strife in this country as it gives you something to "report" on, but I suggest you look at some of your employers polls that indicate the majority of Americans want out of Iraq and believe this fiasco is a complete and utter failure. I will continue to watch CNN, but will have my remote and "mute" key handy for when you are on the air.

    July 16, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Jeff, Houston, Texas

    Legacy? George already has one I'm afraid. We will be decades cleaning up he has done to this country and its people...and he still has time to screw us over even more.

    You heard it here folks: If we get another attack, I suspect George will want to take over for good. Cheny would be unable to pass up such a chance.

    I just count the days until he is gone. I even question our ability to impeach he is so out of control.

    July 16, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Dan from San Francisico, CA

    Amazing how 100% of the comments here are overwhelmingly hostile to Bush. Small sample, yes, but it says something about the growing concensus in this country that G.W. Bush is indeed our worst president ever, and very likely a criminal. I feel the same way, and wish the Congress would get serious about impeachment. It is the only remedy our Constitution provides for corrupt usurpers like Bush/Cheney.

    July 16, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Dan

    What a joke. I don't think I can take another year and a half. Just imagine what it will be like when we have leadership we can proud of! Just think of the reception Kennedy used to get when he traveled abroad- people were lined up for miles just trying to catch a glimpse of him. In contrast, people burn Bush efigees whenever he goes anywhere. Impeachment has never sounded more appealing.

    July 16, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    ReadBtwthlins ... "Why does CNN attempt to highlight, even to the point of misrepresenting, the negatives in Iraq??"

    Funny how I just saw a positive report on CNN just TODAY eh?

    And NO evidence to back up your claim of the CNN "misrepresentation" in your post either?

    You're 0-2!

    If you don't like CNN, don't post on their blog.

    Thanks in advance!

    July 16, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Christian

    This article highlights the lunacy and cowardice in the District of Criminals (modern day Rome). These Republican Senators are only now breaking rank to help this pathetic psychopath save his legacy and save their jobs. Most are up for reelection next year. Bushco could never have gotten away with looting our pockets, Constitution busting, deliberate upheaval and chaos of the Middle East and the wholesale destruction of our military, and bankrupting of our national finances without the active and cowardly assistance of the Democrat Party, the sycophantic propaganda of the media and these lickspittle Republican toadies. While Bush's war policies are leading us to national bankruptcy (we must borrow $3 billion a day from abroad along with a nearly $1 trillion trade deficit, even as they promote outsourcing and deindustrialization), we can't help but acknowledge that these same policies have worked out as planned and quite successfully for their NeoCon, Trotskyite advocates in untold riches, the destruction and murder of Israel's enemies and the implementation of their Project for The New American Century grand imperial strategy, that was their blueprint for global hegemony "conveniently" and "coincidentally" brought about by 9/11 (their New Pearl Harbor).

    The Bush cabal should be impeached and put on trial for treason just for this ruinous and fiscally destructive war of preemption, a doctrine even yet embraced by Hillary, Obama, Giuliani et al. Be careful whom you support for 2008. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    Americans need to stop drinking the koolaide of believing everything is an accident, because of incompetence and bad intelligence and start facing the hard facts. Stop believing any of these politicos care one bit about us. A regime (and bipartisan political elites) which was just working to provide Amnesty to the rest of Mexico yet to make it to America, that leaves our borders completely wide open, is covertly negotiating and implementing the Council on Foreign Relations' blueprint for building the North American Union and yet still proclaiming we are fighting a war on terror is obviously playing us for fools and playing fast and loose with the truth on many fronts. This regime is openly declaring its complicity in multiple frauds and crimes against the Constitution and the American people. The people who brought us 9/11 are the same criminals and murderers who are still planning a war with Iran and based on their gut feeling, warning of another terrorist event. They should know since they are the hidden hand behind it.

    "Treason doth never prosper. For if it prospers, none dare call is such."

    http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/200704/DavidRayGriffin911Empire.pdf

    July 16, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. Christian Alain, Silver Spring, MD

    This article highlights the lunacy and cowardice in the District of Criminals (modern day Rome). These Republican Senators are only now breaking rank to help this pathetic psychopath save his legacy and save their jobs. Most are up for reelection next year. Bushco could never have gotten away with looting our pockets, Constitution busting, deliberate upheaval and chaos of the Middle East and the wholesale destruction of our military, and bankrupting of our national finances without the active and cowardly assistance of the Democrat Party, the sycophantic propaganda of the media and these lickspittle Republican toadies. While Bush's war policies are leading us to national bankruptcy (we must borrow $3 billion a day from abroad along with a nearly $1 trillion trade deficit, even as they promote outsourcing and deindustrialization), we can't help but acknowledge that these same policies have worked out as planned and quite successfully for their NeoCon, Trotskyite advocates in untold riches, the destruction and murder of Israel's enemies and the implementation of their Project for The New American Century grand imperial strategy, that was their blueprint for global hegemony "conveniently" and "coincidentally" brought about by 9/11 (their New Pearl Harbor).

    The Bush cabal should be impeached and put on trial for treason just for this ruinous and fiscally destructive war of preemption, a doctrine even yet embraced by Hillary, Obama, Giuliani et al. Be careful whom you support for 2008. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    Americans need to stop drinking the koolaide of believing everything is an accident, because of incompetence and bad intelligence and start facing the hard facts. Stop believing any of these politicos care one bit about us. A regime (and bipartisan political elites) which was just working to provide Amnesty to the rest of Mexico yet to make it to America, that leaves our borders completely wide open, is covertly negotiating and implementing the Council on Foreign Relations' blueprint for building the North American Union and yet still proclaiming we are fighting a war on terror is obviously playing us for fools and playing fast and loose with the truth on many fronts. This regime is openly declaring its complicity in multiple frauds and crimes against the Constitution and the American people. The people who brought us 9/11 are the same criminals and murderers who are still planning a war with Iran and based on their gut feeling, warning of another terrorist event. They should know since they are the hidden hand behind it.

    "Treason doth never prosper. For if it prospers, none dare call is such."

    http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/200704/DavidRayGriffin911Empire.pdf

    July 16, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. Cathryn Keen

    As a military family, I want to thank every American who cares enough about our soldiers to demand an END to this insane war. Our soldiers need to be taken out of there.

    Never believe the hype MEDIA gives, that perception that the military backs this president-they back the Constitution.

    This poor excuse of a president hides behind the backdrop, using our loved ones bodies as his props. He has never supported the troops-only the people not for their misuse are supporting them.

    I don't believe Bush went into this with the intention of leaving Iraq, but intended to create more reasons for more war. General Jay Garner had a Marshall type plan that would have worked in the beginning of the invasion-too late now... Bush fired him and replaced him with the incompetent Paul Brehmer. Which is when the insurgency took hold, when Iraqis saw nothing getting better-like electric, potable water, available food and security.

    That is Bush's "mission accomplished"
    along with dead and maimed soldiers and civilians and wasteland from the bombing. Some legacy. Rove and Hadley (who committed 1 million insurance fraud felony in the 80's) are also to blame for this "plan" and should be held accountable for being a traitors to our troops.

    July 16, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. Ben, Etown, NY

    The entire Bush administration should be in The Hague for crimes against humanity.

    July 16, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  15. john thomsen Los Gatos Calfornia

    It is utterly despicable, but not surprising or inconsistent, to read that Bush should change course and develop plans for an exit strategy IN ORDER TO SAVE HIS LEGACY. No mention of our dead kids wasted in Bush's War Of Choice – the war Voinovich says "...the administration f–ked up...". His war will provide an underwhelming chapter among others of the same ilk, I suppose.

    Bush needn't concern himself about his legacy. He will have one that will long out live him, the dammage from which will take generations of dedication and political will to repair. Yup, yup.

    July 16, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    You can't win wars with corrupt imcompetent leaders calling the shots.

    Bush has consistantly demonstrated that he is the most corrupt President in our history.

    July 16, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  17. Glenda, McEwen, TN

    A man who lied, and misled all of us to invade Iraq. Our soldiers have paid the price for this administration's greed and holier than thou attitude. I support our troops, but I did not support this war. And because of that I was among many labeled unpatriotic. Bring our men and women home. Your legacy is what it is and its too late to do anything to change it now. And it wasn't my vote that put you in power either time.

    July 16, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. Robert, San Diego, CA

    Will history be unkind to the Bush regime? Not if the rethuglican party of obfuscation and disinformation is able to mold history textbooks the way it has molded the media. Watch for Rove to land a plum position at a major book publisher in 2009.

    July 16, 2007 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  19. thromulese, venice, ca

    (Voinovich added that other Republicans are close to speaking out against the President’s current strategy.)

    uhhhh! They are close to speaking out? Well that ought to be enough to change the direction that our king george has taken.

    This is a joke right? Who gives a shit if they speak out. They have done it before only to turn around and vote with bush. When they start voting against bush, that’s when it will matter. Till then, it is only words. Just another name for BS.

    These traitors care more about their re-election than the death destruction and chaos in Iraq. It is time to draft all politicians, their sons and daughters, and all the other cheerleaders for this fiasco in Iraq.

    Watch how fast this war ended if the bush twins and cheneys daughter, and their mommies and daddies had to strap on fifty pounds of gear and actually fight the war they promote every day.

    July 16, 2007 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  20. Tom Shefchik, San Jose, CA

    You all had better hope you don't end up in a Gitmo somewhere.

    They are about to invade Iran....

    July 16, 2007 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  21. John Jay, New York

    How has history judged other issues in the past? This gives us a glimpse at the future.

    1954: Eisenhower passes on an agreed plan to have Vietnamese elections take place. But History for the Right judges "liberals" as the cause of the loss of American life and failure to achieve any real goals in Vietnam.

    1982: Saddam Hussein is responsible for horrible murders. His countrymen eventually execute him for this crime. President Reagan's administration considers Hussein, despite this attack, to be a worthy ally. History for the Right shows that somehow 'liberals' are to blame.

    1983-1988: Someone working with the Administrations sells weapons to America's greatest enemy, Iran. These weapons are used to kill civilians working in the Gulf Sea. History for the Right shows the perpetrator, Oliver North, to be a hero and frequent figure on Fox News.

    So, I don't have much hope for History making any intelligent judgments on anything short of another Adolf Hitler.

    July 16, 2007 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  22. MCD, San Francisco

    This is a failed war and soon we will have a failed democracy. The Republicans are as bad as the Dems... they are playing by one set of rules and Bush&Co is playing by another set. Why doesn't all of Congress get that!? It is past time to stop playing nice... take off the gloves and go after this corrupt, failed administration.

    July 16, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. Kay, Huntsville, Al

    Bu$h, a legacy? Surely you jest. Those of us with triple digit IQ's will remember him as THE WORST prez and his gang of thugs as well. There is nothing left to salvage. He has screwed up every job he ever had, known by anyone who chooses to research, and now he has screwed our country. He cannot leave office soon enough. I fear we are doomed as a nation because of our and media's lack of asking the cold hard questions and DEMANDING an answer that is satisfactory. We might as well be living under martial law. Reminds me of reading about Hitler and his thugs, how they came to power, and their complete destruction of Germany. Until the voters demand change, we will continue down the road to utter and complete destruction!!

    July 16, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  24. Rambo Knoxville,Tn

    The spineless cowards on the left, the American haters who have sided with the barbaric woman haters.....you will be the ones who lose this war......not us.

    July 16, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  25. kenny minneapolis mn

    the chimpanzee's legacy is 0 for 3 against osama. 1) 9/11 suckerpunch; 2) taliban & q'aida basically intact after afghanistan Operation Whatever. 3) grinds down the army like a pencil on april 15 in the process of losing a war to a civilian resistance in iraq

    it is for some later generation to fully comprehend the fathomless stupidity.

    July 16, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
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