Perry vs. Rove: How Their Feud Got Started

Perry is also a favorite of tea party activists across the country, a group that views Rove with suspicion. Rove is a "company man," said Tamara Colbert, co-founder of the conservative group TeaPAC, adding that she liked Perry's willingness to take him on.

"Speaking from the tea party perspective, we want somebody who is not beholden to having to do things the old way," she said.

For its part, Perry's team emphasizes that any feud with Rove is little more than media hype. Or, as Carney put it in an interview, it's an "unbelievably manufactured" story.

"My memory is completely different," he said. "I don't where this talk comes from."

Several who know Rove suggest he might also be trying to downplay the rivalry. Reggie Bashur, a Republican strategist in Texas, said Rove's criticism was offered only because he's a pundit, one who will criticize all of the candidates.

"I had breakfast with Karl six weeks ago, and he was anything but critical," said Bashur. "He overall supports the governor and wishes him well. He wants the Republicans to win."

A détente could serve Perry well. Even as the architect of the last White House, Rove is relatively unknown to the average voter. Engaging in a fight with an ex-White House staffer could make a presidential candidate look small, petty and distracted from what the real focus of any campaign should be: the economy.

"I think the danger for the Perry campaign is allowing that issue to become a sideshow. They don't need to use Karl Rove as a foil," said Keith Appell, a Republican strategist. He added, "The environment already lends itself to Perry's strengths. There's a bad economy, people are out of work. He's been a successful governor where new jobs have been created in abundance. That is so much bigger to people than some of these internal political side-shows."

Image credit: Chet Susslin/National Journal

Jump to comments
Presented by

Alex Roarty is a politics writer for National Journal.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In