A preview of the Republican civil war to come

“With all due candor, appearing on your own reality show on the Discovery Channel, I am not certain how that fits in the American calculus of 'that helps me see you in the Oval Office’,” Mr Rove told The Daily Telegraph in an interview.

He added that the promotional clip for Sarah Palin’s Alaska could be especially detrimental to any political campaign. It features the mother of five in the great outdoors saying: “I would rather be doing this than in some stuffy old political office.”

Mr Rove, who remains a major force on the US political scene, also implied that Mrs Palin lacked the stomach for the rigors of a presidential primary campaign, which will begin early next year before the first polls in 2012.

Mr Rove was asked if the 46-year-old Mrs Palin, who is among the front-runners for the next Republican nomination, would be a wise choice if the party wanted to seize the White House from President Barack Obama. He replied: “You can make a plausible case for any of them on paper, but it is not going to be paper in 2011. It’s going to be blood, it’s going to be sweat and tears and it’s going to be hard effort.”

He said Mrs Palin had done a “terrific job” in 2008 when Senator John McCain took her from near obscurity to the vice-presidential nomination, but added: “Being the vice-presidential nominee on the ticket is different from saying 'I want to be the person at the top of the ticket’.

“There are high standards that the American people have for it [the presidency] and they require a certain level of gravitas, and they want to look at the candidate and say 'that candidate is doing things that gives me confidence that they are up to the most demanding job in the world’.”

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