Making a Palm Sunday splash on the front page of the New York Times, Matthew Dowd, ex-aide to President Bush, says that because he has lost faith in Bush he must “speak out now.”
Dowd, a former Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat, says that Bush’s my-way-or-the-highway style of leadership has failed “not only the American people, but the Iraqi people and the diverse peoples of the world.”
Dowd, a self-described member of Bush’s inner circle, dismisses the suggestion that he has turned on the President because Karl Rove, and not Dowd, remains the president’s most trusted advisor. Rumors have circulated that tensions between the two began in 2004 over differing presidential campaign strategies in Ohio, which have since intensified.
According to one campaign insider who would only speak anonymously, Dowd wanted to pander to what he called the “marshmallow middle,” while Rove thought the best strategy was to rev up the “red-meat base.” Since that day, our source says, Rove has provocatively and repeatedly poked Dowd in the stomach — often in front of the President — and alternately called him “marshmallow man” or “Pillsbury dough boy,” which makes Dowd seethe.
What’s more, Dowd denies ever telling reporter Brandon Kirk of Roll Call that Rove should have been canned with Donald Rumsfeld, insisting that his lunchtime conversation with Kirk last November was “off the record.”
Kirk says otherwise. “I asked him flat out if I could quote [Dowd] on what he said about Rove, and he said ‘sh** yeah.’ I can’t help it if he had four martinis and can’t remember squat.”
Dowd, whose son is preparing for deployment in the Iraq War, has called for America’s immediate withdrawal from Iraq. In addition, the Times revealed today that Dowd penned a never-submitted “Kerry Was Right” op ed, which agreed with John Kerry’s call to unconditionally withdraw from Iraq.
Dowd bristled at his comparison with Judas as raised by Linda Tico, a FoxNews intern, during this morning’s short question-and-answer session at the Washington Press Club. Dowd admitted that “it never even occurred to me that this was Palm Sunday,” angrily adding, “I’m no more a Judas than Bush is a Jesus.”
Offers for interviews have poured in since Dowd’s announcement, jam-packing an already full itinerary. Besides interviews with CBS, ABC, NBC and PBS News, as well as the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, Newsweek, Time, US News and World Report, Harpers, The New Yorker, The Nation and The New Republic, he is scheduled to appear on next Sunday’s Sixty Minutes, as well as having a one-on-one sit-down with Barbara Walters that ABC has scheduled immediately following next Monday’s Dancing with the Stars.
In addition, Paramount Pictures announced yesterday that it has optioned Dowd’s story for a major motion picture in the fall of 2008, with Sean Penn, Robert Downey Jr. and George Clooney as suggested leads.
It was also announced on Thursday that Dowd has been short-listed for a 2007 Peabody Award in the Public Service category.
A short statement from the President’s office wished Dowd well in all his future endeavors.