In my never-ending quest to glean information from many parts of the world, I was reading the Web site of the Sydney Morning Herald when I happened upon the story announcing the resignation of President Bush's longtime friend and political guru, Karl Rove.
"'Bush's Brain' Steps Down," the headline said.
Donald Rumsfeld, architect of the unpopular Iraq war, resigned as defense secretary before last year's November election but his decision was not announced until after the voting, according to his resignation letter obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.
The letter was dated November 6, the day before voters, angered by Iraq, went to the polls and swept Republicans from power in Congress. According to a stamp on the letter, President George W. Bush saw it on election day.
Bush, however, did not announce that Rumsfeld would leave until the day after the election.
The resignation of Karl Rove, architect of President George W. Bush's election triumphs and a crucial behind-the-scenes policy guru, is the latest sign of the White House's diminished agenda and shattered dreams of a Republican super-majority, analysts said.
Rove, the last and most prominent of Bush's inner circle of Texas advisers to quit the administration, leaves a lame-duck president suffering from low approval ratings, an unpopular war in Iraq and public rejection in the 2006 elections.
With Democrats in control of Congress and brimming with optimism about the 2008 White House race, Rove's talk of a lasting and historic shift to Republican dominance seems long ago.
They say in Washington that no one's indispensable, but for the Bush White House Karl Rove comes close. Now, in another blow the White House didn't really need, Rove has announced that he is resigning at the end of the month and returning to Texas.
The White House didn't even try to put a good face on it. "Obviously, it's a big loss for us," said deputy press secretary Dana Perino.
Karl Rove, President Bush's close friend and chief political strategist, plans to leave the White House at the end of August, joining a lengthening line of senior officials heading for the exits in the final 1 1/2 years of the administration.
A longtime member of Bush's inner circle, Rove was nicknamed "the architect" by the president for designing the strategy that twice won him the White House.
A criminal investigation put Rove under scrutiny for months during the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's name but he was never charged with any crime.
As President Bush and Congress packed up to take the rest of the month off, he suggested that he's interested in proposing another corporate tax cut.
Bush also said he would veto the highly popular bipartisan bill reauthorizing the children's health program. He said he opposes a 5-cent-per-gallon increase in gasoline taxes to set up a trust fund to repair thousands of crumbling bridges in the wake of the Minneapolis bridge collapse. He shrugged off the nation's mortgage woes, indicating the market will take care of the credit crunch and the escalating rate of foreclosures.
Bush is clearly not intending to run for any elective office, ever again.
President Bush was treated for Lyme disease last August, the White House announced Wednesday after failing to disclose the problem for nearly a year.
The treatment was revealed only when the White House made public all the results of Bush's annual physical exam on Wednesday. It showed up in the "past medical history" section and in the summary along with other skin conditions.
Bush was treated for what his doctors described as "early, localized Lyme disease" after developing the characteristic bullseye rash.
Even though the Democrats are now in charge, President Bush has not lost his ability to bully Congress into passing national-security legislation against its better judgment.
By threatening to keep Congress in emergency session during its August vacation -- a power that's supposed to be used only for matters of grave national importance -- he stamped the lawmakers into an 11th-hour rewrite of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law governing national-security eavesdropping.
President George W. Bush on Friday signed legislation implementing key counter-terrorism recommendations that emerged from the independent probe into the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The measure requires the introduction of a system to screen all cargo loaded onto passenger jets within three years, improves airport and port security, and hands out grants to protect against terror strikes to US cities based on risk.
A U.S. intelligence court earlier this year secretly struck down a key element of President George W. Bush's warrantless spying program, The Washington Post reported in its Friday edition.
The decision is one reason Congress is trying to give legal authorization to the spying program in fevered negotiations with the Bush administration this week, the Post reported.