When the president you helped steer to the White House is widely considered one of history's worst, and the Republican Party you once projected would hold a permanent majority is now in complete disarray, there is only so much you can do to bat down the critics.
But Karl Rove -- the man known alternative as "Bush's Brain" and "The Architect" -- gives it a whack in the upcoming Sunday New York Times Magazine. Here are the first two (bound-to-be-disputed) answers he provides to Deborah Solomon in the magazine's Q&A column.
Do you see the election results as a repudiation of your politics?
Our new president-elect won one and a half points more than George W. Bush won in 2004, and he did so, in great respect, by adopting the methods of the Bush campaign and conducting a vast army of persuasion to identify and get out the vote.
But what about your great dream of creating a permanent Republican governing majority in Washington?
I never said permanent. Durable.
For the record:
Bush won 51 percent of the vote in 2004 (three percentage points more than Kerry), 62 million votes total and 286 Electoral College votes
Obama won 53 percent of the vote in 2008 (seven percentage points more than McCain), 66.6 million votes and 365 Electoral College votes.