"Scandals Take Toll On Bush's 2nd Term"
A series of scandals involving some of the most powerful Republicans in Washington have converged to disrupt President Bush's agenda, distract aides and allies, and exacerbate political problems for an already weakened administration, according to party strategists and White House advisers.
Several Republicans close to Bush said they believe the CIA leak investigation has taken a particular toll, reducing Rove's role in key decisions and prompting Bush to rely on other, less sure-footed advisers. One well-connected outside adviser cited the Miers pick as an example. He said even if Rove considered the selection a risk or mistake, he knew he was in no position to press Bush on it. "My sense is Karl knows he has spent a lot of political capital with the president on this CIA leak case," the adviser said. "No matter how close Karl is to the president, there is a limit of how much capital you can spend even with a close, close friend."
Two Republicans close to the White House said officials are nervous that Rove and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the two most powerful staffers in the federal government, could be indicted by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald within two weeks. While the idea struck many on the Bush team as unfathomable a few months ago, now the common assumption is that both men could be in trouble.