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Rental Unit: "Bush's Brain"

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"Bush's Brain," a surprisingly well-balanced new documentary on W's senior adviser, makes some claims that will be easily laughed off by the Rovians, most certainly that Rove is for all intents and purposes co-president of the United States. Yet the movie, based on the book with the same title by James C. Moore and Wayne Slater, shows us an alarming amount of circumstantial evidence that should make people take a closer look at our president's closest and most trusted ally.

As we see early in the film, Rove's work as an advisor to the Republican nominee for Texas governor in 1986 shows an almost supernatural aura of luck. On the eve of the state's one gubernatorial debate, with the polls nearly deadlocked, Rove happens to find a bug in his office, one he quickly claims was planted by the opposition. The FBI does not agree. Rove's candidate wins the race anyway.

Only bad luck seems to follow Rove's opponents. Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards was running against George W. in 1994 when whispers arose that she might be a lesbian. During the 2000 presidential primary, John McCain learned that his adopted Bangladeshi daughter was really a black love child. (And was Dan Rather, for lack of a better verb, Roved?)

"Textbook" is the word columnist Molly Ivins uses for the connection between these machinations and Rove. Another prominent interviewee in this smartly structured film, one of Rove's former political partners, makes the next logical argument about that ever-so-elusive proof: "A campaign sets the tone," he says. "Even if they don't make the decisions, they could stop them."— Wayne Melton

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