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He is above all a U.S.-history buff who still envisions a "durable Republican majority." (Rove insists he never used the "permanent majority" line so often attributed to him. "Nothing is permanent in politics," he says.) But that can happen, he says, only if the party broadens its appeal. Liberals may see him as a right winger. But Rove has been dismissive of Tea Party--backed ideologues like Christine O'Donnell, Herman Cain and Sarah Palin. His political vision is relatively moderate. "Political parties do not succeed if they become smaller and more select," he said in a recent speech. "They become successful if they become broader and bigger. And that means tolerating some people who don't necessarily agree with us on every opinion." In particular, he worries that the GOP risks permanent minority status if it alienates the U.S.'s fast-growing Hispanic population. "We cannot allow to happen with Hispanics what happened with the African-American vote," he said. Rove says a group of Republican politicians and donors has been working to identify promising young Hispanic political talent.
For the next few months, however, his thinking will be more tactical: how to raise more money, how to guide Crossroads and its allied groups across the Electoral-map chessboard. How to do everything he can to defeat Obama.
But Rove is also playing for even bigger stakes. If he succeeds in November, he will have restored not just his party's power but also his own. Rove intends for Crossroads to carry on past November, keeping up the fight in 2014 and beyond. And if it does, the Architect will have become the de facto and undisputed boss of his party. And he will get another chance to achieve his lasting Republican majority in America.
TO READ MORE ABOUT ROVE, GO TO time.com/rove