The motivations behind the leak remain unclear, but some political observers have characterized it as a calculated act of retribution against Fairfax, VA second-grader Madison Harris. Harris, 7, wore an antiwar T-shirt to her elementary school during a Nov. 2 visit by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.
"The shirt, decorated with doves and the word 'peace,' angered White House ideologues, who felt that Harris had undermined a tightly orchestrated visit," independent political media watchdog Ellen Applebee said. "An aggressive attempt to hit Harris where she lived was set in motion."
On Nov. 3, Rove told reporters, "People shouldn't take too seriously the opinions of someone who still thinks a fat man slides down the chimney into her living room every December 25." On Nov. 6, he told several aides, "I don't consider it precocious to wear peace T-shirts and, from what I hear, read Highlights."
This isn't the first time Rove's resorted to this kind of dirty trick. He was fired from George H. W. Bush's presidential campaign in 1988 for "sending an unsigned letter to the young daughter of a Dukakis campaign adviser. In the letter, he revealed the sad ending of the film Old Yeller."