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GOPers Mull Leak Probe's Political Fallout

The Fix spoke with a number of Republicans both on and off Capitol Hill this morning about the potential fallout about any indictments that may be announced today in the CIA leak scandal.

The responses ran the public relations gamut.  Some cast the "Libby indicted/Rove not indicted" scenario as a best case for the White House given that Libby is not well known by the public and is not seen as a close confidant of the president. Others painted the same scenario in an entirely different light, noting that the word "indictment" can now be linked directly to the highest levels of the White House. Those same sources noted that it remains unclear whether Karl Rove is actually off the hook.

Here's a sampling of the thoughts from a variety of Republicans. Because the indictments had not been handed down as this item is published, those quoted were granted anonymity to speak about a hypothetical scenario.

The good: "If this had to happen, this is the best case scenario," said one House Republican leadership aide. "Libby works for the vice president. That is still one step away from the presidency."

A Republican pollster added that an indicted Libby "doesn't particularly matter in the scheme of things because no one associates him with Bush. To the public, Rove is the guy."

The bad: One Republican lobbyist called a Libby indictment and an ongoing investigation of Rove "closer to the bad end of things."  The source said, "Everyone assumed Scooter was going down and Rove will continue to twist in the wind."

The ugly: "You could argue this is the worst," said one Republican consultant. "There is no closure. Rove is still under the threat of indictment.  At least if they were both indicted and shooed out of the White House you could start putting the pieces back together but now...."

What are your thoughts about the impact of a Libby indictment or an ongoing probe into Rove? Post in the comments section below.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 28, 2005; 12:01 PM ET
Categories:  Republican Party  
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