This isn't the first time Rove has dismissed his ties to the McCain campaign as just "chit-chat." But, as ThinkProgress has noted, his influence on the campaign is hard to deny:
- Rove's consulting firm has been disseminating 2008 electoral map projections to influential media outlets and party operatives. In late March, McCain media advisor Mark McKinnon participated in a public conversation about the campaign with former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd. During the talk, McKinnon displayed maps analyzing the states and their electoral votes; the maps bore the header "Karl Rove & Co."
- At the beginning of April, McCain embarked on a biography tour to introduce himself to the public, which may have been Rove's idea. In an April 4 blog post, the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder noted that Rove had laid out the idea for such a tour during a Feb. 20 appearance at the University of Pennsylvania. Rove proceeded to list the very locations that McCain would eventually visit in April. (Although, McCain actually spoke in Prescott, AZ, rather than Rove's suggested Sedona, AZ.)