Rove Cancels Appearances in Midst of CIA Leak Probe

Juggling appearances before a grand jury and conservative admirers didn't seem to make sense, so presidential adviser Karl Rove (search) has canceled three such outings as he waits to hear whether he or anyone else will be indicted in the leak of a CIA officer's identity.

Rove canceled plans to attend two Republican fund-raisers, the national party confirmed Tuesday. And he did not give his scheduled speech to the conservative Hudson Institute think tank on Oct. 11.

Republican National Committee spokesman Brian Jones said scheduling conflicts kept Rove from an RNC fund-raiser Monday night in Greenwich, Conn., and a Virginia Republican Party fund-raiser Saturday.

Jones would not specify what the conflicts were or whether they had anything to do with the federal grand jury that Rove has testified before four times. "He was unable to attend," Jones said.

The grand jury is investigating whether a crime was committed when Rove and fellow White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby (search) along with possibly others in government leaked information about covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, the wife of Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson.

Hudson Institute spokeswoman Jennifer Butsch said Rove agreed to speak at the grand opening of their new office last week in place of their originally scheduled speaker, White House chief of staff Andy Card. She said Card had plans to travel with President Bush that day, but those travel plans were canceled and Card went ahead and gave the speech instead of Rove.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman (search) filled in for Rove at the Virginia fund-raiser and Lynne Cheney took his place in Connecticut, Jones said.

Jones said that Rove, who is Bush's top political aide, currently has no plans to appear at upcoming RNC events.

The Democratic National Committee seized on Rove's cancellations as evidence that Republicans are struggling with ethical problems.

"Once considered an 'A-list' guest for any Republican, special-interest fund-raiser, it seems that Karl Rove has now become a liability for the Republican Party," said DNC spokesman Josh Earnest.