Top Bush aide resigning as White House counselor

Tuesday, April 23rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ White House counselor Karen Hughes said Tuesday she's resigning from White House to return to Texas, but will continue advising President Bush from afar.

Hughes, 45, has worked for Bush since his days as Texas governor and is one of his closest confidants.

``Later this summer, I'm going to be changing the way in which I serve the president. My husband and I have made a difficult but we think right decision to move our family home back to Texas,'' Hughes said in a surprise announcement in the White House briefing room

``Our roots are there,'' she said. ``I guess we're a little homesick.''

Hughes and political aide Karl Rove were critical to Bush's rise from a two-term Texas governor to the presidency.

Hughes said she plans to advise the White House from Texas on big-picture communication strategies, but will likely leave the federal payroll in the summer.

She made the decision now, Hughes said, because of a May 1 deadline to decide whether her son, Robert, would remain in Washington schools. She has a daughter and a granddaughter in Austin. Her son traveled with Hughes aboard the campaign plane.

She said Bush was not surprised by the move. ``He accepted my decision and respected it,'' she said.

``The is a family friendly White House,'' she said. ``And this is a family-friendly decision.''

It was not immediately clear how Hughes would be replaced, though fellow Texan Dan Bartlett is communications director and his influence has grown in recent months.

``I'm confident ... that he will continue to be served in an outstanding way by members of a great communications team,'' Hughes said.

``My commute is going to be a bit longer, but you're going to continue seeing me,'' she said.