- Category : 1956-births
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (62)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Service 4
American political aide, a close adviser and unyielding supporter of George W. Bush during his career in Texas politics, moving into a similarly important key role with Bush in Washington. Hughes, 43, started on the Bush team in 1995 and was the chief campaign spokeswoman for the Texas governor as he reclaimed the White House for the Republican Party. He named her to his staff on 17 December 2001. Her role includes "strategic planning," although she is also expected to be involved in overseeing the White House communications staff.
The daughter of a major general in the U.S. Army, Karen was born in France. Her father, H.R. Parfitt, had a military career that eventually led to him being the last governor of the Panama Canal Zone, before the United States relinquished control of the canal in the late 1970s. A "military brat" who lived at different posts, Hughes graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1977 with a degree in English and journalism. She worked as a local TV reporter before moving into politics, first for the Reagan-Bush re-election campaign in 1984, and then on local Texas campaigns.
By 1991, Hughes was named executive director of the Texas GOP and in 1994, she joined the fledgling gubernatorial campaign of George W. Bush, who was challenging Texas Gov. Ann Richards for top seat in the Statehouse. After Bush defeated Richards, Hughes stayed on board, continuing to work for the governor.
Hughes is known for her blunt style, booming voice, and fierce advocacy of Bush. Along with campaign manager Joe Allbaugh and chief strategist Karl Rove, she formed one-third of the "Iron Triangle" of senior advisers who ran Bush’s campaign and steered him toward the presidency. Her role in Bush’s campaigns has gone beyond dealing with reporters, however. She has long urged Bush to simplify his message and focus on a few central policy issues, both when running for governor and during the presidential campaign. She wrote most of Bush’s semi-autobiographical campaign book, "A Charge to Keep," which was dismissed by many critics as little more than campaign propaganda.
Hughes’ desire to protect Bush has led her on occasion to impugn the integrity of those in the media covering the campaign. In the week before the election, after it was revealed that Bush had been cited for drunken driving in 1976, Hughes asserted that Bush had never denied the arrest - in contradiction to the account given by Wayne Slater, a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, who said he had asked Bush that very question two years prior. In front of most of the national press corps on the campaign plane, Hughes proceeded to question Slater’s account of his conversation, implying the reporter’s version was not accurate. This "manipulation of facts" has not endeared her to the press.
On 23 April 2002, Hughes announced her resignation and plans to move her family to Texas.