WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Karl Rove, President Bush's senior political advisor, will voluntarily step down from his White House post at the end of the month, senior administration officials said Monday.
"Obviously its big loss to us, said Deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino. "He is a great colleague, good friend and a brilliant mind."
Perino said Rove "wouldn't be going if he wasn't sure this is the right time to be giving more time to his family."
Rove, who has held a top position in the White House since Bush took office in January 2001, is to stand down on August 31.
"I just think it's time," Rove told the Wall Street Journal. "There's always something that can keep you here, and as much as I'd like to be here, I've got to do this for the sake of my family."
He told the newspaper that he would leave Washington to return to Texas and that he had first suggested the idea of leaving a year ago.
However a series of problems for the Bush administration, starting when the Democrats took control of Congress and then as immigration and the Iraq war topped the agenda, made the enormously powerful Rove stay on.
But one of Bush's most trusted advisors claimed his hand was forced when White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten announced that any senior staff that were working past Labor Day (September 3) would be expected to stay on until the end of Bush's term in January 2007.
A Bush loyalist to the end Rove, who instrumental in all aspects of the executive conservative agenda, told the WSJ that he expected the president's approval ratings to rise and that conditions in Iraq would improve due to the work of the U.S. military.
Rove also fired a parting shot at the Democrats, adding that he thought Hillary Clinton - a "tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate" - would win the 2008 presidential nomination.
Loved by conservatives but a hate figure for many Democrats, Rove said he expected his rival party to be divided over the wireless wiretapping issue while the Republicans should come out top in economic issues closer to the 2008 poll.