David Bianculli · New York Daily News
"… Tonight's edition of the PBS series FRONTLINE … shines a bright light on Rove and his tactics -- much more on the campaign strategies than on the man, but nonetheless offering insight into both. And it does so without judgment, letting the record, and many close Rove associates, speak for themselves. …"
Virginia Heffernan · The New York Times
"'Karl Rove -- The Architect' … spins a story of astounding stupidity out of a career it insists is among the most influential in American politics. This is unpardonable. To hint at so much intrigue without dramatizing any of it -- by hardly offering evidence -- is a dereliction of duty; it suggests that even the most tendentious account of Mr. Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, as a redeemer or a rascal might have done his story greater justice. …
Without a narrative, the program turns to haphazard assertions to illuminate the character of Mr. Rove, but even this is mostly speculation or trivia….
The Washington Post's Dan Balz, who comes off as the most perceptive reporter on camera here, does present Mr. Rove as a glutton for data: 'He loves to be inundated by information.' Helpfully, he also explains Mr. Rove's evidently lifelong project of realigning the electorate as incremental, comparing it to the approach of Woody Hayes's old Ohio State football teams: 'three yards and a cloud of dust.' As career analysis, this is the best the movie has to offer. …"
Tom Dorsey · The Courier-Journal
"… FRONTLINE gives Rove credit for being a smart operative who knows how to identify what motivates voters. Perhaps most interesting of all is the program's suggestion that Rove has a grand plan for permanently changing the country in a radical way. …
What FRONTLINE doesn't do is tell us much about the man himself or what drives him. We have some idea of what his policies are, but we don't come away knowing why he believes them."
Roger Catlin · The Hartford Courant
"…There's not much new to be found in the report 'Karl Rove: Architect' [sic] on FRONTLINE -- except maybe how geeky the Bush adviser was as a youth. …
But it's still enlightening to hear once more how similar his shameful campaigns of 'attack, attack, attack' were against Ann Richards and John McCain -- and how effective the campaigns were in securing Bush wins."
Noel Holston · Newsday
"… The FRONTLINE episode 'The Architect' is fascinating, but ultimately disappointing. It tells what Rove has accomplished and what he would like to do. But who Rove is and why he is so devoted to conservatism is underexamined. …
Rove's political savvy and his willingness to play the game hard and low-down are noted (and annotated), but his motivation is unclear.
Royal Masset, a longtime Texas political consultant, says, 'I've never known him to have a personal life.' That would seem doubtful, but if it is true, FRONTLINE should explain why."
John Doyle · Globe and Mail
"…This FRONTLINE provides gripping insight into the way American politics works today. Months after the presidential election, it has more perspective than most of the election analysis that has appeared to date. Knowing that Canadian political strategists study American elections very closely, add the possibility of a snap election in Canada, and you've got a very substantial and informative examination of how voters can be persuaded and elections are won. After watching this analysis … you're left asking, 'Could it happen here?'"