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(USA TODAY) -- Karl Rove offered an interesting postmortem Thursday of what happenedto Republicans in their battle with the White House over the governmentshutdown and debt ceiling.

Rove, the former George W. Bush political strategist and organizer of the political action committee American Crossroads, writesin the Wall Street Journal that Republican lawmakers walked into a trap set by President Obama.

Here's a bit of what Rove had to say:

"There'splenty of blame to go around for the chaos in Washington, but at thetop of the list is the absence of presidential leadership. When Congressis close to agreement but still divided, the country rightly counts onits chief executive to bridge the gaps, make the compromises, and smooththe way to passage.

"Instead, President Obama deliberatelywithdrew from negotiations over the debt ceiling and governmentshutdown. According to a Bloomberg report on Wednesday, the White Housewas concerned his personal involvement would be 'a mistake that damagedthe president's ability to advance his agenda.'

"Perhaps it wasfor the best. Mr. Obama's skill is not in bringing Americans together;it is turning them against one another. This latest crisis over the debtceiling and shutdown is a case in point. Having voted against anincrease in the debt ceiling in 2006 as the junior senator fromIllinois, the president now characterizes those opposed to one today asreckless and crazed. Hypocrisy makes for clever politics but badgoverning."

Rove concludes:

"Barack Obama set the trap. Somecongressional Republicans walked into it. As a result, the president isstronger, the GOP is weaker, and ObamaCare is marginally more popular."