Rose Peddles

People are talking about a young political consultant named Jason Rose. But it's probably not the message he'd like to get across.

Kaites dodged the issue at the press conference, but later admitted to the Arizona Republic that he had smoked marijuana once.

"That will probably be one of the high points of my career," Rose says. "John Kaites had plenty of notice that we were going to do it, and he still looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Tom McGovern had the guts to stand up to him, and Kaites caved."

Rose still hasn't forgiven Kaites for the ad, and says he probably never will.

"John Kaites is going to be on a Nixon's menu for the rest of his life," Rose says. "It was despicable. What would be honorable for Kaites to do would be for the rest of his life [to] go out and raise $200,000 and run pro-McGovern spots. He can't apologize enough to Tom."

But Rose's aggressive tactics fell out of favor in the general-election campaign against former U.S. attorney Janet Napolitano, McGovern's Democratic opponent.

Rose advocated a hard-hitting campaign against Napolitano. "I wanted to be more aggressive right after the primary," he says. "There was another camp that said, 'No, we're up 20 points, let's play defense.'"

McGovern sided against Rose. "I ultimately decided not to take any more of the aggressive modes in the campaign," McGovern says. "The worst thing she ever called me was inexperienced, and the worst thing I ever called her was a liberal."

Though they speak fondly of each other, McGovern and Rose still differ over whether going negative against Napolitano would have changed the outcome of the race, which Napolitano won by a slim margin.

"I've been wrong before, and I'll be wrong again, but there's one thing I can say I was right about, and I was not in favor of playing defense," Rose says.

McGovern, however, chalks up his loss to the damage done by Kaites' campaign: He spent most of his money in the primary, and after that, a lot of Republicans stayed home rather than vote for him.

"Kaites' effort broke up the party, divided the party, and left us exhausted," he says.

McGovern believes he did as much as he could to win, but doesn't think that it was enough for Rose.

"I think Jason would say to this day that I didn't go after it hard enough," he says.

Rose's campaigns tend to get personal, in part, because his whole life is wrapped around his work; he's so driven, friends say, that he does little else.

"He's like the Energizer Bunny for months on end, and then he'll just check out for two weeks and go somewhere random--London, the Grand Canyon, Zion--but even there, the guy's run, run, run," Bundgaard says. "I feel like I better say all these nice things now, because the guy may have a heart attack by age 30."

Rose's whole life away from work seems like a full-blown campaign, with highlights and photo ops. Take, for example, his engagement to Pawlowski.

Rose popped the question in Paris. At the top of the Eiffel Tower. In front of an applauding crowd.

In his downtime, Rose has traveled to Egypt with Pawlowski and to London with Bundgaard. He spends his weekends hiking in the Grand Canyon.

Even whiffle ball--played with a plastic bat and ball, and usually lots of beer--is deadly serious to Rose. He's played every year in the Whiffle Ball World Championship, and his team, "Nastiest Breaking Stuff," won the first championship by a single run in 1994.

"We were the antichrist of the whiffle-ball tournament," Rose's friend and teammate Ed Jankowski says. "Whiffle ball is one of the most serious sports on the planet, and only those in the inner circle of whiffle ball know that."

And Rose is the best whiffle ball pitcher on the planet, Jankowski insists. "Jason can throw a ball that releases from his hand and stays an inch off the ground, and that's a strike in whiffle ball," he says. "He can throw balls that break an inch from your head."

Rose was born to play hardball, friends say.
David Lipschultz, a high-school friend who is now a writer for Smart Money magazine in New York, says Rose hasn't changed too much. He was on student council, hung out with a lot of different people. He was always involved, Lipschultz recalls, and always on overdrive.

"Jason's very good at ingratiating himself, if you can dig his modus operandi. He's a schmoozer: always has been, always will be," Lipschultz says. "From high school on, you really see a lot of your friends go through a lot of changes in their lives. Jason is still almost exactly the same person."

Rose doesn't talk much about his family life, except to say his parents are "great people who did a good job" and that he and his father are still close friends today.

Rose went to Brophy College Prepatory for a year, and then transferred to Arcadia High School. He says he found out at Brophy, "I wasn't quite as good a basketball player as I thought." He was cut three times from the Brophy teams. He switched schools and switched sports, and ended up playing varsity baseball as a second baseman for three years.

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