Saturday, April 05, 2008

GQ Interviews Karl Rove

KARL ROVE: I'm actually in [Obama's] book. He wrote that "people like Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, Ralph Reed, and Karl Rove say we are a Christian nation." And I did not say that. I confronted him about it. At the White House....Well, first he denied that I was in the book! And then he denied that it said that I said that it was a Christian nation. And then when I pulled out the thing...and showed it to him, he sort of blah-blah-blah-blah-blah- blah-blah...

GQ: What's your goal with [your] book? You intend to set the record straight, as you see it?

KARL ROVE: Absolutely, absolutely. Sure. You bet. I intend to set the record straight.

GQ: I imagine you're going to have a lot to say.

ROVE: Yeah, exactly. Available soon for $29.95…. I gotta go! I gotta go!---GQ

GQ (4-2-08) recently interviewed Karl Rove about his life and times. Here are some highlights:

...Do you like being a TV analyst?

Uh, it's odd. You know, it's weird for me. But it's interesting.

Do you think Fox News is fair and balanced?

I do. I think they go out of their way to be fair and tough in questioning. I'm really impressed with the people I've gotten to know. Brit Hume is a very bright person; Chris Wallace has got a lot of integrity.

You also sold a book recently.

I did.

What'd ya get?

A lot.

...What did you do wrong?

Oh, look, I did a lot of things wrong. But the main thing is, we're fighting an important but unpopular war.

You still think it was the right thing to do?

Absolutely. Absolutely. And you know, one of our biggest mistakes was, the first time Harry Reid got up and said, "You lied and you deliberately misled the country," we should have gone back immediately and hit back hard, and we didn't. We let that story line develop. In reality, you go back and look at what Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore—I'd be happy to supply you the quotes—what they said about Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction.

What are you most proud of?

Being part of a group of people I have a great deal of respect and admiration for in service of the country.

If you had to make a bet, can Hillary pull it off?

The odds are long, but improbable things have happened almost every month in this race. She wasn't supposed to win New Hampshire, and she did. So we'll see. You know, she's got a lot of strengths, and he does, too. We got two wellmatched opponents going at each other hammer and tongs. It's fun to watch.

If it's mathematically impossible for either of them to get enough delegates, how will this get resolved?

Somebody can get to a majority, but they're gonna have to get to a majority with superdelegates. Neither of them can win enough delegates to win it on just simply the elected delegates.

...What do you make of this whole thing where Hillary was talking him up as a vice president and he came back saying, "Wait a minute, I'm winning—why are you asking me to be your number two?"

Very calculating on the part of the Clintons, and a mistake for him on his part.

Why?

Because they wanted him to get down to their level. They want him to look like, you know, not the golden inspiring figure but instead, you know, like an average ordinary pol who's got three years in the United States Senate. So they lay it out there. And rather than having it be dismissed by a surrogate, instead he goes out there! And rather than having an inspiring, forward-looking message, instead he's out there as an ordinary pol saying, "Hey, I'm number one, I'm in first place! I won more states than she did. I won more delegates than she did. What the hell's she doing offering it to me? That's insulting." And he did it in an arrogant way that I don't think made him look that good.

So you don't think his response played well?

No. Take a look at the footage. Turn the sound off and look at it. You can tell that he is arrogant, and you can tell that he's a little bit angry, and you can tell he's very dismissive. He takes his hands and he sort of, you know, waves his hand like, "I'm dismissing something." That was the moment to say, you know, "Look, I know what my opponents are saying, but you know what? I'm focused on one thing and one thing only, which is to help bring Republicans and Democrats and independents together to move America forward." Instead of "Hey, lemme just remind you, I'm winning! I'm beatin' her!"

So he took the bait?

He took the bait.

Have you gotten to know Hillary or Barack to any degree?

Yes, I have.

What have been your dealings with them?

Well, you know, I used to have her office at the White House. And I got to know [Obama] because we have a mutual friend, Ken Mehlman, who was his law-school classmate at Harvard. And so as a result, whenever in the last three years he's been around at the White House, I've gotten to see him, and we sort of would hang around and chitchat about things. I'm actually in his book. He wrote that "people like Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, Ralph Reed, and Karl Rove say we are a Christian nation." And I did not say that. I confronted him about it. At the White House.

And what did he say?

Well, first he denied that I was in the book! And then he denied that it said that I said that it was a Christian nation. And then when I pulled out the thing [he had a copy of the offensive page with him] and showed it to him, he sort of blah-blah-blah-blah-blah- blah-blah. And I thought, That's who he is. I mean, look, he may claim that he's for a different kind of politics, but that was a cheap shot. And I'm not certain if any of the four said it either. But it was like, you know, Let's just strap it in there and see if it goes someplace. Another example: Him saying, "We honor John McCain for his fifty years of service" was a cheap shot. He was going out of his way to say John McCain's old.

...Do you think Obama's gotten a free ride from the press?

Yes.

How so?

I don't think they hold him to the same standards. You know, look, his Web site is full of all kinds of proposals written by academics galore. But he's not required to defend them. He's not required to explain what it is he wants to do. Now I think that's changing. I think, when you have an editorial in USA Today that says, in essence, Where's the beef, what's the substance? When reporters start asking him tough questions about his relationship with Tony Rezko—you know, what was the value of the lot? What was the price that you paid? How many fund-raisers did he do for you? How much money did he raise at those fund-raisers? When they start asking him those questions, then it starts to change. I mean, the kind of questions that have been routinely asked of other candidates—about their background and associations and involvements—have only recently begun to be asked of him.

...Tell us about your wife.

She's a terrific, courageous person.

Is it hard being married to you?

Uh, I don't think it's hard being married to me. I think it's hard being married in public with me.

Let's talk about the last couple of scandals you've been involved in. Don Siegelman in Alabama [the Democratic governor whom Rove was recently accused of trying to sabotage by forcing U.S. attorneys to bring corruption charges against him prior to an election]. What happened?

[rolls his eyes] Will you do me a favor and go on Power Line and Google "Dana Jill Simpson" [the Republican lawyer who told 60 Minutes that Rove asked her to take a picture of Governor Siegelman cheating on his wife]? She's a complete lunatic. I've never met this woman. This woman was not involved in any campaign in which I was involved. I have yet to find anybody who knows her. And what the media has done on this… No one has read the 143-page deposition that she gave congressional investigators—143 pages. When she shows up to give her explanation of all this, do you know how many times my name appears? Zero times. Nobody checked!

Then how did this happen?

Because CBS is a shoddy operation. They said, "Hey, if we can say 'Karl Rove,' 'Siegelman,' that'll be good for ratings. Let's hype it. We'll put out a news release on Thursday and then promo the hell out of it on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday." And Scott Pelley—the question is, Did [60 Minutes correspondent] Scott Pelley say to this woman, "You say you met with him. Where? And you say that he gave you other assignments earlier. When did he begin giving you assignments, and what campaigns did you work with him in? What evidence? I mean, this woman, she said she met with him: Okay, you met with him—where? Did you fly to Washington?" Now she says that she talked to me on the phone and she's got phone records. Of calls to Washington and Virginia. But what's Virginia? I don't live in Virginia. And it's 2001. What is in Virginia? It's not the Bush headquarters; that was in Austin, Texas. What is in Virginia? So—but look, she's a loon.

...What's your goal with this book? You intend to set the record straight, as you see it?

Absolutely, absolutely. Sure. You bet. I intend to set the record straight.

I imagine you're going to have a lot to say.

Yeah, exactly. Available soon for $29.95…. I gotta go! I gotta go!

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