The media gave Karl Rove tepid reviews for the speech he delivered to a crowd of about 500 in Manchester, New Hampshire last night. Surprisingly, the most disparaging coverage came from a former bastion of conservatism - the Manchester Union Leader.
Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove refused last night to talk about the 2002 Republican phone-jamming scandal that has led to the convictions of three GOP operatives.
Before speaking to about 500 activists at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee's annual dinner, Rove was asked by the New Hampshire Union Leader to comment on the operation, in which Democrats allege he may have had a role.
"Listen to my speech," Rove said. "It will be a good one for you." The speech was a defense of Bush administration economic and foreign policy and did not mention phone jamming.
While the story made passing mention of Rove's words for the New Hampshire Republican faithful, the Union Leader made much more of the of phone jamming and Democrats' attempts to make it out to be a sinister White House plot. And of course, the sprinkling of protesters said to be across the street.
On the other hand, Washington Post coverage of the speech actually reported what Rove said, but then passed it off as repetition from an old playbook -- as if a campaign speech is out of place as we approach the midterm elections.
MANCHESTER, N.H., June 12 -- The Bush administration is said to have a new playbook, with a more inclusive attitude toward critics and an openness to skeptical debate.
Karl Rove, apparently, still has his copy of the old playbook.
What should be in the new playbook wasn't clear from the article, only the hint that a different position on taxes or the War on Terror might be appropriate.
President Bush's approval ratings have plummeted amid concerns about the war, and Rove touched on two standard elements of his rhetorical sales pitch for the 2006 elections. He talked about the economy, ascribing its health to a combination of Republican tax cuts and fiscal restraint, and he talked about national security and the war.
An Associated Press article appearing the the Guardian seemed to get it at least partly right.
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - White House adviser Karl Rove said Monday that Republicans facing midterm elections should campaign on the economy's strength and discuss the war in Iraq with no qualms.
''We have no excuses to make for it,'' Rove said during a fundraising dinner for New Hampshire Republicans. War supporters need not apologize for removing the threat of Saddam Hussein, and with so much work left to do, now is not the time to talk about leaving Iraq, he said.
Rove said Democrats pushing for the withdrawal of American troops should be the ones facing tough questions for wanting to ``cut and run.'' He targeted Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, both Democrats and vocal supporters of getting out of Iraq.
''They are profoundly wrong,'' he said.
But missing from all the stories was why Rove urged such a strong stance on the war in Iraq. Unreported was Rove's reminder that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi wounded during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, fled to Iraq where he was given safe haven and medical treatment. A justification for invasion was that Iraq harbored and sponsored terrorists. Here are two of the points from the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, voted for by, among others, Senator John Kerry.
Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;
Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of American citizens;
Among other things that gained no mention by the press was Rove's observation that had the U.S. pulled troops out of Iraq as Representative John Murtha had recommended (and continues to recommend), Zarqawi would still be alive.
While Rove did not dwell on these points, we would do well to remember them. For some bizarre reason, the media would seem to prefer that we don't.