David Kuo, the former second-in-command of President Bush’s Office on Faith-Based Initiatives, has a new book detailing how the office was “used almost exclusively to win political points with both evangelical Christians and traditionally Democratic minorities.”
ThinkProgress has obtained an excerpt from the book, set shortly after Bush’s 2001 inauguration:
Every other White House office was up and running. The faith-based initiative still operated out of the nearly vacant transition offices.
Three days later, a Tuesday, Karl Rove summoned [Don] Willett [a former Bush aide from Texas who initially shepharded the program] to his office to announce that the entire faith-based initiative would be rolled out the following Monday. Willett asked just how — without a director, staff, office, or plan — the president could do that. Rove looked at him, took a deep breath, and said, “I don’t know. Just get me a f—ing faith-based thing. Got it?” Willett was shown the door.
Kuo also writes that Rove referred to evangelical leaders as “the nuts,” and claims Rove deputy Ken Mehlman “knowingly participated in a scheme to use the office, and taxpayer funds, to mount ostensibly ‘nonpartisan’ events that were, in reality, designed with the intent of mobilizing religious voters in 20 targeted races.”