On the Charlie Rose show a little over a week ago, former Bush political adviser Karl Rove attempted to re-write the history of the Iraq war, claiming that “the administration was opposed” to holding the pre-war Iraq vote just ahead of the 2002 elections. “We didn’t think it belonged within the confines of the election,” Rove told Rose.
As ThinkProgress has documented, key leaders in both the House and the Senate were asking Bush in 2002 to delay the Iraq war vote, but were rebuffed when Bush told then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) that “we just have to do this now.” On MSNBC yesterday, former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card disputed Rove’s account, saying “that’s not the way it worked.”
In the Washington Post this morning, Rove’s revisionist history is further discredited by then-White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, who says flatly that Rove is wrong:
Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary at the time, said Daschle had pressed Bush over the summer to bring the matter to Congress but for consultation, not necessarily a vote. Bush decided to seek a vote authorizing force, Fleischer said. “It was definitely the Bush administration that set it in motion and determined the timing, not the Congress,” he said. “I think Karl in this instance just has his facts wrong.”
Despite the fact that multiple members of the administration have now disputed his account, Rove is still clinging to his false claims. In an interview with the Post yesterday, he said it was “disingenuous” for “Democrats to suggest they didn’t want to vote on it before the election”:
Rove repeated his assertion in an interview yesterday, pointing to comments made by Democrats in 2002 that they wanted a vote. “For Democrats to suggest they didn’t want to vote on it before the election is disingenuous,” he said. The vote schedule, he said, was set by lawmakers. “We don’t control that.”
As the Politico’s John Bresnahan, who covered Congress in 2002, wrote yesterday, “Rove’s assertion that Congress was pushing for a quick vote on the use-of-force resolution is just not credible at all.”