Former White House advisor Karl Rove made a name for himself as President Bush’s “architect” by employing underhanded tactics to win elections and smear opponents. So it was startling that during a book signing in Oklahoma this week Rove declared that Bush “never allowed” staffers to call their opposition “disparaging labels,” or “question their motives“:
“President Bush, for example, never allowed a White House staffer or administration spokesman to go out and do what this administration and our predecessor routinely did — that is to engage in calling the leaders of the opposition party disparaging labels and question their motives,” he said.
As The Oklahoman’s Ryan Dean noted, “In fact, Rove and other members of the Bush administration were routinely critical of opponents to the Iraq war and questioned their patriotism.” In a 2007 speech, Rove directly challenged the “motives” of his political opponents when he implied that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) intentionally used rhetoric that would endanger American soldiers:
”Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.”
During the 2008 campaign, Rove cast doubt on now-President Obama’s patriotism by attacking him for not wearing a flag pin — even though Rove wasn’t wearing one at the time — and criticized Michelle Obama for not showing “adequate enough” patriotism after she had given a lengthy speech professing her love of country.
And in the very same speech where Rove touted the honesty of the Bush White House, Rove falsely attributed a statement to President Obama that was actually made by Michelle.