When David Plouffe confronted Karl Rove with evidence that his Bush administration used the IRS to investigate the NAACP, Rove melted down and stammered baloney.
Video from ABC News:
Transcript via This Week:
HUFFINGTON: They’re not supposed to do too much politics. I’m sure if we look at Crossroads GPS, you know it’s all about politics…
ROVE: No. No. No.
ROVE: No. No. Please. Please. GPS, Crossroads GPS, an organization I helped create, but I don’t run it. I’m not on the board, I’m not an officer. But the leadership knew right from the get-go they were going to be looked at closely. So the laws and rules that the IRS has promulgated for decades were followed very closely by GPS for exactly that. They knew they’d get extra scrutiny. Look, I — I love this…
HUFFINGTON: So why don’t you…
ROVE: …no concern about…
ROVE: …no concern about…
HUFFINGTON: (Inaudible) same problem with the left.
ROVE: Well, but you know what? You’re the first person I’ve heard on the left say that. Because these groups, 501(c)(4) groups have been active for years on the Democratic side, on the liberal side. And there has been no criticism. There was no criticism from the left in 2000 when the NAACP voter fund spent $10 million to run an ad accusing George Bush of being a bigot. No concern on the left when Americans United for Change ran television ads targeting Republican Senators…
ROVE: …up for re-election in 2007 and 2008 over the Iraq surge. So…
STEPHANOPOULOS: David, go ahead, and then I want to bring Gwen in?
PLOUFFE: Well, I’d say first of all, you know back in the previous — or the prior administration, the NAACP was investigated after Republican members of Congress asked for it. But there’s been no suggestion — the independent — the prosecutor looked at this — excuse me, the inspector general, and said there was no politics involved in this. No one has indicated at all that the White House is involved. The IRS director was appointed at — under President Bush, served under both presidents attested. No one from — so, this was not a political pursuit.
PLOUFFE: No, no it wasn’t, Karl.
ROVE: Boloney. Well if it was not political, then why are only conservative groups being targeted?
PLOUFFE: There were liberal groups targeted.
ROVE: Oh really? Name one. Name one.
ROVE: When a group had Tea Party or Patriot in its name, then it was targeted.
PLOUFFE: This was not…
ROVE: Not a single liberal group has — has appeared to say…
PLOUFFE: You’re taking great license here, Karl.
ROVE: No, I’m not.
ROVE: Not at all.
PLOUFFE: This was not an effort driven by the White House. It would be the dumbest political effort of all time, OK?
ROVE: I didn’t suggest it was being driven by the White House. But I do think that when the president…
PLOUFFE: So you think some people in the Cincinnati office decided…
ROVE: No. No. I think people sitting in Cincinnati, Laguna Niguel, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. listen to people like Senator Max Baucus, Senator Chuck Schumer. President Obama — when President Obama goes out in 2008 and — 2010 and calls these groups, quote “A threat to the democracy.”, he’s — he’s blowing the dog whistle, and people heard it.
Rove lied about his association with GPS by leaving out one important detail. Rove isn’t on the board, but GPS works in direct conjunction with the group Rove founded and still advises, American Crossroads. Rove saying that he isn’t involved with GPS was just like Mitt Romney claiming that his presidential campaign wasn’t involved with the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.
Plouffe was correct. Liberal groups were also targeted by the IRS. Bloomberg reported that the IRS sent the same letter to Democrats that they sent to tea partiers. The IRS did something to the liberal group Emerge America that they never did to the conservatives. They revoked their tax exempt status.
Stop me if you have heard this one before, but when confronted with evidence of the Bush administration targeting liberal groups, all Rove could do was stammer the word baloney repeatedly. Under George W. Bush, the IRS investigated the NAACP’s tax status for two years. Rove even gave the reason for the payback when he pointed to the Bush administration’s outrage over an ad that the NAACP had run.
It is easy to see why Rove’s Crossroads groups have had so little success taking on the president. David Plouffe ran circles around Karl and his talking points. Rove kept shifting his story so much that he went from blaming Obama to blaming Democratic senators to blaming the culture at the IRS. Rove is supposed be one of the Republican Party’s great spin masters, but even he couldn’t make these IRS allegations stick.
The threads are starting to show on the IRS scandal, and the whole thing is looking more than a little ratty.
Rove was right about one thing. There is some serious baloney being thrown around, and it’s the Republican Party tossing it.