Karl Rove: Outing Valerie Plame: Republican Reaction
The Republican reaction since it was revealed that Karl Rove, Assistant to the President, Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to George W. Bush, was involved in outing Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA agent has run from total silence to uncompromising frontal attack to the illogical and absolutely nonsensical.
Rove as "heroic whistleblower"
"But now, happily, comes the WSJ to set the record straight. And not a moment too soon.
"It's not poor Karl who's the villain of this latest Washington intrigue, it turns out. In fact Karl's the hero of the piece. It's Wilson and his conniving wife, Valerie Plame, who are the real scoundrels.
"Rove, we learn, 'is turning out to be the real whistleblower in this whole sorry pseudoscandal. He's the one who warned Time's Matthew Cooper and other reporters to be wary of Mr. Wilson's credibility.'
"Rove, the WSJ editorial goes on, 'told the press the truth that Mr. Wilson had been recommended for the CIA consulting gig by his wife, not Vice President Dick Cheney.' It will probably come as a surprise to followers of this story, not to mention Wilson himself, that he was recommended for the trip by Cheney. But never mind.
"This, the WSJ advises us, was a case of nepotism, pure and simple, and Wilson, far from being a whistleblower, was actually 'a partisan trying to discredit the Iraq War in an election campaign.'
"And it turns out that Rove's only motive in calling those reporters was to warn them so they would not be led astray by the duplicitous Wilson."
"Anyway, the truth about Karl Rove has finally emerged, thanks to the WSJ.
"And be sure to tune in next week, when the WSJ editorial page brings you the real story of Watergate, in which it is revealed that Richard Nixon was framed by Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and Ben Bradlee, the actual Watergate burglars." --David Rossie, Press Connects, July 15, 2005.
The "Mirror Defense"
"The GOP's propaganda technicians are filling in some of the details of the mirror universe they're trying to create -- the one in which Turdblossom is the noble whistleblower and Joe Wilson and his wife are the sleazy insiders spreading lies and disinformation. And since everything has to be ass backwards in the Republican reality, we're now being told that Wilson, not Rove, is the 'leaker' and Dick Cheney, not Valerie Plame, the dedicated public servant damaged by the leak."
"(Shudders.) I don't know how far the Rovians plan to take this mirror image building campaign. But I won't be too surprised if we wake up tomorrow to find Bill O'Reilly claiming that Karl Rove used to be an undercover CIA operative (a kind of fat, ugly version of Keifer Sutherland) until he was outed by Valerie Plame -- all as part of a left-wing dirty tricks operation masterminded by Jim Carville. ... What Rove is doing here is an example, albeit an extremely weird one, of his standard tactic of attacking his enemy's strength with his most outrageous lies -- the kind that are simply too big and too brazen for most media chicken shits to call him on." --Tom Tomorrow, This Modern World, July 13, 2005.
Other "Defense" Strategies
- Josh White, "Rove Told Reporter of Plame's Role But Didn't Name Her, Attorney Says," Washington Post, July 11, 2005.
- Commented AMERICAblog's John Aravosis "It depends on what your definition of 'name' is."
- Joshua Micah Marshall, re Rove's lawyer, Talking Points Memo, July 11, 2005: "... it's clear that Karl Rove's defense amounts to some sort of cover-blowing 'I didn't inhale' defense. 
- Joshua Micah Marshall, "A TPM Reader tells me that on the Hannity show the new line is that Cooper set Rove up, lulling him with talk about welfare reform, before slipping in the last minute question about Joe Wilson," Talking Points Memo, July 13, 2005.
Republican Talking Points
Reminiscent of the "Talking Points Memo" which circulated among Republican members of Congress during the Terri Schiavo affair, another "Memo" was circulated by the Republican National Committee on how to respond to allegations about Rove and the Bush White House.
According to The Raw Story, the Memo was "circulated by the Republican National Committee to 'D.C. Talkers' in Washington. ... The document [posted on The Raw Story web page], emblazoned with the words 'Special Edition' and dated Tuesday [July 12, 2005], seeks to discredit claims put forth by Ambassador Joseph Wilson, whose wife was 'outed' as a covert operative by a conservative columnist. ... The talking points mirror a release by Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman earlier Tuesday, in which he declared the attacks on Rove were spawned by the 'MoveOn' wing of the Democratic Party. MoveOn later accused the White House of a 'cover up.'" The Raw Story, July 12, 2005.
The Left Coaster examined the "talking points" one-by-one on July 13 and 14, 2005:
- "Treasongate (Part VI): Response to GOP talking points"
- "Talking Points for Treason"
- "Talking Points For Treason (Part II): Joseph Wilson and Dick Cheney"
- Richard B. Schmitt, "Rove Talked But Did Not Tattle, His Attorney Says. The Bush advisor spoke with a Time reporter days before a CIA operative was outed," Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2005: "In confirming the conversation between Rove and Cooper, Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, emphasized that the presidential advisor did not reveal any secrets. But the disclosure raised new questions about Rove and the precise role of the White House in the apparent national security breach as Cooper and another reporter, Judith Miller of the New York Times, faced imminent jail terms."
- Lawrence O'Donnell, "Update on Rove," The Huffington Post, July 3, 2005: "Rove can tell us word-for-word what he said to the grand jury and would if he thought it would help him. And notice that Luskin just did reveal part of Rove’s grand jury testimony, the fact that he had a conversation with Cooper. Rove would not let me get one day of traction on this story if he could stop me. If what I have reported is not true, if Karl Rove is not Matt Cooper’s source, Rove could prove that instantly by telling us what he told the grand jury. Nothing prevents him from doing that, except a good lawyer who is trying to keep him out of jail."
- John Byrne, "In call with bloggers, online media, Dean raises Rove, ethics," The Raw Story, July 7, 2005: "Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean reiterated his theme of a Republican 'culture of corruption', and put new focus whether Bush advisor Karl Rove leaked the name of a covert CIA operative."
- David Corn, "White House Stonewalls on Rove Scandal," The Nation, July 11, 2005.
- Robert Parry, "Rove's Leak Points to Bush Conspiracy," Consortium News, July 11, 2005.
- Steven Thomma, "Rove disclosure puts Bush in bind. He had promised to punish source of leak," Detroit Free Press, July 12, 2005.
- Robert Scheer, "The real Rove scandal. If you can't shoot the messenger, take aim at his wife," Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2005: "That clearly was the intent of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove in leaking to a reporter that former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA agent. To try to conceal the fact that the president had lied to the American public about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program, Rove attempted to destroy the credibility of two national security veterans and send an intimidating message to any other government officials preparing to publicly tell the truth."
- "White House expresses confidence in top Bush aide," Reuters, July 12, 2005.
- Richard W. Stevenson, "At White House, a Day of Silence on Rove's Role in C.I.A. Leak," New York Times, July 12, 2005.
- "RNC Responds on Rove: Partisan Political Attack," The Raw Story, July 12, 2005.
- Hunter, "RNC: Gillespie vs. Mehlman," Daily Kos, July 12, 2005.
- John Aravosis, "Republican members of Congress are avoiding Rove like the plague," AMERICAblog, July 13, 2005.
- Pete Yost, "Bush Won't Comment on Rove Role in Leak," Associated Press, July 13, 2005.
- David E. Sanger, "Rove Case May Test Bush's Loyalty to His Closest Aides," New York Times, July 13, 2005.
- "Today Show Let Newt Defend Rove," AMERICAblog, July 13, 2005.
- Billmon, "Spin Dry," Whiskey Bar, July 13, 2005: "It looks like the wing nuts are emptying the kitchen cabinets, the closets and the attic looking for silly arguments that can be used on Karl Rove's behalf."
- Tom Raum, "Bush Passes on Public Endorsement of Rove," Associated Press, July 13, 2005: Bush "passed up a chance Wednesday to express confidence in senior aide Karl Rove ... The lack of endorsement surprised some White House officials who had been told Bush would back his embattled friend."
- Anthony Wade, "Countering the Bush Disinformation Machine with the Truth," OpEd News, July 13, 2005.
- Rich Proctor, "RoveGate — Let's play by Republican rules," The Smirking Chimp, July 14, 2005.
- Sidney Blumenthal, "Rove's war," Salon, July 14, 2005: "Bush's right-hand man is dispatching his troops to smear Joe Wilson -- and save himself. He may win in Washington, but the special prosecutor will have the last word."
- Jim VandeHei and Carol Leonnig, "Time Reporter Testifies About Contacts With Rove. Bush Cautions Against Prejudging Leak Case," Washington Post, July 14, 2005.
- Ron Fournier, "GOP Nervously Eyeing Rove and CIA Probe," Associated Press, July 14, 2005.
- "New Questions Need Answers," The Left Coaster, July 14, 2005.
- Kevin Diaz, "Coleman may lead defense of Rove," Minneapolis Star-Tribune, July 14, 2005: "Republican officials hinted Wednesday that Sen. Norm Coleman could play a leading role in responding to Democrats' attacks against White House aide Karl Rove. ... The Minnesota Republican downplayed a report in the Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, that he has been designated by the Republican National Committee (RNC) to be one of Rove's 'principal defenders in Congress.'"
- Paul Waldman, "Saving Karl Rove," Tom Paine.Common Sense, July 14, 2005.
- David Rossie, "Rove reworked as heroic whistleblower," Press Connects, July 15, 2005.
- Molly Ivins, "Enough to make your head spin. Truth flies out the window as GOP springs to the defense of Karl Rove," Working for Change, July 15, 2005.