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Downplaying Rove scandal on Special Report, part 2

Reported by Chrish - July 13, 2005

Brit Hume introduced the main stories at the top of the hour yesterday 7/12/05, including "The feeding frenzy over Karl Rove (there's that shark/just your annual "summer storm" metaphor again) enters its second day with another round of unanswered questions at the White House briefing and more Democratic calls for Rove's scalp." as the captions under the photos read "Still Rabid @ Rove" (Hey, is that a jab at US??) and "Scalp Hunters" under video of John Kerry. In case you're keeping track those are talking points C1, C3, and R1.

The "report" on the Rove scandal was introduced with pity for beleagured Scott McClellan, who "endured" questions from reporters who knew they'd get no answer but felt "they had to ask them anyway", about what role Rove "may have played" in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Jim Angle reports, says Hume, that Democrats were calling the political equivalent of "off with his head". (Comment: very apt analogy as Rove is widely regarded as Bush's brain.)

Video showed John Kerry saying that Karl Rove ought to be fired. Angle's voice over asked What did Rove do? He warned Matt Cooper he was about to publish false information.

Cut to Ken Mehlman, the RNC Chairman, saying "What Karl was saying was, to Matt Cooper, you shouldn't go with this Wilson story because in fact it's based on a bogus premise, and it's a bogus story." (Talking point R2)

Cooper and Time, says Angle, fleshing out the talking point, were about to report that VP Dick Cheney had sent Joe Wilson to Niger to investigate claims that Iraq was trying to obtain materials for nuclear weapons. "But that was not true." Victoria Toensing, who was also a guest on Gibson's Big Story earlier, said that Rove was just trying to prevent Cooper from reporting incorrect facts. Cooper sent his editor an email that said Rove explained it was the CIA who sent Wilson, and Wilson's wife "who apparently works at the agency" (shown in quotes on screen, over a full screen shot of Wilson and Plame in a restaurant; slowly zooms in.) was involved in the decision. In fact, says Angle, the Senate Intelligence Committee interviewed a CIA official who said she "offered up his name" and approached him about the trip. But, critics insist that if she was indeed under cover at the time, even referring to her as part of the CIA would have been a violation of the law.

Video is shown of Rep. Menendez (D-NJ) stating "The White House should not aid and abet those within it in exposing CIA agents who work for this country and defend it to (sic) danger and therefore it's time for Karl Rove to walk the plank."

Angle says Democrats and Wilson himself say Rove knowingly outed her in order to punish him for accusing the administration of exaggerating evidence on Iraqi WMDs, though, Angle says, Wilson's own investigation had found that Iraqis had explored the idea of getting uranium from Niger. "But Democrats find that unpersuasive."

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is shown saying that "evidence is mounting that Karl Rove and others in the White House may have been involved in using classified information as part of a conspiracy for political purposes jeopardizing our national security."

Angle says that for it to be a crime, one must know the person is undercover, and intentionally out them. Rove has argued he never knew her name or her status. (Rove: "I didn't know her name and I didn't leak her name.")

Putting the partisan politics spin on it (TP C4, R1), Angle says that while Wilson and Democrats are saying it was intentional, "others say" he was just answering the key question in Washington at the time - who chose Wilson, and why was "a known critic of the administration" get sent on a sensitive mission?

Victoria Toensing says Wilson did not have credentials, (Comment: Two words: John Bolton) he didn't know anything about WMDs, only his wife did, so "people" were saying why?

And, Jim Angle says, the official answer is we didn't send him, the CIA did, in part because his wife works there on these very issues, something Wilson has always denied.

One other issue: Cooper said in his e-mail that Rove spoke on double super secret background. Rove's attorney Robert Luskin says Rove spoke on the express promise that it not be used, so, he argues, Rove thought he was killing an incorrect story, not launching an attack on an undercover agent.

Comment: I find it interesting that they keep saying that Democrats aren't buying it, Democrats want his scalp, etc. Where are the Republicans on this? It's like they're under a gag order. The clips of Democrats provide a "balance" to the Republican talking points espoused by the Fox reporter and bolstered by non-elected right-wing guests. (drill, drill, drill)

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