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Karl Rove Is Source of Matt Cooper Morphs Into Love Fest For Bush

Reported by Donna - July 19, 2005

While watching Studio B try to report on Karl Rove being the source of Matt Cooper (well, one of the banners said so) I was instead treated to a love fest for the president from a 'Fox News Contributor' who just happened to be Matt Dowd, a chief stategist for the 2004 campaign of George Bush.

(Please note that both this segment and the previous one I reported on, Bush announcing his choice for the Supreme Court were interviews with partisans and there was no Democrat in either segment to make them 'fair and balanced')

The following is my transcript (paraphrased but pretty much verbatim) between Greg Kelly (substituting for Shepard Smith) and Fox News Contributor, Matt Dowd.

Greg Kelly: President Bush has a broad agenda for his second term but recently the White House has been fielding more questions about Karl Rove and the CIA leak than social security reform. (Comment: Please don't start laughing yet)

It's not the first time that a second term president has had to deal with a distraction like this so what can a White House do to keep the focus on it's own priorities? (Comment: Alright, you can start laughing now)

Joining us now from Austin, Texas, Fox News Contributor, Matt Dowd, he was a chief stategist for the president's 2004 campaign.

Matt, good to see you. And this is a problem that affects both Democratic and Republican Administrations. Reporters, journalists, the public maybe, focused on the latest controversy, process controversy, where the president wants to talk about an issue. (Comment: The leak of a covert CIA agent is an issue) How do you combat that?

Matt Dowd: Well, I think it's basically journalists and pundits who are most foccused on it. The public's more concerned about the cost of gasoline, or what went on in London, or today, who the president is going to announce as a Supreme Court nominee. (Comment: Where have you been? The public is very interested in this issue.)

Any administration has got to try and stay focused and understand where the public is and not get too caught up into the process arguments (Comment: I assure you, the public is concerned with this being a national security issue) that happen a lot in Washington and a lot of cofee shops. (Comment: See? It's only being discussed in Washington and in coffee shops)

But that's what you can do (Comment: What? Deflect?) and I think they've been fairly successful but sometimes you just have to work through it. (Comment: Fairly successful?)

Greg Kelly: This Supreme Court Nomination, it's going to happen at 9 o'clock, we're going to learn the name. That is clearly going to help. I mean, it's going to help the administration get back to some of the items they want to talk about. (Comment: Thank you for being honest that this is being used as a distraction to help get people's minds off of the Rove scandal) There is no denying that. And it helps, there's some benefit for Karl Rove and the CIA. (Comment: I can see it helping Karl Rove but I wish he would have explained how it would help the CIA)

Matt Dowd: Well, I mean, we could argue about the merits of it. It looks like the facts that have come out over the last few days that, it's, that Karl, it gets clearer and clearer what actually happened. (What the heck is he talking about? Does he mean it's clearer and clearer that Rove outed a covert CIA operative?)

But obviously, what's important to the public and tonight will be -- who the Supreme Court nominee is. It's one of nine people. It's one of the most important appointments that a president makes in his entire term, (Comment: I believe National Security is way up there, too) And, so, I think that's what he focuses on, it'll be the qualifications of that person.

I mean, we would much rather be talking about, from an administration standpoint what the public cares about (Comment: We? Does he have a mouse in his pocket? And since when did he become the authority on what the public thinks?)than what pundits care about. (Comment: Isn't he one of those pundits?)

So, I think when we (Comment: There he goes with that 'we' again) can talk about those things, like a Supreme Court nominee, we're better off. (Who the heck is we're?)

Greg Kelly: And, how do you think your friends in the West Wing are shaping the presidents message? The president has come under fire really some for..uh..losing some momentum that he thought he had in January (Comment: Oh, let me count the ways) now getting mixed in some of the other details. (War still just as violent, losing the American publics confidence, a leaker in the White House, there are many reasons for him losing momentum)

Matt Dowd: Yeah, I obviously have close friends there. I've had them for the last seven or eight years ever since the president was governor and people served him as governor (Comment: As you also did?) so they are close friends of mine. (No? Really?)

This White House and these folks are very disciplined people. (Yes, we can certainly tell) Keep in mind in the aftermath of 9/11 (Comment: How did I know this would come up?) and then in the midst of two wars, Afghanistan and Iraq. (Comment: Well, who's choice was it to go to war in Iraq?) They were able to achieve Medicare reform. (Comment: Which benefits the pharmeceutical companies) They were able to perform a tax cut. (Comment: That benefits the top 1% wealthiest people in the country) They were able to perform Homeland Security (Comment: Border and Port security? 1st level responders?) They were able to perform a lot of different branches. (What, what did they perform?)

So, being a human being and able to have the capacity to stay focused, if they stay disciplined, and these are very disciplined folks that have one thing in mind and that is to accomplish the president's agenda (Comment: Who's agenda should include National Security also)

Greg Kelly: And, it's going to make them less likely, though, to talk to reporters. Would make us a little gun shy what happened here. It literally was a federal case, a conversation between a political operative and a reporter. (Comment: It is a federal case) Are they going to be more reluctant in the future? (Comment: Hopefully they will be more relunctant to out covert CIA agents in the future)

Matt Dowd: Well, I think everybody now has a better understanding of what it really means to talk to a reporter. Now there are various ways, on background, off the record, on the record.

But, I think people are going to reexamine those things in the context of this and really understand when they send an e-mail or have a conversation, what it is they're saying (Comment: I think they and Rove know exactly what they're saying) and how it gets reported. I think everybody is reflecting on it.

And I bet the media is really reflecting on it when they talk about sources.

Greg Kelly: Ok, so who's the Supreme Court pick gonna be? No, you don't know.

Matt Dowd: I'll let the president answer that one.

Greg Kelly: Ok, we'll be watching, 9 o'clock.

Comment: Thanks for reading such a long transcript, I do appreciate it. Most of my comments can be found throughout the transcript. All in all a great partisan report - to be found only on Fox.

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