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Karl Rove Baselessly Accused Obama Of Saying That Wearing A Flag Lapel Pin Is Unpatriotic

Reported by Ellen - February 28, 2008 -

Karl Rove got the top two segments on last night’s (2/27/08) Hannity & Colmes to “analyze” the Democratic race for the presidency, FOX News style. That meant that Rove tied together most of the right-wing smears against Barack Obama – his church, the endorsement from Louis Farrakhan, the lapel pin – into one big smear: a snide implication that Obama is an unpatriotic, black radical who can't tolerate those who like to wear flag lapel pins. With video.

Rove may be a brilliant political strategist but as a TV personality, he leaves a lot to be desired. He has a dull affect and a less than attractive visage. His “sidekick” is a small, dry-erase board on which he jots numbers that are difficult to decipher via a small or distant television screen (which is how I usually watch Hannity & Colmes). Everything about him screams 1950’s nerd.

Nevertheless, Rove got two segments to spin the race while Democrat Kirsten Powers got one, later segment. By the way, since I've been extremely critical of the dismal-to-mediocre job Powers usually does speaking on behalf of Democrats, it's only fair to note that last night, she put in a decent showing. Let’s hope it’s the beginning of a trend.

Sean Hannity, going first with Rove, noted that Rove had recently spoken out against the use of Barack Obama’s middle name. According to Rove, use of the name would perpetuate the notion that Republicans are bigoted.

Interestingly, Rove acknowledged that the name is used to imply something untrue (that Obama is somehow associated with Muslims and/or terrorists) but he didn’t say anything about the usage being distasteful or just wrong. He only seemed to care that it would be harmful to Republicans.

But all other smears seemed to be A-OK.

Rove didn’t object, e.g., when Hannity, in his disingenuously “just wondering” voice, tried to smear Obama’s wife. “The comments of his wife, about the first time in my adult life I’m proud to be an American, the use of the word ‘white oppressor’ in her thesis, do you think people are gonna respond negatively to all this?”

Rove went on to attack Obama for not being dismissive enough of Farrakhan during the debate the night before. “(Farrakhan’s) made very racist comments about whites and about the black/white relationships in the United States and I, frankly, think he ought to be dismissive of Farrakhan in his totality.”

Alan Colmes broke in at that point. He noted that Obama had previously said, “I’ve been a consistent denunciator of Louis Farrakhan.” Colmes also noted that Obama had expressed disapproval of his church’s award to Farrakhan (actually it was the church’s magazine’s award) and added, “I don’t know what more he has to say to get people off his back about Louis Farrakhan.”

Rove persisted in his attacks on Obama by proxy, by criticizing Farrakhan and saying that Obama should have attacked Farrakhan for his “comments that run down America, his identification with dictators around the world,” etc.

Rove continued by oxymoronically painting Obama as a fringer who’s also a typical Democrat. “He is a very left wing Democrat… He has been a conventional, far-left Democrat and we ought to recognize that and as a result, he has these associations and these people that he’s been comfortable being with that are not in the mainstream of America.”

Next, “patriotic” Rove went after Obama over the lapel pin issue. Rove insisted that Obama’s explanation for not wearing a flag lapel pin was “very dismissive” to those Americans who do think it’s patriotic to wear a lapel pin. Rove claimed, “(Obama) was implicating that people who did wear a flag on their lapel were not true patriots. In America, you get to decide whether you want to wear a flag lapel pin or not.” (Comment: Not on FOX News, you don’t.)

Rove was pulling a maneuver very similar to Hannity's tactics: Distort what a Democrat says or does, then attack them for what they never really said. Rove continued, “What (Obama) did, though, was say it was true patriotism to speak out on the issue, not to wear a flag lapel pin. He was the one who was questioning the patriotism of people wearing flags on their lapels.”

“I didn’t get that from what he said,” Colmes replied.

“Read it carefully. Read his statement carefully,” Rove said. You can read Obama’s statements in the New York Times. Even FOX News’ article on the subject did not imply that Obama was critticizing the wearing of a flag pin per se.

Colmes asserted, correctly in my view, that Obama was not questioning the patriotism of people who wore the pin. “He was simply saying you don’t define patriotism by a pin.”

But Rove persisted in his attacks. “No, he was questioning the patriotism of those who did put a flag on their lapel. Please admit it. I mean, I’m not questioning his patriotism.”

No, of course not.

By the way, I didn’t see a lapel pin on Rove’s jacket.