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Rove Tapdances On Subject Of Involvement In McCain Campaign Shake-Up

Reported by Ellen - July 4, 2008 -

On last night’s (7/3/08) Hannity & Colmes, Karl Rove was once again brought on to serve as the sole analyst of the Barack Obama campaign. Rove was identified merely as a “FOX News contributor” despite the fact that he has been an informal advisor to the John McCain campaign. Alan Colmes changed subjects to ask Rove about his influence in the previous day’s shake-up of the John McCain campaign. Rove repeatedly implied he played no role but made elaborate efforts to avoid a direct answer. With video.

The discussion about Rove’s involvement in the McCain campaign occurred during the first part of a double segment with Rove. As it turned out, the second part also contained a notable interchange between Rove and Colmes (to be discussed in my next post).

In Part 1, Colmes noted that an article in the New York Times described the shake-up as having increased the influence of two Rove protegés, Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace. “Does this mean that Karl Rove is having an influence in who McCain is hiring and is this your way of influencing this campaign?” Colmes asked.

Rove replied, “Look, I’ve been around this business for a number of years and it’s hard to find a lot of people who don’t have some connection with me. Alan, if you went to work in the Obama campaign, you could count on the New York Times saying that a Rove protegé was in the Obama campaign.”

It was a shrewd answer but one that avoided denying having played a role in selecting or organizing the new campaign management structure.

Rove went on to joke that since Colmes has been associated with Rove at FOX News, Colmes might be described as a Rove protegé.

Colmes said, “The Times positioned this as, you know, Rove’s legacy needs to be helped by a McCain win and that you’re vested in this win for your own legacy’s sake.”

Once again, Rove tapdanced. He said that he has been friends with senior McCain advisor Charlie Black for many years. “My point is, I’ve been around this for a long time. I know a lot of people. I’ve been associated with a lot of people. I wouldn’t put too much into some of those people rising to the tops of various campaigns.” Rove further claimed that he had a close friend or associate running all the Republican presidential campaigns during the primary.

That may be true but he still had not directly answered Colmes' question.

Unfortunately, Colmes’ time was up and he never pinned Rove down about his role is in the campaign.

The Times reported, “(Rove) was said by Mr. McCain’s advisers to have offered advice in recent days to Mr. Schmidt and others on how to get Mr. McCain’s campaign on track, but has stayed mostly on the periphery. Mr. Rove is aware, his associates said, that his own legacy could be helped should Mr. McCain win the presidency.”

“Mostly on the periphery?” That sounds like “directly involved at times” to me. But beyond Colmes, the “We report. You decide” network didn’t think that was relevant information about a supposedly neutral campaign analyst on their own payroll.