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Rove Slams Palin For Her Thin Skin And Attention-Getting Tactics

Reported by Ellen - August 25, 2011 -

Karl Rove visited On The Record Wednesday night for a lengthy discussion that eventually turned to Sarah Palin. It's long been known there's no love lost between the two. This segment is bound to keep the animosity going. Among other things, Rove said about Palin, “It’s a sign of enormously thin skin that if we speculate about her, she gets upset. And I suspect if we didn’t speculate about her, she’d be upset and trying to find a way to get us to speculate about her.” Grab the popcorn!

The discussion was mostly devoted to criticizing President Obama, of course. Van Susteren, fresh from her weekend at Kim Kardashian’s $10 million wedding, where her husband had a "special moment" dancing with dress designer Vera Wang, continued to hammer Obama for going to the “very expensive enclave, Martha’s Vineyard.” She thought Obama should have gone somewhere like the “regular,” “American” Wisconsin Dells. Rove also chimed in, “The idea of… wine-sipping, elitist on Martha’s Vineyard just doesn’t comport well with what ordinary Americans are facing in their lives.” I guess if Obama were more of a regular guy, he would have gotten an invite to the $10 million wedding, too.

But at about the 12:50 mark, Van Susteren brought up Palin. Van Susteren said coyly that in preparation for the segment, she found lots of references to “a comment you made about Governor Sarah Palin.” Van Susteren didn’t say what the comment was but she was obviously referring to Rove’s comments that he thought the odds of Palin running for president were slightly more than not running. Believe it or not, Palin seems to have taken offense at that. As CBS News reported, her Sarah PAC website fired off the following comment, presumed to have been aimed at Rove:

Any professional pundit claiming to have 'inside information' regarding Governor Palin's personal decision is not only wrong but their comments are specifically intended to mislead the American public.

Rove fired back on On The Record. And don’t tell me Van Susteren didn’t set it up for him. Rove said, “Look, if she doesn’t want to be speculated about as a potential presidential candidate, there’s an easy way to end speculation: simply say, ‘I’m not running.’ But instead, every time she pops up into the public eye, like she did on CNN at the Iowa State Fair a number of days ago, she said, ‘I haven’t made a decision.’”

Rove said he “wouldn’t bet a lot of money” on her running but added, “It’s a sign of enormously thin skin that if we speculate about her, she gets upset. And I suspect if we didn’t speculate about her, she’d be upset and trying to find a way to get us to speculate about her.”

Van Susteren predictably tried to deflect the criticism, saying she had “no idea” if Palin had been involved in the attack on Rove. “What is it about Governor Palin that even the media can’t let go of it?” Van Susteren asked laughably. After all, she should know the answer since she was the one who brought it up. And less than a week ago, she teased the “tease” herself (while ignoring Palin's champagne tastes) and asked Palin about her potential run, “Can you at least give me a little bit of a hint which way the wind is blowing tonight?” As if Van Susteren didn’t already know Palin won’t run. Frankly, I thought even Rove knew when he made his original comments that Palin won't run.

Rove said Palin was “a potentially big factor in the presidential election” and “if she doesn’t want to be speculated about, then end the speculation by saying, ‘I’m not going to be a candidate.’”

It’s significant to me that Rove kept saying Palin could end the speculation, by saying she wouldn't run when she could just as easily end it by saying she will. Especially since this whole brouhaha started when he said he thought it was likely she’d run.

“Until then,” Rove continued, “I would just recommend she might get a slightly thicker skin because if she’s got this thin a skin now… how’s she going to react if she does get into the campaign and gets the scrutiny that every presidential candidate does get? I mean, that’s not going to be a pretty sight if she’s as thin-skinned in the fray as she is on the edges of it… If she were not interested in being a candidate, why does she keep going back to Iowa? …I’m sure there are a lot of other states in the union where she could have previewed her film, launched her book tour, and spoken to a tea party event during Labor Day of 2011… If she doesn’t want people to speculate that she might be a presidential candidate, she's sure got a funny way of killing the speculation.”

The televised version of this interview ended abruptly with a Fox News alert just after Rove recommended Palin get a thicker skin. I thought that extremely suspicious given that the alert was about the resignation of Steve Jobs from Apple, an announcement made several hours earlier that was hardly earth shaking. However, the entire interview is on FoxNews.com and is titled, Rove to Palin: Grow ‘Thicker Skin.’

So did Fox deliberately cut off Rove’s criticism of Palin and then, perhaps in a change of heart, showcase it on FoxNews.com? Or did Fox make a Solomon-like decision of “giving” the air time to Palin and the web clip to Rove? Or did the on-air interruption have nothing to do with Rove?”

I report, you decide.

Below is the entire interview from FoxNews.com. Underneath is a video showing the "Fox News Alert" interruption.

Here's the New York Times alert sent at 6:47 PM ET. On The Record airs at 10 PM ET.

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