Over the weekend, media figures on CNN and Fox News continued to repeat the White House talking point that White House senior adviser Karl Rove was comparing liberal and conservative "philosophies" -- not targeting Democrats -- in a June 22 speech when he stated: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9-11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9-11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." In fact, Rove did specifically target Democrats, naming both Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean and Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) as examples of those who merely want to "understand our enemies."
Those who continued to push the White House's "liberal philosophy" spin include:
Fox News host John Gibson, as guest host of the June 24 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
GIBSON: With us now, Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers. So they came down pretty hard on Rove. Why?
POWERS: Well, because I think what he said was pretty disgusting. He came into New York City. He attacked a mainly Democratic city, saying liberals don't --
GIBSON: He said liberals, though. He didn't attack Democrats.
POWERS: Well, actually, if you look at what he said, he did mention the Democratic Party. But liberals and the implication was Democrats.
Washington Post national political correspondent Dan Balz on the June 24 edition of CNN's Inside Politics:
BALZ: Well, I think it certainly is. You know, Karl Rove doesn't say things by accident, and this was one in the prepared text, so he deliberately went out and wanted to make this statement about 9-11 and liberals. He did not say it was Democrats. He did say it was liberals. It is clear that Karl Rove and a lot of Republicans, dating back many presidencies, believe that if they can keep a fight on national security going, it is going to benefit them and hurt the Democrats even if there are people in the Democratic party who are protesting that Mr. Rove went too far.
National Review Washington editor Kate O'Beirne and CNN host and syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak on the June 25 edition of CNN's The Capital Gang:
MARGARET CARLSON (panelist): Karl Rove was talking about Democrats. He's not talking --
O'BEIRNE: He said liberals!
CARLSON: -- about liberals. He's talking about --
NOVAK: He said liberals.
CARLSON: -- liberal Democrats. And he meant it to be the party that backed -- all of the officials, as far as I know, in the -- elected officials in the Democratic Party stood behind the president after 9-11. I don't know any of them who suggested therapy. I don't know any of them who suggested that we indict Osama bin Laden. And so I don't know where that comes from.
Conservative syndicated columnist Debra Saunders on the June 26 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
SAUNDERS: Well, it's a much bigger story in the San Francisco Chronicle that put it on Page 1. I really don't understand why. Karl Rove didn't talk about Democrats, he talked about liberals, and what he said was true.
Fox News host Chris Wallace on the June 26 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: Let me ask you about this, [NPR correspondent and Fox news contributor] Mara [Liasson], because Rove did go after in his speech liberals, not Democrats. But a lot of Democrats on Capitol Hill reacted as if they personally had been attacked and insulted, and demanded that Rove apologize or be fired.