From the February 17 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
Loading the player ...
Washington Post editor Bob Woodward pushed back on Fox News political analyst Karl Rove's attempt to blame the across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester on President Obama.
Woodward wrote in his 2012 book that the White House first proposed the sequester during negotiations that resulted from the Republican congressional leadership's decision to refuse to raise the debt ceiling without spending cuts. Republicans and their allies in the conservative media have recently used Woodward's book in an attempt to blame Obama for the forthcoming cuts and the damage they will do to the economy if implemented.
But when Karl Rove tried to do so during a panel discussion on the February 17 Fox News Sunday, Woodward pushed back:
ROVE: Let's be honest about this. This was a bad idea foisted on us by the President of the United States, who has had 18 months to lead the country in a way that we could make smart cuts, not stupid cuts.
JUAN WILLIAMS (Fox News contributor): How can you call this the President's sequester when most of the Republicans --
ROVE: Because I read Bob Woodward's book!
WOODWARD: The White House -- and they really don't want to talk about the origins of the sequester now. But the Republicans definitely have a role in this.
Conservative media voices have insisted that an increase of the federal minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $9 would harm the economy. However, a wealth of economic evidence disputes the claims that minimum wage hikes are job killers, that the minimum wage is already high, and that it only applies to jobs held by relatively young workers.
Fox News political contributor Karl Rove attacked President Obama's proposal to expand pre-kindergarten education as too costly, despite the fact that investment in pre-k education returns more money than it costs. Rover further disregarded the reality that federal spending, including the 2009 stimulus, can often result in net savings.
On the February 13 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, host Jon Scott asked Rove about the pre-k education proposal the president outlined in his State of the Union address. Rove acknowledged that he has no evidence detailing the cost of the president's proposal, but claimed that similar plans would cost $25 billion. When Scott pointed out the return on investment, Rove dismissed it:
SCOTT: But you heard especially with regard to that universal pre daycare kind of thing, universal pre-kindergarten kind of thing the president said that for every dollar you spend on that kind of a program, you get something like $14 back.
ROVE: Well that's how we justify everything. The president justified the stimulus by saying if we spent money on the stimulus, 800 and some odd billion dollars that it would grow the economy. Look, we have tried this idea that we can spend our way to prosperity for four years.
Contrary to Rove's assertion, economists agree that the stimulus has a successful record of creating jobs and preventing a deeper economic recession. Rove also failed to take into account the economic benefits of pre-k programs specifically. For instance, according to Scholastic, "Economists say that the return for every dollar invested in preschool can be anywhere from $2 to $17 when you total the drop in special education, grade repetition, and crime, and add the value of a more productive workforce." A 2005 study by the University of Texas' Children's Learning Institute estimates the return on investment at somewhere between $7 and $8 for every dollar spent, and National Head Start Association study pegs the benefits at $9 returned for every $1 invested in Head Start alone.
From the Children's Learning Institute:
Right-wing pundits frequently use former President Ronald Reagan's name to apply a stamp of approval on anything or anyone they deem symbolic of the ideal conservative -- even when Reagan's actual record on issues ranging from taxes to the deficit deviated far from the ideological standards of today's conservative movement.
Republican darling du jour Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) is the latest to receive the Reagan badge. Ahead of his delivery of the GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address, Karl Rove said Monday that "in Rubio, the Republicans have got probably one of their best communicators since Ronald Reagan." On MSNBC's Morning Joe, The Daily Caller's Matt Lewis called Rubio "Reaganesque." And in November 2012, pundit Cal Thomas published a column on Townhall.com titled, "Marco Rubio: A Hispanic Reagan?"
Rubio is just the latest in a long line of Republican politicians to receive the ubiquitous accolade:
Mitt Romney: Fox News figures repeatedly linked former presidential candidate Romney to the Gipper during both opinion and news shows in the months leading up to the 2012 election. Bill O'Reilly said that Romney "is going to mirror the ghost of Ronald Reagan," while political correspondent Carl Cameron said Romney, on his bus tour, spent a lot of time "sort of echoing Ronald Reagan."
Rep. Paul Ryan (WI): Fox News figures from K.T. MacFarland to Megyn Kelly compared Ryan to Reagan as part of their cheerleading for Ryan after he was chosen as Romney's vice presidential candidate.
Gov. Chris Christie (NJ): Fox Nation highlighted a column by the director of the American Enterprise Institute with the headline, "Christie's Starting to Look Like Reagan."
Sarah Palin: A post on Breitbart's BigJournalism.com said that Palin "carries the torch of liberty and American exceptionalism in the palm of her lovely hand" before calling her the "surviving embodiment of the spirit of 1776 and the Reagan reformation."
Gov. Scott Walker (WI): On Sean Hannity's Fox show, conservative radio host Mike Gallagher called Walker "the Ronald Reagan of our time."
Gov. Bob McDonnell (VA): Karl Rove, on Hannity's show, called Virginia governor Bob McDonnell "a Reaganite conservative."
Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA): In February 2008, Rush Limbaugh called Jindal "the next Ronald Reagan."
Right-wing media figures have splashed the "Reagan" label about so freely that they're in danger of rendering the compliment meaningless.
Last night on The O'Reilly Factor, previewing Sen. Marco Rubio's response to President Obama's State of the Union speech, Fox News political analyst Karl Rove labeled Rubio "the American experience" and declared him "probably one of the best communicators since Ronald Reagan."
Over-the-top praise of Rubio on the network is nothing new. Rubio's increasingly prominent role in the national political conversation is thanks, in part, to the help of Fox News, which has served as his primary cheerleader since his 2010 Senate campaign.
In recent weeks, Rove in particular has showered praise on Rubio and his role in the debate over immigration reform. His comparison of Rubio to Reagan on The O'Reilly Factor wasn't even the first time he had done so on Fox's airwaves this month; he made similar comments during a February 4 appearance on Special Report.
Rove isn't alone in his adoration of the Florida senator. Fox personalities have fawned over Rubio on-air for years, boosted his 2010 Florida Senate run (including helping him fundraise on-air), hosted him for dozens of primetime appearances on the network, and repeatedly touted him as an ideal vice presidential pick for former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
In this report:
From the February 11 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
Loading the player ...
The GOP civil war continues to intensify, with numerous prominent conservative media figures lashing out at Karl Rove in recent days over vehement disagreements about the direction of the party. This is far from the first incident pitting Rove against fellow right-wing media figures. In recent years, conservative media personalities -- many of whom work with Rove at Fox News -- have called Rove a "propagandist," "not a conservative," and an "effete sore loser" who heads an "absolutely repulsive" political group.
The New York Times reported on February 2 that Rove, along with allies behind his Crossroads political groups, has decided to launch the Conservative Victory Project. According to the Times, the group will work to "recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts."
Following the news, Rove quickly became the target of conservative ire, with several media figures accusing him of betraying conservative principles and the Tea Party. The outcry was loud enough that Rove ran to Sean Hannity's Fox News program to do damage control, touting American Crossroads' huge investment in Sen. Marco Rubio (and a few other Tea Party favorites) as proof of his conservatism.
Conservative anger at Rove has been simmering for years, intensifying in the past few months after Rove's Crossroads political groups squandered several hundred million dollars during the 2012 elections.
The war of words on the right continues to escalate, with radio host Mark Levin becoming the latest Fox News figure to attack Fox political analyst Karl Rove. In a February 8 post on his Facebook page, Levin accused Rove of lying about conservative Rep. Steve King (R-IA). Earlier in the week on his radio show, Levin claimed Rove is "despised by the grassroots" and said Rove's name and new political group "are poison in conservative and Republican circles in many respects."
Rove has recently been at the center of a conservative firestorm over the announcement of his new group, Conservative Victory Project, which the New York Times explains will work "to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts."
Levin -- a frequent Fox News guest who has agreed to make regular appearances on Sean Hannity's Fox show -- wrote on his Facebook page that Rove "flat out lied" during an appearance on Sean Hannity's radio show. According to Levin, Rove told Hannity that Rep. Steve King (R-IA) had "endorse[d]" controversial comments about rape made by defeated Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin. Levin added, "This is the kind of sleaziness conservatives are fed up with. And Rove went on national radio and smeared King with this lie."
King, who is reportedly considering running for a Senate seat in Iowa, has been identified as the type of conservative Rove's organization would likely target. Steven Law, president of American Crossroads, the super PAC co-founded by Rove that created the Conservative Victory Project, has expressed concern about King's history of extreme comments, which Law labeled his "Todd Akin problem."
Levin has also targeted Rove on his radio show. On February 7, Levin declared that Rove is "despised by the grassroots," mocked his "stupid little third-grade whiteboard," then brought "my buddy" King on the show and said: "Steve King and all you conservatives out there who are thinking about running in these primaries and so forth -- your best commercial is going to be that your opponent is funded by Karl Rove. I'm serious, Steve King -- I think Karl Rove's name, I think his organization are poison in conservative and Republican circles in many respects." Levin added, "Bring it on, Karl baby. Bring it on, doughboy. Bring on your little whiteboard. We're ready." During the same show, Levin also labeled Rove a "propagandist."
Fox News contributor Karl Rove recently formed a group that will, in the words of The New York Times, work "to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts." That doesn't sit well with Rove's Fox News colleague Mike Huckabee, who called Rove's Conservative Victory Project "absolutely repulsive" and suggested that people like Rove are spending millions "to destroy a Republican that you don't think is up to your country club level" during a February 8 interview.
Listen to Huckabee's comments from Cumulus Radio Networks' Geraldo:
RIVERA: Karl Rove says the Republican Party has to go through a metamorphosis, has to change. You know Bill Kristol says wait a second, the Tea Party's not so bad. Where do you stand?
HUCKABEE: I think Karl needs to go through a metamorphosis. You know this idea that somehow a handful of Republicans are going to attack Republicans that the handful doesn't like? I find that repulsive. I find it absolutely repulsive. This is not how you build a strong Republican Party, is by going after the people in your party who are different than you are. This is fratricide. And if the Republican Party wants to render itself utterly, utterly irrelevant, the best way to do it is to become several little parties within the party, which is apparently what some folks seem to think we ought to do. When you marginalize the Tea Party, marginalize the pro-life and pro-family part of the party, you lose every election coming up in the future. You lose every election. There may be a few local elections that you might win in some places outside the base of the party, but you're not going to win a national election again.
HUCKABEE: If you're going to spend millions of dollars, spend it to build up your Republican, the one you like, not millions to destroy a Republican that you don't think is up to your country club level. I find that just horrendous. [Cumulus Radio Networks, Geraldo, 2/8/13]
Huckabee joins numerous other conservative pundits, including Fox News contributors, who have criticized Rove's project for favoring the Republican establishment over conservative principles.
Geraldo Rivera asked Fox News colleague Karl Rove when he would "start vetting me" as a U.S. Senate candidate through Rove's recently formed political group during an interview on Rivera's radio program. Rove replied that he would when Rivera gets "serious about being a candidate" and that it's "not enough to just talk about it, you've got to file a committee and go raise money."
Both Rivera and Rove have been using their Fox News platforms to further their respective political interests. Rivera has said that he's seriously considering a run for the U.S. Senate from New Jersey and will continue to appear on Fox News to "hone a message" until "it's no longer legal" to do so (a move that has drawn criticism from media ethicists).
Rove, meanwhile, has used his Fox News platform to push the interests of his group American Crossroads, which recently launched the Conservative Victory Project. The New York Times reports that the group will work "to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts."
Rove's project has come under heavy fire from conservative pundits, including Fox News contributors, for favoring the Republican establishment over conservative principles. Rivera defended Rove, stating: "I agree with you that the Republican Party has to be a lot more open-minded and not nearly as rigidly ideological and has to stop killing themselves in the primaries." He later added that he hopes "the GOP heeds your advice, which is stellar as usual." Rivera recently wrote in a Fox News Latino column that he's a Republican but "voted for Obama/Biden" because of abortion, immigration reform, and marriage equality.
Karl Rove has recently used his various media platforms to sing the praises of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and tout his role in the brewing debate over immigration reform. Rove and Rubio have a mutually beneficial political and financial relationship that dates back several years.
Earlier this week on Fox News' Special Report, Rove suggested that if anyone is going to unite the GOP on immigration, it will be Rubio because "he's the best communicator since Ronald Reagan." In a separate appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, Rove lauded Rubio for laying out "an excellent set of principles" on immigration, and said "Republicans ought to give it a very clear, strong look."
Rove has also taken his praise of Rubio to his weekly Wall Street Journal column. On February 7, Rove wrote that President Obama should "play it low-key" on immigration reform and give deference to the so-called Senate Gang of Eight, whose immigration framework "highlights the persuasive powers of Sen. Marco Rubio." In his January 31 column, Rove argued that having Rubio "as the GOP spokesman on immigration issues will hasten the GOP recovery" with Latino voters.
Rove's support of Rubio extends beyond comparisons to Ronald Reagan on national television; his American Crossroads political groups were some of Rubio's earliest financial backers, dumping nearly $3 million (by Rove's accounting) into his 2010 Florida Senate race.
Rubio has been happy to return the favor.
With declarations of a conservative civil war being proclaimed this week, political combatants on the right are picking sides between Tea Party activists hungry for radical change within the GOP, and the Republican Establishment, which seeks to regain control of the party's message and improve upon 2012's election setbacks.
This week Karl Rove and his allies at the American Crossroads super PAC launched the "Conservative Victory Project," a group that plans to support more traditional Republican candidates in an effort to end the streak of undisciplined Tea Party hopefuls who blew Republican-leaning races with controversial campaign comments. (Think: Todd Akin.)
Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Eric Canton (R-Va) just launched an effort to rebrand brand the Republican Party and broaden its appeal by softening the harsh rhetoric and, theoretically, seeking common ground. That kind of bipartisan, bridge-building rhetoric is precisely what the Tea Party labels as conservative heresy.
The right-wing blowback, especially to the fight Rove so publicly picked, was immediate and unfiltered: Rush Limbaugh complained two mighty forces were now targeting the Tea Party: Democrats and Republicans, led by elites like Rove.
With shots now being fired, guess who's stuck in the middle of the GOP's fight? Fox News.
As the TV home base for Rove (or the GOP "demolition man" as he was dubbed online) and one of the earliest supporters of the Tea Party's crusade against Obama's alleged socialism, Fox News has one foot planted in each of the two warring camps and finds itself in the awkward position of having to navigate the name calling. (Note that Fox recently parted ways with Tea Party cheerleaders Sarah Palin and Dick Morris, but it also signed up Tea Party fan Erick Erickson as a contributor.)
Will Fox try to remain a neutral player and split the difference between the warring factions? That kind of play-nice approach runs counter to the Fox News playbook, which is defined by finding a common enemy (i.e. someone with a D-for-Democrat in front of their name) and smacking them relentlessly. But in this battle, that's not an option.
Karl Rove appeared on Fox News' Hannity to defend his new group, the Conservative Victory Project, against complaints from fellow conservatives that it would undermine the Tea Party movement. Rove, a Fox News contributor who regularly appears on the network advance his political agenda, insisted that the group is not an attempt to protect the GOP establishment over Tea Party candidates, but to promote "the most conservative candidate that can win."
The New York Times reported on February 2 that the Conservative Victory Project , which is backed by Rove and his allies who were also involved in his American Crossroads super PAC, is "the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party."
During the February 5 edition of Hannity, host Sean Hannity noted that Rove's new effort has "drawn the ire of conservatives and the Tea Party," who are "accusing Karl Rove of putting the establishment ahead of conservative principles." Indeed, conservative media figures have been vocal about their opposition to Rove's new anti-Tea Party project.
Hannity expressed his own concern about the group, saying to Rove: "My fear is, is that if Karl Rove is fighting the Tea Party and conservatives are battling establishment candidates ... I am concerned that we're going to lose."
Conservative media figures are giving the thumbs down to Fox News analyst Karl Rove's new effort to police the Republican Party against the influence of the Tea Party.
Over the weekend the New York Times reported on a new group, The Conservative Victory Project, backed by "the biggest donors in the Republican Party" and members of the Rove-affiliated group American Crossroads. Reportedly the group will recruit more mainstream Republican candidates while protecting incumbent Senate Republicans from challenges on the right. The Times described it as "the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party."
The response from conservative media figures has been almost uniformly negative, with many citing American Crossroads' poor performance in the 2012 election and President Obama's election after years of Rove's work in the Bush White House as evidence against him.
Newly signed Fox analyst Erick Erickson sarcastically noted: "The people who brought us No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, TARP, the GM bailout, Harriet Miers, etc., etc., etc. are really hacked off that people have been rejecting them." Erickson added, "I dare say any candidate who gets this group's support should be targeted for destruction by the conservative movement."
Daniel Horowitz, a front page contributor to Erickson's RedState.com described Rove's group as "snakes in the GOP grass," and described the group's name as "Orwellian" since "they will never tell you how they plan to achieve conservative victory without running conservative candidates."
In response to Rove's announcement, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin asked, "Who needs Obama and his Team Chicago to destroy the Tea Party when you've got Rove and his big government band of elites?" Addressing Rove, she wrote, "You and your Incumbency Protection Racket are the problem, not the Tea Party."
Ben Shapiro of Breitbart.com accused Rove of "quietly undermining conservatism" and described Rove and his allies as "the Bush insider team that helped lead to the rise of Barack Obama," and whose advice "led to the epic Romney defeat."
W. James Antle III pointed out in The Daily Caller that many candidates favored by the Republican establishment in 2012 -- likeTommy Thompson, George Allen, Rick Berg, Denny Rehberg, Linda Lingle, and Heather Wilson -- "all lost the general election" and that "if the Tea Party is to blame for anything, it is not distancing the party from Bush enough."
WorldNetDaily, linking to the New York Times story, described the effort in a headline as "Rove Doubles Down In War On Conservatives."
Rick Moran, writing at American Thinker, said "this kind of bloodletting is self-defeating."
With such a negative reaction from the right, will Rove use Fox to promote fundraising for this effort, as he has done so often in the past?