When will Fox News ask Rove about his reported role in "informally advising" McCain?

››› ››› ANDREW IRONSIDE

Despite discussing on The O'Reilly Factor how Sen. John McCain should run against Sen. Barack Obama if he is the Democratic nominee, neither Karl Rove nor host Bill O'Reilly addressed Rove's reported role in "informally advising" McCain's campaign. Further, Rove did not disclose that he has reportedly given $2,300 to McCain's campaign.

During Fox News political analyst Karl Rove's appearance on the March 12 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, neither Rove nor host Bill O'Reilly addressed Rove's reported role in "informally advising" the campaign of Sen. John McCain. Further, Rove did not disclose that he has reportedly given $2,300 to McCain's campaign. Rove has not addressed these issues in repeated appearances on Fox News.

During The O'Reilly Factor, Rove discussed how McCain should run against Sen. Barack Obama if he is the Democratic nominee. "Well, John McCain doesn't need to run against a black American," Rove said. "He needs to run against the person that he sees, who is an inexperienced senator with very liberal views, who's out of the mainstream of American politics. You know, look, this -- again, you do not -- you want to stay away from race." Neither Rove nor O'Reilly mentioned Rove's reportedly acknowledged contribution to the McCain campaign or his reported role as an informal adviser.

In a March 8 Politico article, staff writer David Paul Kuhn reported that Rove "gave money to McCain and soon after had a private conversation with the senator," adding: "A top McCain adviser said both [former Bush campaign manager Ken] Mehlman and Rove are now informally advising the campaign. Rove refused to detail his conversation with McCain."

From the March 8 article in The Politico:

John McCain is getting much more than President Bush's endorsement and fundraising help for his campaign. He's getting Bush's staff.

It's no secret that Steve Schmidt, Bush's attack dog in the 2004 election, and Mark McKinnon, the president's media strategist, are performing similar functions for McCain now.

But other big-name Bushies are lining up to boost McCain, too.

Ken Mehlman, who ran Bush's 2004 campaign, is now serving as an unpaid, outside adviser to the Arizona Republican. Karl Rove, the president's top political hand since his Texas days, recently gave money to McCain and soon after had a private conversation with the senator. A top McCain adviser said both Mehlman and Rove are now informally advising the campaign. Rove refused to detail his conversation with McCain.

The list could grow longer. Dan Bartlett, formerly a top aide in the Bush White House, and Sara Taylor, the erstwhile Bush political adviser, said they are eager to provide any assistance and advice possible to McCain.

Rove explained that he and McCain "got to know each other during the 2004 campaign." In a separate interview, Mehlman noted that "McCain was completely loyal to the president in 2004 and worked incredibly hard to help him get elected." According to Taylor, "The Bush Republicans here in town are excited for John McCain."

From the March 12 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: "Personal Story" segment tonight -- a few days ago, former vice presidential candidate and Hillary Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferraro said that Barack Obama's race was a positive for him, and that he might not be where he is if not for that. Well, yesterday I spoke with Ms. Ferraro on The Radio Factor.

[begin audio clip]

O'REILLY: You know you're gonna get hammered on that. But do you believe that Barack Obama, if he were a white man, white senator, would not be in the position?

FERRARO: Absolutely. And let me tell you what I said before that. I said, "If I were not Geraldine Ferraro, if I were Gerard Ferraro in 1984, there's no way I would have gotten -- been a nominee."

[end audio clip]

O'REILLY: Well, Senator Obama responded this morning.

OBAMA [video clip]: If you were to get a handbook on what's the path to the presidency, I don't think that the handbook would start by saying, "Be an African-American named Barack Obama."

O'REILLY: Well, Ms. Ferraro is angry. She's being called a racist.

FERRARO [video clip]: I have to tell you what I find is offensive, is that every time somebody says something about the campaign, you're accused of being racist.

O'REILLY: Joining us now from Washington, Fox News political analyst Karl Rove. All right, this is a minefield. There's no doubt about it. I know that firsthand. If you discuss race in any way, shape or form, anything you said can and will be held against you. So the question is, Ms. Ferraro has been asked to leave her position as finance -- on the finance committee of Hillary Clinton. That came from Hillary Clinton herself. Number one, was Geraldine Ferraro wrong, in your opinion, for what she said?

ROVE: Well, look, let's stipulate right from the beginning that she is not a bigot or a racist. Her record gives no evidence of that whatsoever. In fact, just the opposite. But what she said was offensive. And it detracted from the message that she wanted to convey, which was that she felt Barack Obama was inexperienced and not fit to be commander in chief. But she tied it up with bows and ribbons that made it extremely offensive.

[...]

O'REILLY: But going ahead, now John McCain has got to run against, if Obama gets the nomination, a black American. And there -- everybody on the Democratic side is gonna be looking for any kind of race deal. You know that.

ROVE: Right. Well, John McCain doesn't need to run against a black American. He needs to run against the person that he sees, who is an inexperienced senator with very liberal views, who's out of the mainstream of American politics. You know, look, this -- again, you do not -- you want to stay away from race. And what Geraldine Ferraro had was a legitimate argument. He is not experienced enough to be president of the United States. And rather than make that argument, she, unfortunately, tied it to race. And as a result, she blew it up.

O'REILLY: All right. So you basically say to John McCain if you're running his campaign, you never mention race anyway?

ROVE: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: No way.

ROVE: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: Don't even - now, do you campaign to try to get black votes? Or do you cede --

ROVE: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: -- that? You do?

ROVE: No, absolutely. You campaign as hard as you can. One, because the American people want it. They don't a president who says, "You know what, there's some group of people I'm uncomfortable campaigning with" --

O'REILLY: No, it wouldn't be that. It would be like -- look, there are some states the Democrats don't even bother with. Howard Dean wants to change that, but there are some red states -- saying, "Look, we're not gonna win that. Idaho, we're not gonna go up there." It would be like, we're not gonna -- John McCain's not gonna spend the money and the resources in certain areas because he's just not gonna get those votes.

ROVE: But look, he needs to make an appeal to all Americans. So yeah, he needs to go into the African-American community. Look, in 2000, we got 9 percent of the African-American vote in the Bush campaign. Democrats took 91 percent of the African-American vote. But it was still important for us to ask for the vote, 'cause it wasn't just African-Americans who were watching. All Americans were watching. And what they want in their president is somebody who will go out and campaign aggressively for all kinds of votes.

O'REILLY: OK, so it's a symbolic gesture, rather than --

ROVE: Well --

O'REILLY: So to recap, no race at all, just keep it out of there, right?

ROVE: Right.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bill O'Reilly, Karl Rove
Show/Publication
The O'Reilly Factor
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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