From Karl Rove's April 29 Wall Street Journal column:
Before his health-care bill passed, Mr. Obama sent a tough letter to health-insurance CEOs and then castigated them 22 times in a follow-up prime-time televised speech. This is behavior worthy of a Third World dictator-not the head of a vibrant democracy.
But it is the president's intimidation that is most troubling. Mr. Obama has the disturbing tendency to question the motives of those who disagree with him, often making them the objects of ad hominem attacks. His motives, on the other hand, are pure.
Mr. Obama often makes it seem illegitimate to challenge his views, and he isn't content to argue issues on the merits. Instead, he wants to make opponents into pariahs. And it's not just business executives who are on the receiving end. We've also seen this pattern with the administration's attacks on the tea party movement and those who attended town-hall meetings last summer on health care.
This is a bad habit-and a dangerous one. The presidency is a very powerful office, and presidents need to be careful not to use it to silence dissenting voices.
Karl Rove and Fox News have pushed the conspiracy theory that an Office of Financial Research created by the Senate financial reform bill would "peer into" everybody's checking accounts, credit cards, and financial transactions. However, the OFR would simply collect and analyze data about potential risks to the financial system, and the proposal has been endorsed by Republican Sen. Bob Corker, as well as numerous economics and finance experts, including six Nobel laureates in economics.
Fox News' treatment of Karl Rove has been ethically dubious since the former White House deputy chief of staff joined the network to provide analysis of the 2008 presidential election. But the recent revelation that he has been promoting American Crossroads, a political committee that is planning to spend more than $50 million helping GOP incumbents and challengers during the 2010 cycle, should alarm a network that is already desperately fending off accusations that its excessively favorable treatment of the conservative movement crosses the ethical line.
It has been reported that Rove has been "pitching" the group to "wealthy conservative benefactors around the country over the past few months," that he helped provide it with "start-up capital," and that he will serve as an "informal adviser." Will he participate in decisions regarding which races are targeted and not targeted? How much money is spent in each race?
If Rove does play a role in the American Crossroads' targeting, will Fox ban him from discussing races in which the group is spending money? Or will they allow him to echo the message that the group is using in their ads? Will they ask him to analyze those ads on-air?
What about the donors? If Rove is trying to get, say, longtime GOP rainmaker Fred Malek to make a big donation, it seems unlikely that Rove would criticize Sarah Palin, whom Malek has strongly supported.
Unlike CNN's James Carville or Paul Begala, Rove -- who is often introduced as Fox's "political analyst," a term that would seem to suggest some degree of impartiality -- appears on the network without a counterpart from the opposite party to challenge his claims. For Fox, Rove's political analysis is gospel truth.
But given the possibility that Rove may now be helping to direct a $50 million GOP slush fund, Fox News needs to answer the questions swirling around their employee and take action to avoid being mired in another ethical mess.
Karl Rove misleadingly suggested that President Obama is planning to implement a "tax increase" by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. In fact, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire on the schedule enacted by former President Bush and a Republican-controlled Congress, and Obama has proposed extending the cuts except those for upper-income earners.
From the April 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Faced with the uncomfortable fact that President Obama lowered federal taxes for the vast majority of Americans this year, conservative media are looking to Congressional Republicans for talking points that harmonize better than reality with all those "Taxed Enough Already" people demonstrating on the mall this week. Fortunately, Michigan Republican Dave Camp released a document listing 25 "tax increases" signed into law by Obama since January 2009 "totaling more than $670 billion, or more than $2,100 for every man, woman and child in the United States." The next day, the "25 tax increases" claim appeared in the Wall Street Journal via Karl Rove. It jumped from there to Fox News, where Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade referenced Rove's column and said, "According to these statistics, there's been 25 tax increases since Barack Obama took office in 2008, so when people say wow, I feel overtaxed, they're pointing right to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." Kilmeade repeated the statement on today's show, this time dropping the citation to Rove, let alone to the House GOP.
Blaming President Obama's policies, Karl Rove and Fox & Friends highlighted a Rasmussen poll finding that 66 percent of respondents believe America is "overtaxed." In doing so, Rove and Fox & Friends completely obscured the fact the vast majority of Americans paid lower federal taxes this year as a result of Obama's policies; moreover, the Rasmussen poll they cited also found that most respondents overestimate the tax rate paid by the average American.
From the April 14 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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In his Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove advanced the claim that the health care legislation "only appears to be affordable on paper because it includes 10 years worth of revenue from huge tax increases and gigantic Medicare cuts to pay for six years of spending." But, in fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the Senate bill -- which the House passed -- will not only reduce budget deficits through 2019 but will continue to reduce deficits in the following decade.
Karl Rove proffered false and dubious claims to criticize the Obama administration's nuclear policy review as "troubling" and likely to "undermine our strength" -- a position at odds with military brass and nuclear experts who support a limited deterrent role for nuclear weapons. Rove's false claim that the United States "will not use nuclear weapons under any circumstance against a non-nuclear state" distorts a provision limited to nations acting in compliance with their non-proliferation obligations.
In his Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove claimed that President Obama "dismisses" tea party participants "as an extremist 'strain [that] has existed in politics for a long time.' " In fact, in the interview Rove quoted, Obama explicitly said that tea party participants are not "on the fringe," and the movement includes people with "legitimate concerns."
Karl Rove claimed that Republicans were not "out there saying, 'Take away the $40 billion in small-business tax credits' " in the health care reform legislation. But one day earlier, 39 Republican senators cast votes in support of fully repealing the legislation, including the provisions providing tax credits to small businesses.
From the March 25 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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In recent days, Karl Rove baselessly claimed that Democratic leaders were using "threats" and "bribe[s]" to get Democratic House members to vote for the health care reform bill and making "backroom deals." But in his memoir, Rove described the behavior of Republican leaders in 2003 to get Republicans to vote for a Medicare prescription drug benefit -- which resulted in then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay's admonishment by a House ethics subcommittee -- as typical "horse-trading."
On ABC's This Week, Karl Rove pushed the anonymously sourced allegation that the White House tried to intimidate Democrats into voting for the health care bill by sending "unsolicited emails to federal employees." However, White House officials have stated that the emails were sent out to everyone on a voluntary White House mailing list and are not specifically targeted at federal employees.