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?
Fox News political analyst Karl Rove and Erick Erickson, the network's newest contributor, are at war over the political direction of the Republican Party.
On Saturday The New York Times reported that Rove was backing the Conservative Victory Project, a new group supported by "the biggest donors in the Republican Party" and Rove's colleagues from his American Crossroads super PAC. According to the Times, the group was created with the explicit purpose of pushing back against efforts by Tea Party conservatives to force the party to the right through the support of far-right candidates:
The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party's efforts to win control of the Senate.
The group, the Conservative Victory Project, is intended to counter other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles. It is the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party, particularly in primary races.
The Times went on to report that the creation of the group demonstrates "the establishment is taking steps to fight back against Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations that have wielded significant influence in backing candidates who ultimately lost seats to Democrats in the general election."
But Tea Party-affiliated conservative media figures aren't going quietly, and some of the fire at Rove is coming from inside the Fox News tent. Erickson, who has regularly supported right-wing primary candidates over less ideologically rigid Republican ones, writes today on his RedState blog that GOP candidates supported by Conservative Victory Project should be targeted for defeat. He also mocks the effectiveness of American Crossroads, writing, "Thank God they are behind this. In 2012, they spent hundreds of millions of rich donors' money and had jack to show for it."
Politico reports that Fox News has extended Karl Rove's contract through 2016. If the past is any indication, you can expect the network to continue to be used as a fundraising and publicity vehicle for Rove-affiliated outside groups, Republican Party propaganda masked as news analysis, and repeated failure to disclose Rove'sentangled interests.
Rove, the so-called "architect" of President Bush's election wins, was hired as a Fox contributor in 2008.
During his appearances, Fox has frequently failed to inform its viewers that Rove is still an active participant in Republican Party politics -- specifically the creation and operation of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, his PAC and non-profit, respectively, that spent millions opposing Democrats in the 2010 and 2012 elections.
Rove has been reliable source of pro-Republican falsehoods on Fox during appearances in which he was often billed as an analyst, rather than as a Republican political operative with a vested interest in the outcome.
Karl Rove selectively chose unemployment statistics to portray President Obama's jobs record as a failure. However, unemployment has declined from its peak during the most recent recession and millions of jobs have been created since the recession's ended.
In the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Rove claimed that the unemployment rate is higher today than when the president first took office:
As President Obama prepares to be sworn in a second time, it's a good moment to consider the state of the union during his era.
As of his first inaugural, 134.379 million Americans were working and unemployment was 7.3%. Four years later, 134.021 million are working and unemployment is 7.8%.
But in his December 1, 2011, Journal op-ed, Rove wrote used a different unemployment rate for the beginning of Obama's term:
For another, Mr. Obama lacks the record on jobs of either Mr. Truman or Mr. Roosevelt. Unemployment was at 7.8% when Mr. Obama took office. It's 9% today and is forecast to remain there through 2012.
Rove is applying the December 2008 unemployment rate of 7.3 percent -- a month when Obama was not president -- to Obama's economic record in his January 16 post to make it appear that Obama's jobs record is a failure, while using the January 2009 unemployment rate of 7.8 percent to mark the start of Obama's economic record in his December 2011 post.
But the unemployment rate has declined from its height during the recession, and millions of jobs have been added in the private sector since the end of the recession.
Karl Rove dismissed concerns that voter ID laws may disenfranchise minority voters, despite evidence that these laws could prevent minorities from voting.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Rove claimed that Attorney General Eric Holder and Democrats "played the race card" by criticizing voter ID laws for their potential to suppress minority voters during the 2012 elections. But evidence backed up Democrats' assertions.
The Associated Press reported on September 12 that a study by the University of Chicago's Cathy Cohen and Washington University's Jon Rogowski concluded that "as many as 700,000 minority voters under 30 may be unable to cast a ballot in November because of photo ID laws in certain states."
In 2012 The Wall Street Journal regularly failed to disclose the election-related conflicts of interest of its op-ed writers. The paper's editorial page published op-eds from 12 writers without disclosing their roles as advisers to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. It also didn't regularly disclose columnist Karl Rove's close ties to the super PAC American Crossroads and the affiliated political organization American Crossroads GPS, two groups which spent a massive sum of money attempting to aid Mitt Romney and various Republican congressional candidates in November's elections.
According to a Media Matters review, the Journal published 2012 pieces from the following Romney advisers without disclosing their campaign ties: John Bolton; Max Boot; Lee A. Casey; Seth Cropsey; Paula Dobriansky; Mary Ann Glendon; Kevin Hassett; Michael Mukasey; Paul E. Peterson; David B. Rivkin Jr.; John Taylor; and Martin West.
An October 2 study by Media Matters found that in 70 percent of op-eds written by Mitt Romney advisers, the Journal failed to disclose the writer's connections to the Romney campaign. In several instances, the paper failed to disclose an op-ed writer's connection despite its own news section reporting that the writer is advising Romney.
Conservative media figures have long insisted that top marginal income tax rates effectively target small businesses. This "zombie lie" has sprung up throughout President Obama's first term as an argument against Democratic proposals to renew the Bush-era rates only for middle- and low-income Americans. Despite continual efforts by experts to debunk this claim, media figures continue to repeat these lies in the 2012 edition of the fight over high-income tax rates.
Karl Rove reappeared on Fox News to parrot his own political organization's view on the deficit negotiations without disclosing his ties to the group. Rove's commentary came just six days after it was reported that Fox had limited Rove's appearances following his "election-night tantrum" over Romney's loss -- yet Fox still failed to disclose Rove's involvement with Crossroads GPS, which has aired an ad on this issue.
Appearing on Special Report to discuss the deficit reduction negotiations, Rove pushed the Republican claim that U.S. debt is a "spending problem" rather than a revenue problem. He cited Office of Management and Budget (OMB) statistics to claim that "we're back above the revenue level we had" in 2008 but that spending has increased by almost $900 billion since then:
Rove said that "Republicans are emphasizing savings" from spending cuts in social insurance programs and concluded that "[w]e got to find fundamental reforms that allow us to save money."
But economists say that decreased revenue is a major cause of the deficit. According to the Tax Policy Center, federal revenue as a percentage of GDP was 15.4 percent in 2011 and 15.1 percent in 2010. These are the lowest figures since 1950 -- and well below the post-World War II average.
And Rove's choice of numbers paints a misleading picture. The OMB's 2013 figures, which are estimates, are higher for both outlays and revenues than the latest available data, which are for 2011. Total revenues in 2011 were $2.3 trillion -- which is still less than the figure for 2008, so the U.S. is not yet "back above the revenue level we had" in 2008.
Wall Street Journal columnist Karl Rove misled about public opinion regarding taxes to promote the Republican position on the so-called fiscal cliff on the same day his organization released an ad criticizing President Obama's deficit-reduction proposal. The Journal continues to publish Rove's weekly column even as Fox News, its corporate cousin, has reportedly limited his appearances on the network.
Fox News has reportedly decided to curtail Rove's on-air appearances, but Rove's Journal op-ed came on schedule in Thursday's paper, and it contained misleading figures about tax rates for the wealthy.
In his December 5 op-ed, Rove argued that Republicans can win public opinion if they appear open to compromise but continue "emphasizing that the country's problem is too much spending." As evidence that Republicans can win public support, Rove cited a poll conducted for the House GOP leadership, which he claims shows that Americans don't actually support slightly increasing marginal tax rates on the wealthy. But the poll question contained a falsehood about how much the wealthy pay in taxes, rendering its results largely meaningless. Rove wrote:
It is often overlooked that Americans can hold conflicting opinions on the same subject at the same time. While Americans favor raising taxes on the wealthy, a Winston Group poll two weeks ago (conducted for the GOP House leadership) found just 26% of respondents agreeing that "given the state of the deficit, those making over $250,000 a year should have to pay 40% of their income in federal taxes." Some 68% disagreed. This is relevant because Mr. Obama wants wealthy Americans to pay 39.6% of their income in federal taxes, plus additional levies that would bring the total bite to at least 44.6%.
But the poll's suggestion that Obama's plan would require those making over $250,000 a year "to pay 40% of their income in federal taxes" is untrue. Obama has proposed returning to the Clinton top tax rate of 39.6 percent and making other reforms to the tax code, but the wealthiest Americans would be unlikely to pay 40 percent in federal taxes under Obama's proposal due to the structure of the tax code.
Data from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center show that in 2008, more than 99 percent of Americans with incomes over $200,000 paid less than 35 percent in federal taxes and more than 80 percent paid less than 25 percent in federal taxes. In the Clinton years, the richest 1 percent of Americans never paid an average of more than 35.3 percent in federal taxes.
Other polls, including one acknowledged by Rove himself, have found the public does support increasing taxes on incomes above $250,000.
New York magazine contributing editor Gabriel Sherman reported on Tuesday that Fox News producers are under orders to limit the appearances of contributors Karl Rove and Dick Morris. Fox relied heavily upon Rove and Morris to interpret polling and project the winner of the 2012 presidential election, which they invariably projected being Mitt Romney.
Morris not only failed to call the race accurately, he repeatedly made outrageous predictions of how the race would turn out, all in the GOP's favor. In the wake of Morris and Rove's role as Fox election experts ending, Media Matters looks back at some of their best moments:
Fox News has reportedly decided to limit Karl Rove's appearances on the network. This raises the question of whether Fox's corporate cousin The Wall Street Journal will decide to take similar action.
According to a December 4 report from New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman, producers must now get permission from Fox News executive vice president for programming Bill Shine before booking Rove. Notably, the new rule comes not due to Rove's panoply of ethical misdeeds, but rather because of the political analyst's on-air election night meltdown, in which he insisted that the network had been wrong to call Ohio for President Obama.
Sherman wrote that his sources say that Fox News chief Roger Ailes had worried that the incident had diminished the network's brand; it "provided another data point for Fox's critics." A Fox spokesperson who confirmed the booking rule told the New York reporter that "Shine's message was 'the election's over.'"
Rove spent the election cycle using his weekly Journal column to forward the financial interests of the political groups he founded, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS. After significant criticism, the paper finally began disclosing Rove's ties to those organizations. His column continues to appear in the Journal, and in mid-November he provided the paper's website with an extensive interview touching on the futures of the Republican Party and super PACs, the Latino vote, and the current budget negotiations.
It remains to be seen whether the Journal has similar concerns regarding Rove's impact on their brand. A request for comment to the paper and its opinion page editor, Paul Gigot, was not immediately returned.