CNN's Kyra Phillips: "definitely a major smear campaign going on" against Rove

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CNN anchor Kyra Philips responded to a call by Democratic senators for President Bush to fire White House senior adviser Karl Rove for his alleged role in the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame by saying: "definitely a major smear campaign going on."

Phillips made her comment on the July 12 edition of CNN's Live From ..., following footage of Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) calling for Rove to be fired:

KERRY: Is the value of day-to-day politics, and the value of political advice, and the value of his position greater than the national security of our country, and the protection of the identity of people, as well as their own word and their own policy? The White House's credibility is at issue here. I believe very clearly Karl Rove ought to be fired.

CLINTON: I'm nodding. [laughter]

BOB FRANKEN (national correspondent): And just a nod from the president, but no answer, Kyra, when he was asked about Karl Rove today at a photo op. Kyra?

PHILIPS: Bob, definitely a major smear campaign going on. I mean, what's the chances of hearing from Karl Rove? Could he speak? Could he come forward? A lot of people said that could just clear the air if he just came forward and gave the facts.

FRANKEN: Well, the White House would respond that the Democrats are involved in something akin to a smear campaign. The Democrats would only say that they're only interested in good government. And the White House says that in the context of an investigation that's ongoing Karl Rove should not speak.

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