Politico reported today that Las Vegas billionaire Steve Wynn has donated “millions” to the conservative group Crossroads GPS after courting by co-founder and adviser Karl Rove. Some of that courtship appears to have occurred during Rove's regular appearances as a political analyst on Fox News. Last year, Rove used his Fox News platform to praise Wynn and his claim that Obama is anti-business.
Reporters Ken Vogel and Steve Friess reported that Rove's “courting, which took place in direct conversations and through friends and allies of both men, produced big results. Wynn has kicked in millions to Crossroads GPS, according to multiple sources.” They added that sources have said Wynn “was its biggest donor, at least through the end of last year” and his “giving to Crossroads GPS dwarfs all the publicly reported federal donations he's ever made combined.”
Politico reported that Rove attended "Wynn's gala wedding last year" in Las Vegas and flew on Wynn's private jet after his own wedding last month. A spokesman for Crossroads GPS declined to comment to Politico about Rove's relationship with Wynn.
Though Crossroads may not comment on the relationship, Rove himself made two Fox appearances on July 19, 2011, to discuss Wynn and his remarks on a company conference call that Obama is anti-business and talks like a socialist. During the appearances, Rove and Fox didn't mention American Crossroads or Crossroads GPS.
On Fox Business' The Willis Report, Rove praised Wynn as “an outspoken advocate for pro-business policies” and said his remarks were justified because Obama “belittled” Las Vegas businesses and contributed to unemployment there.
From the July 19, 2011, segment:
WILLIS: Now, as you probably know, he's a Democrat. And he's making these comments about Obama being a wet blanket on business. What do you make of that?
ROVE: Well, look, he's been an outspoken advocate for pro-business policies. And look, the president, between “Obama care” and the stimulus bill and the failed -- you know, the failed attempts to put a cap-and-trade on, the regulatory policies, on the environment, on financial institutions -- it is a damper on our economic growth.
And it's not just the policies. The rhetoric of the administration has been anti-business, you know, basically demonizing sectors of the American private sector -- private sector. The knowledge -- The Wall Street Journal did a study. This administration has the smallest number of people at the high levels of the government who have private sector experience. These are basically a bunch of, you know, liberal eggheads.
And finally, the outreach has not been reassuring. I mean, Valerie Jarrett doesn't wear well with a lot of business people I've met with who have met with her over a number of months. And between the bad policies, the terrible rhetoric, the lack of knowledge of how the private sector works -- you know, he prides himself on having been a community organizer -- and then the outreach -- it's just -- it's all bundled together and you see it here.
Now, Mr. Wynn probably feels particularly strong about this because remember, President Obama pulled Vegas out of the background and belittled it and said companies ought not to be taking their conventions and their meetings to Las Vegas. And this has resulted in a, you know, lot of blue- collar jobs being lost, people who wait tables and wash dishes and, you know, work in the casinos, in the hospitality industry lost -- lost their jobs. And as a result, Nevada is a place where one out of every six workers is unemployed.
Rove also backed Wynn's critique of Obama being anti-business on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor. After host Bill O'Reilly played portions of Wynn's remarks, he brought on Rove to discuss why some big donors still back Obama. Referencing Wynn, O'Reilly asked Rove: “The Wynn people and Wall Street people don't like him. Brokerage houses don't like him, they don't want all those regulations. But he does have a constituency in the business community so it's almost a wash, right?”
Rove responded: “No. Look at the end of the day, most of the business community's money is going to go to -- that are not liberals are going to go to either the Republican candidate for president or they are going to sit on the sidelines. The President's policies, his rhetoric, his lack of knowledge about how the private system works and its outreach to the -- to the business community are all failing to varying degrees particularly his policies and as a result the business community not going to be excited about it.”
Fox's apparent role in the Rove-Wynn courtship isn't the only example of the network helping Rove and his Crossroads groups. Fox News has aggressively promoted anti-Obama ads from Rove's affiliated super PAC American Crossroads, often without noting Rove's connection to either Crossroads or the network. Rove has appeared on Fox to promote and echo attacks from his organization.