Fox hosts Rove without disclosing reported role with McCain campaign


Republican strategist and Fox News contributor Karl Rove appeared on Fox News' America's Election HQ and Hannity & Colmes to discuss the presidential race, but none of the hosts -- Bill Hemmer, Sean Hannity, or Alan Colmes -- asked Rove whether he was "informally advising" Sen. John McCain's campaign, as a Politico article citing "[a] top McCain adviser" reported, and none noted that Rove has reportedly confirmed donating to McCain's campaign.

Appearing on the March 10 editions of Fox News' America's Election HQ and Hannity & Colmes, Republican strategist and Fox News contributor Karl Rove discussed the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns, but neither America's Election HQ host Bill Hemmer nor Hannity & Colmes co-hosts Sean Hannity or Alan Colmes asked Rove whether he was "informally advising the campaign" of Sen. John McCain, as a March 8 Politico article reported, citing "[a] top McCain adviser." Further, neither Hemmer nor Hannity or Colmes pointed out that Rove has reportedly confirmed making a financial contribution to McCain's campaign. On America's Election HQ, Hemmer introduced Rove as "Fox News contributor and former White House chief strategist Karl Rove." On Hannity & Colmes, Hannity introduced him by saying, "Fox News contributor -- we call him 'the Architect' -- Karl Rove is back."

From the Politico article, headlined "Mehlman, Rove boost McCain campaign":

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."

Despite the president's low approval ratings, there are clear benefits to McCain for this cozy relationship with the Bush team. They are seasoned operatives with a track record of winning back-to-back national elections in tough political environments. But there are obvious drawbacks. First and foremost, any association with the Bush administration helps Democrats make their case that McCain represents a clear extension of an unpopular presidency.

In addition to serving as a Fox News contributor, Rove was named a contributor to Newsweek in November, "offering occasional opinion pieces to the pages of the magazine and to" Rove's most recent column appeared in the February 11 issue of Newsweek.

From the March 10 edition of Fox News' America's Election HQ:

HEMMER: Fox News contributor and former White House chief strategist Karl Rove is here now. Good evening, Karl. Good to have you back here from America's --

ROVE: How are you?

HEMMER: I'm doing just fine.


HEMMER: John McCain's been under the radar. And I know that you have said publicly over the past two weeks that that is not necessarily a good thing for him. I'm watching all the --

ROVE: Yeah, not automatically.

HEMMER: -- Sunday talk shows, though, Karl. But I'm hearing a lot of people beat up on Barack Obama and a lot of people beat up on Hillary Clinton, and no one's talking about John McCain. Is that necessarily a bad thing?

ROVE: Look, it is not a bad thing for him to have some time off the trail. No doubt about that. That's good in many respects. I've made the critical newbie mistake -- I left my cell phone on. Sorry.

HEMMER: That's all right. Hey, listen, Karl, you only do that one time. Only one time will that happen.

ROVE: Sorry. And on your program, Bill. I can't believe that.

HEMMER: Well, I hope -- I hope that person calling you is very important. Go ahead.

ROVE: Yeah. No. Look, the -- it's all right to be out of the public life for a little while. But the problem is, is if this drama on the Democratic side is going to go on for weeks and months. It's six months until the convention. It's three -- over three months until they finish this process in June of primaries and caucuses. We've got six weeks until the primary in Pennsylvania. We have eight weeks until North Carolina and Indiana.

You cannot expect John McCain to be silent for the next three to six months and then come back in in the final 61 days of the election after the Republican National Convention, try and say everything he needs to say and share everything he needs to share with the American people about who he is and what he stands for.

HEMMER: Fair point.

ROVE: So, he's got to find a way to get back into this dialogue in the weeks ahead. It's not bad that he's getting a little bit of time to re-energize, but he's got to get back in the public frame.

From the March 10 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: Barack Obama is hoping that his victory in Wyoming over the weekend will translate into winning more delegates in tomorrow's Mississippi primary. But the fierce fight for the nomination still looks far from over. Joining us now with more, Fox News contributor -- we call him "the Architect" -- Karl Rove is back.


HANNITY: Hey, Karl, I'm going to be interviewing Governor Mitt Romney tomorrow and Senator McCain on Thursday. You talked about an M & M ticket. You still there?

ROVE: Yeah. Well, I -- look, I'm just reporting what I'm hearing from a lot of people out there, is that, as they go through these, there's just seems to me to be a growing enthusiasm out there for an M & M ticket, and -- particularly on the part of conservatives.

Fox News Channel, Newsweek
Sean Hannity, Bill Hemmer
Hannity & Colmes
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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