The framers of the Constitution did not envision "King Barack I" when they formed the separation of powers within the federal government, says Republican strategist Karl Rove.
Lawmakers are debating whether President Barack Obama is attempting to shift the balance of power to an imperial presidency by threatening to use executive action to bypass Congress and advance his policies.
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The framers of the Constitution "did not want a king. They didn't want King George III, and certainly didn't want King Barack I," Rove, former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Wednesday.
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Obama on Tuesday mocked House Majority Leader John Boehner's threat to sue him over his use of executive action. He challenged Boehner to "sue me," arguing that he felt compelled to act on issues Congress had not addressed.
"This man has done more to reinstitute the concept of the imperial presidency since the time that [former Republican President] Richard Nixon put the White House Secret Service uniform division in those weird uniforms," Rove said.
In 1970, Nixon changed the Secret Service uniforms
to a fashion more reminiscent of European honor guards. The uniforms featured epaulets, gold piping, and braid.
Rove said there is always going to be tension between Congress and the executive office. However, he said, Obama is "not a legislator — he's the executive."
Obama is "basically saying, 'I don't care,'" Rove said. "[He's saying,] 'If I don't like the law, I'm going to do what I can by an executive order to change and alter the law.'"
Obama is using the issue "for his political advantage" to energize his Democratic base, Rove said. What he is actually doing, though, has the effect of "energizing the Republican base," while also "unsettling a lot of independents."
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