Former presidential adviser Karl Rove says the acrimony that has gripped Congress during the elongated debate over debt reduction is a direct result of a lack of strong presidential direction. Rove also told Fox News’ Great Van Susteren Wednesday the American people are sick of ineffectual leadership.
“There is a bad taste in people’s mouths about the debt-ceiling vote, and more importantly, the process that lead to it,” Rove said. “Approval in the latest Fox poll for Congress is 10 percent — it was 13 percent at the passage of TARP — 78 percent of Democrats disapprove, 84 percent of Republicans, 86 percent of independents, and 92 percent of tea party members disapprove of Congress.”
Rove said the American people are fed up with the congressional infighting and the rancor that led up to the debt deal.
“Congress is the — if you will — the victim of the absence of presidential leadership. If you have the president failing to do the job, as he failed to do in this — I mean [he] could have gotten it done with the Democrats in control of Congress,” Rove said. “Instead [he] tried to basically set it up to have the Republicans take a political fall and weaken them for the 2012 election.
“And all of that goes on for eight or nine months, and people say: We’re sick of this. And what does this have to do with getting our economy going, getting jobs started. You know, we want our fiscal house put in order, and why is it taking so long?” he said. “So the Congress is in bad shape — so is the president.”
Van Susteren noted polls show Americans are placing more blame on the GOP for the debt-reduction deal than on Democrats or President Barack Obama.
“Yes, but not by a wide margin,” Rove said. “And look, at the end of the day, what matters is not the Republicans in Congress versus President Obama — it’s President Obama versus a single Republican.
“The White House can’t be happy — they can’t be sitting there saying: Oh, we’re joyful the Republicans in Congress are doing badly —we’re doing badly, but they're doing worse than we are,” he said. “At the end of the day, people will go into the voting booth, and while they may dislike Congress, they tend to like their congressman, Republican or Democrat — we’ll see that again next year. And we are likely to see them comparing President Obama — not to the Republicans in Congress — but to the Republican candidate for president.”
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