Republican political strategist Karl Rove says President Barack Obama’s attempt to blame the nation’s economic problems on President George W. Bush proves that he is a weak and ineffective leader who has “contempt” for the American people.
“First of all, It shows the contempt of the president of the United States for the intelligence of the average American,” Rove told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Wednesday night, referring to recent Obama campaign ads suggesting that he was left holding “the tab” for Bush administration mistakes.
“He is responsible for the debt run-up on his watch,” Rove continued. “It is fine for him to try and blame it on President Bush or a Japanese tsunami, or on ATM. But it makes him look weak, and the American people are not that dumb!”
Rove, who was Bush’s chief political adviser and is now a Fox News contributor, added that if Obama continues with a campaign strategy that simply blames his predecessor the American people will begin to see him as “somebody who’s not in charge,” a theme that Mitt Romney is now using daily in his effort to defeat Obama in November.
“We do not like to elect people president of the United States who are excuse makers,” Rove said. “We want a president to be big and bold.”
Rove, noting the promises Obama made in his first campaign for the presidency to get the economy back on track, said voters would come to realize that either “his policy didn’t work or he deliberately misled us.”
“Either way, he’s responsible for it,” Rove added.
Rove was also asked about the controversial leaks of national security information now plaguing the Obama administration.
Some Republican leaders on Capitol Hill have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to determine the source of the leaks involving the targeting of al-Qaida operatives and efforts to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program.
Attorney General Eric Holder, in response, has appointed two Justice
Department lawyers under his authority to investigate.
Rove stopped short of calling for a special prosecutor.
But he reminded Van Susteren that one was appointed under pressure from Democrats to investigate the release of Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA agent, which case Rove was caught up in as White House political adviser to Bush.
“The Democrats insisted on a special prosecutor because they were concerned that the attorney general, if it were not a special prosecutor, would have oversight on whoever is doing the investigation and that it could be compromised,” Rove said.
“Here we have a much more serious issue,” he added, insisting that no national security information had been compromised in the Plame case because she “was not a covert agent.”
Rove said “this time around,” Democrats “don’t want a special prosecutor, which goes to show how political this can be.”
Asked by Van Susteren if Republicans are looking for “payback,” Rove said, “I’m not suggesting payback at all.”
“I’m frankly of a mixed mind about whether or not there ought to be a special prosecutor,” he added. “And I would like to leave that to people who have better and more, you know, dispassionate judgment about it.”
But Rove said he believes a lot of people have lost confidence in Holder’s ability to supervise an impartial investigation, given his confrontation with Republican leaders over efforts to obtain more documents about the bungled Fast and Furious gun-trafficking operation.
“I’m not coming down on one side or the other. . . . But I do know the attorney general of the United States needs to do more to build public confidence than what we've seen over the last couple of weeks,” Rove said.
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