Former White House spokesman Bill Burton called out Karl Rove Sunday for lecturing about President Barack Obama's economic record when former President George W. Bush squandered a record budget surplus.
"[Republicans] won the House and since that time they have done nothing to produce jobs and put nothing forward to partner with the president to create jobs and move this economy in the right direction," Burton explained to Fox News' Brett Baier.
"Karl, At the GOP debate in Iowa, I asked all the candidates the question, whether would accept this deal in which Democrats agreed to $10 in real spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases," Baier told Rove. "And every single hand on the stage went up, saying they would walk away from that deal, opposing any tax increases... When Democrats complain about idealogical rigidity in the moderate republican party do they have a point? "
"Bret, with all due respect, that was a lousy question for a debate," Rove charged. "Let's set the record straight. There is rigidity in the political system and it starts with the president of the United States... I love it. The Republicans passed a budget, the Democrats in the Senate haven't. The Republicans have passed a slew of job creating measures, and the Democrats in the Senate haven't. And the president now sits here and lectures us about how we need to take action. What is his action? He has yet to put pen to paper and issue a jobs plan or a deficit reduction plan in the last nine months. So, please don't talk to me about ideological rigidity. It comes from the White House."
"I appreciate that you have an opinion on this, Karl," Burton shot back. "But as someone who was a leader in the White House that turned a record surplus into a deficit, that got us involved in a war that we never should have been in, and turned the floor of the New York stock exchange into a casino, I don't think the American people are quite ready to hear a lecture from you on good governance."
"What the president needs in Washington are partners who will work with him to make progress in this country, not just people like Eric Cantor and John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, who would much rather see the economy do poorly so that they can score political points than see America succeed," he added.
"Bill, with all due respect, do not question the motivations and integrity of the people on the other side," Rove said.
"I don't think all due respect means what you think it means," Burton pointed out.
Transcript below the fold.
BAIER: Hey, Karl, at the GOP debate in Iowa, I asked all the candidates the question, whether they would accept this deal in which Democrats agreed to $10 in real spending cuts for $1 in tax increases. Every single hand on the stage went up, saying they would walk away from that deal, opposing any tax increases. Now, I was expecting some of them to push back and to ask for time for a nuanced answer. They didn't. There was no push back.
So, when Democrats complain about ideological rigidity or stubbornness in the modern Republican Party, do they have a point?
ROVE: Well, look, first, with due respect to your question, that was a question that had a predictable answer to it, and that kind of a thing when you're asking people to raise their hand and not offering them a chance to get a nuance answer, you're going to get raising hands.
Let me go back to what Bill said --
BAIER: Wait a second. Hold on. I mean, we gave them the opportunity, Karl. You know, so I mean --
ROVE: With all due respect -- Bret, with all due respect, that was lousy question for a debate. And if you wanted a better answer, ask that question to candidates individually.
BURTON: These guys wanted to be president of the United States. They can't talk to Bret Baier about what their vision is, or how to deal with the economy?
ROVE: Let's set the record -- let's set the record straight about what Bill said earlier about rigidity. Yes, there's rigidity in our political system and it starts with the president of the United States. Republicans had ideas to try and make stimulus bill better. And in a meeting in the White House, maybe Bill was even in the room. President Obama dismissed Eric Cantors' suggestions about how to make the bill better by saying, "I won."
This president had a Democrat Congress, I repeat, by overwhelming margin for two years and got everything he wanted.
Now, what have the Republicans done this year? The Republicans have insisted that -- the president set up political battle. He had the votes in November and December of last year to get his, quote, "clean debt" ceiling. But instead, he said he wanted the Republicans to, quote, "have ownership" in the deficit.
So, he waited until there is a Republican House and then tried to jam them, insisting on a clean debt ceiling. The Republicans said we want to have deficit reduction before we vote for an increase in the debt ceiling. They got it. The president applauded that bill and signed it.
So, you know, I love it. The Republicans passed a budget. The Democrats in the Senate haven't. The Republicans have passed a slew of job creating measures and the Democrats in the Senate haven't.
And the president now sits here and lectures us about how we need to take action. Well, what is his action? He has yet put pen to paper and issue a jobs plan or a deficit reduction plan in the last nine months.
BURTON: You know, Karl --ROVE: So, please, don't talk (ph) to me about ideological rigidity. It came from your White House.
BURTON: -- but as someone who is a leader in the White House that turned a record surplus into a deficit that got us involved in a war that we never shouldn't have been in and turned the floor of the New York Stock Exchange into a casino, I don't think the American people are quite ready to hear a lecture from you on good governance.