Karl Rove is hitting back at President Barack Obama for calling out political groups that are influencing the midterm elections without disclosing their donors.
President George W. Bush's former senior adviser went as far as to suggest that Obama was using President Richard Nixon's tactics and having an "enemies list."
Obama took on Karl Rove by name Thursday at campaign event in Illinois for Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias. "Right here in Illinois, in this Senate race, two groups funded and advised by Karl Rove have outspent the Democratic Party two to one in an attempt to beat Alexi," said Obama.
75 percent of a recent $4 million ad buy by groups created by Rove were funded by undisclosed donors.
"The president is completely inaccurate," Rove told Fox News' Bret Baier Sunday.
"I am helping raise money for these groups," he admitted. "The difference between helping raise money and funding these groups -- the president left the implication at a speech on Thursday and this speech that I'm somehow taking a check out of my pocket and putting millions into these groups. I'm absolutely helping them. I am doing everything I possibly can to raise money for them."
Rove attempted to direct viewers to the American Crossroads website when they can contribute but was quickly cut off by Baier.
"They are tossing out these baseless charges," Rove said, defending groups that fund ads against Democratic candidates.
"The president of the United States accused the Chamber of Commerce, and the Democratic National Committee in its new ad accuses Ed Gillespie and I of a criminal violation of our law by getting foreign money and spending it on American political campaigns, and they have not one shred of evidence to back up that baseless lie. This is a desperate and I think disturbing trend by the president of the United States to tar his political adversaries with some kind of enemies list, with being unrestrained by any facts or evidence whatsoever," he said.
There is a obvious element of chutzpah when a political operative defined by his use of dirty tricks accuses his opponents of the same. And perhaps, underneath the veneer of shock and anger, Rove is admiring the work the White House has done in turning a report on the Chamber's funding into partisan red meat.
The fact remains, however, that a resolution to the debate is fairly obvious. Simply disclosing the names of who is donating to each of these institutions would clear the air and validate either Rove or the White House. But with a campaign finance law stuck in congressional limbo and hordes of potential donations at stake in this election, transparency has instead been replaced by innuendo.
"Have these people no shame?" asked Rove.
"Does the president of the United States have such little regard for the office he holds that he goes out there and makes these kind of baseless charges against his political enemies? This is just beyond the pale. How dare the president do this?"