David Gregory Carries Water For Karl Rove And US Chamber Of Commerce

David Gregory plays water carrier for his former dance partner Karl Rove and the US Chamber of Commerce where he reads from a Washington Post article that as I've pointed out before, obviously ignores most of Think Progress' reporting and focuses on
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David Gregory plays water carrier for his former dance partner Karl Rove and the US Chamber of Commerce where he reads from a Washington Post article that as I've pointed out before, obviously ignores most of Think Progress' reporting and focuses on their “AmChams” rather than their other sources of revenue.

And as I noted in the post on Gary Bauer, Eric Boehlert did a great job this week pointing out the Villagers' hypocrisy with their selective freak outs on when to go nuts over anyone receiving donations from foreign entities. If you're a Democrat and your name is Bill Clinton, go crazy. If you're a Republican and there is actually a legitimate cause for concern with foreign donations, we get a collective yawn and are told the voters should not care about the issue.

Transcript via MSNBC.

MR. GREGORY: The president on the trail, as you mentioned, has some pointed messages. And I want to show just a portion of one of his talks here on Tuesday.

(Videotape, October 12, 2010)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA: The question is going to be whether once again hope overcomes fear. Because what essentially the other side has decided is that they're going to try to ride fear and anxiety all the way to the ballot box on November 2.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: He's accusing Republicans of riding fear and anxiety to the ballot box, and yet, with his talk about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and influence of foreign money, a lot of people question whether he's, in fact, guilty of the same thing. This is what the president said back in October in Maryland.

(Videotape, October 7, 2010)

PRES. OBAMA: Just this week we learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign corporations. So groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections. And they won't tell you where the money for their ads come from. So this isn't just a threat to Democrats. All Republicans should be concerned, independents should be concerned. This is a threat to our Democracy.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: A threat to our democracy, yet the White House has not produced proof of any foreign funds in the ads. And this is what The Washington Post said about this general issue. The headline: "Secret campaign money," that foreign donations are not the problem. "The gusher of secret money," they say in the editorial, "pouring into the coming election is alarming. It should be plugged for future campaigns--and could be, with the switch of a Senate seat or two. But the rhetoric about this development, from President Obama on down, is irresponsibly alarmist. ... Bruce Josten" with the Chamber of Commerce, he's chief lobbyist, "told The New York Times that the chamber's 115 foreign affiliates pay less than $100,000 in membership dues, out of a total budget of $200 million. The foreign money is kept in segregated accounts. The White House seems willing to stoke" xenophebia--"xenophobia without any evidence for its accusations."

MR. GIBBS: David, I, I think if you look at what the president said, he was extremely careful. You've got a group that does take money from foreign countries--from, from companies in, in other countries. They are running $75 million worth of ads. David, you and I don't know exactly who's contributing to that because there's a program that keeps all of their donors and--involved in these ads a complete secret. You're not going to know today, you're not going to know tomorrow, you're not going to know after the election. What's the agenda of those that would contribute and write million-dollar checks to influence races like in Colorado or throughout the country? What's their political agenda? And this is solved quite easily. Bruce Josten, the chief lobbyist, could simply open up the books, could simply show people exactly where the donations are coming from and who's paying for the ads. And I have to say, David, it, it's a pretty easy political solution to simply show the American people where the money's coming from. And since it's been a week and a half or two weeks into this debate and they haven't shown you where the money is, it, it calls into question where that money comes from.

MR. GREGORY: But isn't it striking to you, Robert, that an administration that passed healthcare reform, financial regulation, a massive stimulus to try to, you know, grow the economy, is in itself using a fear tactic here a couple weeks before the election, talking about Karl Rove, talking about the Chamber of Commerce and secret money into the campaign?

MR. GIBBS: Well, again, it's just a fact. Karl Rove, who believed, quite frankly, that outside money in the 2004 race had the potential to derail our democracy before he started running a group that I think we now both agree has the potential to derail democracy. Karl's group is spending $50 million, the chamber is spending $75 million. If you add up all the conservative groups and what they've pledged to spend in this race, it's $399 million. Nobody knows who those donors are. Nobody knows what their political agenda is. What do they want from the next senator or from the next congressman? It does have the potential to derail our democracy, $400 million injected into this political campaign with no idea.

MR. GREGORY: But this is still a lot more smoke than fact. Isn't that fair?

MR. GIBBS: No. Absolutely not. Again, we could, we could know all the facts by simply having Karl Rove and others lay out exactly where their donors come from and exactly where that money--what the agenda is behind those big checks.

MR. GREGORY: But isn't the bigger issue here than Karl Rove, this poll question that Bloomberg asked earlier this month, whether people believed that children in your life will have a better life than you had? Fifty-one percent say they're just somewhat or not confident in that. The faith in President Obama and making a better future was very high when he came into office, and here's where it stands now.

MR. GIBBS: Well, look, I don't doubt that there are concerns throughout this country and there's a deep frustration, and you can include the Oval Office in that, and getting our economy moving again. The president works every day not to do what is politically popular, but what--to do what is right. Investing in auto companies and ensuring a financial collapse didn't lead not from a recession to a great depression may not have been the most popular thing to do, but it was the right thing to do. And every step of the way, David, in, in facing economic catastrophe, Republicans said no. The people in this country, in order to affect their outlook on the future, need a party in the Republicans that's willing to come be part of Democracy and be part of government.

I don't doubt that as we look through the messages of what happens on Election Day, regardless of the outcome, the American people are going to want two political parties to work together to solve our problems. And, quite frankly, from the very get-go, from the very first day there was a coordinated strategy by Mitch McConnell and the Republicans to simply say no to everything that President Obama wanted to do, and now we know why. Because they want to go back to what happened in 2008 and 2007.

Look, Karl Rove is the architect in many of these outside groups, and I think it's pretty emblematic of wanting to take us back to the Bush years.

MR. GREGORY: Do, do you call on Democratic candidates, like Joe Manchin, like a dozen or so blue dog Democrats in a Congress to rebuff their support from the chamber of commerce that they have in, in this race?

MR. GIBBS: Look, the chamber has a--has certainly a constitutionally protected right to air ads. Nobody's arguing that they can't be involved in the election. But the president has said, and not just in the last two weeks, David, the president said this at the State of the Union in criticizing the Supreme Court's decision that groups that support Democrats and groups that support Republicans, liberal or conservative, ought to simply tell the American people where they get their money. Who's paying for the millions and millions...

MR. GREGORY: But you're not concerned about Democrats getting support from the chamber?

MR. GIBBS: No. Look, the, the, the chamber supported the president's recovery plan. The president--we would liked to have had the chamber's support in dealing with small business tax cuts that Republicans opposed and took us three months longer to get than it should have. We would, quite frankly, have liked the chamber's support on commonsense Wall Street reform that starts to put Main Street back in charge and not held hostage by Wall Street. Again, there was a coordinated effort not to have that happen, not because it was right for the American people, but because it was all a series of political points.

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