May 24, 2008

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Like many of his species, Karl Rove prefers to operate in the shadows...quite literally, if you look at the poor lighting in ABC's This Week studios. So it caused no little discomfort when host George Stephanopoulos outed him as an advisor to the John McCain presidential campaign. That's right...the man who conceived of the "John McCain fathered an illegitimate black baby and he's crazy on top of that from his years as a POW" whisper campaigns is being invited to help the candidate attain the White House. Nice standards, John.

Think Progress:

This isn't the first time Rove has dismissed his ties to the McCain campaign as just "chit-chat." But, as ThinkProgress has noted, his influence on the campaign is hard to deny:

- Rove's consulting firm has been disseminating 2008 electoral map projections to influential media outlets and party operatives. In late March, McCain media advisor Mark McKinnon participated in a public conversation about the campaign with former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd. During the talk, McKinnon displayed maps analyzing the states and their electoral votes; the maps bore the header "Karl Rove & Co."

- At the beginning of April, McCain embarked on a biography tour to introduce himself to the public, which may have been Rove's idea. In an April 4 blog post, the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder noted that Rove had laid out the idea for such a tour during a Feb. 20 appearance at the University of Pennsylvania. Rove proceeded to list the very locations that McCain would eventually visit in April. (Although, McCain actually spoke in Prescott, AZ, rather than Rove's suggested Sedona, AZ.)

- On April 22, while doing on-air coverage of the Pennsylvania primary for Fox News, Rove let slip that he "saw Senator McCain recently at a private gathering" where the general election campaign was discussed.

By correctly identifying Rove as an informal McCain adviser, Stephanopoulos is making an appropriate disclosure that Rove's part-time employer, Fox News, has thus far been unwilling to do.

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