Bill O'Reilly and Karl Rove were all worked up Friday over the Politico story describing a "vast left-wing conspiracy" involving a liberal interest group meeting under the umbrella of the Center for American Progress.
Rove mostly tut-tuts the awful liberals for not "changing the tone" in D.C., as Barack Obama promised. One senses that only unilateral disarmament will constitute "changing the tone" in Rove's book.
But the chat concluded with a shift from grotesque hypocrisy into outright prevarication:
O'Reilly: Now in the Bush White House, did you guys ever threaten anybody that disagreed with you -- because they were legion, did you threaten anybody?
Rove: [Pause] Not that -- not that, you know, not that I recall. But I can tell you for darned certain we didn't go after them as this woman boasted in the Politico piece, she boasted about how they went out and slimed a couple of people.
O'Reilly: So you can't remember -- you never threatened, or you guys out of the White House, or your acolytes, surrogates never threatened anybody?
Rove: Look, did we say to people we hope you'd be standing with us --
O'Reilly: That's encouraging positive behavior, not threatening.
Rove: That's right.
O'Reilly: So you never threatened?
Hmmm. I seem to remember a certain Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame:
In his grand jury testimony, Karl Rove testified he learned of Plame's CIA affiliation from journalists and not from government officials. Rove testified that Novak called him in July 2003 to discuss a story unrelated to Plame or Wilson. Eventually, according to Rove, Novak told him he planned to report in an upcoming column that Plame worked for the CIA. Rove told the grand jury that by the time Novak had called him, he had already learned of Plame from other reporters, but that he could not recall which reporters had told him. When Novak inquired about Wilson's wife working for the CIA, Rove indicated he had heard something like that, according to the source's recounting of the grand jury testimony for the Associated Press. Rove told the grand jury that three days later, he had a phone conversation with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper and, in an effort to discredit some of Wilson's allegations, informally told Cooper that he believed Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, though he never used her name. Rove also testified to the grand jury that he had heard from Libby that Plame worked for the CIA. Rove testified that Libby told him that he heard the information from journalists.
Indeed, this is the same Karl Rove who called Chris Matthews and told him that Valerie Plame was "fair game."
I also remember this snippet from Ron Suskind:
Inside, Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem in some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him. I paid it no mind and reviewed a jotted list of questions I hoped to ask. But after a moment, it was like ignoring a tornado flinging parked cars. "We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!" As a reporter, you get around—curse words, anger, passionate intensity are not notable events—but the ferocity, the bellicosity, the violent imputations were, well, shocking. This went on without a break for a minute or two. Then the aide slipped out looking a bit ashen, and Rove, his face ruddy from the exertions of the past few moments, looked at me and smiled a gentle, Clarence-the-Angel smile. "Come on in." And I did. And we had the most amiable chat for a half hour.
See, Rove is right, in a way. He doesn't have to threaten people. He just orders them destroyed.