December 4, 2009

David Gergen and Anderson Cooper actually had the nerve to compare the White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers not appearing before Congress to Harriet Miers and Karl Rove ignoring Congressional subpoenas. It's bad enough that the press has spent as much time as they have on this overblown story, but to compare the White House not wanting to give Republicans another scalp in the form of Desiree Rogers--who Gergen admits was not the one responsible for the President's safety--to Karl Rove and Harriet Miers refusing to testify in the U.S. Attorney scandal is utterly ridiculous.

If the press had spent half the time they did on the party crashers story asking why Rove and Miers didn't show up to testify, or on the U.S. Attorney scandal at all, maybe the public would be more aware of how Republicans have been stealing elections, how they used the Department of Justice as a political arm of the Republican Party, and how they filled the D.O.J. with partisan hacks like Monica Goodling.

Transcript via CNN.

COOPER: Let's dig deeper with senior political analyst and former presidential adviser David Gergen. David testified before Congress during the Whitewater investigation, when he was a member of President Clinton's staff.

So, the White House is saying, all right, separation of powers, that's why she can't testify. Do you buy that?

DAVID GERGEN: Not really.

COOPER: That is usually used for extremely serious things, not a social secretary.

GERGEN: Yes, not really, Anderson. But let me say a couple of things, preliminarily. I think people ought to get off her back, personally, on a couple of counts. First of all, the one thing this White House has done well is, they have had a ton of people come through that White House, children and various people from poor neighborhoods. And she's been right at the center of that.

COOPER: And she's in charge of that.

GERGEN: She's in charge. She's done a very good job with that. And people ought to appreciate that. Secondly, it is not her job to protect the White House for security purposes. That is the Secret Service's job. They did have a lapse here. And they're -- and they're willing to take the hit.

Having said all that, I think the White House would be far better off to say, of course, Desiree Rogers is willing to sit down with members of Congress or members of staffs up there. Yes, we have executive privilege. We have the right to say no. But many presidents who -- have said, OK, I reserve the right to say no, but I'm going to go ahead and voluntarily send my people up there. It happens regularly.

COOPER: Because the president does -- I mean, opening himself up to criticism of a double standard. Here's what he said when he was running about the reason that the Bush administration refused to -- to let people testify, Karl Rove in particular, on the firing of the U.S. attorneys. Let's -- let's watch.


OBAMA: There's been a tendency on the part of this administration to -- to try to hide behind executive privilege every time there's something a little shaky that's taking place. And I think, you know, the administration would be best served by coming clean on this.


COOPER: I mean, he -- and that was talking about, you know, firing of U.S. attorneys. This is the social secretary.

GERGEN: Absolutely. I mean, he -- the president -- this is full of contradiction. That is clear. The president ought to go back to where -- his original position, and have her go there and testify or just meet with the staff.

But, Anderson, I can't tell you how often -- Reagan, in the Iran- Contra scandal, he could have invoked executive privilege. He told every single aide, go up and testify voluntarily. He said, let's take every piece of paper in the White House that's been sent to me and give it to -- give voluntarily...


COOPER: Then you yourself testified in -- under Whitewater.

GERGEN: I was working with President Clinton. And a ton of us went up to testify voluntarily on the Whitewater matter.

And I can tell you, there is an hypocrisy here, because the Democrats were pushing Harriet Miers, you know, on George W. Bush's staff as legal counsel to come up there. And they said, there's no privilege, that you have to come testify.

Come on, guys. What's good for one is good...

COOPER: Double standard.

GERGEN: Yes, it's a double standard.

COOPER: All right.

GERGEN: And they ought to get -- but Desiree Rogers is a good person. They ought to get her out of this and just let her go up and talk.

COOPER: All right.

It seems like that, very possibly, she will end up talking, one way....

GERGEN: She should. It's a good thing. She will -- she will acquit herself well.

COOPER: All right, David Gergen, appreciate it. Thanks, "Keeping Them Honest."

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