Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Rove on Bolton

Rich Lowry (clearly paying attention to Bolton today) has posted the rough transcript of a "Hardball" interview with Karl Rove to be aired later this evening. In response to literally every Bolton-related question, Rove uses some iteration of the phrase "The Democrats keep moving the goalposts." At least he knows his own talking points. Here's the transcript:

"GREGORY: Why did the Republicans call for a vote in the first place? It was clear that the leadership knew that not even all of the Republicans were in town. Why go ahead with this? Was it a message vote?

ROVE: Well I, look - the Democrats, some of the Democrats, keep changing the goal posts. I think they probably set the vote when they thought they were at a point where they had satisfied the ever changing, ever morphin[g] demands of the Democrats.

GREGORY: But if you know that you don't have enough Republicans to even match the vote totals you had before - was this an effort by Sen. Frist to show off the Democrats as just obstructing the nomination...

ROVE: This is an effort by Sen. Frist to get a nominee an up or down vote. It is clear that if Mr. Bolton was allowed an up or down vote that he would receive a majority vote in the Senate and be confirmed as our ambassador. And the Democrats, as I say, have a continual, ever changing set of demands with regard to him. I mean at one point, the Democrats had even pledged their leadership, and pledged no filibuster on Bolton. Well that quickly went out the window.

GREGORY: Why not give the Democrats what they're asking for. They're asking for names related to these NSA intercepts to answer the question whether Bolton retaliated against criticism of the administration...

ROVE: Again, it's a constantly changing - the minority...

GREGORY: Has that changed?

ROVE: ...No it hasn't. The minority report issued by the committee led, in essence, has up to seven names - seven individuals. That question was asked and answered last week. There's a constantly changing set of demands. I know because I hear and see these. The Democrats continually are changing the goal posts. It is clear their object is to obstruct. Now that's their right, if they want to obstruct. But again, I say it shows that their commitment to politics is above their commitment for doing what's right for this country. The United Nations is in trouble. It needs a strong voice from the United States to help reform this vital institution and make it relevant and meaningful and powerful for the time that we find ourselves in. And the failure of the Democrats to allow an up or down vote on Bolton is a sign of weakness on their part and a lack of commitment to the reforms that need to be made at the United Nations."

That last one is key. "Has that changed?" Rove: "No it hasn't." Repetition after repetition of "moving the goalposts," and yet Rove can offer now explanation of that movement. Why? Because there is no explanation. If he answered honestly, Rove would be forced to say that the requests made by Democrats today are the same they were making in April. Period. End of story.

Important to note on the "why did Frist schedule the vote for yesterday?" question as well, Rove completely dodges the issue. It was crystal clear to all concerned that sixty votes weren't going to be there last night, so why have the vote? Rove doesn't answer. Just reverts to the talking points.

One final question from the "Hardball" host: "Will the president now recess appoint John Bolton?" Rove: "The President will continue to press for an up or down vote. He believes that is the most - the best way to send somebody to the United Nations." I agree on that last part for sure, but let's send somebody different.


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