Monday, July 11, 2005

NYT Kicks it up a Notch

After a day and evening in which a newly-awakened White House press corps began to catch a whiff of scandal-stink emanating from Karl Rove's West Wing office (deservedly or not, it's still too early to know), the New York Times in Tuesday editions goes on the offensive in a big way. In "At White House, a Day of Silence,"* Richard Stevenson writes:

"Nearly two years after stating that any administration official found to have been involved in leaking the name of an undercover C.I.A. officer would be fired, and assuring that Karl Rove and other senior aides to President Bush had nothing to do with the disclosure, the White House on Monday refused to answer any questions about new evidence of Mr. Rove's role in the matter.

With the White House silent, Democrats rushed in, demanding that the administration provide a full account of any involvement by Mr. Rove, one of the president's closest advisers, turning up the political heat in the case and leaving some Republicans worried about the possible effects on Mr. Bush's second-term agenda."

Stevenson goes on to quote Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Henry Waxman, all criticizing Rove and calling for various forms of action to deal with the situation (Waxman suggested a Congressional investigation, Schumer urged openness, and Reid said he "trusts" that the president will follow through on his pledge to fire anyone in his Administration involved with the leak).

And how about all the Republican officials standing up for the White House, defending McClellan's statements from the podium on Monday? Not so much. Stevenson: "Asked for comment on Monday, several Republican senators said they did not know enough or did not want to venture an opinion. But in private, several prominent Republicans said they were concerned about the possible effects on Mr. Bush and his agenda, in part because Mr. Rove's stature makes him such a tempting target for Democrats." That can't be very heartening to the White House. Neither can this, from a "senior Congressional Republican aide": The only fear here is where does this go. We can't know."

Indeed, we can't. But clearly it's not going away anytime fast.

*Oh, just want to mention - at least when I looked at the article, half the screen was taken up by a gigantic picture of Tucker Carlson. Consider yourselves forewarned.

[Ah, and the Times also has up a lengthy compilation of previous quotes from White House officials commenting about the Plame case and Rove's involvement in it.]

[Update: The Washington Post has a companion piece by Mike Allen and Dan Balz, which is strikingly similar to that in the Times. -- 11:30 p.m.]


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