Sunday, July 30, 2006; A11
Presidential adviser Karl Rove said yesterday that journalists often criticize political strategists because they want to draw attention away from the "corrosive role" their own coverage plays in politics and government.
"Some decry the professional role of politics -- they would like to see it disappear," Rove told graduating students at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. "Some argue political professionals are ruining American politics -- trapping candidates in daily competition for the news cycle instead of long-term strategic thinking in the best interest of the country."
But Rove turned that criticism on journalists.
"It's odd to me that most of these critics are journalists and columnists," he said. "Perhaps they don't like sharing the field of play. Perhaps they want to draw attention away from the corrosive role their coverage has played focusing attention on process and not substance."
Rove told about 100 graduates trained to be political operatives that they should respect the instincts of the American voter.
"There are some in politics who hold that voters are dumb, ill-informed and easily misled, that voters can be manipulated by a clever ad or a smart line," said Rove, who is credited with directing President Bush's wins in the 2000 and 2004 elections. "I've seen this cynicism over the years from political professionals and journalists. American people are not policy wonks, but they have great instincts and try to do the right thing."
Rove said it is "wrong to underestimate the intelligence of the American voter but easy to overestimate their interest," adding, "Much tugs at their attention."
But he said voters are able to watch campaigns and candidates closely, and that "this messy and imperfect process has produced great leaders."