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They Don't Apologize

"MR. McCLELLAN: Of course not."

Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. had this to say on CNN : "Karl Rove's speech was a speech that I think reflected some of the rhetoric that a lot of people feel."

Bush's counselor, Dan Bartlett, did the morning shows today, impishly suggesting that he found it "puzzling" that Democrats are so upset about Rove's attack on liberals. He said Rove was talking about groups like and liberals like filmmaker Michael Moore.

"The fact that Democrats feel they have to rally around and Michael Moore is baffling to me," Bartlett said. "There is no reason to apologize for a statement that was made."

The Coverage

Dan Balz writes in The Washington Post: "Democrats accused Rove, President Bush's top political strategist, of impugning their patriotism, misrepresenting the support they gave Bush after terrorists hit the United States and demeaning the memories of victims. Republicans accused Democrats of overreacting to what they said were accurate characterizations of reactions among some liberals and of having defended slanderous statements against the U.S. military. . . .

"The acrimonious exchanges came just two days after Durbin bowed to Republican-led pressure and apologized for comparing the treatment of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba to techniques used by the Nazis and the Soviets. Together, the episodes underscored the growing harshness and rising political stakes of the debate over national security at a time of declining support for Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq and pressure on him to outline a strategy for success there."

Edwin Chen writes in the Los Angeles Times: "Democrats said Rove's comments represented an attempt to exploit the fight against terrorism for political gain. But the White House rejected that claim and turned aside Democratic demands for an apology or a presidential condemnation. . . .

"In seeking to refute Rove's contention, Democrats noted that just three days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Senate voted 98 to 0 -- and the House 420 to 1 -- for a resolution authorizing Bush to 'use all necessary and appropriate force' against those behind the attacks. After those votes, Bush issued a statement praising Congress for being 'united so powerfully.' "

John Harwood 's 'Washington Wire' column in the Wall Street Journal sums it up this way: "Republicans play security card amid political slide."

Rove and Scarborough

Much was made on MSNBC all day yesterday about Rove's upcoming appearance on conservative commentator Joe Scarborough's show late last night. At the top of the show, Scarborough even referred to it as "my live exclusive interview with White House adviser Karl Rove." So I stayed up past my bedtime -- only to find that the interview was taped on Tuesday, before Rove's controversial comments.

Nevertheless, the interview gave some insights into Rove's state of mind.

Democrats, Rove said, "are dominated today by sort of the wing of the Democratic Party, you know, the Howard Deans, the Dick Durbins, the, the Michael Moores, and saying outrageous things. . . . " Rove said "there are a lot of Democrats who have not gotten over the last election. They're rage-filled. Look, they thought they were going to win. . . . They have never gotten over 2000. They will not get over 2004. And they are just letting their rage work its way through. And that's not helpful for them or for the system. . . .

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