But Mr. Rove didn't address Democrats; he addressed liberals, specifically MoveOn.org and its like.
For a party with a clear image problem, it seems counterproductive that they would rush to Mr. Moore's defense -- which, by
their outrage, is essentially what they have done.
Republicans rallied around Karl Rove yesterday with White House officials defending President Bush's senior
political adviser and congressional Republicans saying he was right when he said liberals wanted to respond to the September
11 attacks with "therapy and understanding."
White House Stands Behind Rove Comments
Jun 24, 7:55 AM (ET)
By JIM ABRAMS
WASHINGTON (AP) - A White House official said Friday the administration finds it "somewhat puzzling" that Democrats are
demanding presidential adviser Karl Rove's apology or resignation for implying that liberals are soft on terrorism.
"I think Karl was very specific, very accurate, in who he was pointing out," communications director Dan Bartlett said.
"It's touched a chord with these Democrats. I'm not sure why."
Congressional Republicans earlier joined the White House in standing solidly behind Rove, saying he shouldn't apologize
and that he was outlining a philosophical divide between a president who sought to win the war on terrorism by taking the
fight to the enemy and Democrats who questioned that approach.
The controversy, fought out in hearings, floor speeches and news conferences Thursday on Capitol Hill, was the latest of
several highly contentious battles that have soured the already highly partisan atmosphere.
Earlier this week Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., apologized after being hit with a chorus of attacks from Republicans about
comments in which he compared detainee treatment at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the actions of Nazis
and other repressive regimes.
Rove, the architect behind President Bush's election victories, on Wednesday night told a gathering of the New York Conservative
Party that "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding
for our attackers." Conservatives, he said, "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war."
He added that groups linked to the Democratic Party made the mistake of calling for "moderation and restraint" after the
Bartlett, appearing on morning news shows Friday, said that Rove was referring in his talk to Moveon.org, a liberal group
that has been identified with movie producer Michael Moore.
"It's somewhat puzzling why all these Democrats ... who responded forcefully after 9-11, who voted to support President
Bush's pursuit of the war on terror, are now rallying to the defense of Moveon.org, this liberal organization who put out
a petition in the days after 9-11 and said that we ought not use military force in responding to 9-11," Bartlett said on NBC's
"Today" show. "That is who Karl Rove cited in that speech ... There is no need to apologize."
Appearing on CBS's "The Early
Show," Bartlett said that Rove was "just pointing out that MoveOn.org is a liberal organization that didn't defend or accept
the way that we prosecuted the war in the days after" the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on New York and Washington.
|(AP) Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., second from left, accompanied by
fellow Senate Democrats, meets...|
Bartlett told interviewers that he didn't understand why Democrats "are throwing up such a huff."
Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, in a letter to Rove co-signed by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Democratic senators
from Connecticut and New Jersey, called the presidential adviser's speech "a slap in the face to the unity that America achieved
after Sept. 11, 2001."
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Thursday there was no reason for Rove to apologize because he was "simply
pointing out the different philosophies when it comes to winning the war on terrorism."
"Of course not," McClellan said when asked by reporters whether Bush would ask Rove to apologize.
Democrats said Rove, and his Republican allies, were now trying to change the subject when Democrats, and many Americans,
are becoming increasingly critical of the course of the war in Iraq.
For Rove "to try to exploit 9/11 for political purposes once again just shows you how desperate they are," said House Democratic
leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who in recent days has been the target of Republican attacks for saying that the Iraq war
was a "grotesque mistake."
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) (Getty Images)
Mr. Durbin said, "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent
describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done
by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human
beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."
About 9 million persons, including 6 million Jews, died in Hitler's death
camps, 2.7 million persons died in Stalin's gulags and 1.7 million Cambodians died in Pol Pot's scourge of his country.
The White House yesterday reacted angrily to Mr. Durbin's remarks.
reprehensible, as Defense Secretary [Donald H.] Rumsfeld said, to suggest that the Guantanamo Bay facility
is anything like a gulag or a mad regime or Pol Pot," White House spokesman Trent Duffy told The Washington Times.
"It is reprehensible, has no place in the current debate, and as we've seen over several years,
the detainees in Guantanamo Bay are being treated humanely," he said. "What this is is a disservice
to any man and woman serving in the U.S. military who's putting their life on the line each day, because they're trying to
paint all military with a broad brush because of the actions of perhaps a few bad apples, who are being punished severely."
Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., chairman of the panel, abruptly gaveled the meeting to an end and walked out, followed by other Republicans.
Sensenbrenner declared that much of the testimony, which veered into debate over the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, was irrelevant."