White House political adviser Karl Rove yesterday scoffed at Democratic charges that he was somehow behind the release of faked documents to CBS that attacked President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard.
And he returned fire, saying there are plenty of outstanding questions that Democrats must answer about their involvement with CBS anchorman Dan Rather’s now-discredited story, which heavily relied on the bogus memos.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe has insinuated twice since CBS’ “60 Minutes” aired the charges on Sept. 8 that Mr. Rove or other Republicans might have been involved in some way.
Mr. McAuliffe has offered no proof.
Mr. Rove mocked the suggestion when asked about it at a luncheon with editors and reporters of The Washington Times.
“Obviously, you know the answer is no. Do you feel good about asking that question?” he said before repeating, “The answer is no, obviously.”
He also called Mr. McAuliffe “a wild-man ranter and raver.”
Mr. Rove also said it’s not for him to demand an apology from Mr. Rather to the president. But he said it was noteworthy that Mr. Rather has yet to admit that the documents were forged, instead saying only that their authenticity cannot be proved.
“He’s probably the only person in America that still thinks there’s a possibility these are true and accurate documents,” Mr. Rove said.
Republicans think they have evidence of collusion. Retired Lt. Col. Bill Burkett of the Texas Air National Guard, who this week acknowledged leaking the memos to CBS, talked with Kerry adviser Joe Lockhart before CBS aired the documents. Mr. Lockhart says he did not discuss the memos.
“60 Minutes” producer Mary Mapes, who got the memos from Col. Burkett, referred the longtime Bush critic to the Kerry campaign.
Mr. Rove told The Washington Times yesterday that it’s not up to him to say whether Mr. Lockhart should be fired.
“I’m going to leave it up to the Kerry campaign to decide whether or not someone who was clearly in collusion with CBS on this should stay or go,” he said, but he challenged them and CBS to answer a series of questions.
“What did Mary Mapes tell Lockhart? We haven’t heard from her on this. Who did Lockhart tell what to in the campaign? What other contacts were there between CBS and people in the campaign?” he said.
He then said Mr. McAuliffe and the DNC must answer questions about their own series of attacks on Mr. Bush’s National Guard record, which he said “broke coincidentally with the CBS story.”View Entire Story
By Elaine Donnelly
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