- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 24, 2012

A top adviser to Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine said last week that Karl Rove, the powerful Republican admonger and former adviser to President George W. Bush, was right.

That’s not out of context, not a misquote, not a fabrication. An email from the Kaine campaign signed by senior adviser Mo Elleithee is titled “Rove is right.”


Well, maybe a little bit of context would be useful.

In the fundraising appeal, Mr. Elleithee writes that Mr. Rove’s group, American Crossroads, has run multiple false advertisements targeting his boss.

“You’d think that an organization with hundreds of millions of dollars in its coffers would be able to afford better research,” he wrote. “But here’s the rub: They know the facts. They just don’t care.

“Even with the news media repeatedly calling them out for their falsehoods, Rove figures that by spending millions of dollars, he can ensure that more people will see the ads than will ever read the Politifact ratings,” Mr. Elleithee continued.

And then the fateful words:

“And he’s right.”

To fight back, Mr. Elleithee asked supporters to make contributions of $5 or more to help them reach a fundraising goal ahead of a Saturday deadline.

There are less than five months until Mr. Kaine squares off against Republican George Allen in the heavyweight matchup between two former Virginia governors. It might be safe to assume that this is about as bipartisan as the race is going to get. So Mr. Elleithee, kudos.

Gray humor

As it turns out, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray is a pretty good moderator.

Mr. Gray held court with a panel of health care professionals Friday to discuss the potential impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act.

He managed to press the health care workers on their views - “no punting allowed,” he warned one of them - without crossing the line. When a panelist said he didn’t think President Obama’s initiative should allow adults as old as 26 stay on their parents’ insurance plans, the mayor asked him, wryly, whether society should “roll the dice and hope they don’t get sick.”

No one in the audience nodded off, even though health care is probably the most mundanetopic you can think of. Maybe they were all really into individual mandates and pre-existing conditions, or maybe it had something to do with Mr. Gray’s trademark humor.

“For those of you whose eyes are glazing over, you have just joined the ranks of many Americans,” he told the audience.

Moments earlier, he feigned shock at a suggestion that the nation’s highest court might be swayed by partisan ideology.

“The Supreme Court would be subject to politics?” Mr. Gray quipped. “I thought it was a pure environment that they operated in.”

Mrs. Franchot’s calming presence

Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot is the resident contrarian on the state’s Board of Public Works, but he promised to be “on [his] best behavior” last week with his wife in attendance.

He almost made it.

Mr. Franchot announced early in proceedings that his wife, Anne Maher, was there attending her first board meeting. The comptroller serves on the board with Gov. Martin O’Malley and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp. All three are Democrats.

Mr. Franchot and Mr. O’Malley often disagree and trade barbs, but the meeting was relatively civil until the board settled on the topic of whether to allow a casino at Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort in Allegany County.

The comptroller, an ardent gambling opponent who has famously called slots “the crack cocaine of gambling,” voted in favor of the measure along with his colleagues - not because he likes casinos, he said, but because it would get the debt-ridden off the state’s hands and into those of a private developer.

“Mark June 20, 2012, as the day that Peter Franchot supported an item that will pave the way for a new gambling casino in Maryland,” Mr. Franchot said to laughs from the audience.

“I want to thank Mrs. Franchot for being here,” the governor chimed in, to even more laughs.

But all the laughter and good will stopped there. Moments later, Mr. Franchot launched into a lengthy monologue about how expanding the state’s gambling program would do little to create jobs or help residents, and instead would provide a “sweetheart deal” to developers while serving as a “profound embarrassment for the state.”

Mr. O’Malley, who sat next to Mr. Franchot but did not look at him during the remarks, was not pleased - although we’d like to think he appreciated the return to normalcy.

“In deference to the hour, to the time and the distinguished company here at the meeting, I’ll reserve my response for another day,” he said.

- David Hill, Tom Howell Jr. and David Sherfinski contributed to this report.

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