The Continuing Power of Karl Rove
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BILL MOYERS It's clear from reading this that Karl Rove could not be doing what he's doing without Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. Is that right?
CRAIG UNGER: It is enormously helpful for a number of reasons. One, simply is, it provides him with an economic base, and a powerful platform. But Fox News is something special in American journalism, if that's the right place to put it. And I went back to the Nixon administration, and Roger Ailes was in the, who's the chairman of Fox News, was in the Nixon administration.
BILL MOYERS: He was Nixon's television advisor.
CRAIG UNGER: Absolutely. And he had a proposal back then that he called GOP TV. And today, he has it effectively. This is the Republican TV network. And at one time during this campaign there were five potential presidential candidates in the Republican party, that is, if you include people like Sarah Palin who was potentially a candidate, but never declared.
Who were on Fox News payroll. So, when you see them on TV, these are not mere commentators. These are actors in the Republican party. And Rove is being the party boss. And when he and Sarah Palin have a tiff—
KARL ROVE: She is all upset about this, saying I’m somehow trying to sabotage her, sabotage her in some way—
CRAIG UNGER: That is Karl Rove, the party boss, shutting down Sarah Palin.
BILL MOYERS: Well, let me walk you through this, because it's a fascinating part of your book. You've indicated that during the Republican primaries this spring, he'd be on TV picking off one Republican candidate after another. Palin, Cain, Bachmann, Gingrich. Rick Perry, Trump—
KARL ROVE: You know, now a, you know, a joke candidate, let him go ahead and announce for election on the apprentice. The American people aren’t going to be hiring him and certainly the Republicans are not going to be hiring him in the Republican primary.
BILL MOYERS: Then he would write a column about it in the Wall Street Journal, actually fulfilling the strategy he had spelled out.
CRAIG UNGER: One by one, another Republican candidate would surge ahead of Romney. There was Rick Perry, there was Santorum and so forth. And just as they surged, Rove would strike out at them, and sometimes it was very discretely, and it would be through putting millions and millions of dollars into an anti-Santorum campaign.
BILL MOYERS: Most people have probably forgotten that the press ran with the story that Romney won the Iowa caucus, when a few days later Santorum turned out to be the real winner.
CHRIS WALLACE: Karl, you've just gotten some word from a source in the Republican National Committee. Tell us what it is.
BILL MOYERS: He was on Fox News with Chris Wallace. And he says, in fact, "Romney's going to come out the champion here," when in fact, Santorum was winning.
KARL ROVE: And that it will show an 18 vote victory in that precinct for Mitt Romney, which will give him a statewide victory of 14 votes over Rick Santorum. […]
CHRIS WALLACE: Now, I, you know, this is obviously pretty big thing. That Romney is going to win the Iowa Caucuses by 14 votes.
KARL ROVE: By 14 votes.
CHRIS WALLACE: How solid is your evidence for your...
KARL ROVE: From a pretty good, reliable source.
CRAIG UNGER: So, he is able to almost literally count the votes, even though he's not counting correctly.