Conservatives are calling for the super PAC's spokesman to be fired over his "hater" comment
A group of conservative activists wrote a letter on Wednesday calling for the firing of Jonathan Collegio, the spokesman for the Karl Rove-backed super PAC American Crossroads, because he called one of them a “hater.”
It began on WMAL-FM’s “Mornings on the Mall” radio show in Washington, D.C., when conservative activist Brent Bozell accused Rove and American Crossroads of waging “gang warfare” on the Tea Party and conservatives. Collegio appeared on the show the next day and dismissed Bozell’s comments. “Bozell is a hater and he also has a long, sordid history hating Karl Rove too,” Collegio said. “He has weird, personal axes to grind.”
This did not go over well with Bozell, who reportedly interpreted “hater” to mean “racist,” and who rallied 24 other conservative activists to sign a letter to Crossroads president Steven Law, calling for Collegio to be sacked. “We, the free men and women of this great nation, affirm everyone’s natural right to speak their mind — but we cannot and will not abide the unjust, personal broadside your aide, Jonathan Collegio, leveled against a man whose family has dedicated itself to advancing the cause of liberty for over half a century,” the letter said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The letter continues that Collegio used “the language of the establishment Republicans. It is the divisive language of the Left.”
Among the conservatives who joined Bozell were Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly and Citizens United’s David Bossie.
In a statement, Collegio apologized for “contributing to the vitriol,” but added that Bozell had called Crossroads “‘fake conservatives,’ which is language that perniciously and unfairly judges the motives of others and fails to acknowledge that there might be honest differences on strategy within the conservative movement.”
Collegio also attributed Bozell’s objections to “a generational difference in defining the word ‘hater,’” noting that the group of conservatives “took it as a severe insult akin to being called a racist,” when in fact he just meant it as a term for someone who is very negative.
This is the latest dust-up in a week full of angry rhetoric from Tea Partyers provoked by Rove’s new initiative, the Conservative Victory Fund. Former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., who announced his own super PAC to fight back against Rove’s super PAC, on Wednesday said that “If Rove wants a fight for the soul of the Republican Party, bring it on.”
Rove, Collegio and others at Crossroads have meanwhile been insisting up and down that they’re not interested in a war with the Tea Party, they just want to help Republicans field more candidates in the primaries who can then go on to win in the general election.
Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. More Jillian Rayfield.
More Related Stories
- Eric Holder versus journalism
- A progressive defense of drones
- There's no substitute for government disaster relief
- Holder signed off on search warrant for reporter
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
- Closing Gitmo is not enough
- Murkowski: Palin too disengaged to run for Senate
- In IRS scandal, new GOP tactic is ignorance
- Code Pink activist berates Obama at national security speech
- Cuomo: "Shame on us" if New York City elects Weiner
- Coburn calls questions about tornado aid "typical Washington B.S."
- Conspiracy theorists clash over London attack
- Voting is not a right
- Destroying the planet for record profits
- Ahead of Obama's speech, U.S. acknowledges four American drone killings
- Pic of the day: Barack Obama at prom
- Anti-Islam backlash in London after machete attack
- Must-see morning clip: Bill O'Reilly visits "The Daily Show"
- Obama’s drone speech will probably be maddening
- Boehner: "Inconceivable" Obama didn't know about IRS targeting
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11