Trent Lott calls; Karl Rove answers

A day after Lott lectures the White House about its lukewarm support for Tom DeLay, Bush's political strategist wraps his arms around a "good man" and "close ally."

Published April 19, 2005 12:54PM (EDT)

When Trent Lott speaks, the White House listens.

Lott resigned as Senate majority leader in 2002 after George W. Bush criticized him for reminiscing about the good ol' days of segregation. But over the weekend, Lott lectured the Bush White House about the need to show some "aggressive support" for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

So here comes Karl Rove. Bush's political strategist and Social Security mastermind made his way to CNN Monday, where he announced for all the world to see the White House's "strong support" for Tom DeLay. "He's a good man," Rove said, "a close ally of this administration."

The administration's "close ally" has finally made his own case on the new ethics allegations against him, at least sort of. As the Los Angeles Times reports, DeLay's campaign office has sent a five-page "briefing document" to supporters. The general theme: DeLay has done nothing wrong, and the whole imbroglio is the work of a "syndicate" of Democrats and liberal reporters who "hate Ronald Reagan conservatives like DeLay and they hate that he is an effective leader who succeeds in passing the Republican agenda."

DeLay hasn't got it exactly right, of course: When the House ethics committee admonished him three times last year for his behavior, the harsh words came not just from Democrats but from the Republicans on the committee as well. That DeLay had those Republicans replaced doesn't mean they didn't exist in the first place.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Tom Delay War Room