Rove spins, falsely, on nuclear compromise

The president's political advisor says Bush has already compromised on his judicial nominees, but the record suggests otherwise.

Published April 26, 2005 4:47PM (EDT)

Fresh from his successes leading the fight to privatize Social Security -- after three months of concerted White House efforts, the president's approval rating on the issue has dropped to 31 percent -- Karl Rove is injecting himself into the Senate's deliberations over George W. Bush's judicial nominees. In an interview with USAToday, Rove says he's opposed to any compromise on the "nuclear option" that would involve anything less than up-or-down floor votes on every one of the president's judicial nominees.

Rove's point: The president has already compromised. "Rove said Bush tried to end the stalemate when he renominated just seven of the 10 nominees who had been blocked last year," USAToday reports. Those obstructionist Democrats didn't reciprocate. "I saw no change in tone," Rove said. "The flamethrowers ... came out within moments."

It's a nice story Rove tells about the president's attempt to make peace with the Democrats; it's just not exactly true. When the White House announced in December that Bush would re-nominate the seven judges, White House officials told the New York Times that Bush had offered all of the stalled judges the chance to be re-nominated. Two of them, Carolyn Kuhl and Claude Allen, declined. A third, Charles Pickering, who Bush had placed on the Fifth Circuit through a recess appointment, chose to retire rather than seek Senate confirmation again.

By Tim Grieve

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

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