Karl Rove: Your tax dollars at work

Rove makes $157,000 a year at the White House. After his slanderous remarks, Harry Reid says he should either apologize or resign.

By Tim Grieve
Published June 23, 2005 6:00PM (EDT)

As you ruminate today over Karl Rove's slanderous comments in New York -- that liberals wanted to respond to 9/11 with "therapy and understanding," that the true "motives of liberals" is to put U.S. troops at risk -- you might want to remember this. Rove isn't just a political consultant anymore. He's a highly paid federal employee.

Rove collects $157,000 a year as a senior advisor to the president. That would be $157,000 of "your money," as George W. Bush would surely put it in any other context.

And if you're not happy that $157,000 a year of "your money" is going to a man that just slandered a broad swath of the American public, well, you're not alone. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who not long ago found himself apologizing to Rove for calling Bush "a loser," has just turned the tables and called on Rove to apologize for or resign over his remarks. Here's Reid's statement:

"I am deeply disturbed and disappointed that the Bush White House would continue to use the national tragedy of September 11th to try and divide the country. The lesson our country learned on that terrible morning is that we are strongest when we unite together, that Americas power is in its common spirit of democracy and freedom.

"Karl Rove should immediately and fully apologize for his remarks or he should resign. The lesson of September 11th is not different for conservatives, liberals or moderates. It is equally shared and was repeatedly demonstrated in the weeks and months following this tragedy as Americans of all backgrounds and their elected representatives rallied behind the victims and their families, united in our common determination to bring to justice those responsible for these terrible attacks.

"It is time to stop using September 11th as a political wedge issue. Dividing our country for political gain is an insult to all Americans and to the common memory we all carry with us from that day. When it comes to standing up to terrorists, there are no Republicans or Democrats, only Americans. The Administration should be focused on uniting Americans behind our troops and providing them a strategy for success in the war on terror and the conflict in Iraq. I hope the president will join me in repudiating these remarks and urge Mr. Rove to take appropriate action to right this terrible wrong."

The response from the White House so far? Press Secretary Scott McClellan says that Rove was just "talking about the different philosophies and our different approaches when it comes to winning the war on terrorism."

Tim Grieve

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

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