Bush on Karl Rove and America's soul

"Just look at the facts as they've come out."

Published May 30, 2007 7:26PM (EDT)

Dan Froomkin has plucked the money quote from McClatchy Newspapers' extended interview with George W. Bush: The president is pushing as hard as he is on the immigration bill because, he says, "I'm deeply concerned about America losing its soul."

That's not exactly what we'd expect to hear from a man with a rug that says "optimistic person comes to work." And Bush's reasonably eloquent talk of learning about "the decency and hard work and humanity of Hispanics" while growing up in Texas isn't what we've come to expect from a man whose public statements on immigration reform have at times devolved into ramblings about peach men and chicken-plucking factories.

But for our money, the most interesting part of Ron Hutcheson's interview with Bush comes toward the end, when he asks the president whether Karl Rove was "the main guy drawing up the list" of U.S. attorneys who were fired last year. "Just look at the facts as they've come out," Bush says.

Hutcheson: It's unclear.

Bush: There has been plenty of testimony, plenty of hearings, plenty of statements. And one thing is for certain, that there was no wrongdoing done.

The question, again, wasn't whether there was "wrongdoing done," but whether Rove was the "main guy drawing up the list" of U.S. attorneys who were fired. We'd call Bush's response a nondenial denial -- if only there had been any denial in it at all.

By Tim Grieve

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

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