Rove, Plouffe reenact "Mean Girls"

During a discussion Monday, the two political strategists gave their audience lessons on how to behave like teenagers -- and not much else.

By Vincent Rossmeier
Published May 5, 2009 4:35PM (EDT)

What does it take to be a political genius? Based on the performances that Karl Rove and former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe gave during a talk at the Panetta Institute on Monday night, it seems like immaturity helps.

Rove and Plouffe were supposed to focus on bipartisanship but instead opted to do their best to resurrect memories of the nuanced rhetoric of "Crossfire." When Rove called President Barack Obama's professed desire for bipartisanship a "myth," Plouffe responded by saying, "This is like getting interview lessons from Sarah Palin."

Then, showing their commitment to raising the level of political discourse in the United States, Rove and Plouffe insulted each other's new books. Rove got in a slight dig at Plouffe's work by pointing out that Plouffe's book would sell for $5 less than his own. Plouffe then shot back, saying, "But mine will be in the non-fiction section." Rove, not to be outdone, added, "His will be the one with lots of pictures in it. And it comes with a little box of crayons so you can do it yourself."

Both men also took some shots at the press; that part of the conversation took an ironic turn, as Rove decried the media's lack of substance, while Plouffe lamented its focus on conflict. And then, of course, we all covered their argument.

Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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