Transcript: Karl Rove Interview

ROVE: It means to overcome this terrible ideology which seeks to draw the United States back in on itself and to remove us from the center of the world and to establish a totalitarian regime, a new form of fascism, if you will, using religion as a cover.

JENNINGS: Do you agree that it is virtually impossible to prevail over terrorism altogether? That there will always be somebody out there wishing to harm the United States and probably with the capacity to do so?

ROVE: Well, in one sense, yes. I mean, there is a book written a 100 years ago by Joseph Conrad called The Secret Agent. And if you read this novel written at the turn of the 18th or the 19th and 20th centuries, you'd think that the protagonist in it is Osama bin Laden. He's called the professor, but his ideology of terror is clearly almost identical to that of al Qaeda. But is it possible for us to overcome this form? To overcome al Qaeda? To overcome al Qaeda and its allies? You bet it is, and that's what the president believes.

JENNINGS: And how will we know when the president or anybody else for that matter has overcome?

ROVE: Because we will see the establishment of democratic regimes in the Mideast. We'll see democracy and freedom on the march. We will see the networks and its leaderships destroyed and little or no evidence of people coming forward to take their places, and we will see a diminution of violence against ourselves and our allies in the region.

Republican Attacks Against Kerry

JENNINGS: Last night, your friend [Virginia delegate] Morton Blackwell was out on the floor of the convention wearing a Band-Aid with a purple heart, clearly a slap at John Kerry. You approve of that?

ROVE: No, not at all. I think it was inappropriate. John Kerry served with valor and distinction in Vietnam. I understand why people are angry about Vietnam and John Kerry, but I think they ought to keep the focus on where the anger is appropriate, and that is what he said and did when he came back home. I had an uncle who served in Vietnam, did several tours of duty in Vietnam. I don't think he was a war criminal. I don't think that the men under his command routinely raped, and pillaged, and acted like Genghis Kahn. It is what John Kerry did after he came home, and he says that it's legitimate to talk about it. He says that he's proud that he went to Vietnam, and he's proud of what he did when he came back. But I understand why a great many military families, and sons and daughters of veterans, and veterans themselves are angry with being sort of routinely painted as war criminals, when they were not.

JENNINGS: The most devastating of the "Swift Boat" ads, of course, is the one that questions his courage and behavior in battle. And the president's father appears to have endorsed Sen. Dole's view that there must be some truth there. What does your boss, the president say about that?

ROVE: My boss believes that Sen. Kerry served honorably in combat, and he believes that all these 527 ads and all the other activities ought to stop. We're the only campaign that's called for an end to all these activities. Sen. Kerry refuses to join with us. He's been the recipient of $63 million worth of anti-Bush advertising by 527s. They're playing a big role in his campaign plans for the fall. He refuses to call for an end to all this big soft money activity that he's benefited from. That's his right, but we think all these ads, both those for and against President Bush, that are being funded by the 527s, and all the activities undertaken by both sides, ought to stop.

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