Karl Rove Likes What He Sees

And what did he say? Well, first he denied that I was in the book! And then he denied that it said that I said that it was a Christian nation. And then when I pulled out the thing [he had a copy of the offensive page with him] and showed it to him, he sort of blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. And I thought, That's who he is. I mean, look, he may claim that he's for a different kind of politics, but that was a cheap shot. And I'm not certain if any of the four said it either. But it was like, you know, Let's just strap it in there and see if it goes someplace. Another example: Him saying, "We honor John McCain for his fifty years of service" was a cheap shot. He was going out of his way to say John McCain's old.

Is John McCain too old? No.

Do you think Obama's gotten a free ride from the press? Yes.

How so? I don't think they hold him to the same standards. You know, look, his Web site is full of all kinds of proposals written by academics galore. But he's not required to defend them. He's not required to explain what it is he wants to do. Now I think that's changing. I think, when you have an editorial in USA Today that says, in essence, Where's the beef, what's the substance? When reporters start asking him tough questions about his relationship with Tony Rezko -- you know, what was the value of the lot? What was the price that you paid? How many fund-raisers did he do for you? How much money did he raise at those fund-raisers? When they start asking him those questions, then it starts to change. I mean, the kind of questions that have been routinely asked of other candidates—about their background and associations and involvements -- have only recently begun to be asked of him.

I get the sense you respect Hillary more than you respect Obama. Off the record?

Please don't go off the record. Off the record… [Yeah, it's good. Sorry.]

Damn! Now say that on the record. No. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Let's try again, then: on the record. I get the sense you respect her more than him. Uh, I know her better than I know him. And I just, uh -- she has been around public life a lot longer and has demonstrated, you know, more involvement than he has.

Let's talk about Bill. You've gotten to know him better, right? Yeah.

What do you think of him now? He's a very entertaining rogue. He's a larger-than-life character. You can't help but sort of like him. But boy, he has made some missteps in this campaign.

Yeah, what's up with that? He's supposed to be this political genius. What's going on? He's all wrapped up in it. He's lost his detachment. Sometimes you can be more detached about yourself than you can be about members of your family. He's all revved up about her and making mistakes. Do you buy any of the pop psychology that there's a part of him that's sabotaging her? I -- I -- that is way beyond. I have never… I don't have a couch that anybody could sit down on, and… I don't know, I don't know.

But you were surprised to see how he handled the South Carolina thing? Well, it may have been calculated, I don't know. Maybe they made a calculated decision that, Hey, we need to send a message that all he can do is win states with African-American voters. But I don't think it played—even among Democrats.

Recently, in a meeting with some people from the Republican National Committee, you said, "Do not use 'Barack Hussein Obama.' " Right, right. Um, in politics--

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