ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: The sniping between the Bush and Obama White Houses is taking a significantly sharper tone, with former Bush adviser Karl Rove calling Vice President Joe Biden a “liar” in a television interview. “I hate to say this, but he’s a serial exaggerator,” Rove told Fox News on Thursday. “If I was being unkind I would say ‘liar.’ But it is a habit he ought to drop.” “You should not exaggerate and lie like this when you are the Vice President of the United States,” he added. Rove was referring to recent comments by Biden on CNN, where the vice president recalled an incident he said occurred while George W. Bush was president. “I remember President Bush saying to me one time in the Oval Office,” Biden began, ” ‘Well, Joe,’ he said, ‘I’m a leader.’ And I said: ‘Mr. President, turn and around look behind you. No one is following.’ ” Rove said Biden made the exchange up. “It didn’t happen," he said. "It’s his imagination; it’s a made-up, fictional world. . . . He ought to get out of it and get back to reality . . . He’s making this up out of whole cloth.” Rove also questioned a claim Biden made in a 2006 interview, where he said that he had spent “a lot of hours alone with” President Bush. “Joe Biden was never alone with the president for more than few moments,” Rove told Fox. “There was staff in the room the whole time.” Biden spokesman Jay Carney told Fox: “The vice president stands by his remarks.” Rove’s account is being backed up by former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, who said he reviewed notes of Bush’s White House meetings with Biden before talking to Fox about the exchanges. “I never recall Biden saying any of that,” Fleischer said. “I find it odd that he said he met with him alone all the time. I don’t think that’s true.” UPDATE: ABC’s Matthew Jaffe, who covered the Biden vice-presidential campaign for ABC, reminds us that Biden told the same story regularly on the trail.
In October, he said in Missouri: "President Bush once said to me in the Oval Office, he said ‘Well, at least I’m leading.’ . . . And I said ‘Mr. President, look behind you, I don’t see anybody following you.’ So folks, you can’t lead if people do not follow. And Barack Obama is a leader."