Wednesday, July 13, 2005

White House: Bush Has Confidence in Rove

White House: Bush Has Confidence in Rove

Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 17 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - President Bush supports Karl Rove, the White House said Tuesday, rebuffing Democratic calls for Bush to fire his top political adviser over his role in the leak of an undercover CIA officer's identity.

Bush ignored a question about whether he would fire Rove, and White House spokesman Scott McClellan said later that "any individual who works here at the White House has the confidence of the president." McClellan said that includes Rove.

The White House's defense came after two days of intense questioning following the disclosure that Rove talked about the officer in a July 11, 2003, conversation with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper.

McClellan had said in September and October 2003 that Rove wasn't at all involved in the leak of information about the officer, Valerie Plame.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said Rove ought to be fired, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., said she agreed with Kerry's position.

Bush has said he would fire anyone found to have leaked Plame's name. An e-mail by Cooper that surfaced over the weekend in Newsweek magazine says Rove identified the woman as someone who apparently works at the CIA and that she authorized a trip to Africa for her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson. Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, says Rove did not disclose Plame's name to the Time magazine reporter.

"The fact that he didn't give her name, but identified the ambassador's wife — doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who that is," Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., said on CNN's "Inside Politics." "If that occurred, at a minimum, that was incredibly bad judgment, warranting him being asked to leave."

Rove's conversation with Cooper took place five days after Plame's husband suggested in a New York Times op-ed piece that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat. Plame's name first appeared eight days later in a newspaper column by Robert Novak. The column said two administration officials told him Wilson's wife had suggested sending him to investigate whether Iraq had tried to obtain uranium from Niger. Cooper's byline appeared on an article a few days later naming Plame.

Pressed to explain its statements of two years ago that Rove wasn't involved in the leak, the White House refused to do so for the second straight day.

"If I were to get into discussing this, I would be getting into discussing an investigation that continues and could be prejudging the outcome of the investigation," McClellan said.

While the White House refused to answer, its allies jumped into the fray. Among them were House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman said Rove was the victim of partisan political attacks by Democrats.

Rove "was discouraging a reporter from writing a false story based on a false premise," said Mehlman. Cooper's e-mail says that Rove warned him away from the idea that Wilson's trip had been authorized by CIA Director George Tenet or Vice President Dick Cheney.

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SOURCE -;_ylt=ApZVBvO9FP17BWtNiHSY9Qas0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3b2NibDltBHNlYwM3MTY-


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