Political Animal


November 09, 2011 1:10 PM Rove lies about Obama, Clinton, and tax policy

By Steve Benen

Karl Rove and his cohorts used to lie about Bill Clinton. Now Rove’s attack operation, Crossroads GPS, is using Bill Clinton to lie about President Obama.

A new ad from a Republican advocacy group attacks President Barack Obama’s jobs bill by contrasting his statements with those of former Democratic President Bill Clinton.

The spot released Wednesday from Crossroads GPS plays clips of Clinton saying now is not the time to raise taxes and of Obama promoting increased tax rates on higher income earners as part of his jobs plan.

The ad is a lie; Rove’s operation knows it’s a lie; and yet they’re pushing the lie anyway.

Several weeks ago, Clinton said, “I personally don’t believe we ought to be raising taxes or cutting spending until we get this economy off the ground.” Republicans — and a few too many reporters — took out the part of the comment about spending cuts and suggested Clinton was breaking with the Obama White House on tax policy.

He wasn’t. Both Obama and Clinton share an identical policy — Clinton wants tax increases delayed until the economy is stronger and so does Obama. The White House plan is unambiguous: the president calls for increased sacrifices from millionaires and billionaires to lower the deficit, but not until 2013. In the short term, Obama wants to cut taxes, not raise them.

The Rove/Crossroads ad argues the exact opposite of the truth, telling viewers Obama wants to raise taxes and that Clinton disagrees with the president’s agenda. When Rove first started pushing this line, Clinton issued a statement explaining the facts, and making clear that he and Obama are on the exact same page.

Crossroads GPS decided to ignore this and blatantly lie to the public anyway. Indeed, the attack operation is spending $2.6 million over the next two weeks to repeat this lie in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, counting on stations to overlook the dishonesty, and on the public to not know the difference.

If Republicans had the facts on their side, such deception wouldn’t be necessary. The fact that Rove and his little gang have been reduced so such shameless dishonesty speaks volumes about their personal integrity and the integrity of their policy argument.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • c u n d gulag on November 09, 2011 1:16 PM:

    Lying is like oxygen for Rove and Co.

    They couldn't live without lying.

    Rove is about as un-American as you can get.

  • Hedda Peraz on November 09, 2011 1:17 PM:

    A simple question, Mr. Obama: Have you stopped beating your wife?

  • riceroni on November 09, 2011 1:18 PM:

    Karl Rove is only doing what it is republicans do... LIE! Dogs bark, birds fly, fish swim, and republicans lie, it's just nature.

  • Turgidson on November 09, 2011 1:21 PM:

    I am infinitely more surprised when Rove gets caught telling the truth.

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on November 09, 2011 1:23 PM:

    And in other news my TEEVEE has been spewing poison in the form of anti-Obama ads from our good friends at Americans for Prosperity. They are using Solyndra to imply that campaign donations were tied to the loans even though the Solyndra loan guarantee was a multi-year process that the Bush Administration launched .
    Republicans lie - Who Knew?

  • Gregory on November 09, 2011 1:26 PM:

    If Republicans had the facts on their side, such deception wouldn’t be necessary. The fact that Rove and his little gang have been reduced so such shameless dishonesty speaks volumes about their personal integrity and the integrity of their policy argument.

    This point can't be emphasized enough, and I hope that it gets more attention in the coming year. Of course Republicans lie -- but the think is, they have to, because their policies simply don't work the way the Republicans claim they do, and the American people would roundly reject them if they knew the truth.

    Of course, this development is hardly new. As just one example, it became obvious during the runup to the second Iraq War that the Bush Administration simply wanted to do it and they were making whatever argument they thought would eb persuasive, regardless of whether they were consistent, let alone truthful.

    That's one of the reason the Republicans have been so deperate to control the narrative, and why the recent attention to the widening income inequality and stagnation of the middle class as the direct result of Republican policies since Reagan poses such a threat to them.

  • T2 on November 09, 2011 1:28 PM:

    If Rove says it, its probably a lie. That's why he's a Genius - he is a liar that manages to make money off of it.

  • Texas Aggie on November 09, 2011 1:39 PM:

    "If Republicans had the facts on their side, such deception wouldn’t be necessary. "

    This seems to be a constant thread in the republican party, and in many right wing policies from climate change to evolution to responsibility for the economic disaster to effects of stimulus spending to separation of church and state ... It seems to almost be obligatory for any right wing pronouncement that it can't stand up to scrutiny. Why is that? People like Barry Goldwater and George Wallace were at least honest about where they stood and why. What has happened to the republican party that these people have been replaced by slimy creatures who appear to have crawled out of a waste treatment settling tank during a moonless night?

  • Schtick on November 09, 2011 1:54 PM:

    Texas Aggie;
    That's the best description of the repub party I've heard yet, "...slimy creatures who appear to have crawled out of a waste treatment settling tank during a moonless night?" Nailed it.

    crapcha....stars rteekt....???

  • ManOutOfTime on November 09, 2011 1:56 PM:

    Xroads better look out! The WaPo "fact" "checker" might give them two whole Pinocchios for being "half" "true"!

  • Josef K on November 09, 2011 1:59 PM:

    The fact that Rove and his little gang have been reduced so such shameless dishonesty speaks volumes about their personal integrity and the integrity of their policy argument.

    Rove and his fellow W veterans have integrity? Since when?

  • June on November 09, 2011 2:04 PM:

    Of course we know this is just the kind of deceptive practice that won the GOP the House in 2010, and that the mainstream media then went on to describe as "Republicans swept into office on a wave of voter dissatisfaction with the economy."

    No, the nutjobs took over the House based on Rove, Koch, et al. pouring tens of millions into POS ads like this.

  • patrick II on November 09, 2011 2:14 PM:

    So, to same time when posting, I imagine you have a post template that starts.. "Rove lies about..."

  • Peter C on November 09, 2011 2:16 PM:

    Republicans have lies at their core. They happily lie to your face. Rove even smirks as he does it, and he, more than any, is the face of the modern Republican party.

    The problem is that people cannot believe that they would dare lie to our faces. People will bend over backwards to self-delude; they will give credence to ever more ridiculous arguments rather than admit to themselves that those they have trusted were never worthy of their trust.

    This is why we must highlight their lies and call them lies. When we are polite and call them policy disagreements, or honest misunderstandings, then we enable this self-delusion. The Republicans sieze the opportunity that we create with our enabling. They are playing with fire, though. People have a viscerally negative reaction when someone lies to their face. If we can envoke this reaction and make the people realize the extent of the Republican betrayal, they're finished.

  • citizen_pain on November 09, 2011 2:20 PM:

    so... following the if a tree falls analogy...

    If a lie goes unchallenged is it really a lie?

    Break up the media monopolies, it's the only way to stop the right wing alternate reality machine

  • Robert on November 09, 2011 2:27 PM:

    OK these comments are great and the Blog terrific.

    So everyone take a minute and write to info@crossroadsgps.org and tell these lying bastards to cut it out.Send them a copy of Steve's Blog too.

  • sherifffruitfly on November 09, 2011 3:33 PM:

    Lie or not, the most helpful thing a person named "Clinton" could ever do is, as usual, JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP.

  • kevo on November 09, 2011 4:32 PM:

    Boycotting media outlets that give Rove the Liar a platform to continue his lying is a start, and a good follow up is to promote street art wherever Rove shows up to spread his lies.

    Relentless dogging of this most egregious figure on the American stage is what is needed to drum out the offensiveness of the Bush years.

    Remember, Karl Rove has the amount of patriotism necessary to out an active covert CIA officer, condemn President Bush's critics as unAmerican, and admit to working to achieve a permanent Republican party-only majority.

    Karl Rove should think himself lucky when he crosses the street safely as many an American driver may loose control of the wheel catching a glimpse of Rove in public.

    Yeah, Karl, you should be afraid, be very afraid. But also feel lucky you're not in federal prison already! -Kevo

  • Rita Miller on November 09, 2011 5:01 PM:

    I'm sick of Clinton. He is still so pissed that Hillary didn't win the Democratic presidential primary that he tries to thrower a zinger at President Obama anytime he gets the chance. Clinton, just STFU.

  • qwerty on November 09, 2011 7:45 PM:

    If lying didn't work, they wouldn't do it.

  • Greg H on November 10, 2011 3:56 AM:

    Benen, you HACK. Where's the outrage at the $30 million in union-purchased LIES attacking Ohio's reform initiatives? Hacks like you feign outrage over subtle deception -Obama would raise taxes NOW if he could - while completely ignoring BLATANT WHOPPERS from favored interest on the oh-so-corrupt left.

  • Thomas Paine on November 10, 2011 8:52 AM:

    If Obama can't take what he dishes out -- distortions, Straw Men, outright lies, smears -- then HE SHOULD QUIT THE GAME.

    Quit, Pencilneck. Do us all a favor.

  • manapp99 on November 10, 2011 10:18 AM:

    OMG. A political operative who makes no bones about which side he is on spins the truth. WOW. Kind of like Steve Benen except Benen pretends to be fair and unbiased. LOL.

  • David on November 10, 2011 11:21 AM:

    Obama said, from Day 1, he wanted to raise taxes on families making above $250,000. That he has not is mainly because of republican opposition. This whole thing about taxes on "millionaires & billionaires" is just a smokescreen for more taxes (whether in 2013 or not).

    One other thing Bill Clinton said was not allowing drilling permits in the gulf of mexico was rediculous. You want to talk about that?

  • sharon on November 10, 2011 12:15 PM:

    You're the one that's lying sir. Perhaps you have a faulty memory. May I remind you that Obama and the democrats (when they had complete control of Congress in 2008/09) swore before God Almighty that those sob rich folks will NOT get the Bush Tax breaks as 'they don't need em' the bast---s". Remember that? Thank God that enough blue dog dems sided with the republicans and said, "No group should have their taxes raised in this horrible economy". Come on, admit it, you blew it but then if I were a lap dog for Obama, I'd be saying the same things.

  • ReadAllSides on November 10, 2011 1:15 PM:

    So, Mr. Benen, you think "long term" is 2013, just 13 months away, and you think that is long term? Businesses typically make 5 year plans which help determine their capacity to hire. Short sighted politicians (and editorialists) create an environment where businesses simply cannot make plans. So what happens? The business sits on cash and waits.