Karl Rove doesn't.
Speaking to the New York State Conservative Party, President Bush's top advisor claimed liberals tried to obstruct a quick response to the terror attacks.
In his rewrite of history, Mr Rove sought to erase the record of bipartisanship that existed in Washington in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and paint a picture of a divided Washington while the nation was under attack:
"Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war . . . Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said we will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said we must understand our enemies."
Democrats demand an apology. The White House refuses to apologize.
Rove Rewrites History
But historians should demand an apology as well. The record clearly shows a different picture from the one Mr Rove tried to paint. Just look at roll call votes on anti-terror measures in the aftermath of 9/11.
- Senate Joint Resolution 22 stated in part: "[Congress] supports the determination of the President, in close consultation with Congress, to bring to justice and punish the perpetrators of these attacks as well as their sponsors..." -- Passed 100-0 on September 12, 2001
- House Joint Resolution 61 -- the House Version of SJ Resolution 22 -- Passed 408-0 on September 13
- House Joint Resolution 64 -- "To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States." Passed the House 420-1 on September 14, 2001
- Senate Joint Resolution 23 (the Senate version of HJR 64) -- "To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States." It was sponsored in the Senate by noted liberal Sen Tom Daschle. And Passed the Senate 98-0. The two Senators who didn't vote were both Republican
- Senate Bill 1426 committed $40 billion to the War on Terror -- Passed 96-0 on September 14. Four Senators failed to vote, three of them Republicans, one a Republican turned Independent
- The Patriot Act -- Passed the Senate 98-1. Passed the House 357-66
All pretty lopsided votes taking aggressive stands against the people who attacked America on 9/11. Not exactly the division that Mr Rove remembers.
A Political Disaster for Mayor Bloomberg
Mr Rove was supposed to be in New York helping Mayor Michael Bloomberg's (R-NY) re-election. It's created a new problem for the Mayor. Mr Bloomberg's office has put out a statement in sharp disagreement with Mr Rove:
"9/11 was an attack on all of America. In the hard days and weeks that followed, we came together as a City and as a country, united in our resolve not only to defeat terrorism but also to rebuild Lower Manhattan. Ever since, we have tried to keep politics out of the discussion."
Once again, the White House tries to muddy the waters -- trying to make it appear that opponents to the Iraq War also oppose the War on Terror. It comes as polls show public support for the war in Iraq -- and for the President's handling of it -- dropping to all time lows:
"The latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey finds a majority of Americans oppose the war with Iraq -- a substantial change from March when the public was evenly divided. President George W. Bush's overall approval rating remains at 47%, while a majority of Americans, 51%, disapprove."
The Rove comments were simply spin -- from an administration in a tailspin.
[Crossposted at BlogCritics.org]