Karl Rove on Obama 'Arrogant' Comment, New York Times Outing CIA Agent

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 24, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight: We have three interesting topics for political analyst Karl ROVE: Congress looking at oil speculators, The New York Times outing a CIA agent, and the Obama-McCain polls. Most of those have Obama with a slight lead, except for the Newsweek poll, which has Obama up by 15 points. Mr. Rove joins us now from Washington.

All right. Newsweek, as we've discussed here, has become a far-left publication. But they did hire you as a columnist, one of two conservatives, as opposed to nine liberal columnists. That sounds fair and balanced to me. But you don't believe this poll, do you, that Obama is up 15 on McCain?

KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH ADVISER: No, I don't. That's what we call an outlier or an outwriter. If you look at it, the other polls show anything from 1 to 6 or 7 points. My suspicion is he's up 3 or 4 or 5 points today.

O'REILLY: OK, why would Newsweek put out a bogus poll?

ROVE: Well, look, Newsweek's poll, and I say this with great respect for Newsweek, having been hired as a columnist for this year and next, but that poll has habitually been the outlier. That is to say in previous elections, it's been the poll that has been — tended to be more generous to Democrats and less generous to Republicans.

O'REILLY: Do you feel uneasy about writing for that publication now that it is a committed far-left publication? As I said...

ROVE: Well...

O'REILLY: ...two conservatives, you and George Will? Nine, at least, liberals.

ROVE: Well, I like having an opportunity to voice an opinion and give some analysis. And I know I'm among people who don't necessarily think like I do, and I welcome the opportunity to try and educate them straight.

O'REILLY: Very diplomatic, Mr. Rove. ABC News has a report on its Web site that you were at a country club and said Obama is an arrogant guy. Is that true?

ROVE: Well, I wasn't at a country club. I was at the National Republican — the Capitol Hill Club, which is a Republican club on Capitol Hill. Look, I'm not going to get into what I said in an off the record event. But I will say, yes, I do think Barack Obama is arrogant. And I think we saw examples of that last week, at least three or four examples of it.

We saw it when he, you know, earlier on, he made a big thing about he wanted to strengthen the public financing system. He said absolutely he would take taxpayer dollars in the general election if the Republican agreed to take taxpayer dollars and abide by the $85 million limit — spending limit.

And then, you know, that was when he didn't think he could raise money. Now that he knows that he can raise money, he's decided the rules shouldn't apply, and he reversed course on Thursday and said...

O'REILLY: But don't most politicians flip-flop on certain issues?

ROVE: You know, but here's the deal. First of all, this is a guy who claims to be different. How can you claim to be different if you do the same old, same old? And not only that, but this was an unbelievable — and he said I will strengthen the system, of course I'll abide by it, this is really important to me. And then turn around with the greatest of ease and said you know what, it doesn't matter because I've now figured out to go in this direction benefits me more.

And look, it's not just the only one we saw last week. We saw it on town halls. Early on, he said yes, I'll meet John McCain any place, anywhere. John McCain says, look, let's travel and jointly, and together and do 10 town halls between now and the time of the national conventions, one a week. And we'll go every — let's agree on places and let's go together. We can travel together.

It was an interesting idea. And suddenly, "Mr. Anywhere, Any time" became a — he offered up two. He said let's do one on the Fourth of July, on the night of the Fourth of July when every ambulatory American is going to be eating a hot dog or watching fireworks. And the other one in August. And when McCain said look, let's have a serious discussion about having more than that, his answer was take it or leave it. That's the quote.

O'REILLY: So I can put it down in my book that Karl Rove thinks Barack Obama is an arrogant guy. OK.

Speculators, you and I shot it out last week on speculators. I said that they're not good for the country. You kind of defended them a little bit. Now Congress is going after them. Obama's going after them. McCain's going to have to go after them. OPEC is going after them. Everybody but you are going after the oil speculators, Mr. Rove.

ROVE: Well, remember, remember, OPEC wants everybody to be focused on the speculators because OPEC and the people who are opposed to speculators share something in common, which is they don't want to drill more. OPEC likes having the blame put onto the speculators…

O'REILLY: Sure, I agree with that.

ROVE: …rather than OPEC being a cartel limiting production.

O'REILLY: Absolutely. I think that's absolutely true. But I do think the speculators have run wild. The stats show that the investment has gone up 10,000 percent, and that they can do a lot of damage very quickly manipulating the market. I think Congress has to provide some oversight on this, do you not?

ROVE: Well, you know, what's interesting to me is Barack Obama, No. 1 thing is he says we need to close the so-called Enron loophole. And he's going around talking a lot about it. And so are members of Congress, Democrats.

The problem is when they passed the farm bill earlier this spring, the farm bill closed the Enron loophole. So that's why the Congress is now getting up to a point where it can't figure out exactly what it's going to do and is going to delay action on this until later in the summer.

O'REILLY: All right. I mean, it's just a big mess. And I think that some message has to be sent on the speculation to help the folks.

Finally, The New York Times excoriated you over a number of years about the Valerie Plame leak, where she was working for the CIA, and then somebody, you identified Armitage in the State Department as leaking her name to the press.

Well, now, last week, The New York Times outed a CIA agent — I'm not going to mention his name — who interrogated Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Now the CIA asked The New York Times not to do that. It obviously puts the CIA agent in danger because Al Qaeda knows who he is. And they say well, we'll out anybody unless they're undercover. Since you were involved with this, how could you respond to that?

ROVE: Well, look, The New York Times has a double standard. It is deeply concerned when Richard Armitage outed Valerie Plame. Of course, they were only concerned until the point that it became apparent that it was Richard Armitage, not Karl Rove.

But The New York Times has a habit, they did this. They previously, against the objection of all of our intelligence agencies, revealed the existence of programs to monitor the electronic communications of known and suspected terrorists abroad. And they've got a very callous view about our nation's security and interests.

O'REILLY: Do you know why they're behind that? Why would they want to put this guy's name in the paper? It's not important to the story. They could tell the story without it. Why...

ROVE: Well, I read their explanation, and basically it sounded to me like they were saying we put his name out there because we decided we could. And I mean, they didn't have a good explanation for it.

O'REILLY: No, they don't. They don't. You know, I wish I could read minds. Again, I know what Imus thinks. And then I know what The New York Times thinks. But to me, you put the man in danger for no good reason. And after the Valerie Plame stuff where they just went crazy on it, and it's the same kind of deal, you don't want to put any of our intelligence people, whether it's Ms. Plame or anybody else, in danger, and they do exactly the opposite.

ROVE: Look, they put our country at risk when they reveal the details of a program that saved America from attacks.

O'REILLY: But see, they think that you put our country at risk, Mr. Rove. You see? That's where they're coming from.

ROVE: Every single day, they think I put America at risk.

O'REILLY: I get that. And that's where we are in the United States. Always a pleasure to see you. Thanks, Mr. Rove.

ROVE: Good to see you.

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