Karl Rove Forced To Defend Bush Immigration Policy - On Fox News?
If you listen to the Obama administration, Democrats, and the mainstream media, Fox News is just an echo chamber for Republican talking points as well as a proud defender of former President George W. Bush.
Fox fans counter that this is the only television network where liberals and conservatives regularly are allowed to voice their views while getting challenged by hosts and anchors.
Thursday's "O'Reilly Factor" was a perfect example of this premise.
The host's guest was Karl Rove, and the former Bush adviser was certainly NOT treated with kid gloves by the very contentious and argumentative host.
As you watch the following clip, try to imagine a member of the Obama administration being so forcefully grilled on any mainstream television station (video follows with transcript):
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can't turn law abiding American citizens and law abiding immigrants into subjects of suspicion and abuse. We can't divide the American people that way. That's not the answer. That's not who we are as the United States of America. And that's why I have instructed my administration to closely monitor the new law in Arizona.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Well, with all due respect, Mr. President, instead of monitoring, you should be building. You, President Clinton and President Bush all failed to secure the Mexican border. Let me repeat that. Those three presidents have failed to secure the border.
There's no reason on earth, no reason on earth that the most powerful country in the world cannot control its southern border. The Feds can do it. They simply won't do it largely for political reasons.
So the state of Arizona faced with an overwhelming crime problem, social chaos and a bankrupt treasury had to do something. So they passed the new law. And now anybody who supports the law is being branded racist in the far left precincts. If that doesn't make you angry, nothing will.
Hispanic Americans are not at fault. Indeed some of them support tough measures to get illegal immigration under control. As "Talking Points" has stated, if one group is singled out for anything, that group is not going to be happy. We understand. But all Americans, all Americans should support what's best for the country. And a porous border is certainly not good for the USA.
It's really a very simple issue. We can't have millions of people walking in here unaccountable. The federal government is obligated to help Arizona and every other state.
Coming up, we'll take to you a high school where students are at each other's throats over the issue. That's awful. It shouldn't be happening. It's way beyond time for all fair mind Americans to rally together and solve the immigration mess. And that's the Memo.
Now for the top story tonight. Let's bring in FOX News analyst Karl Rove, the author of the big bestseller "Courage and Consequence," who is in San Antonio, Texas this evening.
So you disagree with me a little on this, don't you?
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I agree with some of what you have to say. I strongly disagree with some of what you have to say.
O'REILLY: All right, give me the strongly disagree.
O'REILLY: Give me the strongly disagree.
ROVE: Well, look, you said neither Clinton, Bush, nor Obama got control of the border. The border is a lot tougher today than it was 15 years ago. You used to be able to hire a coyote to get you out of Northern Mexico.
O'REILLY: It's better now, but it's still easy to get it.
ROVE: No, no, it's not that easy to get it. And that's the problem, because the tougher it is, the more dangerous the weak points along the border like Arizona are because, look, if you're trying to come up here and pick onions or change beds in some hotel in Las Vegas and get a job doing that, the risk-reward ratio is no longer very good for you. But if you are a drug dealer, you've got to get your product north and you're your money and guns south. That's why we had this terrible murder in Southeast Arizona because the porous part of the border, the most -- the weakest part of the border today is along the Arizona, particularly in more rural parts.
O'REILLY: Okay, but it shouldn't be. Look, look, look, look. Under President Bush, you put in the virtual fence. $50 million virtual fence.
ROVE: No, no, we started the virtual fence.
O'REILLY: Under President Bush, that fence was erected, Mr. Rove.
ROVE: No, no, we started it. Yeah, you bet.
O'REILLY: $50 million wasted. Wasted.
ROVE: No, no, no not at all.
O'REILLY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
ROVE: You got to try -- we had -- hey, look, Bill, you've got to try everything. And we put up the fence. We put up sensors that did work. We put up watch tours that worked, but we tried everything. And you can't start something as important as this and throw as much money as we did and expect to have everything work perfectly.
O'REILLY: That's a good point and I cede that point. I cede that point.
ROVE: We doubled the size of the border patrol and tripled the budget and did everything we did, try and work you out. But you got to give Bush credit. Bush, for example, ended 30 years of the practice of catch and release, where we took OTM's, other than Mexicans and released them on their own recognizance and told them to show up.
O'REILLY: Mr. Rove?
ROVE: He ended that practice by spending a lot of money.
O'REILLY: Mr. Rove, you guys did some good things, but you also were slow--
ROVE: And so did President Clinton.
O'REILLY: You were slow.
O'REILLY: It took me five years to pound you guys into sending Guard to the border. After five years of me pounding you, you did it. That was far too slow.
O'REILLY: Secondly, secondly--
ROVE: Bill, I hate to tell you, Bill, I hate to tell you--
O'REILLY: Hold it, hold it. Let me get mine--
ROVE: --but governors had something--
O'REILLY: I let you have yours. Let me have mine. Let me have mine.
ROVE: All right.
O'REILLY: You were slow to get the Guard to the border. That's a fact. The second thing is this is the most powerful country on earth. We can control the South Korean border, but we can't control the southern border. You're right. Some sectors, San Ysidro in Diego, some parts of Texas are virtually impenetrable. They can't get through, but Arizona, New Mexico, other parts of Texas, you can. Imperial County, California. And that is a disgrace for the most powerful country in the world.
O'REILLY: The federal government can do this. Go.
ROVE: Bill, you know, your analogy that we're like North and South Korea, armed states, we aren't. We're not North and South Korea. We have millions of people south of the border who are trying to come across a very long and very porous border. It's gotten a lot tougher. I wish you would give the border patrol and give the government some confidence that they're getting -- doing a better job.
O'REILLY: I'll give the border patrol, but I won't give the feds. I will not give the federal government.
O'REILLY: It should have been done a long time ago.
ROVE: The border patrol--
O'REILLY: What is -- is Obama sealing that border now? I don't think he is.
ROVE: No. And I do -- and look, I do have some concerns because I'm picking up. I spent last weekend out in West Texas talking with people in the border patrol and in communities affected by this issue. There is -- they have anecdotal evidence that this administration is cutting back the budget of the border patrol. There's evidence that they are making the recruitment classes at the facilities for border patrol smaller.
O'REILLY: Well, we will report that--
ROVE: Let me finish, Bill. And they have stopped, I understand, the building of the fence in Arizona. The physical fence, which has proved to be one of the better things to help us control the flow across the border.
O'REILLY: We'll investigate that and find out what's true and isn't. But look, look, it's -- the frustration that I and millions of my viewers tonight feel is that we don't want to be persecuting Hispanic Americans or pulling them over. And the cops certainly don't want to be chasing gardeners and house painters around. But the federal government of the United States has an obligation to protect us. And they have not done it.
O'REILLY: You can seal down a border. It is possible and doable, but it hasn't been done. I'll give you the last word.
ROVE: Well, Bill, yeah, Bill, look, it does require you to do things that we may not want to do.
O'REILLY: Good, do them.
ROVE: Like have a biometric, national identification card for everybody.
O'REILLY: Do them.
ROVE: You saw the trouble we got into. We spent years trying to get driver's licenses with biometrics in it. And we got eight states that will not participate in them today.
O'REILLY: Then cut off their highway funds. Cut off their funds.
ROVE: Well, easy to say, hard to do, Bill.
O'REILLY: All right.
ROVE: Easy to say, hard to do.
O'REILLY: Complicated problems are hard. And I -- it's not easy, but it's got to stop. We're at a juncture in our history. It's got to stop. Mr. Rove, always a pleasure to see you.
Imagine that. A former high-ranking official in the Bush administration goes on Fox News and is forcefully grilled about his boss's policy concerning a controversial issue.
On Fox News, the Republican echo chamber?
Exit question: Would you like to see members of the current Administration grilled like that when they appear on mainstream television programs?