Former George W. Bush senior advisor Karl Rove and former Barack Obama senior advisor David Plouffe got into quite a heated debate on ABC’s This Week Sunday.
When Plouffe claimed the ongoing Internal Revenue Service scandal wasn’t political, Rove pushed back twice saying “Baloney.”
DAVID PLOUFFE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO BARACK OBAMA: But there's been no suggestion. The independent, the prosecutor looked at this - excuse me, the inspector general - said there was no politics involved in this. No one has indicated at all that the White House is involved. The IRS director was appointed under President Bush, served under both presidents, attested. No one from, so this was not a political pursuit.
KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO GEORGE W. BUSH: Baloney. Baloney.
PLOUFFE: Not baloney, Karl.
ROVE: If it was not political then why are only conservative groups being targeted?
PLOUFFE: There were liberal groups targeted.
ROVE: Oh really? Name one. Name one. But what conservative, what liberal group had Tea Party or patriot in its name that it was targeted? Not a single liberal group has appeared to say…
PLOUFFE: You're taking license here, Karl.
ROVE: No, I'm not. I am not at all.
PLOUFFE: This was not an effort driven by the White House. It would be the dumbest political effort of all time. Okay? This was IRS people…
ROVE: I didn't suggest it was being driven by the White House. But I do think when the President…
PLOUFFE: So you think people sitting in the Cincinnati office decided…
ROVE: No, no, I think people sitting in Cincinnati, Laguna Nigel, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., listened to Senator Max Baucus, Senator Chuck Schumer, President Obama. When President Obama goes out in 2008, 2010 and calls these groups quote “a threat to democracy,” he's blowing the dog whistle.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: How do you explain it when the administrator who was overseeing this went back and said actually narrow the guidelines, was trying to get them to change and they wouldn't do it?
ROVE: Well look, that's my point. We have a culture at the IRS that has been going after conservative groups, and this administration has done an ineffective job of managing it. When this issue came up in 2010, if the administration was serious about it, President Obama should have picked up the phone and called Geithner at Treasury and said, “You better get your secretary for Treasury or the undersecretary to check into this because this is corrosive of our democracy to have the IRS targeting conservative groups."