Two top conservatives are having a disagreement and it’s playing out in the media.
Karl Rove said Sunday that Rush Limbaugh had taken his comment that the Tea Party was “not sophisticated” out of context.
In an interview published online Tuesday, Rove told Der Spiegel that the Tea Party lacks sophistication and is not a “well-organized, coherent, ideologically motivated and conservative revolution.”
“Why would Karl be saying this, Rush?” a listener asked Limbaugh Wednesday. “Why doesn’t Karl learn to keep his mouth shut?”
“It’s not easy for me say here, folks, it really isn’t,” explained Limbaugh. “But it’s what ought to be a euphoric period still indicates that on the Republican side there are divisions and jealousies and egos and competition.”
And the simplest explanation is that the Tea Party cannot be claimed as credit by anybody. Nobody can say, “I am the Tea Party.” Nobody can say, “I started the Tea Party.” Nobody can say, “I saw the Tea Party coming, and I steered it.” Nobody who makes a living generating political support, generating political donations, nobody in that business can point to the Tea Party and say, “I did it.” So it’s a threat.
CBS’ Bob Schieffer gave Rove a chance to comment Sunday.
“I welcome [the Tea Party],” Rove said. “I think it’s one of the most positive and wholesome developments,” he said.
“What [Limbaugh] took out of context was a comment that I made in an interview with a bunch of hostile German reporters where I said, ‘The Tea Party is not sophisticated.’ And my definition of the word sophisticated — I was using the one about pretentiously or superficially wise. These are not people that are skilled in the ways of Washington. They don’t want to be.”
“I consider it to be wholesome, patriotic, and incredibly positive for the country,” he said.
Schieffer seemed shocked that Rove was pushing back against Limbaugh.
“Are you saying — have you come on Face the Nation this morning and said for the record that Rush Limbaugh takes things out of context?” asked Schieffer.
“In this instance he didn’t — he may have commented before he saw the entire interview. Look, he’s a friend of mine and he almost more than anybody else is responsible for encouraging people to educate themselves about the impact of the spending, the deficit and Obamacare so that they have become politically active,” Rove replied.
It’s not the first time Limbaugh has gone after Rove on the air. Just recently, Limbaugh lashed out at Rove’s comments about the Republican Senate candidate from Delaware, Christine O’Donnell.
“I’ve never heard … Karl so animated against a Democrat as he was against Christine O’Donnell last night,” Limbaugh complained following O’Donnell’s nomination.
The next day, Rove reversed himself. “She’s got a shot to win,” he told Fox News.
This video is from CBS’ Face the Nation, broadcast Oct. 24, 2010.