On ABC News' "This Week," famed political consultant Karl Rove clashed with Ariana Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, and former White House adviser David Plouffe, over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservatives.
The debate heated up when Huffington charged that the 501(c)(4) groups that were targeted were too political in nature. And after she invoked Crossroads GPS, an organization Rove helped launch, the former Bush administration official challenged her assertions.
"I’m sure if we looked at Crossroads GPS, it’s all about politics," Huffington said, spawning an instantaneous reaction from the political consultant.
Photo Credit: ABC News
“Please. [Crossroads'] leadership knew right from the get-go that they were going to be looked at, closely. So the laws and rules that the IRS has promulgated for decades were followed very closely by GPS for exactly that," he said, noting that these groups anticipated increased scrutiny.
While Huffington said that she has the same views about liberal 501(c)(4) groups, Rove shot back that her claim is the first time he has heard someone on the left speak out against groups that align with left-of-center ideological perspective.
And this wasn't the only clash that took place. Rove and Plouffe also faced-off. The former fought back against claims from the latter that the IRS targeting wasn't political in nature. Here's how ABC News recaps a portion of the dialogue:
“There’s been no suggestion— the Inspector General said there was no politics involved in this,” Plouffe said this morning on “This Week.” “This was not an effort driven by the White House. It would be the dumbest political effort of all time.”
Rove, who co-founded the GOP affiliated outside spending group “American Crossroads,” argued that IRS workers in offices across the country may have taken direction, inadvertently, from top Democrats.
"I think people sitting in Cincinnati, Laguna Niguel, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. listen to people like Senator Max Baucus, Senator Chuck Schumer, President Obama,” Rove said. “When President Obama goes out in 2010 and calls these groups ‘a threat to democracy’ he’s blowing a dog whistle.”
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