Given the personnel onstage it was no surprise the Fox News panel was packed and there were no pauses between questions. The session was presented ostensibly to promote the news net's upcoming election coverage with new analysts on the right, Karl Rove, and left, Howard Wolfson, and host Chris Wallace. But a part of the session was given over to the reporters alternating between asking pointed questions and defensive ones to and about Rove to Fox News exec John Moody.
"It's a little unusual to have Mr. Rove here, frankly, when I think Congress would rather be talking to you. Mr. Moody does it undercut your credibility a little bit on your station when you have somebody with so much political baggage and is under subpoena?"
After Moody tried to make light of it he responded, "No. Mr. Rove is a certified authority on the electoral process, on politics, his track record speaks for itself. You know, his current difference of opinion with Congress is between him and Congress, and we consider ourselves very fortunate to have him here working for us."
And then there was this exchange:
"Mr. Rove. Now that you've left the administration, did it make sense to appoint the head of a horse show association to be the head of FEMA? Did you support the appointment of Michael Brown?"
"Well, I think it was a little bit more qualified than that, but on that one, you'll have to wait for my book, unfortunately, which will be available in the Fall of 2009 for $29.95."
And then there was this, when a reporter trying to get his attention said "Mr. Rove, over here on your right," without missing a beat he said "That's hard to get on my right, man."
In other Fox News news...
Wallace and Rove both spoke fondly and eloquently about the recent death of Tony Snow, former White House press secretary and Fox News employee, with Rove calling him "the definition of grace and courage."
Rove and Wolfson both admitted that with their backgrounds- Wolfson is a longtime Democratic operative who worked on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign - that they are not checking their ideologies at the door but focusing on applying their experience to their analysis.
In appraising what went wrong with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's bid for president, Rove blamed inconsistencies of presentation. "He did probably the best job of any of the Republican candidates, but when it came to his own performance, the kind of things he was used to doing when he ran in a relatively small geographical area over a relatively short period of time, didn't serve him well in running across a large number of states over a very long extended period of time."
Rove also said that he doesn't believe that Sen. Barack Obama is anti-American or Muslim and that he doesn't think it's "particularly healthy for the right blogosphere to harp on this."