By Stacy Drake
Barack Obama named Pete Rouse Interim Chief of Staff Friday, after Rahm Emanuel announced he was leaving the administration to run for Mayor of Chicago. During the White House briefing, Jake Tapper from ABC News asked Robert Gibbs a few questions regarding the new chief. Here is a portion of the transcript of the Q & A Tapper posted to ABC’s website:
TAPPER: And then on Pete Rouse, I wonder if first of all if you could talk about his — or explain why he’s a registered voter in Alaska.
GIBBS: He’s not.
TAPPER: He’s not a registered voter…
GIBBS: No. He’s a registered voter in the District of Columbia.
TAPPER: He did vote absentee ballot in — in Alaska in 2008.
GIBBS: I — I can check on that. I know — I was talking to Pete yesterday. He voted, I think — I don’t know who, but — who he voted for, but he voted in the mayor’s race here.
TAPPER: OK. And Governor Palin, former Governor Palin has insinuated that Rouse — she suspected Rouse was part of a plot against her. She wrote about this in her book. She’s tweeted about it — tweeted suggestions about this recently. I was just wondering if you guys have any comment on that.
GIBBS: No. I mean, you know, it — it’s a fairly silly accusation that is baseless.
TAPPER: So he has — he had nothing to do with any of the attacks against…
TAPPER: OK. Thank you.
Clearly Gibbs was trying to shrug off Jake Tapper’s questions regarding the matter. Questions originally brought up by Governor Palin in her book and on Twitter. While Gibbs may try to brush off her ‘accusations’ as “silly” and “baseless,” a quick study of Rouse’s links to Alaska will tell you that they are actually quite sensible. Considering Rouse’s position then and now, is it irrational to consider that Rouse had something to do with certain attacks against the governor when he happened to know many of the key players involved? Is it out of the question to bring to light the fact that many of these occurrences happened at opportune times for the Obama campaign? In another time and place, I may wonder why this hasn’t been investigated by more members of the press. However, it’s the modern day and age, so I already know the answer to that.
Supporters of Governor Palin are well aware of Kim Elton, from “Tasergate” fame. Personally, I feel Ace best painted an accurate picture of Elton when he said the following:
Sen. Elton is known for one thing and one thing only. He led the Democratic assault on Governor Sarah Palin for the “Troopergate” scandal that wasn’t.
You remember “Troopergate”. Governor Palin spent the summer of the election campaign fighting unfounded charges that she had exceeded her authority by firing a renegade, tazer-happy State Trooper. Ultimately she was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The Alaska Daily News posted a story on February 21st 2009 titled, “Senior Obama adviser has Alaska roots.” The piece describes Pete Rouse’s relationship with Kim Elton (emphasis mine):
I’m sure he abstained from commenting about the matter with a key adviser to Obama, who also just so happened to be one of his “best friends.” Politicians are usually known for keeping their word and their trustworthy nature, right? Elton was willing to fork over $2,250 to the Obama campaign, but he wouldn’t mention the investigation he was in charge of conducting against their political rival. Call it deductive reasoning if you like, but I have a hard time buying it.
Shortly after the election in 2008, Kim Elton was given a post in the Obama Administration in the Interior Department. The Juneau Empire reported:
Sen. Kim Elton, who has represented Juneau in the Senate, House and Assembly for nearly two decades, has accepted a position in the administration of President Barack Obama. The 60-year-old legislator will now be dealing with Alaska issues in the Department of Interior.
Elton, a prominent Obama supporter in Juneau, was named chairman of a committee that investigated Palin’s firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan last summer. That position was later engulfed in controversy after Palin was nominated to be Sen. John McCain’s running mate in the presidential election. Palin then abandoned her pledge to cooperate with the investigation and many Republican lawmakers argued partisan politics were at work.
Pete Rouse also has a connection to former Alaska Governor, Democrat Tony Knowles. One of the men Governor Palin beat in 2006 to become Alaska’s youngest and first female governor. In 2004, Rouse worked on Knowles unsuccessful Senate campaign.
In 2008, after John McCain selected Governor Palin to be his running mate, the Obama campaign set up a political hit-team called “Alaskan Mythbusters.” The group was headed up by Rouse associate, Tony Knowles. The “Mythbusters” had the ironic task of creating misleading political attacks, specifically on Governor Palin. They also spent a lot of time talking about Kim Elton’s “ethics” investigation.
While all of this information is circumstantial, it makes sense that Obama’s Deputy Campaign Manager in 2008, the person in charge of coordinating aspects of their game-plan would contact people he already knew. It certainly isn’t “silly” for Governor Palin to point out that Rouse has ties to Alaska. As far as he being at the center of some plot… After the level of attacks she has endured from her political foes, what would you think if you were in her shoes?
Update: My friend Gary pointed out to me that the quote I posted here from Ace could be interpreted to mean that Governor Palin fired Michael Wooten. I took it to mean all charges were “unfounded” but I don’t want anyone to be confused about the matter. She did not fire Wooten. The actual charge was that she “abused her power.” A charge she was later cleared of any wrong doing in. The lefts politically motivated charge was that she tried to pressure Walt Monegan to fire the abusive, law-breaking trooper, and when he didn’t she fired him. She never fired Monegan and there were other factors playing a role when she instead, tried to re-assign him.
Nonetheless, It’s pretty clear the details of this story were obscured by the left and some in the media throughout the campaign and even after it had been proven that Governor Palin did nothing wrong.