It’s really gotten personal between Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and GOP guru Karl Rove, with Cruz calling Rove a liar and Rove dissing Cruz for once calling himself “the next Mario Rubio.”
And for good measure, Cruz says Rove suggested Bush 41 was “too old to have good judgment anymore” - which Rove hotly denies saying.
Excerpts from Cruz’s about-to-be released book, “A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America,” published by Brietbart, a conservative news outlet, ignited the fight over the weekend between Cruz, a presidential candidate with a tea party following and Rove, long-time adviser to the Bush family, including President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush.
Cruz recounts a meeting he had with President George H.W. Bush in 2009 when he was seeking support to run for attorney general of Texas and received a check for $1,000. “Karl had found out about my meeting with George H.W. Bush and called me on the phone,” Cruz wrote. “He was irate, demanding, ‘What in the hell do you think you are doing?!’”
In a passage in the book, Cruz said that Rove was “in the process of helping raise money for the George W. Bush presidential library in Dallas,” and that “Texas donors were giving the Bushes tens of millions, including major donors who were supporting the Dallas state rep who wanted to run for attorney general,” so those donors “were now berating Karl.”
Texas State Representative Dan Branch, unnamed in the account, was planning a run if Attorney General Greg Abbott did not run for re-election.
Cruz said Rove told him to return the money but it was already cashed.
Rove fired back in an online posting Sunday on medium.com saying he was surprised at Cruz’s version of events.
“My recollection of the phone call he references from six years ago (2009) differs from his reported account,” said Rove.
“My concern then was that Mr. Cruz had solicited a contribution for a possible attorney general race from the former president without making it clear that incumbent Attorney General Greg Abbott had yet to make a decision about seeking re-election. This put President George H.W. Bush potentially in the position of opposing a sitting officeholder who had previously been appointed to the Texas Supreme Court by his son, then-Governor George W. Bush. General Abbott decided later in 2009 that he would seek reelection the following year.”
Abbott is now governor, having been elected in 2014.
“My call to Mr. Cruz apparently didn’t offend him back then because he continued seeking my counsel about his political ambitions, specifically his 2012 bid for the U.S. Senate. One piece of advice I offered was that he should stop describing himself as the ‘next Marco Rubio,’ since he did not have Senator Rubio’s outstanding legislative record of accomplishments as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives,” wrote Rove.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is also running for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
Cruz responded sharply. “I have known Karl Rove for a long time, and have considered him a friend. I understood that my recounting in my book A Time for Truth the threats he made in the 2009 Texas Attorney General race—and the disparaging remarks he made about President George H.W. Bush—would cause him some discomfort.”
“But I never imagined that his response would be a straight-out falsehood. It’s disappointing; this is why people are so cynical about politics, because too many people are willing to lie,” said Cruz.
The Texas senator then released emails from the time of the conversations that appear to bolster Cruz’s re-telling that Rove was unhappy about President Bush’s contribution at a time when there was fundraising for President George W. Bush’s library. “Karl admits, in writing, that his concern was for “the people raising money for the library who are also [then Texas Rep. Dan] Branch fans and will not understand why one part of the Bush family is for not-the-guy while they are raising money big bucks for library,” writes Cruz.
However, there is nothing in the emails released by Cruz that disparages Bush 41 - an allegation that is a sore point with Rove. “I am accustomed to being criticized for others’ political benefit, but am disappointed in how Senator Cruz decided to raise the name of one of the finest presidents our country has ever known, President George H.W. Bush,” said Rove, who said he had revered the former president since he first met him when he was 22.