White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Tuesday mocked criticism from Karl Rove that the President had a veritable "enemies list" who he targeted from his Executive Office perch.
Asked about the charge leveled by the former Bush strategist, Gibbs resorted to rudimentary animation. "Swing and a miss strike three," he said, before pulling a blank piece of white scrap paper from the podium and adding: "Let me do this: I'm releasing our enemies list. No one is on it. Now can I see the donors to American Crossroads?"
The group that Rove helped found, American Crossroads is one of several major conservative entities that have spent heavily in this election season without fully disclosing the names of its donors. In recent weeks, the White House has worked hard to turn that secrecy into a liability, launching a full-scale attack on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in particular after reports surfaced that they take in foreign funds. The attack itself has been controversial, as no definitive proof exists that the Chamber has used international money on campaign ads it's run (the business lobby won't disclose their records but insist that they have an internal filter in place). But when asked about those fact-checks by a reporter from Politico, Gibbs seemed undeterred.
"It doesn't bother me at all because I don't see, if I was an enterprising reporter that worked at some place like Politico I might ask the Chamber of Commerce to let me see their donors," he said. "That seems like a pretty simple way to solve the debate...They say they take money from overseas, we know they are spending $75 to $80 million running ads. Lets see where the money comes from to pay for those ads. There is an easy way to prove it all wrong."
Pressed specifically on the counter-argument that several progressive institutions (including labor unions) don't disclose their donors either, the White House Press Secretary again turned to Rove.
"Let's be clear because this is a very convenient Rovian trick," he said. "If the Center for American Progress is running ads as the President said standing before the American people the House and Senate and the Supreme Court, the President believes those donors should be identified. If the Center for American Progress, or Think Progress or Josh Earnest's Future America plan is not actually running the ads, the Disclose Act was, if you are running the ads you should disclose who is paying for them. That's what the President believes."