I just got an eyewitness account of the Karl Rove-Laurie David-Sheryl Crow encounter at the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night, and it suggests that David and Crow were a bit more confrontational than they portrayed themselves in their own account of the incident, published in the Huffington Post. In their story, David and Crow write, “The ‘highlight’ of the evening had to be when we were introduced to Karl Rove. How excited were we to have our first opportunity ever to talk directly to the Bush Administration about global warming.”
The eyewitness says the person who introduced David to Rove was the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd. I want you to meet Laurie David, Dowd said to Rove. (These are all approximate recollections, so no quotation marks.) Dowd said David would like to say hello.
According to David and Crow, the encounter began with a polite request. “We asked Mr. Rove if he would consider taking a fresh look at the science of global warming,” they write. “Much to our dismay, he immediately got combative. And it went downhill from there.”
The eyewitness remembers it a bit differently. Immediately after Dowd’s introduction, the witness says, David began lecturing Rove about global warming. This administration has done nothing on the issue, she told Rove. We face a crisis. The time to act is now. This administration has done nothing…
At that point, Rove broke in to say, Well, actually we have done something. Rove mentioned global climate research, at which point David broke in herself to say, You just don’t understand. All these questions have been answered. That’s worthless. That’s useless.
In their account, David and Crow write, “We reminded the senior White House advisor that the U.S. leads the world in global warming pollution and we are doing the least about it. Anger flaring, Mr. Rove immediately regurgitated the official Administration position on global warming which is that the US spends more on researching the causes than any other country.”
The eyewitness says Rove asked David if she had read the IPCC report, referring to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which, while confirming a human role in climate change, substantially undermines some of the most catastrophic charges made in Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” which David produced. David said she had read the report. “We felt compelled to remind him that the research is done and the results [the IPCC report] are in,” David and Crow write. “Mr. Rove exploded with even more venom. Like a spoiled child throwing a tantrum, Mr. Rove launched into a series of illogical arguments regarding China not doing enough thus neither should we. (Since when do we follow China’s lead?)”
In the eyewitness’ version, again, David and Crow are a bit more aggressive than their own story suggests. The eyewitness says David told Rove, You need to bring in new people to tell you the truth. Rove mentioned Dr. John Marburger, the White House science advisor. At that point, according to the eyewitness, Crow began poking Rove’s chest with her finger, demanding to know what corporations were underwriting Marburger’s work. Rove said Marburger had been in academia most of his career.
With Crow jabbing him in the chest, Rove turned to take his seat. Then, the witness says, Crow grabbed his arm. A few more words were exchanged, and it was over. At the Huffington Post, David and Crow described the ending this way: “In his attempt to dismiss us, Mr. Rove turned to head toward his table, but as soon as he did so, Sheryl reached out to touch his arm. Karl swung around and spat, ‘Don’t touch me.’ How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be touched by Sheryl Crow? Unfazed, Sheryl abruptly responded, ‘You can’t speak to us like that, you work for us.’ Karl then quipped, ‘I don’t work for you, I work for the American people.’ To which Sheryl promptly reminded him, ‘We are the American people.’”
In light of the eyewitness’ account, another way of saying it might be, How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be jabbed in the chest by Sheryl Crow?