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Karl Rove: I did not pull dirty tricks

Karl Rove said his reputation as a down-and-dirty political campaigner is undeserved. Tricks attributed to him were either media distortions or the work of others, he told TODAY’s Matt Lauer during an interview Monday on TODAY.Rove specifically said he had nothing to do with the smear tactics used against Sen. John McCain in South Carolina during the 2000 Republican presidential primary campaign
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Karl Rove said his reputation as a down-and-dirty political campaigner is undeserved. Tricks attributed to him were either media distortions or the work of others, he told TODAY’s Matt Lauer during an interview Monday on TODAY.

Rove specifically said he had nothing to do with the smear tactics used against Sen. John McCain in South Carolina during the 2000 Republican presidential primary campaign.

During a two-day interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer, the former senior advisor to President George W. Bush insisted he is not a negative campaigner. But Rove grew emotional when he talked about his mother, who committed suicide when he was 30 — possibly, it has been alleged, because Rove’s father may have been gay.

‘A pretty nasty view’

Rove defended himself by saying that the American public cannot possibly be so stupid as to buy into the lies associated with negative campaigns.

In his new book, “Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight,” Rove writes:

“I have become an adjective. There is something called a Rovian-style of campaigning and it’s meant as an insult. One columnist said it consists mainly of throwing mud until it sticks. One prominent blogger described the elements of a textbook Rovian race as fear-based, smear-based and anything goes.”