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FILE - Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., is seen at the Republican Leadership Conference at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Mich., in this Sept. 24, 2011 file photo. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) FILE - Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., is seen at the Republican Leadership Conference at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Mich., in this Sept. 24, 2011 file photo. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)  

Liberal-tarian: Rove, Amash spar over ‘liberal Republican’ label

Photo of W. James Antle III
W. James Antle III
Editor, The Daily Caller News Foundation

GOP strategist Karl Rove was caught on tape blasting Michigan Rep. Justin Amash as the “most liberal Republican.”

“The most liberal Republican is Justin Amash of Michigan. Far more liberal than any other Republican,” said Rove, who served as deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush.

The man dubbed “Bush’s Brain” in a New York Times bestseller blamed Amash’s libertarian leanings for this distinction.

“And why? Because he is a 100 percent, purist libertarian,” Rove said, “and if it’s not entirely perfect, ‘I’m voting with [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi.”

Rove actually made the remarks at the Aspen Ideas Festival in late June, but journalist Andrew Kirell tweeted out the video Monday. It was subsequently picked  by a libertarian blog and local media in Michigan.

Amash indirectly replied on Twitter that an OpenCongress.org scoresheet showed he was the House Republican who votes least often with Pelosi.

The second-term Michigan Republican was one of three House members to receive a 100 percent rating from the conservative Club for Growth in 2012. Heritage Action also rated him as one of the most conservative members of Congress during his first term.

But the Washington magazine National Journal rated Amash the fifth most liberal Republican, in part because he was the House Republican who voted least often with his party.

Amash was also removed from the House Budget Committee after voting against a Republican budget proposal on the grounds that it did not cut spending or reach balance quickly enough.

Rove angered some conservatives earlier this year when his Conservative Victory Project was regarded as competition for the tea party.

The Bush administration also drew conservative criticism for overseeing the Medicare prescription drug benefit, No Child Left Behind, and increases in federal spending, as well as proposing what opponents described as amnesty for illegal immigrants.

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