Boy did he.
Strickland, appearing on "Fox News Sunday,” labeled the ongoing “Bridge-gate scandal” in New Jersey where the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee was politically targeted for traffic congestion due to the local mayor’s opposition to the New Jersey governor.
The former Ohio governor accused Christie of either lying about his non-involvement or incompetent to be the governor.
Strickland, a well-known critic of Gov. Chris Christie, once the front-runner in the GOP for the presidential nod in 2016, blamed the whole incident on political retaliation.
That lit a fire under Karl Rove.
He told Sunday's "Fox News Sunday" moderator Chris Wallace,” that Strickland “is hardly the person Democrats should be sending out to attack Christie.” Rove pointedly said Strickland's own appointees had dug up private information on "Joe the Plumber" during the 2008 presidential election after the private citizen challenged then-candidate Barack Obama about his plans to redistribute wealth.
As a tight-smiled Strickland looked on helplessly, the well prepared Rove said, "Now, is Gov. Strickland, to adopt his standard, either incompetent or lying, simply because it was his appointee who did these things?"
In actuality, an inspector general's report indeed found Ohio Department of Job & Family Services Director Helen Jones-Kelly guilty of having no legitimate reason to search the records of Joseph Wurzelbacher, popularly known as "Joe the Plumber."
The governor suspended her for “other reasons” before she ultimately resigned.
As the debate grew in heat, Strickland denied any similarity in the cases. He countered that even though Christie's former aide, Bridget Anne Kelly, had been fired, the key questions remain – Who clogged lanes in Fort Lee last September?
Rove immediately shot back, "Who told your employment commissioner to do what she did? Strickland, looking like a deer in the headlights weakly denied the “Joe the Plumber” story once again.
As for Republicans who have their eyes on expected Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, Rove suggested they stick to the positive.
The debate/argument ended with Strickland meekly offering to provide a seething Rove with his phone number to continue the “conversation.”
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