Conservative guru Karl Rove accused President Obama’s campaign Thursday of “suppressing the vote,” placing the blame on the incumbent and partially on Mitt Romney’s own efforts for the results of Tuesday’s election.
Appearing on Fox News, where he enthusiastically contested the network’s call of Ohio in favor of Obama earlier in the week, Rove said that Obama had “succeeded by suppressing the vote,” particularly by denigrating “Romney’s character, business acumen, experience.”
Turnout for this year’s election, as evaluated by exit polls conducted by Edison Media Research, dropped for the first time since 1996, falling from an estimated peak of 131 million in 2008 to 129 million, though growing turnout among several minority groups proved to be decisive for Obama.
Rove formerly advised President George W. Bush and currently is an advisor to two prominent independent groups that combined spent more than $170 million during the election. During the same appearance on Fox, he critiqued the Romney campaign’s handling of the former Massachusetts governor’s tenure at Bain Capital.
“We [American Crossroads] don’t do defense all that well,” Rove said, adding, “Sometimes the most effective response in politics is to respond directly to the charge.”
Rove’s evaluation joins a growing Republican choir trying to make sense of their candidate’s defeat, and pinpoint just where the cracks in Romney’s armor were hiding. Conservative pundit George Will blamed Romney’s opposition to the Dream act. Ann Coulter, calling Romney “one of the best presidential candidates the Republicans have ever fielded,” credited Obama’s incumbency for the loss.
But one conservative stalwart, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, has called for a freeze to the agonized post-mortems.
“If you’re so doggone good at this, when will we see your name on the ballot? I’m just curious if you’ll let me know, because I want to sit back and watch to see how it ought to be done,” he said, addressing the punditry on “The Mike Huckabee Show” Thursday.