Rove: Obama attacks are ‘gutter politics of the worst Chicago sort’

Republican strategist Karl Rove called President Obama’s recent attacks on GOP candidate Mitt Romney “gutter politics of the worst Chicago sort” and said the campaign is making a big mistake.

“If the president continues to make this charge — this outrageous charge — that his campaign had that Romney is guilty of felonious activity [and] committed a felony, that’s a big mistake,” said Rove on Fox News Sunday.

“Remember who’s up for grabs in this election: independent voters. They were drawn to Obama in 2008 because he was going to change politics and raise and elevate the political discourse. This is gutter politics of the worst Chicago sort.”

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Romney on Friday called for an apology from Obama after a suggestion from the president’s deputy campaign manager that Romney might have committed a felony by misrepresenting his tenure at Bain to the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Romney says he left the private equity firm in 1999, but SEC filings suggest he had a role beyond that date.

Rove’s super-PAC, American Crossroads, spent $22 million in June and is planning to spend $25 million this month on ads targeting what it says are Obama’s failures as president. Rove defended the intense barrage of negative ads, saying that it’s up to Romney to develop positive campaign messages.

“Romney can develop the positive message,” said Rove. “Somebody needs to continue to remind the American people of the explicit failure of the president to deliver on his promises and to get the economy going, do something about the deficit, put Americans back to work, and change the tone in Washington.”

Also appearing on the same show, Democratic strategist Joe Trippi said Obama’s recent attacks on Romney, which focus on contradictions between when the former Massachusetts governor says he was with the Bain Capital group and when he left, may be a key pivot moment for the president’s campaign because they appear to have caught Romney’s campaign “flat-footed.”

Groups like Rove’s super-PAC are the only thing helping Romney in his battle against Obama, said Trippi.

“I think American Crossroads and the Super-PAC’s is what has been keeping Romney in the game,” he said.