Schumer jabs Rove over election record

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) on Thursday jabbed at Karl Rove, arguing the veteran GOP strategist’s reputation has taken a big hit after Tuesday’s election.

Rove was the political mastermind behind President George W. Bush’s campaign and went on to help found one of the biggest Republican-allied super-PACs, American Crossroads, and its nonprofit advocacy arm, Crossroads GPS.

Those groups raised and spent more than $300 million to influence Tuesday’s election, in which President Obama ended up winning every swing state except North Carolina. Florida is still counting its votes, but the president leads there.

ADVERTISEMENT
“Karl Rove’s reputation is going to take a significant hit,” Schumer told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.

“If Crossroads were a business and Rove were the CEO, he would get fired for getting poor return for his investors,” Schumer said.

It’s not just Schumer, the veteran Democratic senator who led his party to huge Senate majorities in 2006 and 2008, taking shots at Rove. The strategist and Fox News commentator has also come under some fire from Republicans — including Donald Trump.

“Congrats to @KarlRove on blowing $400 million this cycle,” the business mogul, who flirted with running as a Republican for president, tweeted on Wednesday.

He wrote that the GOP had lost every race where Crossroads ran ads, an inaccurate statement that nonetheless seemed to reflect the mood of some on the right.

Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for American Crossroads, slammed Schumer.

"Given the morass and wreckage in New York after Hurricane Sandy, it’s sad that Chuck Shumer would try to score cheap political points using one-sided data to tell a false story," he said in a statement to The Hill. "Democrats leveraged their incumbencies to extract huge financial advantages over their incumbents in 2012, and Republican super-PACs leveled the playing field, keeping the election close until the very end."

American Crossroads invested in 10 Senate races in 2012, according to the Sunlight Foundation, and only won in two of them: Nebraska and Nevada.

Rove has also received unwanted attention for suggesting that Fox News called the race for Obama too soon when it projected the president as the winner of Ohio.

On air, as Fox declared Obama had been reelected, Rove argued figures from the Ohio secretary of state’s office suggested a much closer race. The video has shown up on political blogs across the country.

Schumer also mocked Rove’s contention on television Tuesday evening that super-PACs had reduced Obama’s margins in battleground states compared to 2008.

“His explanation was, ‘Well, in every kind of swing state we decreased Obama’s margin.’ I’m sure he went to Sheldon Adelson and to Harold Simmons and said, 'Put up these millions of dollars, and we can — [Obama] will win, but we’ll decrease his margin,’ ” said Schumer, referencing two major GOP contributors.

Adelson is a casino magnate who pumped millions into GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Billionaire Simmons is another prominent contributor to GOP super-PACs, including Crossroads.

Rove predicted Romney would win the election last week, and argued polls showing Obama with an advantage in numerous swing states were inaccurate.

In an op-ed published Thursday in The Wall Street Journal, Rove wrote that Obama had won election because of a focused, disciplined ground game that identified his supporters and then got them to the polls.

He also credited Obama with running an effective and “ruthless” campaign that convinced voters Romney’s policies would generally favor the rich. Rove also noted that Obama’s share of the Latino vote rose 4 points, according to exit polls, to 71 percent.

He wrote that Obama’s negative campaign would make it harder for the president to govern in a second term.

Rove is famous for guiding Bush to close election wins in 2000 and 2004. He focused on bringing out the GOP base in both races.


— Cameron Joseph contributed

— This story was originally posted at 12:25 p.m. and updated at 1:47 p.m.