TAMPA, Fla. – Karl Rove is “completely mystified” by President Obama’s re-election campaign, which he said is diminishing the grandeur and power of his office.
“The campaign is dominating the presidency and not the other way around,” Rove said Monday morning at a breakfast sponsored by Politico. And Republican nominee Mitt Romney “is going to get better known and more acceptable,” he said. Rove, the former uber-adviser to President George W. Bush, said that Romney needs to use the convention to communicate personal things about himself to the country, including his Mormon faith.
Addressing a question comparing the 2012 race to other modern races, Rove rejected the 2004 re-election campaign he ran for Bush 43 as a cognate.
“Bush was seen as strong leader, Obama is not,” Rove said. “And Bush made that campaign about the future, and his opponent. This [Obama] campaign has not been about ‘Here’s what I’ve done and here’s what I’m going to do.’ It’s been about, “My opponent is a weird, rich vampire capitalist who can’t be trusted with anything anywhere near your pocketbook because he’ll steal your money and send it to his Swiss bank account.’”
Rove still held out hope that Rep. Todd Akin, the GOP’s Missouri Senate nominee, would drop out of the race, predicting that he would lose by the widest margin in the nation of he insistes on staying in against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. Akin has plummeted in the polls since his comments last Sunday about how victims of “legitimate rape” cannot get pregnant.
“What he said was indefensible and the way he handled it made it worse,” Rove said, adding that Akin did not respond to the furor over the taped interview until two days later – with an ad.
“I know Todd,” Rove said. “He’s a good man. He has a good heart. But he said an indefensible thing from which there is no recovery. And if he really cares about the values of conservatism and pro-life, then he will not go down in defeat with the biggest loss of any Republican candidate for Senate in modern history.”