Karl Rove: The Other Big Loser
Mitt Romney wasn’t the only big loser last night. For Karl Rove, the coup de grace came in the hour just before midnight.
It began at around 11:18 pm, when Fox News called the election and posted its gaudy graphic: “Barack Obama Re-elected President.” Britt Hume, Megyn Kelly and a host of pundits offered up brief post mortems. Even the house organ of the Republican Party had conceded.
But then, abruptly, at 11:25, the narrative changed dramatically. “I have great respect for our decision desk,” said Fox’s Chris Wallace, “and I can see that they’re very happy [at Obama headquarters] in Chicago, but I have to tell you that the Romney camp has real doubts by the call that has been made by us and by other networks.”
Enter Karl Rove—Machiavellian GOP party boss, master numbers cruncher, and Fox News analyst—to challenge the verdict that everyone had anxiously awaited. Wallace got right to the point and asked Rove if he thought Ohio was locked up for Obama.
“No, I don’t,” Rove said.
“We’ve got a quarter of the vote,” he explained. “Now remember, here is the thing about Ohio. A third of the vote or more is cast early and is won overwhelmingly by the Democrats.”
Rove insisted that calling the election was “premature.”
“So, maybe not so fast, folks!” Wallace said.
The unthinkable had just happened. Fox had called the election for Obama, but Karl Rove, its Svengali like analyst, had just disputed his own network’s call.
There was an uncomfortable moment of dead air.
Then, Fox anchor Megyn Kelly addressed the situation with understatement. “Well, that’s awkward,” she said.