Rove on new group: 'I don't want a fight'
February 6th, 2013
08:43 AM ET
10 years ago

Rove on new group: 'I don't want a fight'

(CNN) – The new super PAC aimed at ensuring electable candidates emerge from Republican primaries isn't designed to further entrench establishment moderates, one of its founders said late Tuesday.

Karl Rove, the former top political adviser to President George W. Bush and co-founder of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, said his new group wasn't meant to protect incumbents, but instead to shepherd candidates with a shot at winning a general election through tough primaries.

He was responding to disparagement from some conservative activists, who regarded the group's creation as an attempt to stamp out tea party voices in the Republican Party.

"Our object is not to be for the establishment, it's to be for the most conservative candidate that can win," Rove said during an appearance on Fox News, where he is a paid contributor.

"This is not tea party versus establishment," he continued, pointing to Crossroads' past support for candidates like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, both of whom were backed by national tea party groups in 2010.

As he does with other Crossroads groups, Rove will advise the new organization, which is called the "Conservative Victory Project." It will be led by Steven Law, the president of both American Crossroads and its advocacy sister Crossroads GPS.

On Tuesday, Rove pointed specifically to GOP Senate candidates last year in Missouri and Indiana as evidence for the need for his new group. Republicans Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock both made comments on rape and abortion that were seized by their rivals as outside the mainstream.

The new Crossroads group will attempt to "stop the practice of giving away some of the seats we did in Missouri and Indiana this past year," Rove said, explaining that could mean "telling the incumbent Republican if he's going to be in the race, he shouldn't expect any funds from Crossroads in the general election."

"If some people think the best we can do is Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, they're wrong," he continued. "We need to do better if we want to take over the United States Senate. We need to get better conservative candidates and win."

While Akin and Mourdock both lost their races last year, so did more mainstream GOP candidates such as Rep. Denny Rehberg of Montana, Rep. Rick Berg of North Dakota, former Gov. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin and former Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico.

Brent Bozell, the conservative activist and author, used that face in his scathing criticism of Rove's new group.

"The moderate GOP establishment record in Senate races last year was abysmal: every single one of their candidates lost," Bozell wrote. "We don't need a second Democrat Party in Washington."

"Instead of lectures, these moderates should stand aside and let the conservative movement lead the party back to prominence," he added.

Other right-wing activists echoed that sentiment, including Tea Party Patriots national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin, who tweeted: "TPPatriots want to save USA. Karl Rove wants to line pockets-Don't Tread on Us! Tea Party bites back-never gives up!"

Filed under: Karl Rove
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Name lynn

    Karl who do you think you are making statement you dont want a fight, you are talking to the most arguement people them white house leaders, them republicans. them democarates, an obama is not going to fight with you he going to speak whats on his mind. You just get ready for whats going to take place.

    February 6, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  2. Vader

    "Instead of lectures, these moderates should stand aside and let the conservative movement lead the party back to prominence," he added. – Bozell

    Seriously? Did they not learn anything from the last election? It is precisely BECAUSE of the influence of the "conservative movement" (Tea Party) on the Republican Party that they lost the White House, a portion of their majority in the House and became even more of a minority party in the Senate. All in a general economic climate that should have been a slam dunk for winning across the board. So the answer is to swing farther to the RIGHT?

    February 6, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  3. chilly g

    tea party republicans is bad for america and bad for the world, the america that they want will never be because i
    will not ride on the back of the bus like my parents had to do. tea party no

    February 6, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  4. John

    People Like Karl Rove and the TEA PARTY Is why the Republican Party Is dying off. It will be a long time for them too win a election If they don't start changing they way they think.

    February 6, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Karl Rove ain't fooling me. It's not about finding "more electable" candidates. It's really about finding "more malleable" candiates who can be taught how to act in public. What am I talking about you ask? Think of the relationship between George W. Bush and Karl Rove. The fight is really about who controls the crazies, not getting rid of them.

    February 6, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  6. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    AH! Electable Candidates! That will be his first problem. As long as the foam-at-the-mouth-Tea-Timers keep hijacking primaries, the Republicans can forget having electable candidates in just about any place that does not have a 99% Republican population.
    The other thing that can really throw a monkey wrench into things is if the Tea Partiers decide they don't like the results of the primary because the guy who won only has a 99.999% conservative voting record (there was that one vote in their first week – just because it had 100% support – where he voted the same as a Democrat), then they will seek to have petitioning candidates running against the nominated slates. Splitting the potential Republican votes can ensure the Democrats could actually have a chance in some of those districts.

    February 6, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  7. MTATL67

    The GOP don't get it. Doesn't matter if the were moderate or conservative. Extremists are in control of the republican party. You will not see a Republican in the white house at least the next two terms. In 2014 more Republicans will be purged from the House

    February 6, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  8. askdavey

    the failing gop, keep it up guys and the last good day will be that of gw bush leaving the white house......well at least it was a good day for america.

    February 6, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  9. nothing new here

    I don't want these anti-abortion right-wing politicians.
    Go away!

    February 6, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. Canuck

    "Conservative Victory Project"

    Hopefully this will continue to be an oxymoron.

    February 6, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. Misterg

    I love this,let them bring each other down.

    February 6, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. Pete

    Rove doesn't want a fight because he got his butt handed to him last election cycle and had to answer to his donors about what happened to all the hype of Romney and where's all that wasted money they gave him..Roves butt still stinging from the backlash about the public out burst he made on FOX after he publicly said that Romney was going to be the victor but then saw him go down in defeat and running hysterically from the FOX stage exit left screaming!!Now he's trying to woo the same idiots he stole from last time but he's wants its more peaceful because he knows he still has political egg on his face from last time and he can't make claims again he obviously can't back up!!He's washed up but hasn't realized it yet has he,with republicans idiots are born every minute aren't they,just like him!!

    February 6, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. nothing new here

    'Deliverance:The Sequel'

    February 6, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    The Republican Party reaps what it sows. That is the price of courting radical conservative extremists for so many years.

    February 6, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  15. CNN The Masters of Spin

    The MSM is the issue here, Rove, like all Rhinos, still believe these Liberal Obama spooners called Reporters employed by the MSM, will give Republicans a fair shake......NOT SO! All Conservatives should focus on dividing & conquering the is also the "easiest" target. Simply refuse to appear on any MSM shows, ignore their "baiting games" if there is a legitimate issue, respond on a Conservative venue. And Rove is the worst of catering to MSM.......wake up Repubs.......this is one battle you can win!

    February 6, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. ultralance12

    He wants to support "the most conservative candidate that can win".

    Translation: "If people know what today's conservatism is all about, they wouldn't vote for us".

    February 6, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  17. Tom

    After the last two election cycles, I can understand why there is a sense of urgency within the GOP ranks to get the party back on a track to win national/statewide elections. We'll see if Rove can be effective. I think it is going to be hard to change a lot of minds until there is consensus that change is needed. It doesn't look like that has happened yet in the case of very conservative Republicans. The American electorate is, by definition, middle-of-the-road. Any time either party goes too far in one direction the results tend to be poor. I suspect if the Republican party loses enough elections change will happen. The question is whether Rove can force the issue and accelerate the process? I think the risk is if Rove pushes too hard, the Tea Party conservatives might be tempted to go off and start their own party, split the Republican vote and virtually guarantee Democratic wins.

    February 6, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  18. Rick McDaniel

    The truth is, the Tea Party has great fiscal policy ideology.........but much of that is negated, by the minority factions within the Tea Party, that which to take church issues into the public arena, and those "social issues" will never succeed in America, because that would place religion in America, in EXACTLY the same kind of dictatorial role, that Islam plays, in the lives of people, in the middle east.

    That is simply unacceptable in America.

    February 6, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    We're going to need a lot more popcorn.

    February 6, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |