17 Jan 2008

Rove Says GOP Candidate Can Win

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The future Republican nominee will obviously face an uphill battle in the 2008 Presidential Race, but strategist Karl Rove thinks we can win and yesterday described how the GOP contender should proceed depending on which democrat front-runner proves to be his adversary.

The Hill:

Karl Rove told a group of state Republican officials Wednesday that while the GOP primaries “are far from over,” each of the candidates can beat the top two Democrats — and the former White House aide then outlined a strategy how. …

In an address to a group of state GOP executive directors at the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) winter meeting, Rove outlined talking points for ways to defeat leading Democratic candidates Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.). The former adviser to the president did not mention former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.).

On Clinton, Rove said the senator talks about fiscal responsibility but has introduced “$800 billion in new spending and the campaign is less than half over.”

Rove said that “the woman” wants to repeal all of Bush’s tax cuts, and that she can be targeted for voting against “troop funding” in the form of her votes against the Iraq war supplementals.

Specifically, Rove hit Clinton for what could have been her worst campaign moment last year, when she had trouble answering a question about driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants at the Democratic debate in Philadelphia.

“You know, Sen. Clinton [has] got a problem with giving straight answers in this campaign,” Rove said. “I thought that was an incredible moment. In the course of 15 minutes, I counted her giving about four different answers.”

The Bush confidant also trotted out one of the lines of attack the RNC has already been working feverishly against Clinton, questioning why she and former President Bill Clinton will not release records from their time in the White House. This, according to Rove, “raises legitimate questions about what she’s hiding.”

Rove made it clear that most Republican attacks on Obama would focus on his “accomplishments and experience.”

“He got elected three years ago, and he [has] spent almost the entire time running for president,” Rove said.

Rove added that Obama has only passed one piece of legislation during his time in the U.S. Senate, and during his time in Illinois state Senate, Obama had “an unusual habit” of voting “present” instead of yes or no.

Rove also said that nonpartisan ratings show that Obama is more liberal than Clinton, which he said is “pretty hard to do.”

Time and again, however, Rove returned to the trump card he used in his successfully executed 2002 and 2004 elections, saying that neither Obama nor Clinton is prepared to protect the country from terrorists.

Rove served notice that Obama and Clinton would be targeted over how they vote on any Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act legislation that comes before the Senate this year.

“Do they or do they not want our intelligence officials to be listening in on terrorists’ conversations in the Middle East who may … be plotting to hurt America?” Rove said.

He told the state officials that it would be their responsibility to find “creative and sustaining ways” to “talk about these contrasts.”

Rove also offered advice to whichever Republican candidate wins the GOP nomination.

He said the candidates had to first “create a sustaining narrative about themselves.” Then he said the candidate should “immediately engage” on the “kitchen table issues,” like healthcare, education, jobs and the economy.

Third, Rove said the GOP nominee has to show that he is serious about campaigning “aggressively in places where Republicans don’t usually campaign.” Rove said that includes among black, Latino, Asian and union voters.

“We’re going for everybody,” Rove said.

Lastly, Rove argued that the Republican candidate must show the electorate “that they understand the surge is working.” Rove said the candidate should get firmly behind the war effort, painting the Democratic nominee as “defeatist.”

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