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Inside Karl Rove's Billionaire Fundraiser

A journalist was accidentally allowed into Rove's secret pitch session to the billionaires who are trying to buy this election. Karl Rove helpfully outlined his strategy to argue undecideds into voting against Obama: remind them of all the things Obama promised to do that he failed to deliver.

But Rove doesn't mention that the reason Obama failed on most things is that he faced the most obstructionist Congress in American history. And it's not like Romney will do ANY of the things Obama originally promised (like shutting down Gitmo).


If you're mad about the promises Obama didn't fulfill, the solution isn't to vote for a Republican. The solution is to get Congress back in the hands of democrats.

Exclusive: Inside Karl Rove's Billionaire Fundraiser - Businessweek

Then came the main event: Rove, joined by former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, laid out his strategy for winning the White House. “The people we’ve got to win in this election, by and large, voted for Barack Obama,” Rove said, in a soothing, professorial tone, explaining why the campaign hadn’t launched more pointed attacks on the president’s character.

Rove explained that Crossroads had conducted extensive focus groups and shared polling and focus group data with “all the major groups that are playing” in the election. “As many of you know, one of the most important things about Crossroads is: We don’t try and do this alone. We have partners,” he said. “The Kochs—you name it.”

What had emerged from that data is an “acute understanding of the nature of those undecided, persuadable” voters. “If you say he’s a socialist, they’ll go to defend him. If you call him a ‘far out left-winger,’ they’ll say, ‘no, no, he’s not.’” The proper strategy, Rove declared, was criticizing Obama without really criticizing him—by reminding voters of what the president said that he was going to do and comparing it to what he’s actually done. “If you keep it focused on the facts and adopt a respectful tone, then they’re gonna agree with you.”

In Rove’s estimation, things are going well. “Barack Obama unleashed hell on our candidate on May 15,” he said. “Between May 15 and July 31st, he spent $111 million on ads out of his campaign war chest, and there was about another $17, $18 million spent by outside groups. The day that this started, the Gallup poll was 45-45. On the 31st of July, it was 46-46.”

“We spent—outside groups spent $110 million and Romney spent $42 million,” Rove continued. “So the bad guys [Democrats] spent $130 million and the good guys [Republicans] spent $152 million, and our money didn’t go as far as theirs because we couldn’t buy at the lowest unit rate. Really, it was sort of roughly equivalent, and we fought it to a draw.” And that, Rove pointed out, was after a brutal Republican primary. “We have to keep in mind whose vote we’re trying to get—it ain’t the delegate from Alaska. It’s not the alternate from Alabama. It’s some undecided voter in the battleground state who likes the president.”

Rove spoke almost exclusively about defeating Barack Obama and retaking control of the White House. There was sparse praise for Mitt Romney—either as a candidate or as a future leader and policy maker.