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Rove becomes Tea Party target but doubles down on critique of O’Donnell

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      Jon Ward

      Jon Ward covers the White House and national politics for The Daily Caller. He covered the last two years of George W. Bush's presidency and the first year of Barack Obama's presidency for The Washington Times. Prior to moving to national politics, Jon worked for the Times' city desk and bureaus in Virginia and Maryland, covering local news and politics, including the D.C. sniper shootings and subsequent trial, before moving to state politics in Maryland. He and his wife have two children and live on Capitol Hill. || <a href="mailto:jw@dailycaller.com">Email Jon</a>

Moments after Christine O’Donnell finished her victory speech Tuesday night in Dover, Del., she invited a state Tea Party leader on stage to speak. The activist promptly extended an unmistakable rhetorical middle finger to the Republican leader who has overnight become a symbol for the hated GOP establishment: Karl Rove.

Rove, the former Bush White House political adviser who still plays a major role in GOP politics, had come to Delaware a year before to ask the Tea Party activists in Delaware to support Republican Rep. Mike Castle for the Senate seat.

Russ Murphy, the executive director of the 9/12 Delaware Patriots, stood onstage next to O’Donnell and described the meeting.

“I interrupted Mr. Rove and I said, ‘Sir with all due respect, we won’t endorse the party,’” Murphy said.

“He said, ‘Well, what I really want to do is tell you folks how to work with the candidate and how to get things done.’”

“And I said, ‘Sir, with all due respect,’” and here Murphy lowered his voice for emphasis, “‘No one is going to tell us how to take care of business.’”

The crowd cheered lustily.

Murphy’s comments were prompted by Rove’s interview only an hour or two earlier on Fox News with Sean Hannity, in which Rove trashed O’Donnell — “I’ve met her. I’ve got to tell you, I wasn’t frankly impressed” — and said Republicans would no longer be able to win the general election.

On Wednesday, O’Donnell revived the war of words in an early morning interview on Fox News, prompting Rove to double down on his criticisms and go into even more detail about the questions surrounding O’Donnell’s past, also in an interview on Fox.

Rove’s comments on Wednesday drew a rebuke – again, on Fox – from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who endorsed O’Donnell a few days before Tuesday’s primary.

“Well, bless his heart. We love our friends, they’re in the machine, the expert politicos,” Palin said when asked about Rove’s comments. “But my message to those who say that the GOP nominee is not electable, or that they’re not even going to try, well I say, ‘Buck up!’”

“It is time to put aside internal power grabs and greed and egos within the Party and to fight united,” Palin said.

The surreal intra-party spat was topped off by the appearance of beleaguered Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele in a taped interview with CNN, where he made a plea for unity.

“How can you claim defeat before you attempt victory? This makes no sense. It makes no sense. So stop it. Stop it,” Steele said, according to a transcript e-mailed to reporters.

But Palin apparently wanted more. After tweeting that conservatives should focus on “unified effort,” the former governor went on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program and took Rove to task again, calling him this time a “good old boy.”

“It wouldn’t be prudent of me either to get into a tussle with Karl Rove … but what the heck, let’s go ahead and do it,” Palin said with a smile. “Some of these good old boys – and I have nothing against Karl Rove personally, you know he’s the expert – but Bill, some of these folks they are saying that people like Christine O’Donnell and others, Tea Party Americans, can’t win because they don’t want them to win, because they know that … these folks are gonna shake it up.”

“And they are going to do what’s right for America, not necessarily what is right for a political party machine,” Palin said.

In the initial Fox appearance Tuesday night that set off the chain reaction, Rove rattled off a list of questions about O’Donnell’s “checkered background,” and made clear he felt the candidate was almost entirely discredited and perhaps not entirely genuine.

“It does conservatives little good to support candidates who, at the end of the day, while they may be conservative in their public statements, do not evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and characters that voters are looking for,” Rove said. “We’ll see how she can answer these questions. She sure as heck didn’t answer them thus far on the campaign.”

NEXT: An irritated Rove goes off on O’Donnell

  • Pingback: Karl Rove: Palin’s reality show doesn’t exactly lend her presidential gravitas « Hot Air

  • chalmers

    They credit Rove with bringing winning back to the Republican Party but at what cost? We had a disputed election that will never be settled in the eyes of the left. A Supreme Court the left now calls biased. The idea of a compassionate Conservative as though Conservatives lacked compassion before him. The last election we had a candidate no real conservative would vote for. It’s time to let people choose their candidates according to their beliefs and the Republican Party can come along or be left behind.

  • Supernatural Witness

    Snap out of it people!!! This board is usually divided between conservatives and trolls. Since this primary, it has been Libertarians against Social Conservatives.

    If we are going to throw out the elites, the Christians and Libertarians need to be united. Attacking Christian Conservatives as if they want to legislate morality is a stupid red herring. Our Christian founders are the ones who gave you separation of church and state, a bill of rights, and small government with separation of powers.

    Democrats gave you welfare, big government, social security “insurance,” and the thing you Libertarians hate the most: oppressive, unaccountable agencies that can make up rules with no check or balance on their power such as FDA/DEA/ATF/OSHA/NEA/EPA.

    Believe me when I say we, Christians want to dismantle those agencies NOT create the Department of Sexual Control.

    • The_anniebanannie

      Riiiight, and your way of uniting is by calling anybody that points out O’Donnell’s SEVERAL remarks about how she thinks other people should conduct their sex lives a “libertine”….

      Not once did adam, des, theprof, or myself say we disagreed with her view on abstinence, and yet you label us “libertines”.

      Perhaps Hillary could use your help at the mideast peace talks……

  • keysersoze

    Time for Rove to step aside. He’s acting like a Democrat- entitled, and he can’t understand why we don’t see that. No wonder some of us don’t see much difference in Democrats and Repuclicans.

  • BooneCountyGirl

    I saw Rove on Greta last night and his arrogance literally took my breath away. In a year when foreclosures are up 25 percent, he basically called O’Donnell unfit for service becasue she is one of many Americans who nearly lost her house to foreclosure and has had tax issues. Well I had a successful business when the IRS went after me for allegedly underpaying for 7 years – miniscule amounts each year but when they added penalites it ballooned 10 times – and I was no immoral scofflaw, I dutifully filed and paid and in no way tried to avoid taxes – yet they took my 401K, my kids college money, forced me to close my business and garnished my husbands wages though he had nothing to do with my business, leaving us with no savings, a lien on our house, and 100 a month to feed 4 kids and keep a roof over our heads. We lost everything and had to start over in our 40s penniless with 4 kids. Yet to Rove, the IRS is the victim, and I, like O’Donnell would be considered “unfit.” Mr. Rove, maybe its time you got outside the hallowed halls of the capital and the studios of Fox News to see firsthand the real suffering the policies of blowhards like you have wrought on America – until then YOU are the one that is unfit to lead the party or anything else. STFU.

    • rockhard

      I saw the same program, I wish I could have thrown my shoes at his head lol

      These people still don’t get it, they think everyone is rich like him and his friends, he was attacking her because she had finical problems in her life.

      I got news for you ROVY boy most of us had the same problems she had, there were times when we couldn’t afford to pay our bills either, as Millions of other Americans, records of Americans are losing their homes,Jobs, and are not able to pay their bills, it happen doesn’t make them bad people, it just means they weren’t as lucky as you, so put your little ego away.

      it make’s me like her all the more, she’s a person like the rest of us who had problems, she got on her feet and started over, thats the America I believe in and love. go O’Donnel, fight the good fight for the country..

  • paco

    Karl — It’s time to have a nice hot cup of Shut the F up?

  • rockhard

    Rove pissed me off, after O’Donnell won that should of been the end of your attacks on her but no, why don’t you focus on her Marxist opponent instead? with the same vigor ? or how about the dems leaders all supporting the Corrupt congressman from ny Charlie Rangel’s re election? of course not, you instead go after o’Donnel because she like most American had finical problems in her life at one time.I got news for you Rove..

    MOST OF US HAD PROBLEMS AS WELL AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER WE ARE NOT RICH PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS, WAKE THE HELL UP..I SUPPORT HER EVEN MORE NOW KNOWNING SHE HAD PROBLEMS JUST LIKE MOST OF US REGULAR PEOPLE.

    She got back on her feet, and that’s what matters in the end..

    Obama’s admistration is full of the rich and powerful elite people who “forgot to pay their taxes’” for years and they are the same people who write tax laws now..and you want to pick on this woman ? get real man, and live in the real world, you took cheap shots at her, I know you are better then that, SO WAKE THE HELL UP.

  • damage6

    Karl Rove should get overhimself. Sorry dude I don’t nor have I ever looked to anyone in the GOP for guidance. Particularly not a “Master Political Tactitian”. I know it’s about as likely as me dunking a basketball without rocket assist but if the Dems could field a candidate that I honestly believed would fight for fiscal conservatism, cutting the deficit and constitutionally limited government better than the republican offering I’d vote for him in a heartbeat. I’m an independent and I always will be. You’ll have to earn my vote every time. Particularly if you’re an incumbent.