Politics

Karl Rove downplays Mark Levin, tea party criticism [VIDEO]

Photo of Jeff Poor
Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

On this weekend’s edition of “Fox News Sunday,” the head of the political action committee American Crossroads and its off-shoot the Conservative Victory Fund, Karl Rove, defended his organization against some critical elements of the “tea party” and conservative radio talker Mark Levin, who challenged Rove to “bring it on” earlier this month.

“My personal favorite was when Mark Levin referred to me as queen for a day,” Rove said. “I’m not certain exactly what he was talking about there, but … first of all, let’s be clear, we did spend $30 million on behalf of tea party candidates. You had Rand Paul on, and we’re the largest outside group supporting Rand Paul, $2.9 million. And, Marco Rubio, I personally gave him my contribution to help raise money in the primary very early. We gave $25 million of support to tea party candidates in the House.”

But Rove went on to deny that he is setting out to defeat the tea party.

“Our object is to avoid having stupid candidates who can’t win general elections, who are undisciplined, can’t raise money, aren’t putting together the support necessary to win a general election campaign, because this money is too difficult to raise to be spending it on behalf of candidates who have little chance of winning in a general election.”

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward dismissed Rove’s defense, explaining that Rove was missing the larger question of how Republicans can better connect to the public.

“My last book is going to be called ‘Some People Never Go Away,’ and Karl is going to get his own chapter, because he never goes away,” Woodward said. “OK, maybe two chapters, because, you never know what the next bounce will be with you. But, what is interesting is the focus on money. I think the problem in the Republican Party is really not money. I think they’ve got lots of it. I think it is — theory of the case, why are we here, what is our message. …”

Rove protested Woodward’s analysis, explaining a lot of what he intends to do with his organization is not only promote candidates, but also conduct opposition research. But Woodward wasn’t having any of it.

“You’re going to set yourself up as a kind of politburo, vetting these candidates,” Woodward said. “I mean the whole theory of Republicanism is to let the local state or a district decide.”