Karl Rove talks about his time in Alabama, about 2012 election


Before Karl Rove helped work George W. Bush into the White House, he helped Republicans begin their effort toward the party’s current stranglehold on the Alabama Supreme Court, where all nine members are now Republican.

Political strategist Karl Rove

When Rove was hired as a consultant to work on Alabama Supreme Court races in 1994, he said people thought there was “no way in Hell” the Republicans could win the seats. Rove joked that he was brought in because people here thought there was “little or no chance of” Republicans winning so they found “someone stupid from outside the state that does not know” there was not a way for Republicans to win.

He said the Alabama Supreme Court was a disaster controlled by trial lawyers in 1994 and that judges were biased participants in the process.

But, the Republicans won an upset victory with the election of Perry Hooper Sr. as chief justice. Hooper was at Rove’s speech to the annual Alabama Farmer’s Federation convention in Montgomery on Monday.

Rove acknowledged knowing Justice Lyn Stuart, and working with her, and working with Alfa and some of its officials on the Alabama races. He said he also worked with former Justice Harold See.

Rove, who like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has a house in south Alabama, worked in Alabama elections until he began working in the White House for Bush. Huckabee was a previous speaker at the Alfa convention.

Rove said he and Huckabee have “both been suicidal in the last couple of weeks. Now we’re merely despondent.” He joked that he did have a handkerchief with him in case he needed it while he was talking about the November election.

“It was a really strange election,” Rove said.

He said President Obama benefitted from not having a primary opponent while the GOP primary was “butt ugly.”

“That didn’t help us,” Rove said of the Republican primary. He said there were too many debates and that, when it became evident former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would be the nominee, the candidate was out of money and exhausted. But, he said, Romney was still a formidable candidate.

Rove said Republicans had a good –not a great – national convention. He said the Democrats “had a really good convention” with a really good speech by a president,

“Not president Obama, President Clinton,” Rove said.

He talked about critical times in the presidential election, including the monumental first debate.  Rove said he was at the event watching it on television and Steve Forbes was there. He said the usually dry Forbes was pumping his fists and that others there could barely contain their excitement with Romney’s powerful performance and Obama struggling.

“These guys were so excited,” he said and jokingly compared it to watching a football game at a fraternity house.

After that, Rove said the race was a horse race until about 10 days before the election. He said Romney had a very narrow lead. A number of national polls and national experts indicated Obama was in the lead and likely to win a second term.

Then, Rove said, there was the “October surprise” of Hurricane Sandy.

“This gave a vital moment to President Obama,” he said.

Rove chastised Obama for the slow recovery of the economy and for trying to redistribute the wealth and insisting “upon raising the top (tax) rates” in a way that “punishes the successful.”

Rove did not mention who was president when the economy began to plummet.

– posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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