Monday, August 20, 2007

Parsing Rove's Comments On Hillary

Yesterday, Karl Rove made the rounds on the Sunday morning talk show circuit. One of his stops was Meet The Press. (Transcript here.) Filling in for Tim Russert, David Gregory asked about what he meant when he stated that Hillary Clinton was a "fatally flawed" candidate. Here's how the exchange went down:

MR. GREGORY: “Fatally flawed” how?

MR. ROVE: She enters the general election campaign with the highest negatives of any candidate in the history of the Gallup Poll.

MR. GREGORY: The president has much higher negatives than she, however.

MR. ROVE: She enters the presidential contest with higher negatives. The only person who come close is—she—her’s are at 49--the only other candidate to come close was Al Gore with 34, I believe.

MR. GREGORY: And how does that hurt her?

MR. ROVE: Well, it just says people have made an opinion about her. It’s hard to change opinions once you’ve been a high profile person in the public eye, as she has, for 16 or 17 years.

No doubt, Democrats (and Hillary supporters in particular) will spend the next week demonizing Mr. Rove for that statement. (And understandably so, because it's not what they want to hear.) However, if we objectively analyze this statement, we find there is much truth to it. It's not a partisan comment, it's based on solid polling data (something that Dems will point to when they favor them, but discount, when they don't).

Here is the Gallup Poll that Mr. Rove seems to be referring to.

The particular poll's results were reported in May of this year. But, somehow, I get the distinct feeling that many of her supporters will discount this, as old information. And in the meantime, they will want to use this as an excuse, making it a valid reason to refute what Rove said. But the numbers are there to back this up.

In no way does Mr. Rove (or anyone else with an ounce of political wisdom) discount the fact, she can win the election. Nowhere does he imply this, so it cannot be said that this is a politically partisan statement. Had he said, "she cannot win because she is fatally flawed", this would qualify as partisan. But, with the numbers being there, we have to accept that Mr. Rove was being honest and accurate in his wording.


A.C. McCloud said...

This is a perfect example of what happens when a person gets demonized to the level of Rove--even when he quotes a stat they blame him for the stat, as if he created it. Funny stuff.

Now I'll have to read the full transcript to see if Gregory finally provided any explanation of his role in the Plame leak.

LASunsett said...

//even when he quotes a stat they blame him for the stat, as if he created it.//

They have certainly attributed way too much to him. I am sure he's flattered, but they've given him way too much credit.

Greg said...

AC: I watched the program, and Gregory didn't say a thing about his own involvement. After Rove left, he had on the press panel and Cooper from Time had free reign to call Rove a liar. From what I heard from Rove (and judging from what Cooper didn't say), it looks like Rove was very careful about what he said to reporters in relation to Plame. He's no idiot. This is probably why he was never indicted.

As for the statistics on Hillary, this is kind of Rove's bread & butter, isn't it? And even his biggest enemies admit he's good at it. Even Hilary knows she has high negatives, which is why she's trying so hard in her campaign to make herself look soft and demeure, and not attacking aggressively as I know she is itching to do. I guess AC hits the nail on the head when he references the demonization of Rove (and Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney, etc). I don't see why there should be any controversy about what Rove said.

Greg said...

Also, I laughed out loud when Gregory responded, "But but but, her numbers aren't as bad as Bush's!" I guess he didn't get the memo that Bush isn't running for a 3rd term....

Greg said...

So, maybe the Democrats won't complain about Rove's comment. Last week, they were saying the same thing....

LASunsett said...


Here' s another sign that Dems know this, check out this post.

A.C. McCloud said...

Thanks Greg. I was gonna read it tonight but I'll save myself the trouble. Gregory was never sufficiently quizzed about his role in the leak, guess his brethren didn't care. And Cooper being part of the roundtable? That's rich.

Rove reminds me of the smart goofy-looking kid who was always picked on in HS but later learned that being smart and underestimated could come in handy.

Greg said...

Interesting info at that link, LAS. More evidence that Americans pick their President more on personal qualities and "intangibles" rather than specific positions on issues.