The Ticket

Karl Rove: ‘I could’ imagine GOP presidential candidate supporting gay marriage

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Karl Rove (ABC News)

Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff under President George W. Bush and current Fox News contributor, says he can envision a candidate in the 2016 Republican presidential primary supporting gay marriage.

“I could,” Rove said during a roundtable discussion on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday when asked if he could imagine a same-sex marriage supporter vying for the top of the GOP's next ticket.

The comment from Rove, one of the party's former top strategists, comes about a week after Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman said in an editorial that he now supports gay marriage, and as the GOP looks to regroup—and rebrand—after its loss in November. As ABC noted, Portman—who in 2012 was one of several vice presidential candidates considered by Mitt Romney—is the only sitting Republican senator to publicly support same-sex marriage.

Rove also said the GOP must focus on outreach to Latino voters.

"We need to take our spokesmen—like Susana Martinez and Brian Sandoval, governors of New Mexico and Nevada, and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz—and get them out there along with the rest of the party, communicating around the country," Rove said. "It's amazing to me—in Texas, a Republican naturally campaigns everywhere in Texas, including Latino communities, African-American communities, Anglo communities, rural, urban. But in other states that's just not normal. We need to make it normal."

Of the GOP's somewhat public postelection brainstorming, Rove said, "This is a constructive process. And I see a lot coming out of it."

Before his appearance on the air, Rove fielded some lighthearted questions from online users during a Web interview, including one about his thoughts on his former boss's paintings.

“I have one. I have one of the original, first forty-threes," Rove said. "[President Bush] painted my wife and our dogs. And he’s pretty good. Particularly, I called him when [first dog] Barney died, and he’d painted a picture of Barney which I thought was really, you know, clearly from the heart.”

[CORRECTION, 9:30 p.m. ET: A previous version of this article stated that Rove said he could imagine the next GOP presidential nominee supporting gay marriage. Rove instead had said he could imagine a Republican presidential candidate in the next election supporting gay marriage.]

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