Karl Rove Is in Time Out

The Atlantic
Karl Rove Is in Time Out
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Karl Rove Is in Time Out

Less than a month after his strange, dramatic and sort of sad election night meltdown on air, Fox News is distancing itself from Karl Rove. New network rules require producers to get special permission before booking Rove and staunch anti-Obama commentator Dick Morris on their shows. New York Magazine's Gabriel Sherman got the scoop on Monday evening. "Multiple sources say that Ailes was angry at Rove's election-night tantrum when he disputed the network's call for Obama," Sherman reports. "While the moment made for riveting television -- it was Ailes's decision to have Kelly confront the statisticians on air -- in the end, it provided another data point for Fox's critics."

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If you have an appetite for schadenfreude, you'll be pleased to hear that Rove's troubles don't end at Roger Ailes, whose spokesman denies a rift between the two men. During the election, Rove's super PACs spent hundreds of millions of dollars -- some say over $1 billion -- to ensure that the Republicans won both the Senate and the White House. That didn't work out very well. Every single candidate that Rove backed lost. One Republican strategist called his party's reaction "stunned disbelief." Donald Trump pulled the old call-a-spade-a-spade trick on Twitter: "Congrats to @KarlRove on blowing $400 million this cycle. Every race @CrossroadsGPS ran ads in, the Republicans lost. What a waste of money." That was retweeted over 5,000 times.

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Rove used to be the GOP's wonder boy, its balding genius in the corner. Now it looks like his conservative allies want little to do with him. In the days and weeks that followed his awkward night on Fox News, Rove scrambled to come up with excuses why Romney lost and what the Republican party needs to do to win in 2016. But all of those people that forked over hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars to elect Mitt Romney and win back the Senate don't really want excuses. They want Mitt Romney in the White House. We should probably say "wanted."

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This will hardly be the end of old Karl, though. He's got a gig as an op-ed columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and he's not been kicked out of the Fox News family yet. He's just in time out. When it comes time to start a new election cycle, we'll see how good the Republicans are about forgiving and forgetting. After all, Rove is really good at raising money. He's even better at spending it.

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