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In an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric that aired on Friday night, Karl Rove issued a stern warning to Republicans in the aftermath of the party’s success at the polls in the 2010 midterm elections. The GOP strategist also unfavorably compared President Obama to President Clinton.
“Let’s not kid ourselves,” said the Fox News contributor and former senior advisor to George W. Bush. “The Republicans are on probation. That’s why they’ve got to do in office what they said they would do on the campaign trail when it comes to these big issues.”
The remarks from Rove came after Couric pointed out that election night exit polls revealed Republicans to be just as disliked by voters as their Democratic counterparts.
Later in the segment, Rove responded to the question of whether it’s fair to draw a comparison between the outcomes of this year’s races with those that took place in 1994, which also produced a significant shift in power. Here’s the exchange that went down.
Couric: Many comparisons have been made between this election and what happened to President Clinton in 1994, where he used it to his advantage. Newt Gingrich became a foil. He may have overreached in trying to shut down government. Do you think there could be a repeat of that this go around?
Rove: No. Because I think the Republicans learned from that. And I also think President Obama is not anywhere near as adroit a political operator and nimble as President Clinton was.
As for the matter of who might emerge his party’s pick to take on President Obama in 2012, Rove vowed to support whomever emerges the Republican nominee — even if that person is Sarah Palin. Pressed on the assertion given his recent criticism of the former Alaska Governor and her new reality show, the top GOP strategist didn’t walk back his words.
Couric: Well, you sounded unsupportive when you said, with all due candor, “appearing on your own reality show on the Discovery Channel. I’m not certain how that fits in the American calculus of that helps me see you in the Oval Office.”
Rove: Look, I’m a commentator. So, I’m going to be commenting on all of them. And I hope that all have thick skins enough so they don’t take offense by what I say.