Karl Rove Admits That 2012 Was a ‘Bad Year’ for His Super-PACs

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Photo: Tom Pennington/2011 Getty Images

Republican mastermind and Fox News (exploding) talking head Karl Rove is responsible for much of the anonymous, billionaire cash in that flooded the 2012 election, which is why he's been singled out for opprobrium from his donors and critics on the right. How could Rove and the party have had such bad polling data? Why did so little of the money raised by Rove's super PACs American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS go to upping the ground game? More importantly, just six percent — six percent! — of that $300 million-or-so was spent on winning candidates, according to analyses by both the Sunlight Foundation and Politico. Karl Rove's response, via the Washington Post: "Look, it’s the way of politics that you're going to have some good years, and you're going to have some bad years."

On a recent conference call with his mega-donors — which one participant called "very businesslike" — Rove was analytical rather than apologetic. While acknowleding mistakes were made — including sitting by while Tea Party extremists beat out more electable GOP establishment figures in the Republican primaries — Rove believes things could've been unimaginably worse for Republicans had he not been there to corral together disaffected billionaires and their spare change. His donors, meanwhile, are sticking by their man: "They all went into this eyes wide open," Rove tells the Post, "and their attitude is, beat them next time.”

As for Crossroads, it's far from dead, with a spokesperson for the super-PAC telling Politico: "As we’ve always said, Crossroads is a permanent entity and will be back in 2014 and beyond — with Karl Rove continuing in his role as adviser, providing invaluable strategic vision and fundraising capability."