NBC's Gregory, Fox's Wallace did not challenge Rove's false polling claims

››› ››› ANDREW IRONSIDE

Karl Rove asserted that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "enters the general election campaign with the highest negatives of any candidate in the history of the Gallup Poll," and added: "The only person who comes close is ... hers are at 49. The only other candidate to come close was Al Gore with 34, I believe." In fact, Gallup's polling results show that President Bush's unfavorability ratings as he entered the 2004 general election campaign were consistently above what Rove claimed to be "close[st]" to Clinton's unfavorability rating -- "Al Gore with 34" percent.

During the August 19 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, discussing his opinion that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) is a "fatally flawed" presidential candidate, White House senior adviser Karl Rove asserted that Clinton "enters the general election campaign with the highest negatives of any candidate in the history of the Gallup Poll," and added: "The only person who comes close is -- she -- hers are at 49. The only other candidate to come close was Al Gore with 34, I believe." Similarly, during the August 19 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, in response to host Chris Wallace's remark that "George W. Bush had high negatives going into the 2004 campaign -- didn't beat him," Rove stated: "Yeah, but look. First of all, they were nowhere near as high as hers. In fact, I think the next-highest is Al Gore going into the 2000 campaign." In fact, Gallup's polling results show that President Bush's unfavorability ratings as he entered the 2004 general election campaign were consistently above what Rove claimed to be "close[st]" to Clinton's unfavorability rating -- "Al Gore with 34" percent.

Between October 2003 and March 2004, polling data collected by Gallup shows that Bush received unfavorability ratings that ranged from a low of 35 percent to a high of 47 percent. In five Gallup polls conducted during this period, Bush received unfavorable ratings above 40 percent three times.

From the August 19 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: And we're back now with White House strategist Karl Rove.

Looking ahead to the 2008 campaign, you said this week that the Democrats are likely to name a, quote, "tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate, Hillary Clinton." As you said in the first segment -- that no front-runner has ever gone into the primary season with such high negatives.

Here was Clinton's response this week.

CLINTON [video clip]: Today, Karl Rove attacked me again. I feel so lucky that I now am giving them such heartburn.

WALLACE: Her campaign says the more you attack her, the more the Democrats love her. So, why are you helping Hillary Clinton?

ROVE: Didn't know that I was. Don't think that I am.

WALLACE: What does that mean?

ROVE: Exactly that.

WALLACE: In fact, I mean, is there a certain amount of -- don't throw me into the briar patch here -- that you'd actually like to see her as the Democratic candidate?

ROVE: Look, it is going to be what it's going to be. I mean, you know, the Democrats are going to choose a nominee. I believe it's going to be her. That's their business. That's -- maybe I made the mistake of trying to be -- audition for a member of the Fox panel by opining about what might happen, but I think she's going to be the nominee.

WALLACE: Well, but what makes her fatally flawed? I understand she has high negatives. George W. Bush had high negatives going into the 2004 campaign -- didn't beat him.

ROVE: Yeah, but look. First of all, they were nowhere near as high as hers. In fact, I think the next highest is Al Gore going into the 2000 campaign. But look, the fact is she's known. People know her. She's been around for 16 years. It's really hard, once you jump up onto the stage and have been on the stage that long, to do much to change people's attitudes about you, and she's going in with more people having an unfavorable opinion than having a favorable opinion.

WALLACE: And from your experience in politics, can you turn that around?

ROVE: It's difficult. It can be done, but it's difficult.

From the August 19 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:

DAVID GREGORY (guest host): In our remaining moments, I want to talk about the 2008 campaign. Now, you've said -- you haven't ruled anything out -- but you said you're not going to go work for another candidate. But you also said that you're an opinionated guy, and some of those opinions came flowing out this week, including your conversation with Rush Limbaugh this week about Senator Hillary Clinton. Watch.

ROVE [audio clip]: I think she's likely to be the nominee, and I think she's fatally flawed.

GREGORY: "Fatally flawed" how?

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

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

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

GREGORY: And how does that hurt her?

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.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
FOX Broadcasting Company, NBC
Person
Chris Wallace, David Gregory
Show/Publication
FOX News Sunday, Meet the Press
Stories/Interests
2008 Elections
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