On Fox & Friends, Chris Wallace said of Karl Rove's performance as a Fox News contributor: "[I]t's humbling, because it makes you realize that these real political professionals have a level of analysis and see things in the returns that we don't even understand. And his ability to crunch those numbers and project delegates and see things from the exit polls about what it told us about strengths and weaknesses." But neither Wallace nor any of the Fox & Friends co-hosts mentioned Rove's history of flawed political predictions and analysis, including his false claim the previous night that John McCain "is beating [Barack] Obama and beating [Hillary] Clinton."
On the February 8 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace said of former White House adviser Karl Rove: "Listen, let me just say, I think that -- I think that Karl Rove is a natural at this. I mean, it was so interesting to be seated alongside him on Super Tuesday. And this guy sits there and he crunches numbers -- he didn't have all his computers; he just had a piece of paper and a pen, and he's sitting there crunching numbers." He continued: "I mean, one of the things it does, it's humbling, because it makes you realize that these real political professionals have a level of analysis and see things in the returns that we don't even understand. And his ability to crunch those numbers and project delegates and see things from the exit polls about what it told us about strengths and weaknesses." Referring to Rove's recent hiring as a Fox News contributor, Wallace added, "[H]e is going to be a huge resource for our network." At no point did Wallace or any of the Fox & Friends co-hosts -- Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Brian Kilmeade -- mention Rove's history of flawed political predictions and analysis, including his false claim on the previous night's Hannity & Colmes -- which Wallace stated he watched -- that "in national polls, [Republican presidential candidate John] McCain is beating [Democratic presidential candidates Barack] Obama and [Hillary Rodham] Clinton."
In fact, the three most recent national polls -- conducted by CNN, Time, and Rasmussen Reports -- found that Obama leads McCain in a head-to-head match-up. Clinton leads McCain in the CNN poll, the two are tied in the Time poll, and McCain leads Clinton in the Rasmussen poll. Further, in the most recent Fox News poll, Obama leads McCain, while McCain leads Clinton. The Real Clear Politics average of the seven most recent national head-to-head polls shows that Obama leads McCain by 3.5 percent and that McCain leads Clinton by 1.6 percent.
Media Matters for America has previously noted Rove's erroneous political predictions. An October 18, 2006, Washington Times article headlined "Rove foresees GOP victory" quoted him as saying: "I'm confident we're going to keep the Senate; I'm confident we're going to keep the House." During the October 24, 2006, edition of National Public Radio's All Things Considered, Rove told host Robert Siegel, "I'm looking at all of these, Robert, and adding them up. I add up to a Republican Senate and Republican House. You may end up with a different math but you are entitled to your math and I'm entitled to the math." Democrats ultimately won 30 House seats and six Senate seats, thus regaining control of both chambers of Congress.
During the 2000 presidential election, Rove predicted that George W. Bush, then the governor of Texas, would win 320 electoral votes, according to a November 6, 2006, St. Petersburg Times article. According to a November 6, 2000, Houston Chronicle article, Rove also predicted that "Bush will get about 50 percent of the popular vote, with [Vice President Al] Gore at about 45 percent." The article went on to report that "Rove discounted the much-discussed possibility that Gore could win the Electoral College while losing the national popular vote to Bush, a scenario that has not occurred since 1888." The Chronicle quoted Rove responding, "You had a weird set of political dynamics (in 1888) that are not repeatable in modern America." In fact, the election was split, and Bush did not receive 50 percent of the popular vote or garner 320 electoral votes; Gore won 48.38 percent of the popular vote and Bush 47.87 percent, while 271 electors voted for Bush and 266 voted for Gore.
Appearing on the December 2, 2007, edition of Fox News Sunday, Rove said of the 2008 elections, "I'm confident the Republican candidates are going to have enough money to make enough damage out of this record to make gains in the Congress." Wallace did not note that Rove had wrongly predicted the outcome of the last congressional election.
From the February 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
KILMEADE: You know what? I -- watching you with Karl Rove made me look back at when [former pro football quarterback] Terry Bradshaw first retired and went with [sportscaster] Vern Lundquist in the booth. He had such raw ability, you saw greatness there, but he was -- you never knew what was going to happen. Seeing you with Karl Rove, I thought of a young Terry Bradshaw; four Super Bowl rings, a lot of success. How did he do in your industry after leaving his industry, in your mind?
WALLACE: I -- wait, for a minute there, I thought you were comparing me to a young, raw talent like Terry Bradshaw.
CARLSON: That's what I thought.
KILMEADE: No, no --
WALLACE: Yeah, I did, too. But now I realize that you were comparing me to the old, fat guy, Vern Lundquist.
KILMEADE: He's not that fat, and he might be watching.
WALLACE: He's pretty fat, and he's pretty old. Give me a break, guys. Anyway --
CARLSON: I was hoping he wasn't doing that, Wallace, but I'm not so sure.
WALLACE: Listen, let me just say, I think that -- I think that Karl Rove is a natural at this. I mean, it was so interesting to be seated alongside him on Super Tuesday. And this guy sits there and he crunches numbers -- he didn't have all his computers; he just had a piece of paper and a pen, and he's sitting there crunching numbers. I mean, one of the things it does, it's humbling, because it makes you realize that these real political professionals have a level of analysis and see things in the returns that we don't even understand. And his ability to crunch those numbers and project delegates and see things from the exit polls about what it told us about strengths and weaknesses. He is going to be, you know -- now, of course, he's a Fox News contributor -- he is going to be a huge resource for our network. He -- I saw him last night on Hannity & Colmes. I mentioned your name, Brian. He said, who?
CARLSON: He was on our show Wednesday morning.
KILMEADE: He still said "who?" at the end.
WALLACE: That's true. You did not make much of an impression on him, but I will tell you that I'll put in a good word for you. No, he's great. He's really quite extraordinary. And I think he's a great hire. And he said he'd very much like to be on the couch with Steve and Gretchen.
KILMEADE: Tell the president I said hi.
STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Fantastic report, Vern, thank you very much for joining us live.
KILMEADE: The old, fat guy. That's real nice.
From the February 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: Let me ask you -- he did acknowledge and point out a number of times during the speech the divide that he's had with conservatives. We've seen this in the exit poll data, Karl. He also highlighted where he thinks there is deep agreement within the Republican movement. And there are a number of issues, and I thought he made a strong case for that. He acknowledged where he would be different than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
But, let me ask you this question: He talks about the Straight Talk Express. I, for example -- I've been on radio. I've begun my 20th year on radio. On not just a couple of issues, I have substance disagreements with him -- immigration, free speech, ANWR [Arctic National Wildlife Refuge], the death tax. He says he'll now extend the Bush tax cuts; he voted against them. Gitmo interrogations. Those are substantive differences. How does he bridge the gap further with conservatives like myself that want to hear more than a speech?
ROVE: Yeah. Well, look, remember this: A lot of grassroots conservatives had another candidate, but they think highly of him. That's why in national polls, McCain is beating Obama and beating Clinton. It's because he is able to unite the Republican Party and grab a bunch of independents and discerning Democrats enough that he's leading both of them in the national polls.
That is to say, let's be careful about overstating conservative disenchantment with McCain. Lots of conservatives have specific disagreements with him on issues. True. But at the end of the day, those -- in polls, when asked, "Are you for McCain or Clinton, or Obama or Clinton?" they -- or Obama or McCain, the Republicans unite. Conservatives say, "We're for McCain," and as a result, he leads in the polls.
As I go around the country, I run into people who say, "Look, I disagree with McCain on this or that. I'm for this candidate or that candidate. But you know what? I admire him and I could vote for him." And I think that's what we're going to see in the weeks ahead, particularly if McCain builds on what he did today.