Rove repeatedly misstates Obama's vote increase over Gore in 2000 to downplay victory

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

Again downplaying President-elect Barack Obama's victory, Karl Rove claimed on Today that the "call for change gave Barack Obama the presidency of the United States with 2.1 percent more than Al Gore got." In fact, in 2000, Gore received 48.38 percent of the popular vote, and according to unofficial election results posted on National Public Radio's website, Obama has received 52.7 percent of the popular vote, which is a difference of 4.32 percentage points.

During the December 2 edition of NBC's Today, when asked about the effect of President Bush's approval ratings on Barack Obama's election as president, Fox News contributor Karl Rove claimed that the "call for change gave Barack Obama the presidency of the United States with 2.1 percent more than Al Gore got." In fact, in 2000, Gore received 48.38 percent of the popular vote, and according to unofficial election results posted on National Public Radio's website, Obama has received 52.7 percent of the popular vote, which is a difference of 4.32 percentage points.

Rove has previously made similar claims to downplay the extent of Obama's victory. During the November 5 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, when asked how responsible Bush was for Obama's victory, Rove responded, "[L]et me put this in a little bit of a frame for you. ... [Obama] got two and a half points better than Al Gore did." Rove added: "So, if this was all about George W. Bush, and -- and you looked at George W. Bush's standing in the polls, and this was all a reaction to him, you'd expect this thing to be a blowout." Rove similarly claimed in his November 6 Wall Street Journal column that Obama did "2.5 points better than Al Gore did in 2000. These small changes on the margin meant all the difference between winning and losing."

From the December 2 edition of NBC's Today:

MATT LAUER (co-host): President Bush said in an interview recently that he is sure some of the votes for Barack Obama recently were a repudiation of Republicans, and he said, "I'm sure some people voted for Barack Obama because of me." He's leaving office with -- with dismal approval ratings. What went wrong? This was, this -- you were the architect in many ways --

ROVE: Yeah --

LAUER: -- of this administration. What went wrong?

ROVE: Well, first of all, let's take what went right. What went right is that we were struck on Novemb -- on September 11, and for seven years he has kept our country safe. He has liberated 25 million people in Afghanistan, and 25 million people in Iraq --

LAUER: So you'd think they'd carry him out on their -- on their shoulders.

ROVE: No, well, look -- look, that's not -- that's not the way the system works. At the end of eight years, Republicans or Democrats have had -- when they've had the White House, people tire of it. And he's asked the country to do a lot of tough things. And he's asked -- he's asked -- we've gone through big and bold changes, and the country doesn't like that. And we have some economic difficulties. I would remind you of economic difficulties.

LAUER: But the call for change became -- came long before the meltdown.

ROVE: Well, and I would rememb-- remind you this: The call for change gave Barack Obama the presidency of the United States with 2.1 percent more than Al Gore got in 19 -- in 2000.

From Rove's November 6 Wall Street Journal column:

But we do know President-elect Obama ran better among frequent churchgoers (perhaps getting 10 points more than John Kerry did), independents (perhaps five points more than Kerry and eight points more than Al Gore), Hispanics and white men. He even made special appeals to gun owners and sent his wife to cultivate military families. This allowed him to carry previously red states like Florida, New Mexico and Iowa.

This combination helped Senator Obama run four points better nationally than John Kerry did in 2004 and 2.5 points better than Al Gore did in 2000. These small changes on the margin meant all the difference between winning and losing.

From the November 5 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

ALAN COLMES (co-host): How responsible is George W. Bush and what his administration has left us for what happened?

ROVE: Well, look, if you want to look at it that way, let -- and let me put this in a little bit of a frame for you.

Barack Obama got 1.5 percent more of the vote than did George W. Bush. He got four points better than John Kerry. He got two and a half points better than Al Gore did.

So, if this was all about George W. Bush, and -- and you looked at George W. Bush's standing in the polls, and this was all a reaction to him, you'd expect this thing to be a blowout, not something that was essentially a mild improvement over what John Kerry got. I mean look at that. That's four points better.

COLMES: [inaudible] But you add in the House, the Senate, and the number of gains for Democrats there -- does that not also speak to --

ROVE: Well, look, the Republicans have a challenge, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, Wall Street Journal, NBC
Person
Karl Rove
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes, Today Show
Stories/Interests
2008 Elections
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