Karl Rove: Obama, Hillary 'Have Become Tone Deaf'

Image: Karl Rove: Obama, Hillary 'Have Become Tone Deaf'

Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 06:45 AM

By Elliot Jager

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With midterm elections in the offing, the incumbent Democratic president is increasingly out of favor and the presumptive 2016 Democratic front-runner's popularity is declining even before she announces her candidacy, Karl Rove wrote in a commentary in The Wall Street Journal.

"By all accounts the Democrats face significant challenges in the midterm elections," Rove said. "It can't help them that the party's two most prominent figures — President [Barack] Obama and Hillary Clinton — have become tone deaf."

Obama started out in May 2013 by denouncing the targeting of tea party groups by the Internal Revenue Service  as "outrageous" and demanded full accountability from the agency. Yet by December, he was claiming the IRS was merely "trying to streamline a difficult law." These days the president's line is that the targeting issue is "fabricated" and "phony," writes the veteran GOP strategist and organizer of the American Crossroads political action committee.

Americans disagree and suspect a cover-up, Rove said, citing a June 24 Fox News poll in which 76 percent thought IRS employee emails were "destroyed deliberately."

The Obama presidency "is crumbling," Rove wrote, citing how the U.S. economy contracted 2.9 percent in the first quarter, the unpopularity of Obamacare, the surge of children from Latin America illegally crossing the U.S. border and the Iraq crisis. The Supreme Court has ruled against the administration in four recent rulings, the GOP strategist said.

"And Americans' confidence in the presidency according to the June 8 Gallup poll is 29 percent — lower at this point than for any of his predecessors," Rove wrote.

In the meantime, Rove said, Hillary Clinton has a 43 percent unfavorable rating while her popularity stands at 54 percent — down from 64 percent in February 2013 when she left the State Department.

The interviews she has done to promote her book, "Hard Choices," have not helped her cause, Rove said. She has tripped over claims that she and Bill Clinton left the White House "dead broke" and "in debt." Yet, the couple managed to purchase multimillion-dollar homes in New York and Washington, Rove wrote.

She also said that the family paid "ordinary income tax" and implied it was not "truly well off." Elsewhere, she was unable to point to an overriding achievement as secretary of state.

Rove finds Clinton's decision to publish "Hard Choices" at this juncture "genuinely puzzling." She seemed unprepared for the book tour interviews and made comments "that will remain in voters' minds long after her volume is remaindered in the bookstores," he wrote.

"Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both snakebit," Rove said. "Bill Clinton, the most politically talented Democrat in generations, must be shaking his head in disbelief."

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