Rove: GOP 'Out-Hustled' Democrats in Wisconsin

Thursday, 07 Jun 2012 10:01 AM

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Republicans out-hustled the Democrats in Wisconsin, putting together a superior ground game that beat that of their opponents, former President George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove writes in an Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal.

Rove noted that Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, as recently as last month, was touting the Democratic ground game as was Democratic Party Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz who said the Wisconsin recall would be the "dry run we need of our massive, significant dynamic grass-roots presidential campaign."

“There are two possible answers why the ‘best grass-roots campaign in modern American political history’ failed to deliver victory,” Rove said. “First, Team Obama's vaunted get-out-the-vote effort was simply a facade. That's not likely, since Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democratic candidate, did receive 158,482 more votes than he did in losing to Mr. Walker in 2010.

“The other possibility is the Democrats were out-hustled by the Republicans.”

Rove said that even before the Wisconsin recall election there was evidence the Democratic ground game was weak. He said that in eight battleground states voter registration drives by Democrats were lagging while Republican numbers were up.

“If Democrats weren't winning the registration war while Republicans were distracted with an ugly presidential primary—and then couldn't bury the GOP in Wisconsin—it appears the Democratic ground game is not the ‘bigger, faster, stronger’ force that Mr. Messina told USA Today it was in February,” Rove wrote.

“If the Wisconsin results are cause for concern among Democrats, they provide a call to action for Republicans, especially in battleground states. To beat Mr. Obama, Republicans must duplicate the ground game deployed by the GOP in Wisconsin that registered, persuaded and produced a massive turnout.”

Rove acknowledged it “won’t be easy.”

“But Republicans are fortunate to have outstanding leadership at the Republican National Committee in (Reince) Priebus and also at Romney headquarters in Boston,” he concludes. “Their challenge will be to gather the necessary resources and generate the passionate commitment to the ground game at the grass-roots level that was so evident in Wisconsin.

“I'm betting they will.”

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