Despite White House claims to the contrary, former senior presidential adviser Karl Rove says President Barack Obama’s trip to Iowa Tuesday was strictly political, because he is in trouble in what it is considered a critical battleground state. Rove also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren that it is one thing for potential GOP 2012 candidates to criticize Obama — coming up with their own solutions to failed presidential policies is quite another.
Rove said he wished the White House, which claimed Obama was on a “business” trip, would “just be honest with us — I mean, this president is going to only two places, places where he can raise a bunch of dough, like New York and California, or battleground states. Iowa’s a battleground state in 2012 — every incumbent White House tends to focus on the states that are battleground states.”
“This president, however, makes no pretense of it — everything is about politics,” he said. “And you know, that’d probably be fine for 2012, but it is 2011 and the president has made, in my opinion, a mistake by focusing so much on politics and basically discarding the powers of the incumbency that he has a president.”
Van Susteren noted that Obama might have taken his trip to Iowa, which he won in 2008, because his support is waning and state Democrats are abandoning the party in droves.
“Yes, four years ago, at the time of the election, the Democrats had I think [a] 111,000 registration advantage — 65,000 have left the Democratic Party,” Rove said. “Their registration advantage is down now to 36,000 — that’s the defense. The Republicans have been moving up a little bit and Democrats been moving down a lot.”
Van Susteren wondered what potential GOP candidates should do to take advantage of the Iowa slide and to prevail in other battleground states.
“Look, I think they’ve got to evaluate their records — what have they done in their life that gives you confidence that they can actually do what they say. What is it that they’re specifically advocating,” Rove said. “It’s one thing to be critical of President Obama — as all of them are in a very articulate fashion. But what is it that they would do . . . to get the economy growing again?
“And it’s just a question of authenticity and credibility,” he said. “In a presidential election, we oft-times vote for people that we don’t fully agree with but because we have confidence in them, because we like them, because they seem to be approachable, and because they seem to be authentic. And we’re willing to forgive a candidate some disagreements if we come to that kind of an understanding of them.”
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