Former presidential adviser Karl Rove says although candidate Mitt Romney is leading the GOP nominee hopeful pack, his advantage is not so substantial that he can truly be considered a front-runner. Rove also told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Monday the race for the Republican nomination will be “unlike any contest we’ve had for over 60 years.”
“This race is far from over — and he is not way out in front,” Rove said, referring to the latest Gallup poll, which has Romney favored by 24 percent of Americans likely to vote Republican. “By comparison at this point n 1999, George W. Bush was at 52; Elizabeth Dole was at 20; Dan Quayle at nine; and 15 points was shared by nine other candidates.
“So this is — this is not a big lead. It’s the biggest lead he’s — he’s received thus far but it is not the typical front-runner lead,” Rove said. “This contest is going to be unlike any contest we’ve had for over 60 years. And that is . . . it is going to have essentially no front-runner.”
O’Reilly noted that Tim Pawlenty has a solid Republican message but does not have the stage presence to give him any traction in the GOP field. The Fox host said what got President Barack Obama elected was his ability to perform before a crowd, not his message.
“He was a better candidate than our candidate because he articulated a better message than our candidate did,” Rove said. “The message was: I don’t want to be the president of red states or blue states — I want to be the president of the United States and bring us together. And I defy you to put in a short phrase what John McCain’s message was.
“Look, running for president is like running — it’s like being in the emperor’s new clothes,” he said. “At the end of the parade they’re going to see you exactly as you are — and you better understand who you are and try to be the best that you can be on any given day. And you better not be phony.”
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