Voter unhappiness with President Barack Obama should not be the sole campaign aproach of Republican presidential candidates in 2016, says GOP strategist Karl Rove — they must also present a positive vision for the country.
"Don't count on the dissatisfaction with President Obama naturally leading to the election of a Republican," Rove said Thursday on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."
"It does create a fertile opportunity for it, but it doesn't guarantee it."
A Quinnipiac University poll
released Wednesday showed Americans think Obama is the worst president since World War II, and that 45 percent to 38 percent, think America would be better off today if Romney had beaten Obama in 2008.
Obama didn't win re-election in 2008 on vision, Rove said, but by eradiating Mitt Romney. As a result, liberals are conflicted because they had aspirational goals for him.
Obama's administration has been beset by scandals in his second term, but his tone is wrong, too, Rove said.
"That hurts him with liberals who are asking, 'Is the best we can do?'" Rove said.
A recent poll showed that many voters now believe the country would have been better off if Republican Mitt Romney had been elected in 2008. But that doesn't help the next candidate, Rove said, because "these things are not transferable from candidate to candidate."
It does give the GOP an object lesson, though, he said.
"It says the Republicans better come with a candidate who can shape an optimistic and forward-looking vision that allows them to say, 'We can do better than the Obama years, we can do better than what the Democrats are offering."
Republicans aspiring to the Oval Office should take a lesson from Ronald Reagan, he said, who played off the failures of Democrat Jimmy Carter, but also offered a positive growth agenda built around strong national defense and tax cuts to get the economy moving again.
In the shorter term, Rove said Republicans going into November's midterms must make a strong closing argument: "Do you want to give President Obama a vote of confidence by electing Democrats, or do you want to provide a check and a balance on him during his last two years in office and send him a strong message to change course?"
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