Tags: Karl | Rove | Promises | October | Surprise

Karl Rove Promises October Surprise

Wednesday, 20 September 2006 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON -- In the past week, Karl Rove has been promising Republican insiders an "October surprise" to help win the November congressional elections.

President Bush's political strategist is also saying that the final two weeks before the elections will see a blitz of advertising, and the Republican National Committee is deploying an army of volunteers to key locations to help the grass-roots effort and monitor the elections.

The RNC is offering to fly in volunteers and cover their expenses.

Rove is not saying what the October surprise will be. Asked if he would elaborate and give his thinking about the coming elections, Rove told NewsMax that his take largely parallels what RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman said in a

As for the October Surprise, Rove said, "I'd rather let the balance [of plans for the elections] unroll on its own."

The previous NewsMax story quoted Mehlman as saying that Republicans will hold their majority in the House and Senate. He bases that conclusion on a recent meeting with his regional political directors, on private polling, and on analyses of individual races.

Mehlman conceded that the House is in a "competitive situation." In the House, 35 to 40 seats are in play, he said. In the Senate, 12 or 13 seats could change hands. To tilt the balance, Democrats would have to pick up six seats in the Senate and 15 seats in the House.

But, Mehlman said, "I believe that the combination of the relatively narrow playing field, the relatively strong financial position our folks are in and the national party is in, the good turnout operation that we have, the motivation of our base, and the lack of motivation of their base as indicated by turnout in a number of recent Democrat primaries," will do the trick.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told the American Spectator Newsmaker Breakfast that even in Indiana, "There is no question that there is public consternation about our progress in Iraq." However, he said, "Hoosiers want us to come home, but they want us to win and come home."

When he was with Bush recently, the president asked him, "What do you have to say, Pence?"

"Thanks for being more determined than our enemy," Pence said.

"I like the way you put that," Bush quickly replied.

One of the strangest elections is being held on Capitol Hill, where a black Republican is running for city council in a city where no Republican in memory has ever defeated a Democrat. In this case, it helps to be the son of Juan Williams, the Fox News contributor and National Public Radio host.

With that kind of entree, Juan's son Tony Williams has been able to line up an impressive array of backers to help raise money for his campaign for Washington's Ward 6, which covers Capitol Hill. They range from Republican guru Grover Norquist and GOP operative Ed Rogers to Fox News contributor Fred Barnes.

Four Democrats are also vying for the City Council seat, which is open to Republicans and Democrats. Some other city council seats are reserved for Republicans.

Tony Williams, 26, is taller than his father but has inherited his chiseled good looks. When the younger Williams was attending Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., a talent scout for Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch asked if he would model.

"They wanted to do a shoot," Williams recalled. "My thought wasn't, ‘I want to be a model.' It was, ‘I want to get my work done.' I told them thanks, but no thanks. Maybe I missed my true calling."

Back when Tony, as a high school kid, attended New Year's Day brunches with his parents at my home, his mother Delise, a social worker, called him Antonio. After college, he became a speechwriter and legislative correspondent for Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., a communications and public relations assistant for the Republican National Committee, and a Senate page and intern for Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C.

"My connection with the city and its movers and shakers has allowed prominent D.C. residents, many of whom have never supported a non-Democrat candidate, to support me," Williams told me in his baritone voice.

While Williams was raised in a liberal home, he thought liberals at Macalester College took liberalism to an extreme, and it made him uncomfortable.

"I am just a middle-of-the-road person generally," he said. "They started labeling me as a Republican. At first, I just thought these guys were throwing names out."

But Williams realized that he really did identify more with Republicans. When Williams began interning for the RNC, his father questioned him.

"He was kind of like, ‘What are you doing over there?'" Williams said. "But he was also like, ‘Let my son do his thing.'"

Asked how he feels about his son's Republican pedigree, Juan Williams said, "Initially, it was a surprise to everybody in our family. But the whole idea was to raise a young man who was empowered to make his own choices in life. He is a conservative person and has always been. It wasn't a surprise in that sense."

Tony Williams told me he is most impressed by the difference in the way Democrats and Republicans try to solve problems.

"Democrats wait for problems to happen and put a Band-Aid over them," Williams said. "Republicans get out in front of problems and take a proactive approach to solve them. Over the years, Republicans have been on the correct side of civil rights issues, but they aren't afraid to say that personal responsibility is also important in solving problems."


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WASHINGTON -- In the past week, Karl Rove has been promising Republican insiders an "October surprise" to help win the November congressional elections. President Bush's political strategist is also saying that the final two weeks before the elections will see a blitz of...
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 12:00 AM
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