Well, that didn’t take long. After being pounded for a full day by some of the conservative movement’s biggest names, a bruised and battered Karl Rove took to the Fox News airwaves this morning to get on board the Christine O’Donnell train.
Rove, you’ll recall, refused to buy the tea party hype about Delaware’s new Republican Senate nominee, telling Sean Hannity on the night O’Donnell won that the “nutty” things O’Donnell says meant that the GOP had no shot at winning a Senate majority with her representing the party in Delaware (a race the GOP was expected to win with establishment choice Mike Castle as the nominee.)
Since he made that comment, commentators from Michelle Malkin to Sarah Palin to Rush Limbaugh have called Rove everything from incompetent to traitorous. The end result? Rove has come to embody the “establishment” in discussions about O’Donnell. And as anyone knows, this year, the “establishment” label on a Republican resume is about as popular as a meat dress at a PETA meeting.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that Rove buckled under the pressure of his right-wing critics, rushing onto Fox this morning to change the narrative. How can you call me establishment? he asked. I supported Sharron Angle for goodness’ sake! And as to that whole “the GOP Senate majority is doomed” thing, Rove is now claiming that not only does he think O’Donnell can win, he actually orchestrated sending NRSC money to her campaign.
As Rove might have said in a moment of honesty, it’s all kind of nutty.
“My job as a Fox analyst is to call it as I see them,” Rove explained this morning. “My job is not to be a cheerleader for every Republican.”
Rove listed all the reasons he’s said in the past why O’Donnell has destroyed the GOP’s (already outside) chances at a Senate majority — the problems with “honesty” he first mentioned on Hannity, her strange finances, etc — but then made it clear that he’s 100% behind the party’s rising star.
“Look, I endorsed her the other night,” he said this morning. “I was one of the first to do it.”
Not only that, Rove says, he’s actually responsible for the NRSC begrudgingly getting behind O’Donnell after trying to destroy her for weeks in opposition research emails blasted across DC. Rove said that after he called the NRSC and asked them “why the heck” they told Fox they weren’t going to give O’Donnell any money, they cut her a check right away (he also said Fox was incorrect in its initial reporting that the NRSC wasn’t going to back O’Donnell anyway.)
What’s more, Rove said, his criticisms of O’Donnell have led to thousands of dollars in contributions for the candidate. What could be more helpful than that?
“So many people have written me an email saying, ‘I’m irritated with you, saying what you said the other night, I’ve given her a campaign contribution, I’m sending her an internet contribution,’” Rove said.
And check out Rove’s infamous Tuesday night performance on Hannity.
And don’t miss our highlight reel comparing the appearances.
Late Update: Rove tweets his appearance on Fox, doing his best to shake off that ugly establishment label: