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You know it’s a good election night when you see Karl Rove have a hissy fit on national television.
It came just after 11 pm, when he heard a TV network declare Obama the winner in Ohio. This was not just any network, but Fox TV, the Republican Party’s official propaganda machine! Rove, who is a rabidly-partisan GOP hit man, also doubles as a Fox commentator. (That network has simply amputated the word “conflict” from the ethical concept of conflict-of-interest. But I digress.)
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Rove was just off-camera on the Fox set as the on-air anchor team made the call on Ohio. In fact, he was on the phone at the time with a top Romney staffer who was wailing that Fox was wrong, that Romney was winning Ohio. With his right knee jerking furiously, Karl immediately demanded to be put on the air to rebut the network’s own professional vote counters. He got what he wanted, publicly chiding his Fox colleagues for being “premature” This prompted an unusual moment of dead air, after which anchor Megan Kelly said, “Well, that’s awkward.” Since every news outlet and even Republican officials were by then conceding Ohio to Obama, Kelly asked whether Rove was using his own math just to “make himself feel better.”
Bingo! Karl the Kingmaker was having a really bad night. He had talked assorted corporations and fat cats into putting some $300 million into his attack ads against Democrats – and he had some big explaining to do. American Crossroads, one of Rove’s two political funds, spent $103 million to defeat Democratic Senate candidates, but the return on that investment was a pathetic 1 percent. Billionaires expect better.
By the way, in response to this bruhaha, Jon Stewart said that “Math You Do As a Republican to Make Yourself Feel Better” is a better slogan than the one Fox has now.