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Karl Rove objects as Fox News team calls election for Obama

COMMENTARY

November 06, 2012|By James Rainey
  • Republican strategist Karl Rove, seen here in a photo from September's Democratic National Convention, was not ready Tuesday night to concede that President Obama had won Ohio.
Republican strategist Karl Rove, seen here in a photo from September's… (Charles Dharapak/Associated…)

All the networks, CNN, the Associated Press and Fox News had called the presidential race for President Obama. But one man with a big megaphone thought it was all too premature.

Fox News analyst Karl Rove threw up a spirited rebuttal argument Tuesday night as the conservative cable channel said that Republican Mitt Romney’s bid for president had failed.

Fox then proceeded with the unusual spectacle of bringing its chief data analyst on camera to discuss with Rove why the outlet said Ohio, and thus the presidency, would remain in Democratic hands.

“All I’m saying is, look, we’ve had one instance where something was prematurely called,” Rove said, alluding to the 2000 election in which media outlets declared Al Gore the winner in Florida, apparently making him president. After weeks of delay and a protracted recount, the state went to George W. Bush, who was advised by the self-same Rove.

Rove said his objection was based not on politics but on a close study of Ohio and information from insiders who said that uncounted votes from rural counties still gave Romney a chance at victory. He claimed his sources said that urban Cincinnati votes had been tallied but that the suburban exurbs and rural areas could still tilt to the Republican.

“We still have 700,000 or more votes still to count,” said Rove. “We were raising the cautionary note that we might want to wait a little longer.” Fox reporter Carl Cameron noted that the Romney camp was also not ready to concede the state, saying the candidate did not want to concede “until the last votes are counted.”

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly joked that there would be a “cage match” between Rove and the head of Fox’s election analysis team. But the Fox analysts explained that their call was simply about the numbers.

Obama had run up a 68% advantage in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, and only about half the votes in the heavily populated area had been counted. With the rest of the vote in that area expected to go strong for Obama, the president’s margin was only likely to grow.

“I don’t think there is reason to believe that there is huge Republican territory in there,” Fox’s chief analyst said.

Kelly then asked Rove whether he was satisfied with the race being settled in Obama’s favor. Rove didn’t sound completely convinced when he said: “I just wanted to raise the question and I am a little sensitive about this, having been through this in 2000.”

james.rainey@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesrainey

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