Reporter Goes Inside Karl Rove's Elite Fundraiser

He talks strategy, jokes about murdering Todd Akin
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2012 3:45 PM CDT
Karl Rove: 'Respectful' Obama Criticism Can Win This
Karl Rove talks to Sen. Orrin Hatch on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)

In a rare look behind the super-PAC curtain, BusinessWeek's Sheelah Kolhatkar was able to crash an American Crossroads breakfast yesterday, featuring Karl Rove speaking frankly to the 70 top donors who fund the leading political action committee. Rove said the key to the election was persuading undecided voters in swing states—and the trick to doing that is to avoid harsh personal attacks and instead focus on how the president has come up short of his promises. "If you keep it focused on the facts and adopt a respectful tone, then they’re gonna agree with you," said Rove, citing reams of focus group data. Other key takeaways from the meeting include:

  • American Crossroads' total budget for this election is about $300 million—$200 million for the presidential race, $70 million for the Senate, and $32 million for the House. So far, it has raised two-thirds of that money.
  • Republicans need four Senate victories to gain a majority, and Rove feels “we can win three.”
  • "We should sink Todd Akin," Rove joked, about the candidate whose "legitimate rape" comments have put the Missouri Senate race in jeopardy. "If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!"
Read the whole BusinessWeek exclusive for all the details. (More Karl Rove stories.)

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