Karl Rove: GOP Can Win, But Not With Personal Attacks

Former Bush campaign boss Karl Rove said yesterday that so long as the GOP criticizes President Obama “respectfully,” then the Republicans will win the November Presidential Election.

Business Week‘s Sheelah Kolhatkar was given a rare look behind the super-PAC curtain yesterday morning after crashing an American Crossroads breakfast. There, Karl Rove spoke to the 70 top donors who fund the leading political action committee, and what he said was rare, candid, and needed advice in the weeks leading up to the November elections.

Specifically, Rove identified the primary challenge for both parties in this year’s presidential election – independent and undecided voters in key swing states. He said that the trick to winning them over is to avoid baseless and harsh personal attacks, and instead focus the GOP’s platform on how President Obama has not delivered on his promises. A partisan strategy, for sure, but one that both sides can learn from.

“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.

Also in the speech, Rove revealed American Crossroads’ total budget for this election: about $300 million. $200 million of that is for the presidential race, $70 millions is for the Senate, and $32 million is for the House. He also touched on the amount of seats that Republicans need to win in the Senate to gain a majority. Of four total, Rove thinks that “we can win three.”

Rove also jokingly touched on the recent Todd Akin controversy, saying, “We should sink Todd Akin,” continuing, “If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”

In all honesty, both campaigns need to take Mr. Rove’s advice. Though his advice was directed to GOP candidates, it represents wisdom that it would behoove both sides to act upon. This election is often called the “nastiest in recent history,” when it should be focusing on the issues; and while criticism across party lines is completely warranted (and “part of the game”), the needless and baseless attacks from both sides need to stop, because it’s not Republicans or Democrats that stand to lose that battle.

It’s us.