Karl Rove’s Plan for Beating Obama

Photograph by David Goldman/AP Photo

Karl Rove, former Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to former President George W. Bush, right, with Sen. Orrin Hatch on the floor of the Republican National Convention.

Karl Rove steered George W. Bush to two presidential election victories.

Now Rove, the brain behind a super-PAC called American Crossroads, is trying to do the same for Mitt Romney — and Rove spelled out his strategy for unseating President Barack Obama with a research-rich, closed-door explanation off-campus from the Republican National Convention this week to a gathering of billionaires helping to bankroll the independent campaigns on Romney’s behalf — a briefing attended by Bloomberg Businessweek’s Sheelah Kolhatkar.

Crossroads has conducted extensive focus groups and shared polling and focus group data with “all the major groups that are playing” in the contest, including the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, Rove assured the donors.

What he has gleaned is an acute understanding of the nature of the undecided, still persuadable voters:

“If you say he’s a socialist, they’ll go to defend him. If you call him a ‘far out left-winger,’ they’ll say, ‘no, no, he’s not,”’ Rove explained, offering the correct course:  criticizing Obama without really criticizing him— reminding voters of what the president said that he was going to do and comparing it to what he’s actually done. “If you keep it focused on the facts and adopt a respectful tone,” Rove told the donors, “then they’re gonna agree with you.”

That tone could be heard throughout the final public speeches of the convention in Tampa — with Republicans reminding a television viewing audience that Obama is a good man, but as Florida Senator Marco Rubio put it, “a bad president.”

See the details of this and more of Rove’s no-longer secret strategy for removing Obama from office at Businessweek.com.

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