Former Bush deputy chief of staff says race for the 2012 presidential nomination will be unusual contest

Feb. 1, 2011
KARL Rove, who served as senior advisor and deputy chief of staff under President George W Bush, said the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination

KARL Rove, who served as senior advisor and deputy chief of staff under President George W Bush, said the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination has no front-runner and shapes up to be highly unusual.

“This is not going to be like any modern contest in history for the Republicans,” he said. “Republicans are genetically predisposed to have a front-runner. It's always the guy who ‘deserves it.’ This time around, polls show that there's nobody out in front. This will be one unusual contest. How they perform in 2011 and the first five weeks of 2012 before the vote in Iowa will be really critical.”

Rove said things aren't looking very good for Sarah Palin, who ran on John McCain's 2008 ticket as vice-presidential candidate.

“Right now, she's not doing the things necessary to cause people to say, ‘I think she can be president,’ ” he said. “In fact, I've heard a lot of people around the country say, ‘I'm a member of the so-and-so Tea Party group. I love Sarah Palin, but I hope she doesn't run for president.’ That's dangerous for her.”

Rove said he believes President Obama is a near lock to get the Democratic nomination.

“I don't see anybody challenging him,” he said. “Hillary Clinton? Oh, please. I don't see a challenger.”

Rove expanded on the criticism he offered of Obama's foreign policy expertise in his book, Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight. He said Obama is not interested in changing the perception that he is “weak” in that area.

“I think he has a different view of America's role in the world,” Rove said. “He did the right thing in Iraq. He could have gone in and immediately withdrawn American troops. He did the right thing in Afghanistan. But he just sees us as another player on the world stage. He looks weak. This is self-inflicted.”

Rove said that Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize only because it's awarded by “nutty” Norwegians, and maintained that Obama should have declined the award.

Rove also reiterated his belief — as originally stated in a Wall Street Journal column last July — that his “biggest mistake” in the White House was not convincing Bush that he needed to refute charges that he lied the nation into the Iraq War over the issues of weapons of mass destruction.

“I had a relationship with him where I could have walked into the Oval Office and said, ‘Mr President, with all due respect, this consensus has developed. This is going to eat away. This is going to corrode the foundation of your presidency. This is a dagger aimed at the heart of your presidency and you have to treat it seriously.’ And I didn't. It's an act I'll always regret not having taken because it hurt. He survived the 2004 election. (But it) corroded his ability to do lots of other things.”

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.