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Rove candidly analyzes Clinton vs. Nobody in Michigan

January 17, 2008 |  8:44 am

Maybe he never really went away after he left the White House last summer, but Karl Rove is back and offered his usual, uh, candid thoughts as an experienced political strategist on the Michigan Democratic primary vote to the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee in Washington.

You may recall that all the major Democratic contenders withdrew from this week's Michigan primary, which was being penalized by the party for advancing its vote too early. All except Hillary Clinton, Sen. Chris Dodd and former Sen. Mike Gravel. They didn't campaign there but did leave their names on the ballot.

Not surprisingly, Clinton won. But Rove took another angle to view the figures. "Fifty-five percent of the people turned out and voted for her," Rove noted. "She got 328,151 votes. But 236,723 people turned out for the Democratic primary to vote for 'Uncommitted.'

"Think about that. If you run against Nobody, and Nobody gets 40% of the vote. The other 5% of the vote went for three other people -- 27,924 votes went for the guy who believes in UFOs, the guy ....

who dropped out and the guy who last held office somewhere around 1855.

"That's a pretty remarkable testament to the deep concerns the Democrats have about Sen. Clinton when she can't barely beat Nobody else."

Actually, it's a valid and potentially ominous sign for Clinton in upcoming votes such as South Carolina with its heavy African American vote. According to CNN exit polls in Michigan, about 70% of black voters -- a quarter of that state's electorate -- did not vote for Clinton -- they chose "Uncommitted. And hers was the only major contender's name left on the ballot.

The same exit surveys showed that had Barack Obama's name been on the ballot, he would have captured an overpowering 73% of the black vote compared to 22% who said they'd have gone for Clinton under those circumstances.

--Andrew Malcolm