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Breaking News: Hillary Clinton now thinks Karl Rove's a political genius

May 19, 2008 |  7:07 pm

Until very recently -- like suddenly this afternoon -- Karl Rove was to most Democrats the Great Satan, the political mastermind of two outrageously stunning Republican presidential victories by a Texas goofball governor and, before that, the unfortunate upseNew York Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has long denounced political strategist Karl Rove, who engineered George W. Bush's two White House wins, and criticized her opponent Illinois Senator Barack Obama for allegedly following Rove's playbook, but now she cites Rove as an expert because he says at the moment she's the strongest Democratic candidate against Republican Arizona senator John McCaint ousting of a popular Democratic governor named Ann Richards, as well as the overall rejuvenation of the Lone Star state GOP in statewide offices.

In fact, there are few things politically evil that Rove has not been blamed for by Democrats, even nine months after he exited the White House to write a book, consult and opine in Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal and as an analyst for Fox News.

In recent months one of the worst things Sen. Hillary Clinton could say about her chief opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, was that he was taking moves out of the "Karl Rove playbook." Can you imagine?! "Shame on you, Barack Obama!" she said. Which, if you stop to think about it, means Obama was being successful.

So successful, in fact, that the Illinois freshman senator, ahead in delegates and popular votes, is on the brink of snatching the party's nomination and even acting like the presumptive nominee, ignoring Clinton and taking on who's-its from Arizona.

For his part, a year ago Rove was saying Clinton was the prohibitive favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination and then, later, he said she was a tremendously flawed candidate with extremely high negatives for a national candidate. Both true at the time.

How quickly things change in this season's presidential politics.

Today, Clinton began citing Rove as the ultimate expert on who was the strongest Democratic candidate in the Nov. 4 general. And we've got the exclusive maps below to prove it, all four confidential pages.

No, really!

Campaigning in Kentucky today for tomorrow's....

...primary vote, Clinton sought to justify why she's staying in a race it's virtually impossible for her to win mathematically. She said, as she often does, "There has been a lot of analysis about which of us is stronger to win against Sen. McCain, and I believe I am the stronger candidate."

Fine. Very familiar.

Then, she veered off into new territory. "Just today," Clinton said, "I found some curious support for that position when one of the TV networks released an analysis done by -- of all people -- Karl Rove, saying that I was the stronger candidate. Somebody got a hold of his analysis and there it is."

In his short tenure as TV analyst Rove has become famous for his 8x10 colored U.S. maps showing whatever he's trying to demonstrate. He's long been renowned among co-workers for mining details and all sorts of fascinating tidbits from material that others completely missed.

His latest four pages of Fox maps (see below) show Clinton leading the presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, by more than 50 electoral votes in a hypothetical match-up based on current state polls. And another Rove map shows Obama trailing McCain slightly.

In an e-mail this evening Rove confirmed his most recent data does indeed show what Clinton is citing. And he passed along copies of his copyrighted maps, which we are publishing below.

O.K., now let's see what this is really about. So Rove, the Republican Svengali of modern American politics, is really saying that Clinton is stronger because he wants Democrats to pick her because he secretly knows that she really isn't stronger and that will backfire and actually help the GOP's McCain.

Or, no, wait. Maybe Rove is really saying Clinton is stronger now because he knows Democrats won't believe him so then they'll do the opposite and choose Obama, which is really what Rove wants because he knows McCain is stronger against the freshman senator.

That's probably it. Because Rove couldn't possibly be telling the truth.

-- Andrew Malcolm



Photo Credits: AP
Maps courtesy of KarlRove&Co.