Karl Rove: Because of Obama, Bachmann’s experience may be a liability

WASHINGTON — Former George W. Bush political adviser Karl Rove said Tuesday that Michele Bachmann will have to confront questions about inexperience if she runs for president, saying voters might have extra questions about relative political newcomers after the election of President Obama.

Rove, speaking with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly just after Bachmann finished an interview with him, said Bachmann is a “personal friend” and that he helped her during her first campaign in 2006.

“She’s smart, she’s tough, she’s funny, she’s got a lot of personality and all of that will help her if she throws her hat in the ring,” Rove told O’Reilly, adding that Bachmann will play well in Iowa, the state with the first caucus vote in the 2012 cycle.

The biggest challenge facing her, Rove said, is that it’s very hard as a member of Congress to jump directly to the White House. It’s only been done once before, by James Garfield in 1880, and he was a nine-term representative, a committee chairman and before that he was a brigadier general in the Civil War. Bachmann, in turn, is in the first year of her third term in Congress.

“I think it is going to matter,” Rove said, not because of Bachmann but because voters will look at President Obama and decide they’re not willing to take a chance on someone without much experience. Obama served just four years in the Senate before being elected as president.

Bachmann and Texas Rep. Ron Paul are the only two potential presidential candidates currently in the House, though the last political office Newt Gingrich held was in the House of Representatives, as Speaker, in 1999. Most of the rest of the potential field are current or former governors, like Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney (Massachusetts), Haley Barbour (Mississippi), Mitch Daniels (Indiana), Mike Huckabee (Arkansas), Sarah Palin (Alaska) and Jon Huntsman (Utah).

Bachmann, speaking with O’Reilly just before, declined once again to make an announcement about her political future, saying once again that a decision was likely to come in early summer.

But she told O’Reilly she had the experience for the office, as a member of the House Foreign Service and Intelligence Committees, as a principled “reformer,” her time in the state legislature before Congress and because she’s been a businesswoman.

She told the Fox host that she could weather a brutal campaign, saying “I’m used to vicious press, I come from a liberal state and the press hasn’t always been very kind to me.”

“We need somebody who’s going to be very strong and willing to take on Barack Obama,” Bachmann said.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Dodd Demas on 04/05/2011 - 11:09 pm.

    So, Rove gives a back handed swipe to his “personal friend” and Obama at the same time. Some things don’t change.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/06/2011 - 07:41 am.

    I saw that interview. What’s interesting is that I had figured that Obama’s lack of experience and accomplishment had set the bar so low that someone like Bachmann wouldn’t have to face that question, but if most people believe that voting for Obama was a big mistake, I guess Rove’s right.

    But the GOP wants to make this election about Obama and essentially ask the voters if he deserves another term. So in effect, it doesn’t matter who the GOP nominee is. He or she will either win or lose based on the voters’ opinion of Obama.

  3. Submitted by chris snyder on 04/06/2011 - 11:36 am.

    Karl is smart, but sounds like he’s twisting this one. The problem is not experience or history of anything – the problem is Bachmann’s off-the-chart comments. She is more pro-active than Palin (ready to jump in, instead of playing a “will I, won’t I” game) but otherwise is the same. The other difference is Michele presents new material after Palin has been overexposed for 2.5 years. Get some good Republicans on the ballot so we can elect someone who can analyze issues and tackle them from a position of executive authority.

  4. Submitted by chris snyder on 04/06/2011 - 11:39 am.

    “So in effect, it doesn’t matter who the GOP nominee is. He or she will either win or lose based on the voters’ opinion of Obama.”

    Sounds like the GOP has all their eggs in the “Obama will fail” basket – there is no backup plan. Personally I’d like Daniels or Schweitzer to run, but I don’t think either will – that would give the GOP a respectable candidate instead of ditzy sideshows.

Leave a Reply