'The Architect' Rove Deconstructs N.H. Results

Karl Rove with President Bush

Political strategist Karl Rove, with President Bush in August, says anything is possible in the 2008 presidential race. Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Getty Images

Results from the New Hampshire presidential primaries have intensified scrutiny of what qualities Americans are looking for in their next president.

New Hampshire voters, participating in the nation's first primary election, had similar voting trends as those in the Iowa caucuses, demonstrating record voter turnout. Residents in the state, however, distinguished themselves from Iowans by choosing two candidates left in the dust at the caucuses — Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain.

Karl Rove is a political strategist and former deputy White House chief of staff for President George W. Bush. The Republican insider, commonly referred to as having been the "architect" behind Bush's two successful presidential campaigns, suggests voters should exercise more skepticism when it comes to polling.

"It's very tough to poll a primary, and we've endowed these polls running up to the primaries with a false scientific precision they simply don't have," says Rove. He also suggests that Barack Obama was done a disservice by widely publicized poll figures pointing to a double-digit win in New Hampshire. The senator, instead, lost by a three-point percentage margin to Clinton.

In response to some who say the country is not prepared to accept an African-American nor a female president, Rove says he doesn't buy either notion.

"Americans are looking for a way to break barriers. They would love to elect a woman president; they would love to elect an African-American president. And to the degree that either gender or race plays into this race, it plays far more in a positive direction than it does in a negative direction," he says.

Sen. McCain's win in New Hampshire signaled that there could be a more protracted race for the White House among Republicans, with multiple conservative candidates still eyeing the presidency on Feb. 5, or "Super Tuesday," when 22 states hold their primaries. Rove doesn't disagree and suggests, at this point, that anything is possible.

"We could enter Super Tuesday with three or four credible candidates ... both parties are going to have contests that exist through at least Feb. 5," he assures.

But the man who, in addition to President Bush, helped shape Texas politics by lending his hand to scores of campaigns on various levels there, is eyeing the 2008 elections only from a distance. Rove says he's sitting this one out, although he admits to having been glued to coverage of the New Hampshire primaries on television.

"That is about as close as I wanted to get to it."

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