Karl Rove: Odds Against Sen. Clinton

Karl Rove

Karl Rove is the former Deputy Chief of Staff for President George W. Bush. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Karl Rove, the former senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, says the chances of Sen. Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic presidential nomination are slim after Sen. Barack Obama's decisive victory in the North Carolina primary and her close win in Indiana earlier this week.

Rove said it's extremely unlikely that Clinton (D-N.Y.) will be able to win enough delegates in the remaining contests, or the support of enough superdelegates to secure the ticket.

Democratic primaries are still to come in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Montana and Puerto Rico.

But Rove, who's been credited for his instrumental role in getting President Bush elected twice, said many Democrats – especially white rural voters – are looking toward the presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

"They view Senator Obama as a liberal elitist who's looking down their nose at them," Rove says.

He added that some of the defections are par for the course. But he also pointed to a racial divide among Democratic voters. He cites recent polls from North Carolina and Indiana suggesting a potentially significant number of Clinton supporters won't vote for Obama (D-Ill.) if he is the nominee.

On the other hand, Rove says, the media has paid too much attention to Republican leaders who have publicly supported Obama.

Rove says crossovers are common in every election but the "McCainocrats" present a far more serious challenge to Obama.

He said McCain would be competitive with either Obama or Clinton, but that McCain still needs to drum up enthusiasm among many leaders in the Republican Party.

"He's pretty much his own man who speaks his mind and sometimes upsets the party elders," says Rove.

McCain's maverick image, Rove said, gives him an advantage among moderates, but keeps some of his potential allies from speaking up on his behalf.

When asked about potential vice presidents, he said the candidates need to take into account the politics of who they choose; and they should also be primarily concerned with how their running mate will help them do their best work while in office.

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