For immediate release
October 24, 2006
Chad Campbell, NPR


Transcribed excerpts are below. Audio of Interview to be Available after 7:30pm ET at

Washington, D.C.; October 24, 2006 - Karl Rove, White House Deputy Chief of Staff and President Bush's chief strategist, says he doesn't believe the public polls that claim the Republicans are likely to lose the House and possibly the Senate on Election Day. Rather, he explains in an interview with Robert Siegel airing today on NPR's All Things Considered today, he's looking at other polls that combined with the Republicans large financial advantage over the Democrats, could point to a Republican victory.

A rush transcript of the interview is below. All excerpts must be credited to NPR's All Things Considered. Audio of the interview will be available after 7:30pm ET at along with an additional excerpt from the interview. For local stations and times for All Things Considered, please visit

[Mr. Rove's first response below is responding to a question about public polls and analysis predicting a Republican loss in November.]

KARL ROVE: I see several things; first, unlike the general public, I'm allowed to see the polls on the individual races and after all this does come down to individual contests between individual candidates. Second of all, I see the individual spending reports and contribution reports. For example at the end of August in 30 of the most competitive races in the country, the house races, the Republicans had 33 million cash on hand and Democrats had just over 14 million.

ROBERT SIEGEL: And all that money I assume would put a lot of television advertising out there.

ROVE: And a lot of organized volunteer activity, you need to have staff and infrastructure and materials to give to your large army of volunteers to get out the vote.

SIEGEL: What do you tell all of those people? You say we have to keep a majority on Capitol Hill because dot dot dot. We have to re-elect your guy regardless of what party he's with.

ROVE: I think what you need to do is make it a choice between two candidates. So that you have a choice between Candidate A and candidate B. And on the big issues Candidate A represents the values of his or her district or state and Candidate B doesn't.

For example, look, the war on terror. Do you support in a time of war reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Terrorist surveillance program. There was a vote in the House. 88% of Democrats in the House voted against giving additional authority to a program to listen in to suspected Al Qaeda figures calling or trying contact people in the United States. The vote on CIA interrogation bill. Where again over 80% of Democrats in House and Senate voted against a program of the CIA interrogating high value targets like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed the mastermind of the 9/11 plot.

SIEGEL: You're saying the top three issues for the GOP this fall are war on terror, war on terror and war on terror?

ROVE: No, No, I gave you three examples of the war on terror. We can talk about taxes. Where 85% of Democrats in the Congress voted against cutting taxes on income. Cutting taxes on families with children. Cutting taxes on married couples that work. My point is make a choice between two different candidates.

SIEGEL: We are in the home stretch though and many would consider you on the optimistic end of realism about...

ROVE: Not that you would exhibit a bias, you just making a comment.

SIEGEL: I'm looking at all the same polls that you are looking at.

ROVE: No, you are not. I'm looking at 68 polls a week for candidates for the US House and US Senate, and Governor and you may be looking at 4-5 public polls a week that talk attitudes nationally.

SIEGEL: I don't want to have you to call races...

ROVE: I'm looking at all of these Robert and adding them up. I add up to a Republican Senate and Republican House. You may end up with a different math but you are entitled to your math and I'm entitled to THE math.

SIEGEL: I don't know if we're entitled to a different math but your...

ROVE: I said THE math.

SIEGEL: There are also a lot of stories about people being very disturbed about the course of the war in Iraq. And about people who feel that this isn't the way it was supposed to happen.

ROVE: No war ever happens the way it was suppose to happen. I would love for someone to show me a war that rolled out exactly the way it did. I do know this though, that as people get close to voting decision, they focus on the issues of what the consequences of winning and the consequences of losing. I think we saw this earlier this year in a blue state among blue voters. That's the Connecticut Senatorial Primary. There was only one issue, Iraq. 34% of the state's voters are democrats eligible to participate in primary and 40% turned out. Just over 7% of them voted to get out now in a blue state. Lieberman went from being way behind to being narrowly behind on Election Day because as the election got closer people had to think about the consequence to America of winning and losing.

I think Iraq and the economy play a role in virtually every race. But there are also local considerations in the local contest between two individuals that at the end of the day matters for great deal of the contest. There is a natural human desire to simplify everything to one big thing, Curly's line from the movie, 'one thing', but that is not the way politics really is. Politics is a complex equation which voters are going to be examining a variety of issues and a variety of characteristics as they arrive at their decision.