Karl Rove Wrong Again: Embarrassed on Virginia Prediction

Carl Rove David Goldman AP
David Goldman/AP

On Tuesday night, GOP strategist Karl Rove had an embarrassing moment as he appeared on Fox News to cover the results of Super Tuesday primaries.

Rove was discussing the Virginia primary with Chris Wallace, intimating that Marco Rubio would surge and tighten the race between Rubio and Trump, when Wallace got a phone call that Trump had won in Virginia.

The exchange went like this:

Wallace: “What are your thoughts about Virginia, and that race?”

Rove: “Well, I think this race is going to continue to tighten. Umm…

Wallace: “Wait, wait, hold on just a second, apparently we’ve got a call in Virginia, so you can tell us after we get the call.”

Megyn Kelly, offscreen, interjected, “Chris, thank you, Fox News can now project that Donald Trump will pull out a win in Virginia, leaving Marco Rubio a close second, according to Fox News exit polls and early returns. What does that mean for Rubio and Donald Trump? Back to Chris Wallace and the campaign cowboys.”

Wallace, turning back to Rove, said, “Karl, tell me, what does that mean for Marco Rubio and Donald Trump?”

Rove rationalized, “Well, first of all, remember this state splits its delegates on a clearly proportional basis… all 49 delegates are split proportionally. Right now the delegates are split 15 for Trump, 12 for Rubio, and five for Cruz, given the current numbers. But I think its probably gonna tighten some, because we still have 214 precincts out, out of 243, in Fairfax and Northern Virginia that Rubio’s getting 40% of the vote; 38 out of 53 in Arlington, again northern Virginia, with 58, 77 precincts out of 92 in Prince William, also northern Virgina, he’s getting 36 –

Wallace interrupted, “This is when I told you to keep it simple.”

Rove replied, “Bottom line is, there are a lot of precincts out. This is likely to narrow. I wouldn’t be surprised if –

Wallace: “So does Rubio, does Rubio get any brownie points? Does he get any push from getting close here, or is a loss a loss?”

Rove: “A loss is a loss, but they’re going to try to spin it, and the number of delegates is probably going to end up, being maybe, 14 -13, in Virginia, given the way they split the vote up. And they’re certainly going to take one little bit of cosmic justice: in Lynchburg, the home of Jerry Falwell Jr., who endorsed Donald Trump, Marco Rubio’s running first, Ted Cruz second, and Donald Trump is currently running third.”

Trump won 17 delegates, Rubio 16 and Cruz 8.

Rove has a spotty record with his predictions; In 2006, he predicted “a Republican Senate and Republican House,” but the Democrats won the House and Senate; in November 2000, he opined that the presidential election “will not be close,” and he said in 2000 that George W. Bush would win the New Hampshire primary, which John McCain won by 18 percentage points. In 2012 he predicted that Mitt Romney would get 279 electoral votes; Romney only got 206.