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Rove doesn’t think too highly of President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign manager

Controversial political stalwart Karl Rove said that he doesn’t think Iowa and New Hampshire Republican voters need worry about Democratic infiltrators in upcoming primaries or caucuses — at least not as long as the Obama 2012 campaign is being led by a nobody.

Rove, who served as a senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, made the comments Tuesday during an interview with conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt.

HH: Now I want to switch to politics, Karl Rove. Is it a concern of yours that Team Obama, headquarted up there in Chicago, will attempt to influence its activists to participate in Republican caucuses and primaries to help pick the Republican nominee, and perhaps select someone who is not as strong as another candidate might be?

KR: I think they’ve got to be careful about it, because if they suddenly try and do that behind the scenes, that’s one thing. But if they’re as ham-handed as they are in everything else, it’s going to boomerang badly. And my sense is these people don’t know how to do subtle. They sure know how to do boomerang. So if they do that, they’ll be in trouble.

HH: Now you remember when Rush did Operation Chaos…

KR: Yeah.

HH: And he was quite out front about it. You don’t worry about that in New Hampshire and Iowa?

KR: Well first of all, they don’t have anybody who has as big a voice and an influence as Rush Limbaugh. I mean, who the heck is Jim Messina for gosh sakes? I mean, so, and they could send out a little email and so forth and try and encourage people, but I think a lot of Democrats would just find it distasteful to participate in Republican primaries unless they’re union steward, or a shop steward told them to do so.

Messina, who previously served as chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), helped run Obama’s successful 2008 presidential campaign. With the exit of Rahm Emmanuel, Messina has switched from his deputy chief of staff position to that of reelection campaign manager. Only weeks ago Ari Berman of The Nation published a scathing report of Messina, labeling him as responsible for nearly every controversial move made by the Obama administration, and questioning what damage a 2012 campaign with Messina at the helm could do for Obama’s reelection chances.

Although local Republicans (as well as some 2008 Hillary Clinton supporters) have long mused that Obama, who hails from neighboring Illinois, played loose with the Iowa caucuses by busing in supporters during 2008 to earn his Hawkeye State win, there has never been any evidence that out-of-state supports did more than knock doors, drive supporters to caucus locations, phone bank and observe on caucus night. Regardless, such rumors have persisted, and a campaign video released in late April by the Obama campaign and featuring Messina (embedded below) has done little to quiet the speculation since it tells core supporters to “act like an insurgent campaign.”

Messina, according to Rove, might be the current messenger of such a strategy, but he isn’t necessarily a good one — or at least one as widespread known and respected as Limbaugh. Instead, Rove suggests that the best hope for Democrats, if they wish to engage in such a risky strategy, is to engage labor union leaders — perpetrating an ongoing GOP myth that the only reason Republicans have not been able to claim majorities across the nation is because working class Americans have been allowed to negotiate for better pay, working conditions and benefits; and that the end result of such organizing luxuries are the forced filling of Democratic candidates’ coffers.

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