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Karl Rove: ‘Rarely do parties weed people out of the party’

FILE - In this April 12 2011 file phoKarl Rove former Deputy Chief Staff Senior Policy Advisor President George W.

FILE - In this April 12, 2011 file photo, Karl Rove, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor to President George W. Bush, leads a panel discussion, The Politics And Policy Of Growth, at The 4% Project, Driving Economic Growth conference at SMU, in Dallas. The on-air spectacle of Fox News analyst Karl Rove publicly questioning his network's call of the election for Barack Obama happened because Rove and Fox's decision desk both had pieces to a puzzle that the other wasn't aware of, a network executive said Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

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Updated: January 16, 2013 6:08AM

He was once the architect behind the George W. Bush presidencies.

These days, Karl Rove is best known as the talking head on Fox News who showed public disbelief that Ohio would tilt toward President Barack Obama on election night.

On Friday, Rove spoke before a who’s who of the Illinois Republican party at an event at the Westin Hotel in Lombard.

Rove’s remarks during the event were off the record.

Afterward, however, he spoke briefly to the Chicago Sun-Times about whether the core of the Republican party needed to distance itself from the most extreme in its realm — that included Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock as well as Missouri candidate Todd Akin, both of whom made controversial remarks about abortion and rape.

Akin and Mourdock, as well as Tea Party Republican Joe Walsh of McHenry, who just before the election said abortion was never necessary to save the life of a woman, ended up playing into the Democrats’ storyline of a Republican “war on women.”

Rove took exception when asked if the GOP needed to do more to “get rid of” candidates like Mourdock and Akin.

“You know, what you do is you nominate people. The language of ‘getting rid,’ you know, rarely do parties weed people out of the party,” Rove said. “Howard Dean was a lousy candidate, the Democrats didn’t weed him out of the party, they just defeated him.”

Ultimately he said candidates who cannot identify with a broader audience, would not survive.

“Mr. Mourdouck, Mr. Akin were unable to appeal to a large, diverse population and win in general elections,” Rove said. “It doesn’t mean compromising your principles, it means follow your candidates, follow your message.”

In a debate before the Nov. 6 election, Mourdock said he would not make an exception for abortions in the case of rape because pregnancies are “something that God intended to happen.” Akin infamously uttered the phrase: “legitimate rape,” in talking about his stance on abortion. Both lost.

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