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)
Updated: December 9, 2012 6:32AM
One could almost see the steam rising from Karl Rove’s dome as Rove questioned why Fox News was so quick to call Ohio (and thus the presidential race) for Barack Obama. After Rove was done sputtering like a comical villain in an animated movie, co-anchors Bret Baier said, “Thanks a lot!,” while Megyn Kelly added, “THAT was awkward.”
You have to give Baier and Kelly credit.
It was just a few minutes after 10 p.m. CST on Tuesday night, and even Fox was conceding what had been obvious for at least an hour, if not several weeks: Mitt Romney simply didn’t have the votes.
With Rove and Mike Huckabee insisting Ohio was still up for grabs, Kelly talked to the Fox numbers-crunchers, who seemed amused as they explained there was just no way Romney could win Ohio. A few minutes later, Fox’s Ed Henry told us the crowd at McCormick Place was going crazy, “despite … unemployment hovering near 8 percent.”
As someone who has missed the mark (I once predicted a Cubs/Sox World Series, and I STILL like my upset prediction of “Pulp Fiction” over “Forrest Gump” for Best Picture of 1994), of course I’m going to column-gloat over getting every state right, with Florida still in play. I said Obama would win 303 votes in the Electoral College and that’s the number he has right now — although I think Obama will win Florida and its 29 votes as well.
Before we get back to the pop culture business of doubting the critics who say “Skyfall” is the best Bond movie ever, a few final thoughts about the winners, losers, heroes and clowns of Campaign 2012.
MIA or indicted? No problem!
Yes, we really did re-elect U.S. Rep Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL.), aka The Man Who Isn’t There, and state Rep. Derrick Smith, even though Smith has been indicted, impeached and expelled. We can chuckle all we want when Donald Trump says there should be a “revolution” because Obama won, but as long as some of us are voting to keep the likes of Jackson and Smith in office, we have met the joke — and the joke’s on us.
As for the local and national coverage of Tuesday night’s races, I flipped around from CNN to MSNBC to Fox News to the old-school networks and affiliates, and I didn’t happen upon any glaring gaffes — though some of our local reporters seemed a little too giddy when covering the Obama rally and waiting for POTUS to come out from behind those curtains to greet the adoring masses. (And I’m still trying to figure out why we saw actress Melanie Griffith being interviewed at McCormick Place about what Obama needs to do in his second term.)
Of course, there were a few WTF moments, as when Chris Matthews said he was “so glad we had that storm last week” (though he hastened to add he meant that politically) and Diane Sawyer coming across as, shall we say, relaxed, as she told us “President Barack has won Minnesota.”
And what was up with Flag-in-the-Hair Lady? Throughout Obama’s speech, the woman with the flag stuck in her hair dominated the background, setting Twitter a flutter.
Not surprisingly, Election Night was the most tweeted-about political event in U.S. history (then again, Twitter wasn’t around in 1860 or even 2004), with many on the left celebrating while many on the right seethed and talked about how the country was doomed and it was the mainstream media’s fault and half the nation is stupid and WHERE’S THAT PIZZA I ORDERED AN HOUR AGO ANYWAY!
Despite what happened in 2000, Trump seemed surprised to learn one could win the popular vote and still lose the election. (Not that Obama’s going to lose the popular vote anyway.) Ann Coulter failed to respond when I asked her if she still thought Illinois was “in play,” as she had claimed the day before. The critics who had derided blogger/prognosticator Nate Silver as a partisan hack went silent. We started hearing ridiculous theories, e.g., Chris Christie cost Romney the election by standing with the president and singing his praises during the hurricane relief efforts. (Right, because that’s going to sway the on-the-fence-voter in Iowa or Nevada or Ohio.) And yes, we heard talk about 2016 and how it’s Hillary Clinton’s race to lose.
Stop that right now people! Even if you’re on the All We Talk About is Elections Channel, no chatting about 2016 until 2015, please?