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Video: Rove: Obama wanted GOP to ‘ride in the back’

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    >>> karl rove served as senior advisor to george w. bush , my life as a conservative in the fight is now out on paper back. good to have you back.

    >> good to be back.

    >> i know you worked closely with republican groups in this election, you've got a lot of money in the races that you thought were very winnable. were you an architect of this big win for republicans on tuesday?

    >> look, others can apply the labels, i just had a lot of fun being involved in the american crossroads and the crossroads gps.

    >> it was a thumping for democrats no question about it on tuesday, in the house, in the senate, in some governor's races across the country. i thought it was interesting what you wrote yesterday, republicans must not delude themselves, the voters didn't win out the democrats because the voters are enraptured with the gop. republicans are on probation and whether they get off it depends on whether they do what they said saild they would do on the campaign trail. what do they need to do.

    >> they need to ratchet down the spending, extend the tax cuts and they need to have a pro growth agenda. it's not just to stop doing the bad things, but --

    >> can they attack obama care without personally attacking obama or do they go hand in hand . i think the american people are sending a message that they want the parties to work together.

    >> that's part of the reason why the republican sweep was so big because people talked about the facts than the specifics of it and it was the president out there saying we need to punish our enemies and reward our friends. an interesting study done that pointed out that in the negative ads done this year, the vast majority of the republican ads were those devoted exclusively to policy questions and personnel questions where most of the democrat ads were aimed personally at the president.

    >> both sides have been guilty of these things, mitch mcconnell just admitted that he should not have said that our priority number one is to make obama a one-term president. i understand what he ments, but it's not about president obama .

    >> absolutely it's about president obama 's policies. there is no moral equivalency between what president did for months and months in this campaign and the republicans having a very focused attack on his policies. it was president obama who said we're welcome to have the republicans come along with us, but they ought to be riding in the back. there's one person in america who ought to be keenly aware that says people ought to be in the back of a moving vehicle and that's the p ee's the president of the united states .

    >> i said the relationship between the republican party and the tea party , is it a marriage of convenience? will the honeymoon soon end or are you guys soul mates ?

    >> we'll see. now remember, there's the tea party movement, which are groups, there's an even larger tea party sentiment, the tea party sentiment has given rise to those groups. the tea party sentiment, it is broad, it's why we had an 11 point shift from nearly two years ago and a 20 point shift from four years ago. it's w

    >> we have learned a lot about the independents, they don't want to be fenced in, they'll move in either direction. do you think they'll move to the right for the foreseeable future or in 2012 do they move back to the center or the left?

    >> it would require for the republicans to fail at their task and the president to move to the middle. they were not prepared for all the spending, for the failed stimulus bill. they were not prepared for obama care. when the president ran, the second most widely shown ad he had in the fall of 2008 said, quote, government run health care extreme, end quote.

    >> christine o'donnell is going to be on this show in a little bit. you said that her loss in delaware was a lesson for republicans . what's the lesson and does she have a future?

    >> she handled them one way in the spring and then she started handling them a different way in the fall. in the spring she said that she lost her condominium to foreclosure, in the fall she did the right thing by shooting straight and saying i didn't pay my mortgage.

    >> does she have a future?

    >> it's up to the voters of delaware.

    >> your former boss george w. bush has been silent for two years since leaving the white house , he's now out with a new book, we're going to be hearing a lot about him and from him over the next couple of days and weeks, you have read his book, what do you think will surprise people most about what he's put in there? and this isn't a plug for us.

    >> he's shown a very personal side of his decisions and how they affected him. and it's a very frank book, it's a very revealing book. people will be surprised how difficult and complicated and nuanced some of these situations were about which he had to make a decision, but they will be struck i think

TODAY contributor
updated 11/5/2010 9:00:23 AM ET 2010-11-05T13:00:23

Republicans owe much of their success in the midterm elections to the Tea Party movement, but the GOP is going to have to work over the next two years to retain that support, former presidential adviser Karl Rove said Friday.

“It’s not just enough to say we are going to stop the bad things that Americans clearly want to have stopped,” said the author and commentator widely regarded as the architect of George W. Bush’s successful presidential campaigns of 2000 and 2004. “It’s also important to lay out an agenda that encourages prosperity.”

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Calling the Tea Party “sentiment” just as important as the movement itself, Rove told TODAY co-anchor Matt Lauer that voters who helped Republicans wrest control of the House of Representatives away from Democrats could just as easily swing the other way in 2012 if the GOP does not pursue the agenda its candidates presented this year.

Video: After vote, Republicans take aim at Obama (on this page)

“We’ll see … they could move back, but it would require the Republicans to fail at their task and the president to move to the middle,” said Rove, who wrote in The Wall Street Journal on  Thursday that voters are “warming” to Republicans but remain “nervous about it.”

President Obama has been talking about cooperation with the GOP since what he called his party’s “shellacking” on Tuesday, but his statements during the campaign did not help his cause, Rove told Lauer. While Republicans were talking about the specifics of the sweeping health care reform bill Obama got passed in 2009, he amplified, Obama was telling Democrats that they need to punish their “enemies” and reward their friends.

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Video: Rove: Obama wanted GOP to ‘ride in the back’ (on this page)

Referring to Obama’s comment in October that “We don't mind the Republicans joining us; they can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back,” Rove said that Americans clearly rewarded the GOP for offering ideas and not divisive rhetoric.

Video: O’Donnell: GOP didn’t support me due to ‘egos’ (on this page)

“It was President Obama who said, ‘Oh, we are willing to have those Republicans come along with us, but they oughta be riding in the back.’ If there is one person in American who ought to be keenly aware of any kind of metaphor that says people ought to be riding in the back of a moving vehicle, it’s this president,” Rove told Lauer.

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Rove also said that if the Republicans hope to regain the White House in two years, candidates need to keep the focus on the Obama administration policies that voters have already said are not working.

“They need to attack Obamacare any way they can,” Rove said. “They need to ratchet down the spending and to attack the deficit. They need to extend the tax cuts. And they need to have a pro-growth agenda.”

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