WASHINGTON -- No one lost as much on election night as Karl Rove.
Although he wasn't running for office, his Crossroads organizations spent more than $300 million on Republican candidates in the 2012 election, with some of the biggest spenders in the conservative movement putting their hopes -- and dollars -- in the care of Rove. Combined, his groups were the largest single outside force of the 2012 election.
The results were bleak. According to the Sunlight Foundation, American Crossroads, Rove's super PAC, saw just a 1 percent return on its investments. Crossroads GPS, the political nonprofit arm, saw a 14 percent return.
Rove remained in denial about GOP misfortunes on election night. Even after the networks had called Ohio for President Barack Obama, Rove continued to insist on Fox News that Republicans could win the state.
Rove was back on Fox News Wednesday morning after his election night meltdown. He didn't address his reaction to the Ohio call or Crossroads' failures but instead argued that Republicans need to do a better job in reaching out to the Latino community.
"Obama kept the coalition that he had in 2008, only it was a little bit smaller," he said. "This will be the first president reelected sent to second term with a smaller percentage of the vote than he got the first term. In fact, there are only two states -- two states in the union -- where he got a higher percentage of the vote this time around than he got the first time. One is Mississippi, by one quarter of 1 percent, and Hawaii by less than one fifth of 1 percent. Otherwise, he basically held together that coalition, which means if we're going to win in the future, Republicans need to do better among Latinos and they need to do better among women -- particularly single women."
Underlining Rove's comments is the belief that while Obama won, he did not win by as large a margin as he would have without all the money and support from conservative outside groups.
On MSNBC, American Crossroads Communications Director Jonathan Collegio made a similar argument, stating that Republicans were really the underdogs in the 2012 election. All that conservative money, in other words, was necessary just to make the election close.
"President Obama, over the course of the campaign, outspent Mitt Romney on television by $154 million from April through November," said Collegio. "Senate Democrats -- if you take away the two self-funders in Connecticut and Pennsylvania -- outraised their Republican counterparts by $60 million. Not to mention the DSCC outraised the NRSC by another $20 million. So what Democrats did in this election extremely effectively was leverage their incumbencies to have huge financial advantages over their Republican opponents. We believe that American Crossroads by evening out the playing field kept this what was essentially a two-point race at the end."
When host Chuck Todd asked whether the election would have been a "blow-out" for Democrats without Crossroads, Collegio replied, "It absolutely could have been."
He also argued that in the end, Obama and Democrats won through their ground game, which is something that super PACs and all their attack ads just can't control.
"Strategically, outside groups are going to be a little bit hamstrung with any get-out the vote-efforts. I mean, we don't have a brand that translates in Columbus, Ohio," said Collegio, adding, "If you look at the exit polls, the way that Obama won was on the ground in Cleveland with a lot of the minority voters. .... I just don't know that's a job for super PACs. We kind of have that done by the local parties."
But many Republicans aren't buying it.
"The billionaire donors I hear are livid," one GOP operative told The Huffington Post. "There is some holy hell to pay. Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do … I don't know how you tell your donors that we spent $390 million and got nothing."
Even the blustery billionaire Donald Trump went after Rove on Twitter on Wednesday, writing, "Congrats to @KarlRove on blowing $400 million this cycle."
On Wednesday morning, "Fox and Friends" host Steve Doocy asked Rove whether he received any sleep on Tuesday night, after all the election excitement.
"Not at all, because I was prepping for this morning. I tried to find a table that I could slip under for a few moments," he joked. "But no, between you and the 'Wall Street Journal' column I've got to turn in today, no time at all."
In that Wall Street Journal op-ed, which ran in Thursday's paper, Rove again declined to address his group's failures. Instead, he said Obama was "lucky" Hurricane Sandy walloped the East Coast when it did because it "interrupted Mr. Romney's momentum and allowed Mr. Obama to look presidential and bipartisan."
Watch Rove on Fox:
Watch Collegio on MSNBC:
Also on HuffPost:
2012 -- Mitt Romney
Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, speaks at the podium as he concedes the presidency on November 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)
2008 -- John McCain
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., gestures to his supporters, while his wife, Cindy looks on during his concession speech at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
2004 -- John Kerry
Former Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) stands on stage with his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry after delivering his concession speech at Faneuil Hall on November 3, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
2000 -- Al Gore
Democratic presidental candidate Al Gore leaves the voting booth after casting his vote at Forks River Elementry School in Elmwood, Tennessee on November 7, 2000. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
1996 -- Bob Dole
Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole lowers his head while making his concession speech to supporters at a Washington hotel, on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 1996. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
1992 -- George H.W. Bush
U.S. President George Bush concedes the election on Nov. 3, 1992 after losing to President-elect Bill Clinton. (BOB DAEMMRICH/AFP/Getty Images)
1992 -- Ross Perot
U.S. independent presidential candidate Ross Perot delivers his concession speech on November 3, 1992 after Democrat Bill Clinton won the presidential election. (Photo credit should read PAUL RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
1988 -- Michael Dukakis
Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis wipes his upper lip during the first presidential debate with his opponent U.S. Vice President George Bush in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Sept. 25, 1988. (AP Photo/Bob Jordan)
1984 -- Walter Mondale
Defeated presidential hopeful Walter Mondale addresses supporters at night, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 1984 at the St. Paul Civic center, conceding to President Reagan. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
1980 -- Jimmy Carter
U.S. President Jimmy Carter concedes defeat in the presidential election as he addresses a group of Carter-Mondale supporters in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 1980. (AP Photo/Barry Thumma)
1976 -- Gerald Ford
President Gerald Ford speaks in the White House Press Room in Washington on November 3, 1976, conceding defeat to Jimmy Carter. (AP photo/ stf)
1972 -- George McGovern
Sen. George McGovern and his family in Sioux Falls, election night, Nov. 7, 1972 after he was defeated by Richard Nixon, and conceding the election. (AP Photo)
1968 -- Hubert H. Humphrey
Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey spaks at the Alfred E. Smith memorial dinner in Waldorf Astoria on Oct. 16, 1968 in New York. (AP Photo/John Lent)
1964 -- Barry Goldwater
A contact sheet of Republican senator Barry Morris Goldwater of Arizona concedes the 1964 presidential election to President Lyndon Johnson at a press conference held at his campaign headquarters at the Camelback Inn, Phoenix, Arizona, on November 4, 1964. (Photo by Washington Bureau/Getty Images)
1960 -- Richard Nixon
Vice President Nixon points to home-made sign at airport as he arrives in home state to cast his ballot on Nov. 8, 1960 in Ontario, California. (AP Photo)
1956 -- Adlai Stevenson
Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts talks with Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson on August 12, 1956 in Chicago. (AP Photo)
1952 -- Adlai Stevenson
Movie Actress Piper Laurie (left) is wearing a donkey head beauty spot on her cheek as she chats with Gov. Adlai Stevenson of Illinois, Democratic presidential nominee in Portland on Sept. 8, 1952. (AP Photo)
1948 -- Thomas Dewey
Dewey ran as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party in the elections of 1944 and 1948. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
1944, 1948 -- Thomas Dewey
Thomas Dewey (1902 - 1971) Governor of the State of New York broadcasting over the 'Crusade of Freedom' radio. Dewey was the presidential candidate of the Republican Party in the elections of 1944 and 1948. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
1940 -- Wendell Wilkie
Wendell Willkie, rehearses a report to the nation at a New York City radio station on Oct. 26, 1942. Willkie was President Roosevelt's personal representative, and his Republican opponent in the 1940 presidential elections. (AP Photo/Murray Becker)
1936 -- Alf Landon
Gov. Alf M. Landon, G.O.P. presidential nominee, voting in Independence, Kansas on Nov. 3, 1936. (AP Photo)
1932 -- Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover is shown leaving Madison Square Garden, Oct. 31, 1932 in New York City, after delivering his major campaign address before a crowd estimated at 22,000. (AP Photo)
1928 -- Alfred E. Smith
Governor Alfred E. Smith speaks in New York on Nov. 2, 1928. (AP Photo)
1924 -- John W. Davis
John W. Davis, Democratic nominee for President of the U.S., and his wife, are pictured on the estate of Charles Dana Gibson at Seven Hundred Acre Island in Dark Harbor, Maine on July 21, 1924. (AP Photo)
1920 -- James M. Cox
Democratic candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency of the United States, Governor James M Cox and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 - 1945) are seen at the head of a nomination parade in Dayton, Ohio on Nov. 1, 1920. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
1916 -- Charles Evans Hughes
1912 -- Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt during the progressive campaign of 1912. (AP Photo)