After challenging Fox News' call of the election for President Barack Obama, Karl Rove is back to strategizing how the Republican Party can win future elections.
"I hate to say it, but we need to copy what Howard Dean did, and that is make our ground game in all 50 states," Rove told Sean Hannity on Monday. "While we had a reasonably good ground game in places like Ohio and Florida -- look, we didn't have a ground game in a lot of these states with Senate races and so we lost North Dakota by 3,300 votes. We lost [Montana] by 17,000 votes. We need to have a better ground game in all 50 states."
Much has been said about the Democrats' grassroots organizing machine in Ohio, but Rove fixated instead on the down-ballot losses that cost the GOP its chance to pick up a majority in the Senate. Republicans lost crucial races by slim margins in North Dakota and Montana, as well as close races in Virginia, Wisconsin and Massachusetts.
Dean, who pioneered the 50-state strategy when he served as chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009, pushed for the Democratic Party to organize and put forth strong candidates in local and state elections across the country, even in traditionally red states. Although several advisers criticized the move at the time as a waste of resources, Democrats credited Obama's 2008 victory in large part to Dean's work.
For Dean, an integral part of the 50-state strategy involved registering hundreds of thousands of new Democratic-leaning voters in an effort to change the topography of the electoral map.
Rove also sees voter registration as a necessary step forward for a Republican Party looking to make up ground in an electorate that is rapidly shifting away from its demographic base -- older white people.
"We need to, in my opinion, reexamine tactically our ground game," said Rove, a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff in the George W. Bush administration. "They did a good job of getting out their people, and we did a good job of getting out our people. But neither side did a great job of persuading new people to come out. We need to be engaged with voter registration."
Aside from voter registration, according to Rove, the GOP also needs to do a better job of mobilizing its traditional base and getting those voters to the polls. In 2004, he led a strategic effort known as the 72-hour task force, which sent Republican operatives into districts across the country to organize volunteers in a last-minute push to increase turnout.
"We need to reengineer the 72-hour task force from top to bottom to make certain that we're figuring out how best to use it, not only to communicate with ourselves but to get new people out," Rove said.
Mitt Romney's version of the 72-hour task force, Project ORCA, broke down on Election Day as the smartphone application the campaign used to track voter tallies overloaded and locked out many volunteers.
This emphasis on ground game comes on the heels of Rove's own missteps during the 2012 election cycle. After spending more than $300 million on a flood of political ads, Rove and his American Crossroads organization saw all but two of their chosen candidates lose their races. Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) won reelection, and the contest in Arizona's 2nd District is still considered too close to call. Only two of the candidates that American Crossroads opposed ended up losing their bids.
But Rove doesn't want to engage in the so-called "circular firing squad" that follows a dismal election showing.
"Look, we came close," Rove told Hannity. "But he won, and we have got to acknowledge that. And we have to look at why we lost and what we need to do differently."
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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)