Karl Rove says that divisiveness within the Republican Party is to blame for Republicans' failure to retake the Senate and the presidency, despite millions of dollars in outside spending.
The GOP needs to quell its infighting, he told an audience Wednesday at the Kansas Livestock Association's 100th convention in Wichita. The problem with the Republican Party isn't social issues, he said, but "an unwillingness to acknowledge differences."
"I'd rather have somebody who agrees with me most of the time than to send somebody there who's going to vote against my values and my views and do the wrong thing most of the time," he said.
Rove has spent much of his time since the election defending the performance of his Crossroads organizations, which spent more than $300 million supporting Republican candidates, with few successful results. Some of his top donors are reportedly fuming.
The Republican political operative also sounded unhappy with the experience, although he placed much of the blame on warring candidates.
"I was involved in a group called American Crossroads. It's the worst volunteer job I've had in my life," Rove said. "I was in charge of raising money. We raised $324 million. And I got sick and tired of spending money in races where the moderates and the conservatives had gone at each other and made victory impossible."
He called for Republicans to show more forbearance, saying, "It's got to be something that people are willing to say, 'Fine, I'm looking at politics with a longer frame. You and I may not agree on everything but we agree more often than not, and I'm going to live to fight another day.'"
After a pause, he added, "Easier said than done."