Mitt Romney lost the election because President Barack Obama engaged in voter suppression, according to Republican political strategist Karl Rove.
"He succeeded by suppressing the vote," Rove said in an interview on Fox News with anchor Megyn Kelly on Thursday afternoon, "by saying to people, 'You may not like who I am and I know you can't bring yourself to vote for me, but I'm going to paint this other guy as simply a rich guy who only cares about himself.'"
Rove didn't actually give any examples of ways in which Obama made it harder for people to exercise their constitutional right at the polls -- things like voter ID laws, which have been pushed by GOP legislatures around the country. In fact, Obama specifically said in his victory speech that it was unfair that people had to wait in line for hours to vote, which occurred in part because Republicans reduced the time period for early voting.
Rove did say that Obama had aired attack ads and painted Romney as out-of-touch with the concerns of ordinary voters, but these are fairly common tactics in politics, and Rove is certainly no stranger to them.
"Fifty-three percent in the exit polls said on Election Day that Mitt Romney's policies would only help the rich. And they voted for Obama by a 9 to 1 margin," added Rove. "Of the 21 percent of the electorate who said that the most important characteristic in a president was that he cares about people like me, they voted for President Obama by almost a 9 to 1 margin. They effectively denigrated Mitt Romney's character, business acumen, business experience and made him unworthy."
Kelly then pointed out that whoever runs in 2016 on the Democratic ticket is not likely to go any easier on Republicans. Rove replied that the GOP needed to be quicker to responding to attacks, saying the Romney campaign did not do so effectively enough.
"The first group to respond to the attacks on Bain Capital was not the Romney campaign, it was American Crossroads with an ad in July. We don't do defense all that well," said Rove, saying it was sometimes more effective to have the candidate appear in an ad and respond directly to the charges being leveled.
He also faulted the GOP for not reaching out enough to Latino voters and young voters.
Thursday's interview marked the second time Rove has appeared on Fox News since Tuesday night, when he had a meltdown and refused to believe that Obama had won Ohio -- even after the network had called it for the president.
Rove's groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS spent more than $300 million on the 2012 election; the candidates it supported overwhelmingly lost on Tuesday, raising questions about Rove's effectiveness and the larger overall strategy of throwing so much money into attack ads.
"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."
While Rove has not fully addressed the GOP losses and Crossroads' role in them, American Crossroads Communications Director Jonathan Collegio went on MSNBC Thursday morning and argued 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.