GOP strategist Karl Rove continued to defend his new elections project this week, explaining that the controversial plan to thwart Republican candidates who might be too extreme to win general elections was a response to intense donor pressure.
Speaking to the National Center for Policy Analysis, Rove said he'd decided to launch the Conservative Victory Project, an offshoot of his American Crossroads super PAC, after being confronted by disgruntled contributors unsatisfied with the group's awful record in the 2012 elections.
“My posterior was shredded a little bit by donors wondering why we are writing checks for people who then turn around and run such lousy campaigns,” Rove said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
As he's done in the past, Rove held up the Senate candidacies of Missouri's Todd Akin and Indiana's Richard Mourdock as examples of the kind of electoral disasters the group would work to prevent. Both Republicans managed to sink their campaigns after creating national controversies with insensitive and inaccurate remarks about rape.
“We’ve given away at least five seats in the last two election cycles, maybe more, because of poor candidates,” Rove said. “Our donors said ‘we’re happy to write big checks, but we’re sick and tired of writing checks for campaigns that can’t win.’”
Rove's project has prompted heavy criticism from conservatives across the party spectrum. Former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called it "plain wrong," and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) told Rove to stay out of his state's upcoming GOP Senate primary. Tea Party Patriots took the attacks a few steps further earlier this month, emailing a photoshopped picture of Rove in a Nazi uniform and urging supporters to "wipe the smirk" off his face.