03/08/2013 10:35 am ET Updated Mar 08, 2013

Reince Priebus Talks Karl Rove's Push To Sway GOP Primaries, Suggests Such Efforts Can Be A 'Fool's Game'

Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus swung through Iowa on Thursday, where he expressed some doubts about a new effort by GOP strategist Karl Rove to weed out unviable Republican primary candidates who have created headaches for the party in races past.

Speaking to reporters about the party's notable failures, such as the disastrous Senate campaign of Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who flamed out rapidly after making offensive and inaccurate comments about rape, Priebus defended the GOP's broader ideology and suggested that some people simply suffer from biological stupidity.

“Listen, I don't think our platform is the issue,” he said, according to Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson. "I think a lot of times it's some of these biologically stupid things that people say, you know, that I believe caused a lot of the problems."

Priebus went on to say that he supported the right of people like Rove to get involved in GOP primaries, but questioned the actual effectiveness of such efforts.

“Obviously there's a lot of groups out there picking winners and losers in primaries, right? It’s been happening for a long time,” Priebus said, according to the Iowa Republican. "Personally, as an RNC [Chair], I don't believe in that. I don’t think the party should pick winners and losers in primaries and I think, historically if you look at it, it’s a bit of a fool's game because you can't actually predict some of the things that go on."

Rove's group has already announced that it has an eye on the Hawkeye State, where a number of potential Republican candidates for the open Senate seat of outgoing Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) have stepped aside, leaving Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) looking for the moment like a strong pick to carry the GOP nomination. King, while controversial, is popular amongst Iowa's conservative activists.

Leaders of the Conservative Victory Project appear aware of King's momentum, and suggestions that the group might pour money in the race to stop it have already drawn criticism from conservative circles.

King responded to the early rumblings last month, announcing that he had been made a target. Though King hasn't announced a Senate run yet, he promised that his ultimate decision wouldn't be influenced by Rove.

"Karl Rove and his army have launched a crusade against me," he wrote in an email. "Nobody can bully me out of running for the U.S. Senate, not even Karl Rove and his hefty war chest."

This post has been updated.



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