Karl Rove's on-air confrontation with Fox News' projection team, and Mitt Romney's failure to concede once all the networks had called the race, were two of the weirdest subplots on election night, but the reasons for both are coming into focus. Rove remains one of the best-connected men in politics, and the New York Times reports that top Romney campaign officials were telling him the network had its call wrong, that Ohio was too close to call. Fox, believing Rove had insider info, let him air his objections.
Meanwhile, those same advisers were urging Romney not to concede, based on field reports from Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. The campaign had four planes ready to go to fight recount battles. But before the campaign could announce its decision to press on, Romney gave in. "It's not going to happen," he said quietly. A few other salient details:
- While the Times article says Rove's behavior "raises questions about his role," as analyst and super PAC operative, there's no indication Fox is actually concerned with that, Mediaite points out.
- Indeed, Fox VP Michael Clemente tells the AP that the incident improves Rove's standing with the network, because he knew something Fox didn't: Only 1,000 votes separated the candidates in Ohio. But the network knew something Rove didn't: all the uncounted votes came from heavily Democratic counties. "It all came out at once," Clemente says.