Karl Rove's epic Election Night battle with Fox News forecasters

When the network's number-crunchers called Ohio — and the election — for President Obama, Rove was most definitely not on board

Karl Rove tried his best to convince Fox News that it had called Ohio for Obama too early on Election Day. He eventually conceded.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

"Forget Barack Obama and Mitt Romney," says Matt Negrin at ABC News. The battle for the White House may have been the most momentous event on Tuesday, but "the most exciting matchup of the night was between Karl Rove and his employer, Fox News." After the network's decision desk called Ohio — and thus the presidency — for Obama at little after 11 pm (ET), the GOP strategist and super PAC kingpin protested (and protested), arguing that there were too many votes left, that Romney was closing the gap, and that Fox should un-call Ohio. "That's awkward," said anchor Megyn Kelly. (Watch the video below.)

So Kelly, on live TV, walked down the hallway to the room where the Fox political number-crunchers were dissecting the race and brought up Rove's concerns with their forecast. Yes, they replied, they were 99.95 percent sure Obama carried Ohio, and the biggest chunk of outstanding votes was in heavily Democratic Cleveland. "There just aren't enough Republican votes left for Mitt Romney to get there," said decision maker Chris Stirewalt. "They are not listening to Karl," Kelly said. "They don't care what Karl said." Wow, "Fox News is in total meltdown mode," tweeted Think Progress' Zack Beauchamp.

"This Karl Rove stuff is quality TV," tweeted Commentary's John Podhoretz. The über-strategist certainly caused "some awkwardness on the set," says Eric Wemple at The Washington Post. "Some excellent awkwardness, actually." You could tell the anchors knew the outburst was ratings gold. "Whatever you think of Rove's objections — perhaps the whining of a Republican partisan who didn't want to let go; perhaps the legitimate objections of a pure political genius — the moment of dissent at the Fox desk spoke to one of the network's strengths. On-air dissent."

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