Rove’s Slip Is Showing
On November 6, 2012, at approximately 11:25 pm EST, a highly peculiar moment occurred on national television featuring Karl Rove. The former White House senior adviser to George W. Bush had founded and raised hundreds of millions of dollars for American Crossroads, the Political Action Committee whose purpose was to help Mitt Romney defeat Barack Obama. Rove now worked for the FOX News Channel and just before 11:30 p.m., it declared that President Obama had won Ohio and been re-elected. Based on the exit polls, the FOX numbers crunchers, like those at the other networks, were confident that the President was victorious, but this announcement left Rove looking confused or perturbed.
“We gotta be careful about calling the thing,” Rove said, “I’d be very cautious about intruding in on this process.”
When challenged about this opinion on the air by FOX’s Megyn Kelly, Rove explained that although FOX had given Ohio to the President, only 74% of the ballots were in and Obama held a lead of roughly 30,000 votes. A short while later, Rove contended, with 77% of the precincts now reporting, the President’s lead had been cut to just 991 votes. As the ballots were being counted by computers, Rove seemed assured that Romney would pull into the lead and then pull away, just as had happened during the presidential election in 2000 and again in 2004. As the night wore on and Obama’s lead grew, Rove eventually had to concede. The next day both he and Romney appeared shocked by their loss.
In the days Obama’s victory, “The Free Press” began reporting on similarities between the presidential elections of 2004 and 2012:
“The Ohio Secretary of State’s vote tabulation website went down at 11:13 p.m. [in 2012], as reported by Free Press election protection website monitors, and mentioned by Rove on the news. This was one minute earlier than the time on election night 2004 — when Ohio votes were outsourced to Chattanooga, Tennessee — and then the vote flipped for Bush…
“This time, the Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) vote tabulation site went down as on election night as well. In his rant on FOX, Rove argued that FOX News should not confirm Ohio for Obama until votes came in from the southwest Ohio GOP strongholds of Delaware, Butler, and Warren counties and suburban Cincinnati. It was after the crash of the Secretary of State’s site in 2004 that improbable vote totals came in from Republican counties in southwest Ohio – particularly Butler, Clermont, and Warren counties. These three counties provided more than Bush’s entire Ohio victory margin of 119,000.”
But in 2012, when the servers came back up, President Obama’s lead held and he went on to win. Karl Rove was flustered and Mitt Romney had only prepared an acceptance speech for his triumph, apparently not considering that he might lose. How could they both have believed that the Republican would take the White House, after being told for weeks by credible pollsters that Obama was well ahead in the states that counted most?
Watching Rove try to explain his position on FOX was an astonishing few minutes in the history of U.S. politics, captured on live television. Someone who’d spent years at the very top of the American power structure, someone who’d never tell the media or public anything about what he actually thinks or feels or does, was suddenly exposed. He acted as if he knew something that the conventional pollsters didn’t. Even the FOX on-air talent was surprised by Rove’s behavior. Even they didn’t understand the level of the game being played. Even they were dupes.
What had happened on this night that was different from what had occurred in 2000 and 2004?
By November 2012, the activist group known as “Anonymous” had built a reputation for carrying out cyber actions against the Church of Scientology, the Pentagon, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Justice Department, and the Recording Industry of America. A few weeks before the November 6 election, Anonymous made a video warning Rove that he was being closely observed.
“We know,” says a voice on the video, “that you will attempt to rig the election of Mitt Romney to your favor. We will watch as your merry band of conspirators try to achieve this overthrow of the United States government.”
The voice goes on, “We want you to know that we are watching you, waiting for you to make this mistake of thinking you can rig this election to your favor…If we catch you, we will turn over all of this data to the appropriate officials in the hopes that you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Two days after Obama’s re-election, Anonymous issued a press release that read, “We began following the digital traffic of one Karl Rove…After a rather short time, we identified the digital structure of Karl’s operation and even that of his ORCA [the name for the Romney campaign’s high-tech, get-out-the-vote system]. This was an easy task, in that barn doors were left open and the wind swept us inside.”
Romney’s Communications Director Gail Gitcho had earlier said this about ORCA’s role in the upcoming election, “At 5 o’clock when the exit polls come out, we won’t pay attention to that. We will have had much more scientific information, based on the political operation we have set up.”
The Anonymous post-election press release continued, “We coded and created what we call The Great Oz, a targeted password-protected firewall that we tested and refined over the past weeks. We placed this code on more than one of the digital tunnels and their destination that Karl’s not-so-smart worker bees planned to use on election night.”
According to a post-election article published in “Truthout,” Anonymous claimed that these “digital tunnels” led to servers in three states.
“We watched,” the press release went on, “as Karl’s weak corrupters repeatedly tried to penetrate The Great Oz…How many times and how many passwords did they try? Exactly 105…Karl’s speared ORCA whale was breached, rotting with a strong stench across his playground, unable to be resuscitated…”