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Rove Warns That Big Donors Could Punish GOP Candidates Who Attack Each Other

Bush's brain says the Big Money Boyz don't want a repeat of Newt Gingrich's attacks on Mitt Romney.
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Bush's brain says the Big Money Boyz don't want a repeat of Newt Gingrich's attacks on Mitt Romney. Rove appeared on Fox's Happening Now this Monday and was asked by host Jon Scott whether he though the size of the GOP presidential primary field was going to do damage to the party. Rove did his best to put a positive spin on it and followed with a warning for anyone who might want to repeat the behavior we saw from Newt Gingrich when he attacked Mitt Romney during the last go around.

SCOTT: So you compare the Republican side with the Democratic side Karl, a lot of people say Hillary Clinton is going to waltz to coronation as the Democratic nominee, Bernie Sanders not withstanding. On the Republican side they say look, you've got all of these candidates, and some of them are very accomplished and frankly good candidates, but they are going to sort of tear each other apart on the way to the nomination. How do you see it. Is the number of candidates on the GOP side a blessing or a curse?

ROVE: Well, so far it's neither. What's interesting is there's a Pew/Charitable Trust poll that found that 57 percent of Republicans today think their field is excellent or good, and 54 percent of Democrats think their field is excellent or good, so right now, slight advantage to the Republicans on their enthusiasm about the field. But you're right, we have six candidates and we could have as many as fifteen by the end of June.

That's a lot of candidates and it's going to cause people to try and occasionally set themselves apart by taking on somebody else in the field, or saying something extreme about President Obama or Sec. Clinton. The former is hurtful. The latter could be hurtful only to the individual involved, but the former could be hurtful to the entire ticket, the entire field if somebody gets out there and begins a melee.

SCOTT: So the Ronald Reagan prescription, you do not speak ill of your fellow Republican, you think that's going to go by the wayside sometime this spring or summer?


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ROVE: Well I hope not. I think that's going to be the tendency among some candidates. I will tell you as I travel the country and I talk to grass roots activists, party leaders and donors, there's a universal feeling that they don't want that. They're going to turn on somebody who goes after another Republican. They're not going to like it and I've been encouraging people as I visit with them and say what can we do, and I say let every candidate know how you feel, because it's a universal feeling.

There's a desire on the part of Republicans to win and they know this would be unconstructive [sic]. So far the conduct has generally been okay, but we're in the very early stages and it's not going to get hot and heavy until next year.

Pass the popcorn while we all wait and see if they listen to him. He followed with more bad news on what a mess the first few primary states are going to be due to the way they divide up delegates, and then talked about Newt Gingrich going after Romney, and claimed it gave legitimacy to the similar attacks we saw against Romney's time at Bain on the left.

Gingrich didn't help, but if Rove thinks those weren't going to stick once Romney made his now infamous 47 percent remarks, he's deluding himself.

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