Jul 2, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Karl Rove's blunt take on the 2024 GOP presidential field

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 08: Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove attends FOX News Channel's "Democracy 2022: Election Night" at Fox News Channel Studios on November 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Karl Rove appears on Fox News on Nov. 08, 2022, in New York. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Karl Rove foresees the potential for a major upheaval in the 2024 campaign that will give the upper hand to a new generation of candidates.

Driving the news: The influential Republican strategist said voters see President Biden and former President Trump as too old for the White House, and "the country is hungry" for a younger face, he said in an interview Friday with Katie Couric at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado.

What he's saying: "I think we are at a point in our country's history where people are dying for a generational shift," Rove said. "The party that figures that out has the upper hand next year."

State of play: The GOP presidential contenders hold great promise, Rove said. His assessment:

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is "not the warmest, fuzziest personality around" but he can get better, Rove said. His advice to the candidate: "Realize you're not running for the presidency of the United States, you're running for first or second position in Iowa and New Hampshire, which is a big different deal."
  • Former Vice President Mike Pence can consolidate evangelical voters in Iowa but may struggle to draw larger interest. "But again, this is a process of dealing blows to Trump, and he can deal an important blow to Trump in Iowa," Rove said.
  • Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's pit bull approach to attacking Trump is important. "He plays a vital role in starting to be part of the solvent that takes Trump's stains off the Republican Party," Rove said.
  • Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is impressive on the campaign trail and "she has got the level of energy that a lot of these people will find themselves needing."
  • Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has a remarkable story and can energize a crowd. "Now is he going to be able to move from being able to rouse a crowd to having people say, 'I see this guy has what it takes to make decisions in the Oval Office?' That's going to be the key test for him," Rove said.

The bottom line: "If we're stuck with Biden and Trump, it is going to be an election that is close, that either man can win, and it's going to come down to who do we dislike less," Rove concluded.

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