Karl Rove on Wednesday defended his effort to field more electable Republican candidates in U.S. Senate races, saying his "posterior was shredded a little bit" by GOP donors who questioned why the party was putting forward candidates like Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana.
A new Rove-led group, dubbed the Conservative Victory Project, was rolled out this month under the imperative to avoid putting forward weak general election candidates, immediately setting off a feud between tea party types and establishment Republicans.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a tea party favorite who is the early favorite to claim the GOP nomination in Iowa's 2014 U.S. Senate race, sent out a fiery fundraising email to supporters asserting that he won't allow Rove to "bully" him out of a Senate bid. Akin himself accused Rove and other establishment Republicans of "killing the grassroots heart" of the party. And Tea Party Patriots circulated an email to supporters depicting Rove in Nazi regalia, something for which the group subsequently apologized.
But Rove, speaking at a luncheon in Dallas, stood by his new outfit.
"It's not a question of ideology," Rove said, according to the Dalls Morning News. “The quality of candidates matters."
The GOP strategist continued, "My posterior was shredded a little bit by donors wondering why we are writing checks for people who then turn around a (sic) run such lousy campaigns.