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Embattled Republican strategist Karl Rove on Thursday once again insisted that his new group, the Conservative Victory Project, is not an effort to purge the party of its conservative ideology, only bad candidates.
Rove's group, which will set out to field more electable GOP candidates in U.S. Senate races, has sparked an intense battle on the right between the establishment and the more conservative wing.
"This is not about ideology. This is about being a bad candidate," Rove told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. Rove then pointed out to the host that his group American Crossroads donated to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), but the host quibbled with the example.
"I think he's a moderate Republican," O'Reilly said of Rubio. Rove then noted that he also helped fund the 2010 campaign of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Earlier in the interview, Rove whipped out his famous white board to detail how much money his organization gave to tea party candidates in the previous two election cycles.
"We gave more money, spent more money on behalf of these tea party candidates than any other group in America. Any group," Rove said. "I love these groups that are criticizing us, saying, 'Well, they're fake conservatives.'"
He then brought out the white board again.
"Well, I repeat: we spent $30 million for tea party Senate candidates and $25 million [for House of Representatives candidates]," Rove said. "There's no group that comes close to what Crossroads has done in terms of financial support for tea party candidates."