In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday, GOP fundraiser and former strategist Karl Rove claims that Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the eastern seaboard a week before Election Day, was “lucky” for President Obama in his successful bid for reelection. The op-ed was published just a day after Rove disputed Fox News’ call for Obama’s win in Ohio and the election, sending the network into confusion on live TV. Despite his initial refusal to accept Obama’s reelection, Rove writes today that Obama won because of fundraising, negative campaigning, and a convenient break from Hurricane Sandy:
The president was also lucky. This time, the October surprise was not a dirty trick but an act of God. Hurricane Sandy interrupted Mr. Romney’s momentum and allowed Mr. Obama to look presidential and bipartisan.
The GOP candidate himself also apparently blames the storm for his loss. Mitt Romney reportedly told donors at a Wednesday breakfast that Hurricane Sandy hurt his momentum. MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews also credited the storm with “possibilities for good politics,” though he later apologized.
Though Republicans believe the storm damaged Romney’s momentum, Sandy’s political impact may have had more to do with Obama’s rapid response to the storm, which 77 percent of Americans praised. Moreover, Romney’s alleged momentum was already slowing; his favorability ratings began gradually declining after his first debate against the president. In Sandy’s aftermath, Romney was widely criticized for an insensitive “storm relief” rally in Ohio, where his campaign staff staged donations and took photos of the candidate posing with canned goods.