• With: Karl Rove

    And inside women, if you're looking at the women's vote, younger single women tend to vote overwhelmingly Democrat. Women who are married tend to vote Republican and older married women with children tend to vote very Republican. And the question is, what's the level of enthusiasm? What's the composition of that block on election day? And how much enthusiasm is there overall among women?

    President Obama succeeded in 2008 in part by driving up the percentage of women from its historic 51 or 52 to 53 percent of the vote in 2008. I doubt that he's going to be able to do that this time around. And certainly, if he's running 50 percent, you know, getting a third fewer votes, running 50 percent behind where he ran in 2008, you know, he's got a problem among women, and particularly when you look at how he's running among men.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Well, if you look at how he's running at least today, it certainly looks like he is focusing on the women. He had a campaign event today where he's got women's -- signs behind him that talk about women. He's introduced by a young woman who recently graduated from Georgetown and has become somewhat of a -- a representative of young women and -- and fighting certain things having to do with health care law, who's very symbolic. So he is running heavily, at least today, on this women -- on this women issue.

    ROVE: And why? It's because he's looking at the same numbers I shared with you. He knows that he won them by 13 points in 2008, and that in Gallup and other public polls, that nationwide, he is running about 8 points. So he's running well below his trend mark in 2008, and he's worried about that. And he thinks he's got the issues, women's reproductive rights, for example, that can get -- that can get women to vote for him.

    I wonder, however, if those concerns are trumped by we got a lousy economy in which women have born a disproportionate number of the job losses since January of 2009. We've got household income down. We've got home values plummeting. We got an anemic recovery. I wonder if all those don't trump the issue of reproductive rights.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Are you saying that the reason that he's down to 8 points from where he was, the 13 points in 2008, that is reflective of the economy and women's concern about the economy? Is that your hypothesis, that that's why...


    VAN SUSTEREN: ... larger margin?

    ROVE: I think so because if you take a look at people's views on the economy -- do they think his policies are working or not -- there's not much of a gap. There is a gap, but there's not much of a gap between men and women. They both disapprove of his handling of the economy. They both think that the economy is not doing well. They're are very concerned about the deficit.

    They've got different concerns about "Obama care," but they're both concerned -- both men and women are concerned. Men believe that we can't afford it. Women believe that it will adversely affect their family's health.

    But all of these work to the president's disadvantage. And when you get to the meta-question, for example -- Do you think the president's policies have helped or hurt -- there is little difference between men and women. They both -- roughly two thirds of them think that the president's policies have, at best, not hurt, and more likely have actually -- excuse me, not helped, but most -- at their best have not -- have not helped, and at worst have actually hurt the economy. And there's not much difference there.

    So the question is whether these issues of reproductive rights and access to contraception are going to trump the issue of jobs, prosperity, deficits, debt, spending and "ObamaCare."

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I'm -- I'm -- tomorrow, your op-ed comes out in The Wall Street Journal, in which you say, in part, that both sides have pushed up their opponent's negatives. Where does that leave both of them.

    ROVE: Well, if you take a look at Pollster.com from mid-May, when Barack Obama began his TV blitz to today, his negatives have gone from 45 to 46. Romney's have gone from 46 to 48.

    But if you look inside the negatives, they're much different. President Obama's negatives are on the handling of the economy primarily, to a lesser extent on that he's is turning in to be a conventional politician, not the, you know, figure of hope and aspiration that people had in 2008.

    Governor Romney's are questions of, Does he -- does he -- is a rich guy who's got concern for the middle class? Does he have a plan? Is he strong enough and presidential enough to get it done?

    If I were -- if I were a candidate, I'd rather have Mitt Romney's problems, which are solvable by a strong plan, strong campaign, great convention speech, rather than President Obama's, which are not going to solved by a deeply improved -- you know, a radically improving economy.

    Just we are not going to get the kind of jobs and economic growth that are going to rescue him. We're going to be in October and November essentially where we are today, with 13 million people unemployed, unemployment above 8.2 percent, home values low, family income down, people worried about the future.

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right, please play this silly game with me in Washington because we cant' stop ourselves right now, and that's about the vice president. I know that you've given me a reading assignment --

    ROVE: Greta!

    VAN SUSTEREN: ... before...

    ROVE: Greta!

    VAN SUSTEREN: ... I've read it before...

    ROVE: Get ahold of yourself! Get ahold of yourself!

    VAN SUSTEREN: I know. I read the article, which -- I read the historic article that you gave me which showed that the choice is relatively not important -- is not important. But I'm just curious. If you were to give it any sort of credence that the choice is really important, tell me strategically who would -- in light of where we are, in terms of the nation, what would be for this candidate the best choice right now for vice president?

    ROVE: Well, let's take it. We got two ways to approach that. Let's look at the political perspective first. Pick a battleground state, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, and pick somebody from a battleground state because if a vice presidential nominee has impact, it's in their home state. The last time a vice president was dispositive in a presidential election was 1960, when if Lyndon Johnson were not on the ticket, the Democrats would have narrowly lost Texas rather than narrowly won it, in all likelihood, and JFK would not have been president.

    The second way to look at it, though -- and this is what makes it complicated, is as a governing choice. The candidate chooses somebody whom they think will make -- will be a more effective vice president and help them govern effectively, and you know, like Dick Cheney choice in 2000. I mean, he didn't -- you know, look, with all due respect, no vice presidential candidate really has a big impact out of their home state. He did in his home state, Wyoming, but it was already locked up in the Republican column.

    So it says something about the mindset of the candidate that they're looking forward to, What do I need to do once I get into the office? And that's what make this all complicated. We -- we -- there are two big questions. Is Mitt Romney looking at this as a political choice or a governing choice? And then if he chooses one of those, is he looking at it bold or is he looking at it...

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right...


    VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So if you were recommending to him that he take one for political choice and one for governing, give me who you think...

    ROVE: I refuse...

    VAN SUSTEREN: ... and maybe not necessarily -- OK...

    ROVE: I refuse to answer the question.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Refuse? Come on!


    ROVE: This is premature vice presidential...

    VAN SUSTEREN: This is the fun part of Washington!

    ROVE: You need to get help. You need to get help for this!