RALEIGH — Karl Rove, former President George W. Bush's chief political strategist, was in Raleigh on Thursday night to attend a fundraiser for Sen. Richard Burr.
Rove, who now is an analyst for Fox News and other news outlets, sat down with The News & Observer to talk about politics before the event.
Q: Many people think there will be a major Republican victory in November. How do you see it?
Rove: I think that is accurate. How big is dependent upon the quality of the candidates, the quality of the campaigns and whether Republicans understand they can't merely surf a wave of dissatisfaction with President Obama and congressional Democrats to victory. Instead, they have to offer up a positive agenda of their own. This is why Richard Burr is so important.
Q: What should that positive agenda include?
Rove: It should address the dramatic increase in spending and the dramatic increase in the deficit. It also has to address the kitchen-table issues that people talk about at home that affect their lives: jobs, the economy, health care, access of their children to college, how to pay for college, quality of life, the environment. People take a look at what they have been offered by the Obama administration and congressional Democrats and have reacted very negatively, and that's fine. Republicans made a good case against what the Democrats are proposing. But in order to make the sale, Republicans have to offer an agenda of their own. That gets me back to Richard Burr, because that is his mind-set. He has been a person who has been focused on: Let's take our conservative principles and apply them to the problems that people see in their lives and deal with them.
Q: What should be the Republican alternative be on health care?
Rove: Well, Burr has actually written a pretty good bill.... It basically says the following: Let's make health insurance completely portable so that people can take it with them from job to job. Let's create a tax credit for people who make too much to fall into Medicaid, who don't have coverage from their employer, and who are young, and who may have made a decision to self-insure, and it helps them to get coverage. (Rove also discussed at length the plan's provisions that would allow people to buy health insurance across state lines and would allow states to create exchanges to pool risks.)
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