The New York Times today explains the significance of Karl Rove‘s on-air rebuttal of Fox News’ decision to call Ohio for President Obama on election night:

Was he acting as the man who oversaw the most expensive advertising assault on a sitting president in history, unable to face his own wounded pride? The fund-raiser who had persuaded wealthy conservatives to give hundreds of millions of dollars and now had a lot of explaining to do? Or the former political strategist for George W. Bush, who saw firsthand how a botched network call could alter the course of a presidential contest? …

… Mr. Rove plays a more freighted role than campaign historian. There is no one quite like him in politics today. With a vast treasury at his disposal, he can direct huge sums of money to candidates, while helping shape political perceptions through his roles commenting for Fox News and writing a column for The Wall Street Journal.

And when he talks, people listen. …

“The first thing that came to my mind, the first thing burned in everyone’s mind, is Florida 2000,” said Michael Clemente, the Fox News executive vice president for news. “And the minute you hear, ‘Hold the phone,’ you sort of get that oh-my-goodness feeling.”

[New York Times]