November 11, 2012

The 10 Dumbest Calls of the Campaign

Hillary is in! Palin is in! Romney wins big! Obama wins big! Ah, those overheated prognostications.

By JOSHUA E. KEATING / Foreign Policy

DICK MORRIS: A Romney blowout.

"It will be the biggest surprise in recent American political history.… It will rekindle the whole question on why the media played this race as a nailbiter where in fact Romney's going to win by quite a bit." – Nov. 5

The onetime architect of Bill Clinton's "triangulation" strategy used to be highly sought after by both parties for his textured understanding of the U.S. electorate. That may no longer be the case after the "Here Come the Black Helicopters!" author and TV talking head predicted Romney would win 325 electoral votes. He wasn't entirely alone in bucking the conventional wisdom that, if Romney did win, it would be close. Washington Examiner political analyst Michael Barone had 315 for Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich – citing the "Carville rule" – thought he would go over 300.

NEWT GINGRICH: I got this in the bag.

"I'm going to be the nominee. It's very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I'm going to be the nominee." – Dec. 1, 2011

Speaking of Gingrich, remember this confident assertion by the former House leader? After winning the Florida primary, Gingrich was slightly more cautious, saying, "It is now clear that this will be two-person race between the conservative leader Newt Gingrich and the Massachusetts moderate" – though he would eventually come in a distant third behind Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum.

JIM CRAMER: Obama superblowout.

Obama: 440, Romney: 98 – Election prediction, Nov. 5

The voluble CNBC host went to the other extreme with an election map giving Obama wins in such liberal bastions as Texas, Georgia and South Dakota. To be fair, Cramer may not have been entirely sincere in his prediction, tweeting, "No one is going to recall the guy who picks Obama by 10 electorals if it turns out to be 150 margin. Believe me." Maybe not, but they'll remember the guy who had it at 342, and not in a good way.

WEEKLY STANDARD: The Joe-Hillary switcheroo

"The likeliest time for an announcement that Biden is to be dumped would be just before the GOP convention - around Friday, August 24. This would step on the Republicans' planned buildup to their convention, and would give Hillary Clinton, perhaps the likeliest replacement, a couple of weeks to resign as Secretary of State to accept her place on the ticket, while arranging a smooth transition at Foggy Bottom." – Daniel Halper - Aug. 15

In retrospect, the speculation that the Obama campaign would drop the gaffe-prone Joe Biden in favor of Hillary Clinton was little more than a Drudge-baiting Washington parlor game in the dull weeks between the end of the GOP primary and the party conventions. But the venerable conservative weekly got just a wee bit caught up in it, posting a countdown clock ticking down the days Obama had left to make the switch. Gird your loins for four more years of Joe, guys.

KARL ROVE: Sarah Palin will run.

"She has a schedule next week that looks like that of a candidate, not a celebrity.… This is her last chance. She either gets in or gets out after this visit next week. I think she gets in" – Aug. 20

Rove, George W. Bush's political guru, caused a minor meltdown at Fox News on election night by questioning the network's own projections for Ohio while on air, but "Bush's Brain" has been making questionable calls about the race for months. Runner-up in this category goes to William Kristol, who wrote in June that Rudy Giuliani would "throw his hat in the ring soon."

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