Karl Rove Claims He Never Said a GOP Nominee Could Back Marriage Equality

The influential Republican strategist appeared to be asked whether the next GOP nominee for president could support marriage equality, but Rove doesn't see it that way.

BY Lucas Grindley

March 25 2013 2:04 AM ET

Karl Rove could imagine a GOP presidential candidate supporting marriage equality, but apparently not winning the nomination.

Rove is the Bush "architect" who once used gay-baiting at the ballot box to help drive up turnout among evangelicals, and he said during an interview on ABC's This Week that he could imagine a GOP presidential candidate supporting marriage equality. But he claims his answer was more limited than it sounded to some media outlets that reported on it.

During the show, Rove had blamed the GOP's recent electoral misfortune on bad candidates.  And then the strategist who heads the monied Super PAC American Crossroads, which has made picking better candidates part of its mission, was asked whether he could "imagine the next presidential campaign, a Republican candidate saying flat out I am for gay marriage?”

"I could," Rove said.

When ABC News and others reported that Rove said he could see the party's nominee supporting marriage equality, that was apparently a step too far. Rove complained to ABC News and it issued a correction on its website, including a new quote.

“I was asked if I could see A Republican presidential candidate supporting gay marriage in 2016 and I said I could (eg, Jon Huntsman endorsed civil unions in 2012)," Rove said in the statement. "I was not asked if I could see THE Republican presidential candidate or the GOP presidential nominee as the ABC website has said this afternoon.”

Huntsman, the former Utah governor and failed presidential candidate, signed onto a brief to the Supreme Court backing marriage equality and he's argued publicly that staying out of the bedroom matches with conservative principles.

Watch in the video below how ABC News later walked back Rove's comment in its own report.

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