PITTSBURGH - As Karl Rove called more than 2,000 natural gas industry leaders "revolutionaries," he complimented the drillers and frackers for their free market innovations during the past several years.
"You did not wait for the government to tell you what to do," said Rove, former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to President George W. Bush, while speaking during the Wednesday Developing Unconventional Gas East Conference and Exhibition in Pittsburgh.
While speaking at the same event in 2010, Rove, a noted Republican strategist, was celebrating victory because the GOP had just won majority status in the House of Representatives. Wednesday, Rove was a bit more somber in acknowledging Democrat President Barack Obama's re-election last week.
"I was here under much nicer circumstances two years ago," Rove said. "Despite my best efforts, (Obama) took Ohio."
As Obama and Congressional leaders negotiate on ways to deal with the pending "fiscal cliff," Rove said the government should look at the natural gas officials to learn how to grow the economy.
"It is simply inadequate to accept mediocrity in our economy," he said in recognizing the work ethic of the gas officials. "You provide optimism. ... If given a chance, this country can overcome anything."
Rove said he believes Obama beat Republican challenger Mitt Romney for three main reasons.
A bruising Republican primary election left Romney vulnerable, especially when Obama had no primary challenger, he said.
"Obama knew he could not run on his record. He aimed to attack and disqualify Romney. They cast Romney as a rich guy who outsourced jobs," he said.
Rove also said dealing with Hurricane Sandy the week before the election allowed Obama to look "presidential and bipartisan."
Rove said voter turn-out was significantly lower for the 2012 election when compared to the 2008 election, something he finds puzzling.
He said 7.2 million fewer white people voted this year compared to 2008, while 4.1 million fewer women voted.
"The President of the United States is in an odd place," Rove added, noting Obama is the first sitting president in many years to be re-elected with fewer votes than he won upon taking office.