"I think this is premature," Karl Rove said of Fox News' decision to call the battleground state of Ohio for Barack Obama on Tuesday night. The Republican strategist and former Bush adviser bickered with his own network's hosts, saying that the increasingly downcast conservative news network had jumped the gun on the state that probably meant game over for Mitt Romney.
"I don't know what the outcome is gonna be but we gotta be careful about calling things when we have 991 votes separating the two candidates and a quarter of the vote yet to count," Rove told host Bret Baier.
"That's awkward," anchor Megyn Kelly joked when the Fox News team seemed thrown by Rove's doubts. "To get to the bottom of this," Kelly walked off set to allow the network's call-makers to defend their decision.
Kelly summed up their confident reaction: "They are not listening to Karl. They don't care what Karl said."
Fellow journalists like the Washington Post's Eric Wemple took note, saying that the on-set bickering made for good TV and "excellent awkwardness."
Whatever you think of Rove’s objections — perhaps the whining of a Republican partisan who didn’t want to let go; perhaps the legitimate objections of a pure political genius — the moment of dissent at the Fox desk spoke to one of the network’s strengths. On-air dissent, that is.