Karl Rove warns GOP that shutdown could boost Obama

Holly Bailey

Not all Republicans think a potential government shutdown would be good for the GOP.

In a memo posted to his website, former Bush strategist Karl Rove points to polling numbers in the aftermath of the 1995 government shutdown that show the issue actually boosted President Clinton's numbers ahead of his re-election campaign.

"The shutdowns helped improve Clinton's political standing, boosting both his approval rating and perceptions of him as a strong leader," Rove writes, hinting the same might happen with President Obama.

According to Gallup poll numbers posted by the former Bush aide, Clinton's approval rating saw a nearly double-digit jump during the '95 shutdown and went to steadily improve heading into the 1996 election. Rove writes that it was Clinton's "confrontation" with Gingrich that boosted his numbers--an obvious implication that the GOP's latest budget standoff could boost Obama.

"While the government shutdowns didn't jeopardize Republicans' hold on Congress, they helped President Clinton position himself for a successful 1996 reelection," Rove writes. "President Obama's ratings as a strong leader have slipped this year … Republicans should be careful not to let him recover as he gears up for his 2012 reelection campaign."

(Photo of Rove: Steve Helber/AP)