NOW with Alex Wagner | November 08, 2012
>>> money was spent? was it well spent.
>> by paying bills. that's how you spend money. either that or become a jewish husband, you spend a lot of money.
>> that was gop super donor and the 14th richest man in the world , sheldon adelson addressing the fact that the $54 million he spent on eight races tuesday night result in a big fat zero. on tuesday night, voters sent a resounding message, money can't buy you love, especially at the ballot box . over $1 billion spent by outside groups in the 2012 races and the result, status quo. obama re-electioned, democratic senate and republican house. overwhelming majority of the spending benefited conservatives. 69% compared to just 28% in support of liberals. but the results were not pretty. karl rove 's american crossroads spent $104 million, success rate, 1. 3%. u.s. chamber of commerce spent $33 million. success rate 6.9%. and as for sheldon adelson , a friend tells the " wall street journal " he will keep on keeping on. quote, he wouldn't lose sleep over the amount of money he spent, the person said, adding he is disappointed but not discouraged.
>> of course not. it's four hours of the casinos in macao.
>> not go. are for giving. the billionaire donors are here are lived one operative told "the huffington post ." there is holy hell to pay. karl rove has a lot of explaining to do. i don't know how you tell donors we spent $390 million and got nothing. if you were to spend $354 million on a race and got nothing, what would your next move be?
>> i wouldn't spend it again. what happened here i don't think the money was spent well. it was spent on tv, and after a while if you eat too much lobster, eventually the lobster doesn't taste good.
>> i never reached that.
>> the tv ads were so pervasive that people stopped listening. they stopped listening. interestingly in pennsylvania governor romney went from 12 points down to 3 or 4 in the polls, though the polls weren't accurate, 3 or 4 in the polls without spending a dime. they spent $11 million in the last week. they go from three points down to five points down. you tell me, alex.
>> the problem is it's almost as if we've been growing conservatives in a terrarium and they haven't --
>> or growing themselves.
>> growing themselves, right. they haven't been exposed to the outside world . only talking to each other. and so they thought the same things that entertain and delight them on talk radio would delight the rest of the country. they thought they had a majority view, that everybody dislikes and hates barack obama , everyone thinks he's a socialist, right.
>> if we get that message out there on tv, let the world see that he's a kenyan socialist, they'll agree with us, right? when you broke the glass, they're getting their first sort of breath of real air and seeing the rest of the world for the first time you see a sense of disbelief. i think it was easy to get people like sheldon adelson to give up money because they were in that terrarium.
>> let's be clear, too this is an exercise in ego for a lot of the guys, right.
>>> i have all of this money, i'm going to change the dynamics of the race. look at success rate of the top super pacs . it's bad. the folks with the highest success rate are freedom works , 24.5% success rate. the seiu, actually, doesn't make it to the top spenders but had an 85% success rate because what do they do? they focused on getting out the vote and organizational ground game.
>> ground, ground.
>> look at the up ins and it's astonishing and i'm reminded of the moment on fox news and election night when karl rove was contesting ohio being called, by fox news, for the president maegyn kellys goes back to to the guy whose called and said they're not listening to karl. that could have been the motto for the election, they're not listening to karl.
>> i have a quasi countervaluing view, he said we levelled the playing field . no, they didn't. they tilted the playing field . if i was karl rove , and i'm glad i'm not the argument the $350 million they spent may -- was a point or two, so barack obama going into the fiscal cliff, everything else, instead of winning with 52% of the vote he won with 51, 50%, whatever. they forced the seiu and other groups to spend tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, too and it what's disproportionate about it, it was a couple of what i call venting billionaires, billionaires, you can call them, able to get everybody else to go crazy, spend money, and i do think, you know, in ohio, sherrod brown had to find an extra $20 million. what could have been done with time and opportunity?
>> and money. how it could have better been spent.
>> there's an impact here in opportunity comer costs. they had an impact and they tilted the playing feel. and on that tilted playing field obama and the democrats still won.
>> what happens next. your argument reminds me of the republican argument in favor of cutting taxes to spur economic growth . david had a great chart, as you cut taxes, the gdp shrinks. there's no evidence thus far. but the --
>> they've been doing that for a year.
>> my two sources. my two sources on this. the chart. but the argument on the republican side is, it would have been even worse if you hadn't had those tax rates it would have been even worse . so i guess we are not going to see the end of the super pacs . what we may see is a rejiggered super pac but yet, joy, still an insane infusion of cash of money into american politics .
>> it was a good thing. i think what the conservative super pacs have proved economic stimulus does work. when you pump money into the economy -- i think the television station groups did tremendously well with the vending, printers and people who design direct mail, so i actually --
>> their spending boosted the economy slightly which again helped barack obama . everything they did had the opposite of what they wanted. it was a stimulus.
>> alec has better bargain position with nbc.
>> with you on my side. when you hear the super pac-men talk about lost millions, the " wall street journal " says, as for mr. adelson, the person close to him say his wants to maintain active role in the gop using donations to make conservatism afeppeal to a wider group of people including latino voters. i say, go ahead. i'd love to see it. what is that going to look like?
>> the interesting thing of money, connects to what we're talking about in a moment, data. the spending wasn't tied to data. this was faith-based spending based on a'of beliefs as joy is say what the country looks like, who the electorate is where the hot spots are. karl rove was supposed to be the master and genius figuring out where the buttons are. this time they didn't look for the buttons. they didn't have the kind of machine that obama had to tie the data at a granular level to the spending to make it effective.
>> which is ironic because karl rove in 2004 saved george bush 's presidency by doing just that.
>> what was george bush 's nickname for karl rove ?
>> turd blossom. we're not supposed to say that.
>> i think i did it.
>> i stoked the ire of the lunatic birther disguised as real estate mogul, donald trump who slammed karl rove on twitter machine saying congrats to karl rove on blowing $400 million this cycle refer race crossroads gps ran and the republicans lost. what a waste of money. who knows from wasting money better than donald trump . coming up, call it moneyball or small ball team obama 's sophisticated data-driven campaign delivered nearly every battleground state for the president on tuesday night. we will explore the formula just ahead. i'm a conservative