Some political strategists cash out on their careers, go on TV, and start making wild predictions because, hey, it's fun. You get invited back on, to make more predictions. And not all of these strategists are named "Dick Morris."
Karl Rove is not like those strategists. In 2008, his week-to-week update of the electoral college map was spot-on, and correctly calculated the margin John McCain would lose by. Rove is out with the first edition of his 2012 map:
That's more optimistic than some Democrats I talk to are willing to be. (Rove, you prince of trickery!) Under one pessimistic, demographics-driven theory of the election, Obama's best shot at winning a close one is taking the Kerry states (minus New Hampshire) taking all of the Dem-leaning, Hispanic-heavy Southwest states (i.e., not Arizona), and taking Virginia. That would get Obama to 275 electoral votes. Rove spots Obama a bunch of points here. (South Carolina in play? Honestly?)