“Karl Rove is back – like an even worse sequel to a movie panned by the critics,” Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) wrote Wednesday in a fundraising solicitation for Democratic Senate candidates being targeted by ads from American Crossroads, an independent group conceived by Rove and fellow Bush operative Ed Gillespie last fall…

Democratic polls have found Rove to be extremely unpopular, one senior party strategist told POLITICO. The strategist, who did not want to be indentified discussing private polling, said independents “aren’t happy when they learn that Karl Rove is back trying to influence policy and elections. They figure Karl was too much part of the problem in the first place.”…

Soon after American Crossroads debuted, one person involved in organizing the groups told POLITICO that Rove provided “a laying-on of hands” for the groups partly by convincing major Republican donors who had become stingier with their giving to support the groups.

Rove’s efforts on behalf of the groups have sparked grumbling from some establishment Republicans who contend he is undercutting the Republican National Committee.