November 17th, 2007
10:12 AM ET
11 years ago

Rove: Obama missing opportunities to knock Clinton

Rove says Obama is missing chances to knock Clinton off stride.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former top Bush aide Karl Rove said Thursday he thinks Sen. Barack Obama has missed key opportunities to knock rival Hillary Clinton off track.

In an interview with CSPAN, the man behind President Bush's two White House wins cited a recent debate in Philadelphia when Clinton was asked why more of her records as first lady have not yet been made public.

"He missed the opportunity," Rove explained. "If he had stood there and said, 'Senator, with all due respect, it is entirely within the power of you and your husband to immediately order the release of those documents. And your failure to do so reveals legitimate questions in the minds of the American people about what you might be hiding and it's not going to be good for the Democratic party or for you if you allow those questions to persist,' it would have been a moment, it would have been a big moment."

"Instead it was a vague and wandering around, and weak, and insipid," Rove continued. "There have been a number of occasions like that where a sharp and clear and respectful contrast would have created a moment."

Rove also said the Republicans will lose in 2008 unless they "articulate a positive agenda and a positive vision."

"Otherwise," Rove said, "The American people will say, 'You know what? I have got my doubts I have got my concerns and you haven't given me the confidence that I will do better with you.'"

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (320 Responses)
  1. Kim Iannone, West Hills, CA

    Rove offfering advice about how to get elected is comparable to Ted Bundy giving advice about how to murder someone.

    November 16, 2007 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  2. V. C. Novosad, Sugar Land, Texas

    When they were in office, the Clintons were hounded by the Republicans and the media to the point that one cannot imagine what would be left to expose. Furthermore, anyone not planning to vote for Senator Obama would welcome an endorsement by Karl Rove. With Rove's sordid reputation, it would be more like a "kiss of death."

    November 16, 2007 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  3. Liberal Chic

    frank tulsa ok :

    Heh, heh. You are funny. Maybe you can get together with Laura (Tulsa) sometime and lighten her up. She's a real stick in the mud.

    November 16, 2007 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  4. Steve, New Orleans, LA

    Hmmm. KKKarl Rove has repeatedly said that he wants Hillary to win the nomination because she'd be so easy to beat in the general election. Yet, he wants to offer advice to Obama on how to beat Hillary? Right.

    Perhaps Karl knows who'd be the easier candidate to beat and it isn't Hillary.

    November 16, 2007 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  5. Gabriel, Lakewood, CO

    How ironic that the man who arguably is to blame for the perversion of the Republican Party through the politics of smear, hatred and division should now presume to advise them.

    November 16, 2007 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  6. Kris Keizer, OR

    Rove is a crook and a traitor to the American public. I could care less about what he has to say. Yeh, he helped Georgie with the elections, yeh how to break all of the election laws and criminally rig the votes. He is such a loser.

    November 16, 2007 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  7. scott,manchester NH

    the man is such a pile of human garbage..and has taken our country down such a scary,dark road of the slimiest of slimy election tactics..

    he really should be in a mental institution (with Bush jr)...

    its just that simple...

    November 16, 2007 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  8. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario

    As Mr. Colbert was not allowed on the CNN, ... Democratic debate and will not be in the Republican debate, what team are you now rooting for?

    The wonderful time of elections when the practice in the senate go into regular season when the insults of the team are no longer limited to the practice field right and it might possibly come to blows once the teams meet in the ring with their respective Most Valued Candidate, after the congregational but not congressional nomination process.

    Yet an endorsement from those individuals of Congress, The Senate, governors and other State legislatures are still meant to mean something to those paying active attention, so also legislators or those of the electoral college.

    The spectacle of a diarchic aristocracy which displays plutocratic tendencies used to little use and the associated display of the interaction of their rosters; what a display of philanthropic leadership: which might be theophilathropic but is not already an high ordained leader of those of a clerical or papal delegation?

    68 administrations for hire, which, might contain overlapping individuals of assembly?

    The popular vote: what a contest.

    (parties befoul democracy)

    November 16, 2007 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  9. Mike Dallas, TX

    I propose something even bolder (I know it is kinda late in the game and I will have little success):

    No more cable news presidential debate!

    The reason is these corporate media entities are intertwined with the washington power brokers and any body running as an outsider have the deck stacked against them. I came to this conclusion after being disappointed day after day with the disservice of what the corporate media does in misinforming the public and finally today when I learned why Mitt Romney pulled out of the FOX debate. The reason is Guiliani's closeness to FOX and Roger Ailes. I can see why a case could be made based on how CNN is widely staffed by previous Clinton staffers and sympathizers and we have seen how that played in yesterday's debate and post debate spin not to mention the message transmitted to CNN through Drudge.

    Election of the POTUS is too important to be left decided on these types of corrupt schemes.

    Just like republicans are pulling out of FOX debate because of the favoritism of FOX towards Guliani democrats should say no to CNN given their favoritism towards the Clintons.

    The future debates should be done on PBS or CSPAN. These debates should be a forum of competing ideas and not a venue to promote glitter and glamour of anchor people or worse to spin and prop up faltering candidates by loyalist pundits masquerading as "experts".

    November 16, 2007 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  10. Kris Keizer, OR

    Someone here mentioned the campaign finance infractions and assumed we knew nothing about this. PLEASE, this is old news and not really even an issue. Let's dig through all of the candidate present and past donations and see what ghosts come flying out of the closet. Oh wait, only Hillary is the crook, the b****, the liar, the flip-flopper and I know I must be missing 20 other names. The Clintons are not the anti-christ of politics for god's sake.

    November 16, 2007 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  11. Manjit Kaura, Bakersfield Ca 93311

    Rove does not need to tutor anyone. He has done enough damage to the Mankind as everyone knows. Hillary Clinton has the courage and brains to beat everyone in both parties.
    Advise for Rove is to keep his mouth shout and let there be a Real election Of the People By the People and For the People.

    November 17, 2007 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  12. gloria cranford nj

    rove is a loser

    November 17, 2007 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  13. scott,manchester NH

    haha...i'm pretty sure CNN just got rid of my comment calling Rove "a pile of human garbage"...
    i guess that was considered harsh..

    nevermind that very few people really fit that bill like he does..

    too much....

    November 17, 2007 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  14. TJ, Pittsburgh

    Rove knows how to win and he's telling it like it is. The reason he knows how to win is because he knows what's on the minds of mainstream Americans.

    November 17, 2007 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  15. Efrem Lieber Fountain Hills, AZ

    This is a man who advocates that the Democrats snipe at each other on insignificant issues and the Republicans create a positive message/agenda/vision. What do you expect from a man who lies and tells others to lie for a living? And he'll use any method to subvert those who disagree with his opinions, including "outing" a spy.

    November 17, 2007 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  16. Joshua, Washington, DC

    For the first time in my career, Karl Rove has said something that actually helps the Democratic Party.

    Hillary Clinton is not what America needs because she had 8 years to do and now she wants another 8 years to fix health care and help the Middle Class and the low income families. If she did not do it as First Lady, why would she do it now if elected President? She will not, but everyone will vote for her because you get two Clinton's for the price of one.

    America needs to wake up and see that change is not electing someone because you get someone else but because you think they will be what’s best for the change you want to see occur.

    Remember, when you vote, vote for change and not the same old as same old

    November 17, 2007 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  17. David Wooster, Ocoee, FL

    Typical Rove. He's someone who sees everything as an opportunity to manipulate the American people one way or another. He probably never considered that perhaps Obama decided to take the high road and not try to tear apart a fellow Democrat.

    November 17, 2007 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  18. john , atlanta, ga

    Of course Rove wants Obama to win the Democratic race, he knows that if a Black male is on the democratic ticket, republicans will run to the polls as if they had won the lottery.

    November 17, 2007 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  19. David, Dallas Tx

    When Carville suggested that Jeb Bush run for president, it was only to instill more dissatisfaction among Republican voters for the current candidates–thereby strengthening the Democratic bid for president.

    Rove is fighting fire with fire–trying to cause more hostility between the top tier Democrats, thereby disenfranchising Democratic voters and strengthening the Republican bid.

    Never trust a political adviser who is offering advice to the opposition.

    Rove is the author of Divide and Conquer. Now that he sees the lasting and major damage D&C has done to the Republican party, he's hoping to prod Democrats into doing the same.

    Only a fool would follow such advice.

    November 17, 2007 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  20. Amy, Bellevue, WA

    WGAC....Who Gives A Crap! Me thinks if this gets press time then maybe Lindsay Lohan can give us a speech on why we should stay away from drugs.

    November 17, 2007 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  21. Nikki, Colorado Springs, CO

    The very fact that Obama did not come back clear and consise with a "strong" comeback as Karl Rove said he should have instead of showing weakness, only illustrates how weak Obama is, how immature he is, and how inexperienced he is. Is that the kind of person we want representing the U.S. to the rest of the world. I don't!

    Personally, I think the mudslinging only shows how threatened the men are of a woman leading this country and makes them look worse in the eyes of the public. They are wasting the public's time. What do they think, we are stupid and cannot draw our own conclusions - that we have to be spoon fed with their inane rhetorical banter flled with insults and stone throwing at another candidate. I say, what goes around comes around. I want a President who takes the "High Ground." Not one who grovels in the trenches and whines because they are losing.

    Hillary isn't playing the gender card, these men are and they are looking like idiots on the stage.

    If they would quit with the mudslinging, perhaps there could really be a debate on pertinent issues.

    Thank you Karl for pointing out another reason why we should not elect Obama.

    November 17, 2007 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  22. Juanito, Washington, DC

    Rove must have missed the memo:
    Obama said very clearly back in March 2007 that "the most important thing for me, my wife and kids is that regardless how the election turns out, that I emerge out of this process intact. I will not sell my soul to the process, rather I will express my beliefs and vision for America and let the American people decide. I will emerge from this process fully intact and my wife makes sure that we keep checking daily to ensure this will happen."

    Obama is not going to stoop to the gutter-level to win...he has integrity.

    November 17, 2007 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  23. Benjamin R. Miner, San Diego, Ca.

    I think it is funny that we are supporting stories like this when we as America should be proud of a person that carries the pride and respect not to have to hurl insults or attempt tactics of political undermining. A fresh face Obama is the JFK of the future, a man that has promoted better and realistic change. Although Clinton may own the experience, she is not self made, did not start from nothing.
    For those of you out there who are unfamiliar with Sen. Obama, I would suggest you do a little research and learn the roots of this self made man. In regards to whom should be the next president and face of America there is no contest, a man with only best interests at heart Sen. Obama has my full support.
    Smearing a campaign should not be a priority for any presidential candidate, the sad thing is that is not the reality for our future whanna-be leaders.

    November 17, 2007 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  24. RMRN.Y.

    Karl Rove is playing it cute by highlighting any so called lost opportunity to hammer Hillary by Barak
    Obama which underscores Barak's inexperience politically and makes
    Hillary seem smart and in control.

    This works for the Republicans in the general election for they are locked and loaded for Hillary.

    In a one on one contest which the general election is Barak will have much more media coverage to elaborate and inform on the issues and make lengthy speeches which run to Obama's strengths. In short they want Hillary
    and fear Obama, hence the digs on Obama's weakness against Hillary will be underscored at every opportunity
    by the chess players behind the scenes
    working against Barak.

    Barak is essentially up against two machines in this primary – the Clinton's and the Republican's machine.

    Can Barak overcome, we will wait and see and pray?

    November 17, 2007 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  25. Kathleen Butler, St. Louis, MO

    Quite ironic that Karl Rove is advising Senator Obama to take Senator Clinton to task for lack of full exposure! I thought Mr. Rove and his former comrades at the White House wrote the book on strategies for preventing public access to government correspondence.

    November 17, 2007 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
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