January 17th, 2008
08:30 AM ET
8 years ago

Rove targets Clinton, Obama

Karl Rove took aim at Clinton and Obama Wednesday.

Karl Rove took aim at Clinton and Obama Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Karl Rove dismissed Hillary Clinton’s Michigan primary win Wednesday, telling a group of Republican party leaders that her victory showed signs of weakness.

Clinton, the only major candidate to appear on the Democratic presidential primary ballot, received roughly 55 percent of the vote. About 40 percent of those voting in the primary opted for the “uncommitted” option, and 5 percent of the vote went to other candidates, including Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel.

“Think about that. She’s running against ‘nobody’ and ‘nobody’ gets 40 percent of the vote,” said Rove. “The other 5 percent of the vote went to three other people: 27,924 votes went to the guy who believes in UFOs, the guy who dropped out and the guy who last held public office somewhere around 1855.”

He also said the New York senator should release documents in the Clinton presidential library that relate to her time in the White House during the administration of her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

But the former adviser to President Bush didn’t reserve all his criticism for Hillary Clinton, taking aim at her chief Democratic rival, Barack Obama, as well. He echoed recent Clinton campaign criticism of the Illinois senator’s “present” votes as a state representative and doubts about his relative lack of national experience. He also blasted him for a voting record that he described as “more liberal” than Clinton’s – “and that’s hard to do.”

The political strategist also had some advice for the Republicans in the race. As soon as the party has a nominee, said Rove, the candidate will have to “introduce themselves to the American people,” focus on “kitchen table” domestic issues like jobs and healthcare, “campaign aggressively in places where Republicans don't usually campaign” (including efforts to reach black, Latino and union voters), and present a positive vision on Iraq and the surge.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (689 Responses)
  1. Ken

    For someone with worthless, meaningless opinions who should be ignored, you libs/dems sure get mindlessly and laughably hysterical over every Karl Rove comment. Keep it up and you'll get to hear from him forever.

    January 16, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  2. John G

    Hehe Democrats are still funny...

    The one constant in this whole ticker topic is "Who care what Karl Rove says/thinks"

    Obviously each and every one of you do or you wouldn't be posting and reading. Rove is a genius he got the "worst President in history" elected...twice, he resigned his position in the administration and still he is in the headlines

    Don't get me wrong-Rove is quite possibly the antichrist but in the long run all the democrats are playing into his hands

    January 16, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  3. Ron

    Exactly why does CNN believe anyone could possibly be interested in anything Karl Rove has to say???? His train left the station long ago although his negative legacy will be felt by this country for years.

    January 16, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  4. Karl

    Why isn't this guy in prison? And why the hell is the media giving him a forum?

    January 16, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  5. Mrs. V.

    I'm sorry...who? Karl Rove? Wasn't he one of the criminals who worked for Bush and got away with it because everyone around him lied? Isn't his former boss the one who has an approval rating in the 20's? I'm sure the candidates are taking notes on his assessment and reforming their campaigns as we speak...unless their laughing so hard they can't get to their memo pads.

    January 16, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  6. Jay

    and this coming from someone should be in prison as we speak....

    January 16, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  7. Jeff

    Sheah! Like anything Karl Marx–er Rove says even matters.

    The man is a criminal and a traitor to the United States and he needs to SHUT UP!

    January 16, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  8. Jack

    Who cares what Karl Rove has to say about the elections? Then again, I guess he would know about working for a "nobody". The Democrat's best bet? That Karl Rove "helps" the Republican nominee! The American people are so sick of him and this administration.

    January 16, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  9. David S.

    Oh, come on.

    BARRY GOLDWATER–the REVIVER of conservatism, and the only real conservative since–believed in UFOs! More than that, he believed the government was covering stuff up about aliens! I'm not saying I believe him, but that's definitely more out there than Kucinich, who claims he merely saw an object in the sky which he couldn't identify.

    January 16, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  10. Pat

    Karl Rove is a proven idiot. Why does CNN even take the time to quote him and then write about it. Cheesh.....

    January 16, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  11. Funny Fred

    Karl Rove is an idiot. Plain and simple. Rove once descibed himself as a nerd and totally uncool when he was younger, well karl nothing has changed.. 🙂 Well one thing has changed -the gerth of your waist...

    January 16, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  12. Dave

    Karl lost most of his credibility when he took a position as Stupids Deputy Chief of Staff, He lost the rest when he broke the law. Hes no longer relevant . Why would a REPUTABLE news service even give this tool the time of day?

    January 16, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  13. Paul

    Does anyone still listen to Karl Rove? Isn't he washed up by now? hasn't he used all of his political capital holding up the bush presidency's tenuous claims that whatever they did was righteous... I think Mr. Rove should stay out of politics until some of the policy he drove actually leads to something productive

    January 16, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  14. Chet

    This man is a cancer who has destroyed thefabric of the American Political system. He taught us that if someone disagrees with your point of veiw you setroy him personally and not deal with the issues. What a wonderful example of the American Political process demonstrated to our youth from an individual who will destroy a person's character in stead of engaging in a dialog. The damage done by this type of politics will haunt us for years to come. We are coming out of a long dark tunnel and these individuals want to turn off the light.

    January 16, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  15. John L. Self Jr

    I think Rove, Bush and their fellow henchmen in the quest for secrecy should create the ultimate mystery. Go someplace (any place) where you won't be heard from for say about twenty years

    January 16, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  16. Daws

    Doing the math to say that since 40% went to undecided then only 20% would have went to both Obama and Edwards forgets the most prominent and most overlooked factor in politics: Motivation to get out and vote. This is why the polls mess up, they don't gauge motivation to actually register their preference in an actual vote.

    Not even having your candidates name on the ballot has honestly just got to absolutely kill supporters motivation to go to the voting booths. I mean honestly why? they aren't on there, and the entire thing wont even matter since it decides no delegates. I'm surprised anyone voted at all...

    Had Obama and Edwards been on the ballot you better believe their combined vote would have been more than a piddly 40%.

    January 16, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  17. Mary

    Who cares what Karl Rove says? I guess CNN does. WHY?

    January 16, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  18. Sean

    Why the hell does CNN continue to give Karl Rove a platform to spout his useless opinions? I am right in thinking this is CNN, and not Fox News, correct? Who cares? You might as well ask my 3rd-grade niece what she thinks about Clinton's victory in Michigan...its just about as relevant.

    January 16, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  19. Cameron

    Dear CNN and world,
    I hope YOU and the media in general begin listening more to the views of the youth. I know we're young, inexperienced, and naive. Still, I think our viewpoint needs to see equal coverage, but that requires your help! Now that you’re listening, I beg you, touch Social Security and Medicare. Wake the giant! I understand that any intelligent politician wouldn't dare discuss these fatal programs, but I think the media should. As a young citizen, I may just be ignorant to why no one discusses these issues, but for some reason I feel that these doomed programs must be confronted. Today, if Social Security and Medicare are practically, if not already, bankrupt, what are we to expect down the road when nearly 72 million boomers retire? If Social Security and Medicare were to give these citizens 500 dollars a month (realistically a small number) then the government will lose $432 billion a year. At this point, I will just be starting to get my life together in the workplace, how am I supposed to pay for that? Shall I assume that the government will be able to put that problem on hold for even longer? Or will we be so far in debt that no one will care? I understand that you, the candidates, and the current administration are concerned with other current issues, as you should be, but I would hope that you consider looking this monster of a problem in the eye until a courageous politician wants to challenge it. As an eighteen year old, I understand my voice is weak and often unheard but I really do think this is an issue that needs to be solved, soon. The longer we wait, the more these problems will grow. CNN, please, hopefully you can express the concerns of the youth to the public and to our candidates. Also, I'm sorry this has little to do with the article.

    January 16, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  20. Kwame


    January 16, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  21. Matthew Hensley - Laurinburg, NC


    I am truely amazed at the comments here. While I have little respect for Karl Rove as a human being, he also was the chief strategist that got Bush, arguable the least effective president in recent history, elected TWICE. And he has good, sound advice. While I disagree with his policies, I think it is impressive how successful he is at running a campaign. Call him a scoundrel and a scumbag all you want, but he is still great at campaign stategy. I think he's more upset that he was left out this go around than anything.

    And Jason, no one is MORE relevant to the campaign than G.W. He is the roadblock the Republicans must get around and he is everything the Democrats are running against. There is a reason why "Change" is the current mantra – people are so dissatisfied with Bush that they are ready for the next president.

    January 16, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  22. Chris Mineer

    Here you have comments by one of Bush's former henchman. He is the one who rigged the last 2 elections and he is a swine who has the nerve to talk about somebody like he walks on water. Give me a break. HE IS ANOTHER REPUBLICAN CHEAT

    January 16, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  23. ...

    i bet most of you support clinton and obama?

    January 16, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  24. Dave Borkoski

    Why does anyone give any credence to anything thta Karl Rove has to say. Face it he was the "brain" behind of this country's most heinous political dirty tricks in electoral history. What was the result of this guy's efforts you ask. A President who has run this country into the ground, mortaged our future so his cronies could enjoy a deep goruge of wartime profiteering, an army so scattered and ill-lead that we are in peril, and no moral standing in the worldwide theater. Rove is a joke!

    January 16, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  25. Bill Starrett

    Why are Karl "Puddin" Rove's opinions allowed to see the light of day? Get thee behind me Rove.

    January 16, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
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