January 17th, 2008
08:30 AM ET
4 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. ZH

    The CNN is funny... Looks like a clown running the CNN. How can Karl Rove saying something makes the news. Why are there two news on Hillary's dirty attacks on Obama. Wake up, CNN!

    January 16, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  2. kc

    Keith Poremsky of Dearborn Michigan, you took the words right out of my mouth!

    January 16, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  3. scott,manchester NH

    the architect of the THE most incompetent admin in history.....speaks again...
    i feel like takin a shower every time i hear from the king of sleeze...
    he's gonna just love the history books...

    January 16, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Go climb back in your hole Karl, maybe there is where you belong.

    January 16, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  5. Jim W.

    Oh, c'mon...uncommitted wasn't 'nobody'; there is a strategy here and Rove knows it – he's playing off the ignorance of the voters.

    Think about this: thousands upon thousands of people came out of their homes to vote FOR Hillary. And you have to know the 'anti' vote is always more energizing. Let's put President Bush against 'uncommitted' and see if he can win....or any other politician out there.

    She has the smarts, the guts and the determination to see this through. We are lucky to have her. For the record, I'm a 55 year old white guy.

    January 16, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  6. Lia

    "Votes for no one" my heinie. Lots of people voted Uncommitted in protest of not being able to vote for the candidate of their choice. If there had been no other candidates, Rove's statements would be fair, but clearly that wasn't the case.

    January 16, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  7. Craig Shaver

    Karl's a real pro when it comes to trashing people. Chickenhawks usually are.

    January 16, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  8. Long Valley John

    He just won't go away will he? Karl, look, just go away. Just GO away.

    January 16, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  9. Rothchild

    My family and friends have been following the 2008 Presidential election and I feel overwhelming compelled to comment and express our sadness, disgust and anger after witnessing the continued unfair disturbing treatment that Senator Clinton continually receives from CNN. I was an avid follower until the daily gender discrimination and horrible names Senator Clinton is called, forced my family and friends to look else where for our news reporting. The media has dropped the ball. We the viewers and most importantly the voters looked to news stations and newspapers for unbiased FACTS about ALL the presidential candidates to assist voters on making a wise and educated decision on who will run our country. Unfortunately we see your just biased and often racial tabloid news It’s a disservice to our great country that you attack and discriminate a white female Senator and Former First lady who has done a great deal of good in 35 years of political service to our country that is dismissed and ignored for fear of upsetting a black candidate and his racial supporters. You should be ATLEAST reporting the differences and giving obama the same microscopic personal attacks that you continue to do to a white female United States Senator. You have no credibility in reporting the news. If we wanted this type of so-called news, we can buy the National Enquire.
    Thank you for your time.
    Jefferson Family

    January 16, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  10. Jeff Alderson

    Amazing. When Republicans see that you are apparently losing at something, they call it winning (as it the Iraq war), and when you clearly win at something they call it losing. Welcome to Bizzaro-world.

    January 16, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  11. GRANT, EVERETT

    Someone should shove an apple in piggy boys mouth.

    January 16, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  12. tammy

    Karl, PLEASE...just take your toys and go home. seriously. we've had enough. you've done enough damage.

    January 16, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  13. Green

    if so many people can't wait to undo what karl rove is directly responsible for, why would anyone care what he thinks now about "nothing"? I'm a Michigander, tough guy. See you in November.

    January 16, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  14. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    "There isn't one among you fit to shine Karl Roves' shoes"
    -----------------------------–
    Here's an example of Rove's honesty and integrity:
    (Charlie Rose show 11/21/07)
    ROVE: ".. one of the untold stories about the war is why did the United States Congress, the United States Senate, vote on the war resolution in the fall of 2002?
    ROSE: Why?
    ROVE: This administration was opposed to it. I’m going to talk about that in my book.
    ROSE: Give me something.
    ROVE: I just did. I told you the administration was opposed to voting on it in the fall of 2002.

    “President Urges Congress to Pass Iraq Resolution Promptly” – White House, 9/21/02
    “President, House Leadership Agree on Iraq Resolution” – White House, week later
    “President Bush Pleased with House Vote on Iraq Resolution” – White House, week later
    Bush signs authorization for military force in Iraq – week later

    Those who believe in Rove's integrity are certainly worthy of shining his shoes.

    January 16, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  15. Kris

    Rove = BORING!!!!

    January 16, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  16. b

    Who the heck cares what that criminal rove has to say. He is only trying to manipulate the race like he has done in the past. He is still a big part of a failed administration that will go down as the worst in history. NO ONE pays attention to what he says anymore. He has ZERO credibility.

    January 16, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  17. Virginia

    Love him or hate him, you still have to wonder what this means for the whole political process. If Clinton is the only name on the ballot, how did Michigan get a fair say in the election? They didn't get to choose their candidate unless their choice was Hillary. "Undecided" means nothing. We might as well have some "hanging chads."

    January 16, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  18. Bryan, Illinois

    I suppose in this election, Rove will just involve himself with deriding the democrats. Still, couldn't he offer some advice to his disintegrating set of front-runners for the GOP nomination? They appear to be heading for chaos before the Feb 5th Super Tuesday.

    January 16, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  19. Robin

    Frankly, who cares what Karl "I hold the strings" Rove thinks. He's no longer in the White House. He doesn't have the guts to run for office himself and never sets himself up to "lose."

    January 16, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  20. Mike Smith

    I'm not sure if Rove should be perceived as credible just because he was able to get the village idiot elected, exposed a CIA spy because her husband disagreed with policy, and has a remarkable resemblence to Mr. Potatohead. And I'm very puzzled why a retired political marksman gets press.

    January 16, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  21. Cherish

    Karl Rove is a filthy, irrelevant, manipulative stooge.

    Religious, Right? Ha!

    January 16, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  22. xtina - chicago IL

    Obama has a habit of voting "present" instead of actually doing his job. He votes "present" so that no one can attack his record. He's truly the phantom candidate.

    January 16, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  23. Luis

    Yes Rove,
    We should worry that Hillary will undo all the work that you
    and your minions have done to break our country!!

    ROVE, please leave this country and take Bush, Cheney, Condie,
    and all the other trolls with you!!!

    Your pillaging of our country is at an END!!!

    CNN STOP haunting us with this ghoul!

    ENOUGH

    January 16, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Rove believes he is a genius ... LOL ...

    January 16, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  25. Micks

    Rove is so overrated, he managed Bush in 2000, and they basically won a coin toss. In 2004, Bush won by less than 3 percent, and then he lost the congress in 2006, when he left his job, Bush had one of the worst approval ratings in the history of polling.

    If anything, Bush "won" his terms in spite of Rove, not because of him.

    January 16, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
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