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. 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 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  2. dwg

    How bogus. Everyone "analyzing" the Michigan results ignores the fact that many Clinton supporters likely stayed home, too.

    Kave Rove...the architect struggling for relevancy and legitimacy as his neocon construct crumbles around him. CNN, are we to be treated to his stream of consciousness musings on a weekly basis?

    (Note to self: when running for office...listen carefully to Karl Rove – then do the opposite...)

    January 16, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  3. Samuel

    Karl Rove? That guy's still alive? Why is CNN devoting time quoting this insane right-wing criminal? Shouldn't he be in prison for treason after playing a part in the release of a CIA agent's identity?

    The day I take advice from that big bald baffoon is the day I die.

    January 16, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  4. Mirta

    Why would CNN even waste the time to print this? Rove is a former advisor to W. and is nobody...not that he ever was anyone, except to Dubya. When he goes to jail, THEN you report on him. Of course, he is getting mouthy because the repubs are getting scared that once Hillary takes office, they are going to look that much worse.

    January 16, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  5. Lee

    Please Mr. Rove, don't endorse any of the Republican candidates this year. That would be the "kiss of death" to their candidacy! You will insure the election of all the opposing Democratic candidates. The majority of Republicans are running away from you just as fast as they can. Thanks for helping to leave the country in far worse shape than you found it eight years ago.

    January 16, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  6. Rebel

    who cares what Karl Rove has to say anyway?

    January 16, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  7. Jether J.

    Good job Karl!

    Now we'll know what to expect the from the GOP before it happens. Do you think Democrats are that stupid to actually vote for a Republican just because they campaign in areas they usually ignore? Give me a break!

    I just wish Obama and Clinton can get together to form the Super Democratic ticket!

    Obama '08!!!!!

    January 16, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  8. Josh in Dallas

    Tom Davie- your point about "Edwards and Obama should be fortunate their name wasnt on the ballot. It would prove that just on name alone they get crushed by clinton." isn't right. How many Democrats out there do you think voted for Hillary just to cast a vote for a Democrat? I heard interviews all over NPR about that. Either you're biased or not paying attention.

    During the General Election don't you think that the Dems will mostly still vote for the Dem that gets in?

    Don't be such a looser. I mean loser.

    January 16, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  9. Jason

    Bill Culver from Covington, LA, Karl Rove is a failure because he envisioned a "permanent Republican majority" which did not come to pass because it doesn't exist. It's not in the best interests of this country and it's not in the best interests of the world.

    January 16, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  10. Hilary supporter

    Hilary Clinton's time has come and she will be our next president. As one of her supporters it brings me a certain level of joy that Karl Rove may be somewhat responsible for her success. Thank you Mr. Rove.

    January 16, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  11. gabe

    Bill Culver,

    You should consider proof reading for that coward (Rove).
    The word "leting" has two t's (letting).
    Good Lord you are to ignorant to even spell.

    I, for the life of me, cannot understand why anyone would give Rove the time of day, much less value his opinion. I would not believe this idiot to predict the winner of a one man rock fight, if he was in it.

    January 16, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  12. Teacher

    I think Carl Rove just wants to win the Joseph Goebbels Award for Propaganda.If you study Goebbels Methods you can see where Carl got his ideas.He has a long way to go to catch up to him as far as people that were killed because of him, but if given the chance Rove may yet surpass him.

    January 16, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  13. jim

    Karl – you have 0 credibility. Why doesn't the Bush Administration release all their records? huh?

    January 16, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  14. ash

    Let us spend time and energies printing (applies to CNN), reading (applies to us all) and discussing national issues and not personal agendas.

    Law visits who need a visit sooner than later.

    January 16, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Karl did you see your Boss George Bush dancing with a Sword in Saudi ?. What a looser.

    January 16, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  16. Seenu Subbu

    The skunk is back! I was wondering why I couldn't smell him around for a while now.

    January 16, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  17. Goody Eugene, OR

    Pam Eugene OR:

    Hillary is attcking Obama again the day after the debate about his "paperwork skills." TURN YOUR HEARING AID UP! Don't you know the difference between a sound bite and when it actually happened? Apparently not!! Are you related to Rove? You sound like it!

    Vince, Los Angeles, CA: Good Riddance, we don't need cry babies like you!

    January 16, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  18. Anthony, Los Angeles, CA

    I am now convinced that a Clinton/Obama ticket would be best for America. It's Newton's fourth law that the opposite of whatever Karl Rove says tends to be true in equal yet opposite fervor.

    January 16, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  19. ash

    Sorry, on voting pattern, Hillary got majority votes and Obama and Edward's combined votes were represented by "uncommitted votes".

    Twisting can be any way but obvious is obvious.

    Let the analysts stop talking and reporting voting on skin color. I am disappointed with over 65% african american (I don't like the term and grouping of american on color and race of people) voting for "Uncommitted votes". If any person has issues and reasons for voting for a particular candidate (s)he shall come out openly and say the reason for his/her choice and not hide behind color of skin and divide the nation. We are human beings and americans first before looking at colors...

    My brothers and sisters if muzungu (white) candidate has better credentials vote for him/her, and if "muntu" has better credentials, don't feel ashamed and guilt – go out and vote and talk about it.

    Vote on merits and nothing else. Let us not be blamed for choosing a wrong candidate and repent and cry foul on spilt milk..............

    January 16, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  20. Paul D.

    Shame on CNN for printing any of Rove's comments

    January 16, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  21. Mike

    Why in the world is any media outlet, especially CNN.com, giving such a disgraceful and irrelevent individual as Karl Rove a voice on ANY issue. You present this story about his views on Clinton like it's news and people care. Your editor needs to be reminded that no one cares about Karl Rove anymore. So, please stop covering this looser and let him disappear from the public eye. The man was and remains a national disgrace architected the most devisive campaing in this country's history and we are still paying for it.

    January 16, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  22. Jamie in Dallas

    Who really cares what you think Karl. You are a total joke whose career is over! Working as the political strategist for the worst president in our history must be quite an accomplishment for yourself!

    January 16, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  23. Meredith

    I think we've hit on something here. All the democrats on this forum seem to be disliking Rove. Starting with disliking something as a whole can move to liking something as a whole, which can lead to getting people like Rove out of the office. Via Negativa at its best.

    Also, I am sort of confused and would like some clarification. If I recall, wasn't there also another Obama/Edwards supporter in Michigan that said that independents who would vote for Barack or John should vote republican. In fact, isn't it a big deal that Romney got the independents rather than McCain? I don't know, the 55/45 math just doesn't seem like it is inclusive of everyone who voted. Not being biased, but being realistic, I don't think anyone can confidently say that Clinton would have gotten 55% of the vote if all of the candidates were on the ballot. In fact, I would think that it would be a lot more like Iowa or New Hampshire than everyone seems to be making out.

    January 16, 2008 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  24. diane

    why are they allowing this "person" to say anything, no one wants to listen to him. they want romney in there, because he is just like them, they are all rich, they have no idea what it is like for 95% of Americans. and they dont care.

    January 16, 2008 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  25. marc

    Strong words from someone who was just George Bush's lapdog.

    January 16, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
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