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. jpetz

    Rove should be in jail instead of making paid speeches. His suggestion that GOP candidates talk about "kitchen table" issues like the economy and health care is laughable. His boy Bush did absolutely nothing for people without health care. As for the economy, GOP candidates are folling themselves if they think the voting public is going to get suckered on trickle-down policies in 2008. All the Democrat nominee has to do is remind the public this is the Bush economy and if you want it to continue then vote GOP in 2008.

    January 16, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  2. Samuel

    Who's Karl Rove?

    January 16, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  3. ellekay

    Carl Rove doesn't know what he's talking about... as do most republicans.

    January 17, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  4. Hawk,Texas


    January 17, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  5. Jay, Minot, ND

    I think it's funny to see how Karl Rove gets all the liberals stirred up. It's only because he has been so effective against them.

    January 17, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  6. E. C., Houston, Texas

    Wondered the same thing myself about Clinton's 'win' in Michigan.....and yes, Rove is correct about Obama. Neither Clinton nor Obama are qualified or experienced enough to be President of this Nation. Both have contributed only 'token experience' in government and neither belong or should hold the office of President. Together, They make a mockery of this Presidential Campaign for the Best Leader this Nation has to offer. It means absolutely nothing that Oprah backed Obama....that's just show-biz. And who would want another Clinton President? Think about what her husband did to this Nation while he served as President. How could anyone in this country want this man living in our White House again? Another Clinton Presidency is not possible.

    January 17, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  7. Scott Gifford

    One of the many ways the Democratic strategy to punish Michigan is all of this bad media coverage. Unfortunately, in my view it is deserved. Our primary was a meaningless farce, with only one major candidate on the ballot and no delegates being counted. It made the national Democratic party and Michigan Democrats look like buffoons who can't even run their own party. You can learn more about our fiasco, and what you can do to let the Democratic leadership know how you feel about it, at http://WhoStoleMiVote.org/

    January 17, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  8. Lysa

    Karl who???

    January 17, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  9. Samantha

    Wow! Rove is still alive and talking. What is he doing ? He should be in the jail. Is CNN running out of news or what ? Why on earth would you want to publish his comments ?

    January 17, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  10. Mark S

    Anything out of this mouth is BS. He calculated, mean spirited and dishonest. He belongs behind bars. He leaked a covert agents identity to the press. Most people would call that a traitor. I certainly would. This slime ball left office disgraced just like Gonzales. His comments about Clinton running against nobody make no sense. He was largely responsible for Republicans losing both the House and the Senate.
    This creep represents the absolute worst in politics.

    January 17, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  11. George A.

    I am yet to find one comment in support of Karl Rove, this guy has really, really dug himself an abyss much like his former boss. The republican party must distance itself and recognize him as wicked, divisive and backward.

    January 17, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  12. you

    Karl Rove is a hateful fat man who spins a web of deceit that people buy into. He uses catch-phrases and stages conversations and reality on his terms. His intelligence on the human psyche is scary and he uses it in a machavelian manner.

    January 17, 2008 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  13. a.o. , dover, de.

    If people aren't listening to Karl Rove, why did they click on the blog to read about him?

    January 17, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  14. One fingered Man

    No, we need him visible, so when the real investigations start after this disaster of a president finishes, he will still be on everyones list to go to prison.

    Guess which finger I'm giving you Karl.

    January 17, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  15. mark l. , baltimore md.

    Karl Rove is a genius; he's still making major headlines; people comment on any story about him; he took someone who sooo many people called" the dumbest man on the planet" and "worst President" and got him re-elected !! Any political consultant who can get the "dumbest" person elected to the highest office is truly a modern day genius. Obama and Clinton should hire him.

    January 17, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  16. MN

    Rove so desperately wants to be back in the public eye that he'll say anything. And that's fine with me....ANYTHING to keep him OUT of Texas.

    January 17, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  17. Jon Cruz

    Why do we care what a biased, GOP washout has to say?

    January 17, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  18. Tom

    News flash: Rove doesn't like Clinton or Obama? Can we expect wall to wall coverage on ":The Situation Room?" This is truly breaking news.

    Meanwhile, why isn't this kleptocrat in prison yet?

    January 17, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  19. Josh, NJ


    What about all of the presidential papers from the Regan and Bush I years? Why haven't they been released by the current administration? Why were they blocked from normal release? How dare Rove ask for papers of the first lady's when his president won't let any real files that matter get released to freedom of information requests?

    Also, it’s pretty obvious that the GOP WANTS to run against Hillary. She is the only one that conservative talking heads consistently talk up. They declared her the winner of the democratic primary before the race had started. I think the effort they are putting in to try to define who their opponent will be is telling. The average Republican is apathetic, knows their current squad is sub par, and will probably stay home if they don't run against Hillary. They are counting on anti-Clinton ire to get out the vote in November.

    January 17, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  20. TJ

    I find it funny that he says "27,924 votes went to the guy who believes in UFOs" as if its a bad thing that this person has a belief system. Its a belief system just like christianity or Politics for that matter. This country has freedom of religion and if a man wants to believe in UFO's he shouldn't be put down for it. Such pejudice should not be tolerated.

    Ron Paul is the only Canidate that knows what he's talking about. Everyone else is telling the same lies as every presidentual canidate has said before and NONE of them will do what they say or change anything cause they are just saying these things to get votes. They want Bush to be a fool so you think we need a democrat in office. Just look at the media. Get on youTube and look up your canidates and their ground they stand on. Ron Paul is the only TRUE AMERICAN! Don't believe me? Well that just means you don't know your constitution. Read it and you will vote for Ron Paul too.

    January 17, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  21. Jacquelyn, Ann Arbor, Mi.

    If you think that Rove is irrelevant, why does cnn hang on his every word. Every time Karl emerges to utter even one sentence, there's cnn printing it and reporting it. Like him or not- as a strategist, no one even comes close to Karl Rove.

    January 17, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  22. mike d

    he's just trying to make himself relevent, you know he's trying to sell his memoirs right?

    January 17, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  23. ellisjames

    Mr. Rove and his evil henchmen deserve to be flown 30km out to sea (any) and dropped sans parachutes from 35k. Thanks for raping our liberties, our privacy, our honesty, our honor, the National Treasury and everything formerly sacred relating to this (USA) Nation and several others. Nice work, Sir!

    The informal variant of the Vice President's first name describes you all.

    (Pumpkin headed jerk needs to spend time in a stress position from within an outdoor tiger cage at Gitmo while facing approaching tropical weather cell... )

    Two additional words: Water boarding

    January 17, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  24. Sarah C. Salim


    Liberal: GENOUROUS, BOUNTIFUL, not literal, not narrow in opinion or judgment : TOLERANT; not orthodox, not conservative

    Conservative: PRESERVATIVE ; disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions; MODERATE, CAUTIOUS, opposition to change

    Both bad, both good. How about TOLERANT, MODERATE, and CAUTIOUS. Enough with the labels anyway.

    Hey, I'm so psyched about our country, I can't even tell you. It's a great day to be an AMERICAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OK I"m a cheeseball, but it's a good day to be a cheesehead too.. GO FARVE!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 17, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  25. Dave Harper

    Why would anyone, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Communist, or Independant give one hoot about what Karl Rove thinks? Karl Who?

    January 17, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
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