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. olutayo

    Rove, Rove, Rove. What can we say? Shall we say we love you or hate you for taking us to Iraq or for the subprime mess. The government you engineered put us into this funk! But you dare speak about elections again! Please spare us your thoughts...

    January 17, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  2. Thomas - Reno, NV

    Karl Rove should go into hiding with GW, as soon as the keys to white house are handed over. This guy is a younger version of Dick Cheney.

    January 17, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  3. keith Franklin, Tn

    Karl.....somebody ought to just whip your bald head all over the place....nnoooo....that won't happen cause you'll have somebody else to do your dirty work.

    Watch out for this creep ending up in the big picture again. I, for one, won't let it happen again.

    January 17, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  4. M J Love

    KKKarl, go away and do no more harm to this great country. Why aren't you in jail instead of on CNN?

    January 17, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  5. Gene

    You people are still ENRAGED that Karl Rove helped put the Republicans in the White House TWICE.
    Get over the defeat already. It's not good for your health.

    January 17, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  6. bluedeer

    Good old Karl, he crawls out from under a rock every chance he gets, doesn't he?

    January 17, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  7. chris

    The sad part is that the underhanded and conniving motivations behind Rove's words are what makes the Republicans so successful politically. I am worried that the Democrats are riding too much on the fact that Bush has created an obvious quagmire out of the country, and are thus beginning to feel that whoever does win the Democratic victory will have the whitehouse in the bag. The Dems need to be more calculating. When an overwhelmingly ignorant, gender-and-race-biased America is faced with Mitt Romney or (Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama), who do you think will look more appealing at the booth? That is why the Democratic party needs to stop the bickering, and unify. The Dems need to go negative early – which is exactly what the Republicans did to John Kerry. Anyone who can take a decisive and decorated war veteran, and make him appear as a wishy washy coward is obviously doing something effective. The Dems need to take the high ground in the primaries, and then stoop as low as the Republicans in the general. John Kerry lost due to the honorability and passivity of his campaign. Let's not make the same mistake in 2008.

    January 17, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  8. redcat

    Rove only 'speaks' – if media outlets feature stories about him.

    Making money is apparently more important to media outlets versus considering the horrible ramifications of Mr. Rove's behavior and influence on America, its people, and the world.

    Certain voices are beginning to fade in America and rightfully so.

    Legacies are self-created. Certain individuals will live with that fact – for many years to come.

    January 17, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  9. Dave C - NJ


    January 17, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  10. dave

    What a poor little fat man... sad when the powerful are left to scurry after new avenues of influence. From my President's ear to muck-raking politico... you had your chance to affect this country's policy on the highest level! And, of course, you were afforded this opportunity never having earned any approval from the electorate. You are a scary clown enigma. Go away, man-boy genius, you have a perverted soul.

    January 17, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  11. dave

    I forgot to supply my email... I prefer to stand accountable for my views. God bless the USA.

    January 17, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  12. Miles Gordon

    Karl Rove? LOL – that old has-been, that nobody? Like anyone cares what you think, Karl – you're opinion is just dust in the political wind.

    January 17, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  13. A Walls

    Who cares what Karl Rove has to say about anything?

    January 17, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  14. bryan

    Please, does anyone care about Karl Rove's opinions?

    January 17, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  15. ronnie knoxville, tn

    tsk tsk now liberals, let's see some of the compassion and tolerance y'all are famous for

    January 17, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  16. cinga

    give me a break, people. You are still so stupid to fall to Republican trips. Again – imagine Barack against McCain in the fall – what a joke. McCain will kill him on experience with both economy and the world.

    I want the Democrats to win in 07 and regain the office. If you would let emotions down and truly look at what people have to offer on that side, there isn't much difference. Which one is going to have more credibility with American voters?

    Another way to put it – who, if you had your own company, would you rather have running your company – someone with IDEAS with no experience? OR someone with IDEAS AND Experience.

    Step back and see why you feel the way you do. Barack supporters that are so mad....why do you not like Hillary? You are subject to Republican media and more.....

    Here is how I know that....

    1) If Barack is all about change and respect – why do all of his supporters bash, bash bash. I can tell you that doesn't cause change is DC.

    2) Give 3 reasons – if you are a Democratic person – why Hillary wouldn't be a good choice. I guarantee you in these times, you wouldn't find a good reason.

    3) I don't give a crap who you vote for, but just get educated. Just because someon is African American or a Woman doesn't give them the nomination. FOCUS ON THE BIG PICTURE. Who has a chance standing up to John MCcain with his experience, or anyone else with the state that the world is in right now.

    I'm a business person and tend to think of things this way. My company is scheduled to make record profits this year with my limited experience. If I was choosing between someone with experience and someone that just made me feel good (based on the fact that I'm a recruiter AND you should base people on past accomplishments – called behavioral based interviewing).

    Then....the choice is easy!

    January 17, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  17. Rick, El Paso, Texas

    Who cares about Rove. He is a nobody. Why make out like he is a daily guest on CNN.com. Shame, Shame.

    Anderson, Dobbs, where are you when we need you? Tell whoever gives Rove so much time and space to bury him. Let him enter this blog like the rest of us. I could care less what the media gives him so much credit for.

    January 17, 2008 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  18. daniel

    rove has no business talking about politicts he has been the underbelly of the most corrupt presidency sine nixion he is a lirar cheat and theif just like bush and channey and has helped run this country into the ground with the unjustified war

    January 17, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  19. Aydrian

    Is anyone still listening to Karl Rove? When will he realize America is sick of seeing him and hearing his yakking. Goodbye Karl!!

    January 17, 2008 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  20. Dave Murray

    Hey CNN, why ascribe this man's comments any salience? He's done. Did anyone ever vote for him? Big business and its emissaries are ogres enough without your assistance . Don't give yesterday's bully coxswain a pulpit. I'm sure Carl has adequate health insurance to combat the fatty, hateful stuff that blocks his arteries. God bless the U.S. of A.

    January 17, 2008 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  21. Ryan

    Who is Karl Rove again? Whatever.

    All I know is that I am a Democrat, and if Obama wins the primaries then I will proudly vote for him during the general election. If Clinton wins the primaries I will vote for McCain or abstain. I don't think I'm alone in feeling this way. I hope Clinton's advisers know what they are talking about when they call her 'electable' I fear they may be misguided.

    January 17, 2008 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  22. Tim

    Why is this drone still getting media attention? I don't understand. Karl Rove, your time has come and gone. Get these criminals off the air. CNN can do better than this.

    January 17, 2008 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  23. Bernard

    I've read almost all of the entries (~160 at the time of this response) to Uncle Karl's dinner speech, to which I'm still confused why he gave in lieu of receiving formal indictments for, above all things, treason (V. Plame) and I'm left to ask: why is there nobody on here like "Hey, you don't know Mr. Rove. He's a great guy and compassionate and cares about everyday Americans like me." Perhaps add some crap story about some tales of yours he listened to on the campaign trail that changed your life, the same kind of stuff I had to slog through when Reagan passed and Bush got elected. If those are archived somewhere, I'd love to pour through those entries again.

    January 17, 2008 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  24. toejam houston texas

    This should for sure tell Americans the nature of this person's character. A degrader, a master of insults. Now we know why Cheney and Bush"W" hold him close. Birds of a feather flock together.

    January 17, 2008 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  25. Steve

    You will not find a more leftist person than me, and I don't think you people are giving Rove's words enough credit here. The man got George W. Bush, the most unpopular President ever, elected. Not once, but he got him RE-ELECTED. He does have some idea of what he's talking about when it comes to elections.

    Barely pulling over 50% when you are the only major candidate on the ballot is a huge blow to the Clinton campaign.

    Consider the fact that almost 20% of the voters who voted for Hillary also said that they would have voted for Obama, if his name had been on the ballot.

    If Clinton gets the nomination, she will be eaten alive. If Clinton gets the nomination, Democrats will lose the independent vote. If Clinton gets the nomination, she will lose in November. The Green Party will put up a Nader-like candidate, and millions like myself will vote for them. It could be the wake up call the Democratic Party needs to wake up and stop giving us the same pool of moderate establishment Democrats they've been giving us for the last 30+ years.

    You would think they would have gotten that memo in 2000.

    January 17, 2008 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
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