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. Vincent F

    Umm, didn't Rove lose his "genius" status in 2006? Why would anyone care what he has to say - as if his bashing Hillary and Obama is newsworthy. Perhaps he should address why his Master has a 32% approval rating? Seems to me he'd kill to have Hillary's negatives!
    Thanks for the insight, Turd Blossom.

    January 17, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  2. JohnS

    This one is for EC, Houston. Do do bait the democrats to put Hillary up there so that Republicans like you can tear her down. Read the facts before you go again- blah! blah!! blah!!
    ""Democratic presidential rival Hillary Rodham Clinton points to his resume as evidence that Obama is not ready for the White House. "He was a part-time state senator for a few years, and then he came to the Senate and immediately started running for president," she says dismissively.

    Obama's accomplishments are more substantial and varied than Clinton suggests. And he has a longer record in elected office than she does, as a second-term New York senator.

    Obama was a community organizer and led a voter-registration effort in Chicago that added tens of thousands of people to the rolls. He was a civil rights attorney and taught at one of the nation's premier universities. He helped pass complicated measures in the Illinois legislature on the death penalty, racial profiling, health care and more. In Washington, he has worked with Republicans on nuclear proliferation, government waste and global warming, amassing a record that speaks to a fast start while lacking the heft of years of service.""

    As written by an unbiased source...

    January 17, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  3. Juvie3

    I just realized why politics is such a contact sport these days...because Carl Roves has been winning the last 8 years playing dirty and so everyone thinks they have to play dirty. Compared to when Roves was running a campaign, this cycle is a lot nicer in tone. And now when he speaks...it just suddenly seems to get dreary...so please keep him quiet!!!

    January 17, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  4. Casey K, Tx

    I am not a supporter of any particular candidate so much as I am a Democratic supporter. As such, my primary concern is this - who can win in November? According to RealClearPolitics, a website that compiles polling data, these were the results of polls completed on Wednesday the 16th:

    General Election: McCain vs. Obama McCain 39, Obama 41, Und 11 Obama +2

    General Election: McCain vs. Clinton McCain 47, Clinton 43, Und 7 McCain +4

    General Election: Huckabee vs. Obama Huckabee 30, Obama 53, Und 11 Obama +23

    General Election: Huckabee vs. Clinton Huckabee 39, Clinton 48, Und 10 Clinton +9

    General Election: Romney vs. Obama Romney 26, Obama 56, Und 12 Obama +30

    General Election: Romney vs. Clinton Romney 37, Clinton 49, Und 9 Clinton +12

    General Election: Giuliani vs. Obama Giuliani 33, Obama 54, Und 7 Obama +21

    General Election: Giuliani vs. Clinton Giuliani 40, Clinton 50, Und 7 Clinton +10

    General Election: Giuliani vs. Edwards Giuliani 31, Edwards 48, Und 14 Edwards +17

    General Election: McCain vs. Edwards McCain 47, Edwards 39, Und 11 McCain +8

    General Election: Huckabee vs. Edwards Huckabee 31, Edwards 47, Und 15 Edwards +16

    General Election: Romney vs. Edwards Romney 33, Edwards 48, Und 13 Edwards +15

    As you can see, if you took the time to read over this, Obama is the only candidate that beats every Republican in the General Election and does so with the largest margin of victory. I'm not advocating you cast aside your admiration for other candidates but just remember we're all on the same team, and we're trying to win the big one and to do so we're going to have to stop fighting and look to see who can get us there.

    Casey

    January 17, 2008 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  5. Permanent majority stupidity

    I'd rather have a guy who believes in UFOs in office than a guy who doesn't believe in evolution.

    January 17, 2008 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  6. Derek, Walpole NH

    Shame on CNN for making this "news." Try sticking to issues. I hear the Dems put out economic plans this past week...maybe you should spend more time analyzing those, and explaining just what the details mean to voters...rather than what legitimate criminals think about the primary elections!! If there was another national news network, I would certainly watch it instead!!

    Your not so believing you should be Emmy-winning friends,

    The Independents

    January 17, 2008 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  7. Phil

    Nicholas said exactly what i came here to say which is, this guy was the enabler for the worst president in modern history and possibly one of the worst ever. How is he relevent?

    January 17, 2008 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  8. dasblinkenlight

    Please do not kid yourself about this man's qualifications – despite saying ostensibly stupid things, he is not stupid – far from it. He knows exactly what he is saying, and what is his target audience. The things he said in 2004 may have sounded stupid to a thinkig man, yet enough people bought it to put the retarded clown into the whitehouse.

    Don't get me wrong, I agree that Karl should be in jail for what he did to this country. However, the democrats should take a note every time he opens his dirty mouth, as it offers a preview into what is going to be said during the runup to the general elections.

    January 17, 2008 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  9. MARYLOU JONES

    TRUST KARL "SNAKE" ROVE TO TWIST, TURN AND SPIN THE FACTS! THE 40% OF MICHIGAN VOTERS WHO BRAVED THE COLD AND SNOW TO VOTE "UNCOMMITTED" DID NOT THINK OF THEMSELVES AS VOTING FOR "NO ONE". THEY WERE VOTING FOR BARAK OBAMA OR JOHN EDWARDS WHOSE NAMES DID NOT APPEAR ON THE BALLOT. IN CONTRAST, OVER 300,000 MICHIGAN RESIDENTS ALSO CAME OUT IN THE COLD AND SNOW TO VOTE FOR HILLARY CLINTON. IF I REMEMBER MY COLLEGE MATH 55% IS STILL GREATER THAN 40%. SPIN AND TWIST AND TURN ALL YOU LIKE, HILLARY WON MICHIGAN! GOOD FOR YOU MICHIGAN! ON TO NEVADA! VOTE THE ONLY CANDIDATE WHO CAN AND WILL CHANGE THE DESTRUCTIVE PATH THIS COUNTRY IS ON...HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON!

    January 17, 2008 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  10. Mark

    Well, at least neither Clinton nor Obama have been accused of treason. Rove should have been, at the very least, put behind bars for awhile for outing a CIA operative in the time of war, which is treason, punishable by death. The current administration couldn't have that, so he gets off with not even a slap on the wrist.

    January 17, 2008 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  11. jersen paulsen

    i do not like rove but i don`t like hillary . we need change and obama can bring that change in america . we need change family name in white house . bush , cliton , bush and i m againt an another cliton .

    January 17, 2008 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  12. Jimmy, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl

    Take note everyone, The media just got served a nice and tasty juicy spin story by none other than Mr. Wonderful himself, KARL ROVE!!!

    This is what we get to read and hear and spend countless amount of time blogging about for the remainder of the primaries. Or at least until someone screws up really bad.

    Take note everyone this is the crap we are gonna be subjected to by CNN, MSNBC, and the red headed step child herself-FOX
    from hear on out nothing but Hillary's faults and nothing but Obama's fault.

    He just threw out the meat and how we tear it up will be for his enjoyment. I bet he even did it pro bono, gratis. The republicans will always be his band of brothers. And right now they're feeding him grapes and wine by some congressional page.

    January 17, 2008 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  13. LDJ

    Well, honestly, even coming from an advisor of G.W.B., those comments are pretty suprising. How does a person hold any sort of office here in the 2000s with a cut-throat attitude like that? It's not even about Democrats, this is a man whos known for bailing on his own bosses in the past. Credible? No. Radical? Yes. Slightly ironic for someone who believes Clinton and Obama are leaning too much to one side.

    January 17, 2008 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  14. David

    CNN must have a conservative bias to publish such garbage.

    January 17, 2008 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  15. David

    Nothing against the writer, though.

    January 17, 2008 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  16. K, Florida

    I keep hearing how divisive Hillary is. I don't think under the current climate that would be a consideration. Most ordinary folks are tired of the political climate. We care more about our jobs and homes and the ideal of the America that we, our parents and grandparents envisioned for our children and grandchildren. All of that has dissipated in the past 8 years. It's going to hit ALL of us! Not just Dems. or Reps. We are ALL going to feel the consequences of our actions. We do have to make an honest appraisal of who we wish to vote for. Not just a slogan. No matter who we elect we are going to see things go badly. NO Electee is going to be able to fix the mess we have presently found ourselves in! I have read comments on other strings about how it is the time for youth and that the old folks have no bearing on politics. That they should shut up and sit down. I am not an old folk, but I will tell you that if it wasn't for my grandparents and my great grandparents, etc. I would NOT be where I am today! We need to learn some humility and we need to re-assess our priorities. We need to stand in our OWN convictions. Not following what others say we should believe in. We need to Research and make our OWN decisions for our future. Lets GROW UP and do what's right for AMERICA, for our HOME, for our COUNTRY! Karl Rove should have no bearing on any of our decisions. We have to continue to live together, and I believe we have forgotten that. Look around folks. There's a lot to be fixed, and it Starts, AND Stops with US!!!

    January 17, 2008 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  17. Daniel T Childress

    it really doesnt matter what rove thinks. kindof off topic, but as we get more toward the general election it becomes increasingly apparent that it will be a bloodbath on the dem's side. the voter turnout for the democratic primarys is 2-1 in some cases above the republicans. he can blab as much as he wants but hes relegated himself to irrelevancy.

    January 17, 2008 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  18. Ryan

    Awesome point Rove! You hit it right on the head. Pretty sad when the only person on a ballot has 45% of the voters say....I'd rather vote for no one. Don't mind all of these pissed of Liberal nuts. Hell, I would be a bit upset if I was a Democrat too!

    January 17, 2008 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  19. kamil lisowski

    Karl Rove sure can talk a lot. But what has he done lately that is positive for the United States of America. As far as I am concerned, he is a traitor to the United States of America who leaked the name of a secret agent, yet is protected by the president and as a result gets to reek the benefits of this great country. Makes me sick to be honest.

    January 17, 2008 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  20. favor

    Mr Rove, black and hispanic votes are now important to republicans WOW, what is this guy afraid of? Americans cannot be fooled a third time. This guy would get his reward-it is only a matter of time!!!!!!!!!!

    January 17, 2008 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  21. Jake, California

    Even though I hate Rove to death, I think he has a point here.

    Hillary actually won 55% of the vote against 'nobody'. what's even amazing is that 'nobody' got 40% and since there other candidates were not in the race, the other 5 % can be said to be for 'nobody'

    that makes the score line: Hillary Clinton 55% vs 'Nobody' 45%
    so she beat nobody.

    I am happy that more African american will come to stand by Barack..
    This old lady is creppy!

    Hillary = Evil!

    January 17, 2008 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
  22. Shiva

    Why is CNN respecting this man still? Like someone said, does CNN publish OJs views on football?

    January 17, 2008 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  23. Bob

    Rover is a GOP employee....what else can you expect?

    Provided Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Michigan Democrats will remember her not forgetting them and work that much harder for her.

    January 17, 2008 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  24. Laura Keon

    Karl Rove(r) is a worthless toad that will do anything to get a little of the spot light back on his pale while republican skin. He was a two bit hack with that needed a buddy to stick up for him and now he's gone and on his own.

    Why is CNN, MSNBC, BBC posting comments from this toad? Notice FOX was not mentioned as it is not news its a mix of republican propaganda and pure hollywood enterainment, very little truth told there. Why not post comments from Anne Colter or Rush Limbaugh, the message is always the same?

    January 17, 2008 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  25. Bob

    To all Clinton haters – None of you know her personally; none of you have ever shared a meal with her; none of you have ever worked with her on a project. All you know is what right wing GOP people like Rush tell you about her. Yet you hate her. That says a lot about you.

    January 17, 2008 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
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