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. Jim Stripsky

    It takes lots of gall for Karl Rove to ask anyone for documents considering how many documents from the Bush administration were "accidentally" destroyed. The ones that survived are protected by Presidential privilege.

    I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

    January 17, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  2. Mark

    Rove needs a real job.

    January 17, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  3. Amused, Las Vegas

    The republicans are salavating over having a contest against Obama. Glen Beck ws on this morning praising Obama.

    There is a reason they are confidnet they will win over him.

    January 17, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  4. marie

    Give us all a break Rove – how can you dis Hillary's plan for economic recovery, while C-SPAN2 is at this moment airing the "Policies to Avoid Recession" – Joint Economic Committee, where all are discussing the very troubling state our current economy is in at this very moment. In an administration you just left, where were you when we needed your plan for recovery?

    January 17, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  5. Joann, Cranston RI

    Karl Rove should keep his sexist, racist Big mouth shut! Enough negative publicity from you people, we are all sick of you (the media). You are the reason this got out of hand in the first place. Rove, your opinion doesn't matter to us.

    January 17, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  6. brian

    go have another twinkie carl, ameican has alredy seen all the dirty tricks in your political play book. i sugest you forget about politics and start to focus on your weight problem

    January 17, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  7. MT

    As an ardent reader of the political ticker page, I find it beyond amusing to watch the knee jerk reactions every time Karl Rove is on here. In my opinion, Rove is someone whose thoughts should be heard. I cannot classify him as a NeoCon, as more than anything, he is a mercenary. The Bush team hired him to get him a Presidential win, and he delivered twice. Believe me, if anyone else, regardless of party affiliation, sought his services, he would be there in a heartbeat, and would develop the most effective strategy for that candidate to win (again, regardless of party affiliation). With that being said, take a moment to strip away the collectivist, childish, reactions (typical for comments on blogs I know), and think about what he's saying. His opinion is probably as spot on as anyones...

    January 17, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  8. Bein Careful

    So all of you unemployed people in Michigan who voted for Frau Hillary do realize I hope that her husband's policies have lead to your being unemployed as much as anyone else's. His support of NAFTA helped the destruction of the auto industry in this country and you are now feeling its effects. In case you think there is going to be another dotcom boom to expand our economy, you had better think again. We do not need another establishment president. We don't need Hillary and her socialist ideas.

    January 17, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  9. Seeing for Miles

    Why can't Rove keep his mouth shut? It's either his ego, or he is 'unofficially' tasked with sowing division and indecision among Democratic party voters so no clear winner with a strong mandate emerges to face the GOP candidate in November. A little 'divide and conquer' from the old quad-chinned megalomanical mischeif maker.

    Since last November, Rove has gone on record several times in public comments and in Op-Ed pieces andd sereval themes have emerged: Clinton is weak and ineffectual, untrustworthy and calculating; Obama is lazy, absent, given to exaggeration, and can't be trusted. The criticisms are so similar when compared that it leads one to conclude that he's reading from a playbook.

    Media outlets such as the Financial Times and WSJ are witting vehicles for GOP propaganda, and have printed his arrogant 'advice' to the candidates. Noone cares what Rove thinks about this election. If there was equal justice in this world, this neocon would be writing from a prison cell.

    January 17, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  10. Jojo

    Someone needs to put Bush's brain in a pickle jar and take it back to Fankenstein's lab.

    January 17, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  11. A. L. Geddings

    When and who will bring up the subject of our dependence on foreign oil.

    Why aren't we drilling and refining more of our own oil?

    Who is going to have the guts to bring up this vital subject?

    January 17, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  12. Sarah

    Karl Rove! Are you serious? He's a bi-partisan promoting slime ball who will say anything to ensure a republican white house. Politics has become a game to people like him and unfortunately news agencies publicize what he says. Rove is a man who should be ignored at all costs. It's time to stop all of the bickering and arguing and really change the country that we live in. I represent the younger generation. I believe in green energy, a health care system that protects everyone, not living beyond my means, eating safe and healthy food, innovation and justice without an agenda.

    I think Obama will help us to deliver and create a better world. If you ask me Hillary Clinton is a republican pawn. They know they could beat her. But, I think Obama scares people like Rove because it would be much harder for any of the republican candidates to defeat Obama. That's just one girl's theory. Hey, for what it's worth, although I love Obama, if it comes down to Hillary vs. McCain, I'd vote McCain. I'm not anti republican, I just want whats best for my country and future.

    I seriously can't stand Karl Rove! Please don't ever report about anything he says again!

    January 17, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  13. Stan

    Ya gotta give the guy SOME credit. He took a man who made "Gentlemen's C's" in Yale, and who failed in EVERY business he undertook, and made him Texas governor, followed by 2 terms as President.
    Somewhere, there's Karl Rove's signature, in blood, promising his immortal soul to Satan.
    No wonder they won't release the documents.

    January 17, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  14. Robb

    Karl Rove crawl back under your rock!

    January 17, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  15. Pat

    For those on this board and many others, if your particular Democratic candidate isn't on the ballot in November, why in the world would you vote Republican? Have you been asleep for the past 7 years? Do you want this country to continue as is with another Republican in the White House? I say shame on all of you. If you are a true Democrat, you would vote to get the Republicans out of the White House. I personally am for Hillary Clinton BUT if Obama or even Edwards (who I really am not too crazy about) should be on the ballot in November I would vote for them. I cannot afford, personally, financially, and spiritually, to have another Republican in the White House. As the saying goes, "Don't hate the Player, Hate the Game" because they are all just playing the game to get on the ballot. I would bet that whatever Democrat is on the ballot in November, the others will be out there extolling their virtues and telling us why we should be voting for them. Can't we do the same and vote a Democrat into the White House to rid ourselves of the crap that we have to deal with the past 7 years? I know I will my part to make it happe; will you?

    January 17, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  16. David

    Rove is absolutely correct. I hope Romney gets the nomination because I believe he can win based on the economy and illegal immigration.

    January 17, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  17. Sean


    January 17, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  18. Rick, Maryland

    This man need's to get off the hard stuff.
    Either that or get a new dealer.
    Whatever he's taking has totally destroyed
    his brain, if that's what they call whatever
    he's got inside that giant scull of his.

    January 17, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  19. CW, Columbia, SC

    Hey Porky,
    Last year several airline employess spotted a UFO hovering over O'Hare (Feds dismissed it). Last week forty some people in Texas (including a poloice officer and a pilot) spotted a UFO too (Feds dismissed it). My fiancee and her mother saw one on a coastal sea island a couple of years ago. Idiots like you, Rove, make covering up the truth their life's work.

    Don't ridicule Kucinich for saying what he and many others believe and have seen with their own eyes. Maybe one day, if we are lucky, a UFO will pick you up and you'll get a good probing.

    P.S. You and your republican stooges will soon be off the radar soon enough!

    January 17, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  20. Dave T.

    Carl who?

    January 17, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  21. David

    The people of the Democratic party should take notice of the way the Democratic candidates handled Michigan. The DNC stripped away the people's voice because the primary was moved. They are not letting their votes count. That is a disgrace. The candidates found this out and half of them hit the road. Obama and Edwards are basically saying we do not care about you, just your vote. I do not like that the Republicans took away delegates from some states as well, but at least it wasn't all of them.

    January 17, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  22. Phillip

    Who cares what Rove thinks?

    January 17, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  23. E., South Carolina

    Rove has been referred to as the "Bush's brain". I guess that tells us who the real idiot is!

    January 17, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  24. Anonymous

    "Isn't it pretty simple really?
    – Hillary – 55%
    – ALL the other Dem candidates INCLUDING the "uncommitted" – 45%"

    Hillary got 55% of the DEMOCRATIC vote. Assuming half the state is Democrat and half is Republican, she got 55% of 50%. So she got roughly 27% of the state.
    They are her die-hard voters. The other 73% will never vote for her under any circumstance.

    January 17, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  25. Vince

    Ryan: So Clinton got only 45% of the vote. So what? Remember whoever would have got the other 55% probably would have been split 3 ways which means they would have gotten less that 45%. Unless only one other person got the entire 55% which would have been unlikely.

    January 17, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
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