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. Sally Bethune

    Why do you even cover this man? At this point he is irrelevant. He has left public office and frankly I'm sick to death of hearing from "the Divider".

    January 17, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  2. joe

    I am a New York Liberal Activist. Don't fall into Rove's trap of attacking him personally when he makes a point. It weakens the case against him since these attacks do not give weight or consideration to his key points. Thus they don't get addressed and sadly, people who are on the fence ultimately agree with Rove. It's a very successful tactic. Don't be fooled.

    Rove has made a good point regarding Hillary. Don't fool yourself. 45% of the democratic Michigan voters (who actually voted) don't want Hillary. With the economy on their minds they are probably thinking they do not want another lame duck Clinton Presidency due to the divisiveness and petty bickering that famously goes hand in hand with these particular people. Believe me, what Michigan voters and much of America wants is a leader who can unite. I know it sounds counter-intuitive on the surface but when you peal the onion a bit one finds that our problems in this country started with this "Clintonian" era of division and gamesmanship.

    January 17, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  3. Mike

    Why is this guy still free. He should be in Jail.


    January 17, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  4. Ollie in Augusta

    Stop it CNN!! We don't care what Rove has to say. Let him slither back under the rock from which he came.

    January 17, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  5. Dwain Willis

    Please keep putting this brilliant man in the spotlight CNN. He is a true credit to his party. Expose him for the true christian that his people want us to believe he is. When he and the greatest president of all time took office in 2000, we true liberals, said o.k. they won so now its there turn. Lets see what they can do. That is all we needed to do is let them Govern and now tell me what did they do. Are we NOT hated by most of the country's of the world? Are we NOT is a recession?Are we NOT in a quagmire in Iraq? Are we NOT better off now then we were in 2000?

    January 17, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  6. Mary, Michigan

    CNN, I BEG of you–DON'T give this man any more free publicity. He has done more than any single person to divide our nation.

    January 17, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  7. Attacks by the Establishment

    Saturday is General Robert E. Lee's birthday. A man we honor and celebrate here in Dixie for his great character and loyalty to his State of Virgina and the Confederate States of America in defending the 10th Amendment.

    Too bad the media that defends the 1st Amendment cannot bring itself to defend the 10th Amendment.

    McCain will lose in South Carolina this Saturday because it would be a disgrace to the name of General Lee on his birthday to have someone win who has attacked the Confederate Battle Flag against the wishes of the majority of the people. Perhaps McCain can do some research and find the American flag flew over ships bringing foreigners to this country in chains which was legal according to the U.S. Government. Perhaps he will call for the American flag to be taken down! No, because he is as most politically correct politicians are these days, anti-south bigotted to the point of no return and wants to continue attacking the 10th Amendment since he and his neo-con (Dems also) owe their living to big central government!

    January 17, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  8. Mike


    Please do me a favor. Continue to help the REPUBLICANS. They seriously need YOUR HELP.


    January 17, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  9. Tom, Iowa

    Dear CNN,

    Please stop reporting on Karl Rove's rants. They are not news. I'm tired of getting my weekly dose of someone who does not matter anymore. He's misleading and the things he said can't be trusted. His manipulating the media for his own purposes. Don't give in.

    January 17, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  10. Don Kadlec

    Karl Rove looks out of place coming out of the shadows and working his evil in broad daylight–in fact, I'm surprised the pallid henchman who took American dirty-tricks campaigning to an unrecedented new low hasn't turned to dust.

    January 17, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  11. dan

    Just goes to show you that Republicans are scared to death about a Hillary campaign. What can they do to her that they haven't done already? $70Million was spent on a special investigator to the White House to learn that the only thing wrong done by the Clinton's was Bill's indiscretion. But, they had to spend $70Million to see if they could bust up the marriage. This is just another example of spin and stupid politics. If you listen to anything Rove says, we'll get another George W. Bush in the White House. Who wants another 4 years of that?

    January 17, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  12. Boink&#161

    Somwhere a village is desperatly missing their idiot Karl. Go home and remind them you got 0% of the vote in MI. If you're not lucky, your home village may have already off-shored your job!

    January 17, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  13. Alex Shegda

    Need further evidence that Liberals and Democrats in America need to spend some serious time in counseling?

    Just watch the dysfunctional bile that exits their mouth any time Karl Rove appears on the scene.

    January 17, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  14. goldietaylor

    Rove is an idiot if he believes the GOP should waste it's time going after African American voters– whether the nominee is Clinton or Obama. It isn't the issues, it's the republican brand equity. They have none. Black Americans view them as Johnny come lately racists who only talk to them at election time. The issues that are most important to the Black community aren't even on the GOP table.

    January 17, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  15. DP

    The GOP is in trouble, and they know it. Using Karl Rove as an (unofficial) spokesperson is a very risky move, even amongst Republicans. There are a lot of diehard Reps (I've spoken with one) who can write off Bush's mistakes to ignorance, stupidity (and yes, I do believe that GW is only of moderate intellect) or pride, but Rove is a calculating criminal.

    January 17, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  16. Steve

    Why do you folks at CNN waste your time reporting on the comments from this twit? It's clear from the response that there isn't a lot of interest in his opinion. But, if the point of the article was to show Rovie where he stands and stick a finger in his eye, job well done!

    January 17, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  17. CA - Miami, FL

    Karl Rove is dangerous and just plain evil. He has done nothing to help this country, but his influence has created the worse President in history, who has taken the US to war and into a ressession that started more than four years ago. Karl Rove's personal agenda is never questioned and should be because his best interest is not America, but his personal bank account.
    Who gives this guy any crediablity or voice is also sad. He needs to spend time in prison for is leaking of the CIA agent and his other mis deeds. His general attitude that he some how is better than anyone speaks volumes to my dislike and distain of the man. Who cares what he thinks, like I said because the President made him his advisor, America is looked on as a horrible place with horrible people. Also since Rove's biggest thing is the ban abortion, he has never ever come to the conclusion of how to make working mothers lives easier in the only "Advanced" nation that barely got FMLA passed, no thanks to people like him. He and his idiot republican so called conservative christians (I use that very loosely) have never ever been for a fare wage for the working people, have never been for universal health care, have never been for advancement of working women. In Rove's mind you make women look like they are less than if they work, and if they make a choice to have a child well they need to work at more low paying jobs to support them. Thanks to Rove and his group the American Dream is gone. Where are the good paying jobs, or I forgot the Republicans have farmed those out to outside this county along the the tax credits to the companies who do this and in the name that Big business is great. Oh yeah, his best friend who he advised for, his grandfather sold weapons to the Nazis when the US was at war with the Nazis and did not stop until Congress made him stop in 1942. So you tell me Rove and the President do not fall far from the tree. I hope to never hear about this man again because his opinion is less that the worst garbage anyone needs to hear.

    January 17, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  18. Val Carlson

    To Karl Rove: You just can't keep your mouth shut, can you? It must e be sheer torment to be off center stage. But as long as there is a glimmer of hope, you will keep mouthing off. What do you want to bet, you'll find it in your heart of hearts your bounden duty to run for president yourself one of these fine days on grounds that no one else is so qualified as you? But then, the big question will be, Who will be your advisor?" What do you bet it will be Richard Cheney? I've got to hand it to you, Karl, Old Man!

    January 17, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  19. Sean Brantley

    Rove needs to keep the ideas he has to himself , considering he was behind the WORST President in the United States' history. Until he can make positive decisions on his own, he needs to stop telling the Republicans what they need to do and shut up about Clinton and Obama.

    He couldn't help George Bush lead this country in a positive manner so who is he to call other Democrats a "nobody" and question Hillary's time in the white house?

    Republican and Democrats don't need to take advice from Karl Rove, he is the last person to listen to.

    Get real, the truth is that Karl Rove is a nobody. Who is with me?

    January 17, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  20. Joell Ramsdell

    You have ruined two presidencies already, Mr. Rove. I would strongly suggest you keep your nose out of this election.

    January 17, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  21. Mike San Diego

    Oh lets hear all the Left-wingers bash him.......You hate him cause you cant beat him....bottom line...KARL ROVE AND GW OWN THE LEFT......

    January 17, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  22. Natalie Rosen

    Who cares what that overrated slime says. When he comes on the tube I quickly use my mute button. To me he is utterly IRRELEVANT. I simply wish the news and media would not voluntarily give him air time.

    January 17, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  23. Anonymous

    Why? Why does he think anyone cares about anything that he says or does? And why do you, CNN, support his behavior?

    January 17, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  24. John, Washington DC

    Think about it – a significant number of people in Michigan took time out of their (cold) day just to NOT vote for Hillary. If she would have honored the rules, she would not even have been on the ballot.

    January 17, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  25. Geoff, NH

    Look folks, yes, Karl Rove does not, and should not matter, and frankly a lot of the things he said here are meaningless.... for example, using the term 'liberal' as a dirty word, which in a lot of countries is in fact the actual name of the party to the political left. However, you cannot disagree with his evaluation of Clinton's 'victory' in Michigan; while certainly all of the 'uncommitted' voters would have otherwise voted for Obama or Edwards, it seems likely that if they had actually been on the ballot, or for that matter, campaigned in Michigan, they both would have tapped into Clinton's 55% of the vote. It seems very likely that many of these people who voted for Clinton would have voted otherwise if there had been another viable candidate to vote for, as I am certain that there are at least a few people who felt they needed to vote for an actual candidate and not uncommitted.

    January 17, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28