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. Santosh-Phila

    Say what you want about the man, but KARL ROVE DID WIN @ OF THE MOST DIFFICULT COMPETITIVE ELECTIONS EVER, so the guy obviously knows what he's talking about. He's offered free campaign advice to Obama also.

    So the Democrats AND Republicans would be well-advised to heed his advice.

    January 17, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  2. Lou

    I dismissed Karl Rove

    January 17, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  3. Santosh-Phila

    CORRETION: I meant "KARL ROVE DID WIN 2 OF THE MOST DIFFICULT COMPETITIVE ELECTIONS EVER" Sorry I hit the shift button by accident.

    January 17, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  4. Joe p

    Now this proves what caliber of republican appointed offiacials truly are.

    Once again, republicans only try to distract from reality.

    Get a life Karl. With your education, I thought you were at least a little past Kindergarten.

    January 17, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  5. Karl, Charleston, SC

    NOBODY for president!

    January 17, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  6. CHERYL H

    WHY IS THIS MAN EVEN COMMENTING ON ANYTHING HE IS A CRIMINAL AND SHOULD BE IN JAIL

    January 17, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  7. jgarth

    Who cares what Rove thinks? Last I heard he was unemployed & represented no one of interest linked to the current campaign. All this kind of 'news' does is allow the turd blossom to manipulate the media in his attempt to twist the public perception to his archly simplistic world view.

    January 17, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. Bukky, Balt MD

    Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude !!!!!!!!!!! SHUT UP!!!!!!

    And CNN please stop giving this megalomaniac a platform. He is trying to influence the race. ROVE if you've got something to say RUN FOR OFFICE otherwise shut up OR go bungy jumping with out a parachute.

    CNN give more time to this guy than some candidates.... Seriously enough is enough... We know he is trying to play the system and it is sickening that CNN is giving him a platform to do just that.

    January 17, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  9. Brian In ABQ

    You libs are hillarious! Your hate consumes you. College degree or not, Rove out smarted all of the so called liberal intellectuals. Also, to clear the record for you, Rove never proven guilty of anything, only out thinking you libs! You are right to fear him libs, because he will help defeat your "smart" candidates no matter who the GOP selects.

    January 17, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. Max Vokral

    I don't think the world would miss Karl Rove... why does the media still give this guy airtime?

    January 17, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. Boat Wench

    Does anyone care what Karl Rove has to say – from what I have heard he is having a hard time even getting a publisher to take him on – evidently they have some taste.

    January 17, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  12. E. Aldrich

    Karl Rove would like to play this game by yesterday's rules. America has gotten it that while we've been sparring about the irrelevant, we have sold our country down the river. Perhaps Mr. Rove is one of the people who get to walk away from the damage and not suffer much damage to himself. This is not the case with most of us.

    The Michigan primary suffered the punishment of the democratic party and the ridicule of the country. It will be interesting to see whether Michiganders have enough backbone to take the punishment and the ridicule and get to the point of prevailing over the actions against their state. I for one would not count them out.

    January 17, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. Henry Doyle

    Why is Rove even relevant anymore. He should be rotting in a jail cell no?

    January 17, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. CTurner, Durham, NC

    Clinton beat a bunch of nobodies? So how is Rove's boy Bush and the rest of his neocon thug advisors doing in their war against a fourth rate power like Iraq? And just what is Bush's approval rating with the US public right now? Rove should be to embarrased to show his fat face in public.

    January 17, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Thomas, St. Petersburg, FL

    I agree with Karl Rove.

    It is painfully obvious that the modern American voter does not and will not vote for the most qualified presidential candidate with the most experience and intellect.

    On the contrary, the modern American voter, particularly liberal Democrats, want a 'Nanny state' that coddles them from the crade to the grave via Income Redistribution.

    If you think the economy is shaky now, just wait and see what happens if Hillary or Obama are elected into the Executive Branch of our great nation and raise taxes.

    There are is no free lunch, folks. Someone pays for the food stamps, SSI checks, WIC checks, education of illegal immigrants who attend our schools, and incarcaration of illegal immigrants.

    Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. If you have freedom combined with irresponsible citizenry, you have a dangerous combination. Unfortunately, in my view, that is where we now find ourselves.

    January 17, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  16. Gayle Joseph

    Mr Rove should understand that H Clinton, B Obama and J Edwards are all running so that America can be "Somebody" again....

    January 17, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. Ellen

    Keep talking, Karl. Nothing unites and motivates Democrats as much as seeing and hearing you - a reminder of the effectiveness of the Republican spin, smear and corruption machine!

    January 17, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  18. Lauren

    Oh good!! I've been waiting for Karl Rove to weigh in on this....now that we have his political expertise we can all sleep soundly tonight! He's really done the country so much good over the past seven years that we are so very thankful for his two cents about the upcoming election. Thanks Rove!

    January 17, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. Skeptic

    The only person who actually listens to what Karl Rove has to say is the one we should be impeaching for his actions as president.

    January 17, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  20. clyde

    i don't particularly like Clinton or Obama, but come on your word is of no value after the criminal acts you have performed. I mean who the heck are you to talk about other people.

    January 17, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  21. TC

    Given the fact that Rove was the 'architect' of the 2004 elections...and given the subsequent (disastrous) results for the GOP, the Dem's should welcome Rove's advice regarding both Barack and Hillary.

    Rove's cynical advice (to put a positive 'spin' on Iraq, as well as throw in references to healthcare and jobs), shows that he has truly earned the eponym, 'Turd Blossom'.

    January 17, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  22. George, Billerica, Mass.

    I'm sure Rove will have all sorts of advice for the GOP nominee about how to scare and divide the people yet again for the sole purpose of holding onto executive power. Having absolutely nothing positive to show for the last eight years (think about that), just imagine the negative compaign they'll have to conduct this fall. The only question is whether the public will fall for it again.

    January 17, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  23. Patricia Weller, Westminster, Maryland

    Karl "evil personified" Rove keeps popping up making comments about this candidate or that candidate, trying to make everyone believe he is still relevant. There's no question that he is still a manipulative, dirty trickster behind the scenes, but frankly even Republicans gave up a sigh of relief when he left the White House.

    The truth is that American voters want change, change that brings both parties to lthe same table for discussion, compromise, and solution. Mr. Rove will never be part of that. He has and always will literally hate Democrats – he even cringes when one touches his arm during conversation – and he will always view his way, the use of lies, deception, and spin to foster division, as the best road to power.

    But the voters want change. That makes Mr. Rove irrelevant. Let's see if he can handle that.

    January 17, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  24. Beth

    Blah, blah blaa, blah.... Waa waa, wah, wah.... Sorry just trying to quote rove. I like the idea of rove hunting with cheney. bush should go along also. Maybe if we were all really lucky, they'd just take care of themselves. You know what I mean, accidents happen......... We should be so luckey. At least "w" will go down in history as the worst president ever. These last 12 months aren't worth the money that would be needed to spend on an impeachment.

    January 17, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  25. The So-Called Experienced Candidate

    IF SHE (HILLARY) IS TOUTING HER SO CALLED EXPERIENCE OVER ALL THE CANDIDATES WHY WON'T SHE RELEASE THEM WHITE HOUSE RECORDS OTHERWISE WE'LL HAVE TO QUESTION THEM YEARS BETWEEN 1992-2000.

    WHAT IS IT YOUR HIDING THERE HILLARY? INQUIRING MINDS WANNA KNOWT

    AND DID YOU OR DID YOU NOT TAKE THAT $800,000 MICHAEL MOORE MENTIONED IN HIS HEALTHCARE DOCU-DRAMA? INQUIRING MINDS WANNA KNOW?

    KARL ROVE AND THE REPUBLICANS ARE IRRELEVANT ! I JUST REALLY WANNA KNOW!

    January 17, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
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