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. Gil - California

    What is the matter Rove, are you afraid once you are in jail that you won't be able to get your idiotic words published in the press?

    You and your kind are the reason I left the Republican party several years ago.

    January 16, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  2. DJ, new york, ny

    I am deeply disturbed by karl rove's comments. He is as worse as when he worked for Bush.

    Regardless of how rove spins it, the 40% "nobody" includes obama, edwards, richardson and biden, because their names are not on the ballot, and their supporters could not find their names of the ballot, and thus voted "uncommitted".

    In other words, Hillary's 55% won decisively against these 40% "nobody" (obama, edwards, biden, richardson), and 5% somebody (gravel, dodd, and kucinich).

    January 16, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  3. DM

    It is a disgrace for CNN to even consider covering a story about Karl Rove after he left politics in disgrace. This story is worthless since Karl Rove will criticize the Democratic candidates for no good reason just for Republican support.

    January 16, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  4. columbus, oh

    Hey Karl! How are the dance lessons coming?

    January 16, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. Henry

    Karl Rove polical career is over. Who care about him. He is history and nobody ever beleive in a word he said period.

    January 16, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. rew

    Seriously how can you spread Karl Rove Propaganda? this is a Criminal. he should be sitting in Jail. C'mon.. are you Kidding me? You are either becoming Aljazeera network or its afilliate.

    January 16, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. A Martin

    Is that the same Rove that gave Obama advice on how to beat Clinton and then attacked Obama on his lack of leadership in the senate? So, which one is it, Mr. Rove? Since you've proven that you can't give a straight answer anyway, I'm not expecting one from you...

    And you just proved my other point: we don't need a political "strategist" as a president, we need someone new, someone untainted by politics, someone who realizes that the separation between democrats and republicans is archaic and no longer represents the interest of this nation. And I only see one democratic candidate meeting those requirements...

    January 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  8. Sick O'TheMachine

    Hey Karl isn't there a job at Haliburton or Blackwater waiting for you? IMPEACH BUSH AND PUT ALL OF THESE MURDERERS AND THEIVES IN PRISON!!! TAKE THE COUNTRY BACK FROM THESE ANIMALS!

    January 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  9. Lisla Lee, Dallas, TX

    Wait, this idiot is calling for Hillary to "release documents", and isn't this the same person who has thumbed his nose at every request for documents from him the entire time he was in Georgie's White House? This guy is a major creep scum bag with a capital GOP. People should be screaming for his head for more than one transgression committed while in Washington. How he has evaded prosecution time & again is just beyond me. He is a liar & manipulator to the max.

    January 16, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  10. Swede

    Hillary's a neo marxist.
    She's got my vote.

    January 16, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  11. Martin, Redwood City, CA

    328,151 people came out to vote for Hillary in a 'meaningless' election for the democratic race. 337,847 people came out to vote for Romney in what many regarded as a must win election for one of the leading Republican candidates. McCain in second place got 257,521 votes. On the Democratic side there were 236,723 folks who bothered to vote "Uncomitted". WOW!

    Mr. Rove ... you will need more than 'spin' to save Republicans in the '08 elections. That makes me very very happy!

    January 16, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. Nicole

    Does anyone believe for what he have to say, for he couldn't answer on the CIA leak?

    January 16, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  13. wm j. - dallas, tx.

    that bodes well for Obama. There were alot of "uncommitteds" and we know what that meant in Michigan ! .. .. ..

    January 16, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  14. Steve, Huntington Beach CA

    LOL...Rove says Clinton should release documents...now that's funny.

    January 16, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. Steve

    Who is Karl Rove and why is anyone listening to him? He is a nobody, a has-been, a "former" smart-ass of the worst administration in history. His remarks mean nothing. He is history and his problem is, he knows it. SWF

    January 16, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. V. Leonard

    "I am voting for Hillary. But like some of you, I will support the party no matter who they send and I like that we can rally behind the party to get the current mess cleaned up."


    January 16, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  17. Raman, Plano TX

    With due respect, Mr. Rove, your advice (except for helping Pres. GW Bush win his elections), has ended up created huge problems for Bush administration and US public at large.

    Can you please postpone your advisory till presidential election 2012?

    January 16, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  18. Rich In Seattle

    Having Karl Rove disagree with you means you must be on the right track. If I were the Republicans I wouldn't want this guy on my side, makes them look bad. But hey, it's not it's that hard to do....

    January 16, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  19. Tom Paine

    What is newsworthy about the spin that the discredited Karl Rove places on election results? What is CNN's agenda in publishing this disinformation?

    I believe that we should shun Karl Rove for his conduct by ignoring anything he says or writes.

    January 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  20. Noah


    You continue to instigate partisan discourse in our country by covering this type of story. Your coverage enables Rove to be relevant to the political discussion. Please make the responsible decision to filter important stories to your readers.

    Of course, I'm equally guilty by reading this story. Hopefully, both of us can do a better job of focusing on stories that are not sensational simply for the sake of gathering our attention.

    January 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  21. frank Honolulu HI

    worried Karl?

    January 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  22. Carole Ca

    Janet: No you didn't.

    January 16, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  23. proud florida democrat

    Hillary has no integrety!!!!!?????!!!!!!!!!
    well if you define integrity by denying 500,000 voters the right to voice their opinion. Then yes she has no integrity

    Isnt it Obama who cares about voters rights (its one of the very few causes he stands for)
    Well then why tell Michigan their votes dont count, shouldnt he take a stand on principle and say thats not right!!!!???
    Why is he telling Florida (disenfranchised in 2000, Hillary spoke out, never heard obama) that we dont matter to him. WE ARE THE 4TH LARGEST STATE IN THE COUNTRY!!!!

    For someone who stands on principle seems like hes making alot of calculated political decisions!!1

    How is he going to unite everybody when he wont even come to Florida

    Furthermore he has accused hillary of violating the pact to not campaign. YOU CAN DO FUNDRAISERS IN BOTH STATES!!!! ITS CLEARLY STATED AS OK.
    Obama has done 2 one in miami which i went to and one in Tampa a friend attended. Sounds like the politics of the past

    Uncommitted voters knew what it meant. In fact entire campaigns were centered around the uncommitted vote, Everybody in michigan knew about it when i visited over xmas break

    January 16, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  24. shaun

    I think this is the scariest man that ever lived, but he's a political genious. He was the mastermind behind getting elected the worst administration and president the world has ever seen, so if he can work those kind of miracles for a man that has little to no sense, no understanding on how to get anything done, than he can most definietely get someone into office thats the opposite of that. If I was barack I'd hire this man in a heartbeat, then fire him once your elected into the white house.

    January 16, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  25. jane s, williamsburg

    Karl Rove still gets under the skin of liberals , and i think he likes it that way !

    January 16, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
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