April 30th, 2008
02:25 PM ET
6 years ago

Rove: McCain's too private

 Rove says McCain needs open up more.
Rove says McCain needs open up more.

(CNN) - The man largely credited for organizing a campaign to defeat John McCain in 2000 now has some advice for the Arizona senator: Stop being so private.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, former top Bush adviser Karl Rove called McCain "one of the most private individuals to run for president in history," and said the presumptive Republican nominee must reveal more about his unique life story in order to win the presidency.

"Private people like Mr. McCain are rare in politics for a reason," Rove writes. "Candidates who are uncomfortable sharing their interior lives limit their appeal. But if Mr. McCain is to win the election this fall, he has to open up."

Specifically, Rove says McCain should reveal more about his wartime heroics and days as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He also says McCain should spend more time highlighting the fact he and his wife took in a sick Bangladeshi child in 1991, their adopted daughter Bridget.

"Mr. McCain cannot make this a biography-only campaign – but he can't afford to make it a biography-free campaign either," Rove writes. "Unless he opens up more, many voters will never know the experiences of his life that show his character, integrity and essential decency.

“There is something admirable in his resilience, but he needs to overcome it."


Filed under: John McCain • Karl Rove
soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. Andy

    Blast Rove all you want. Fact is he beat the snot out of the Democrats in not 1 but 2 Presidential elections.

    April 30, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. Brian

    Who cares? I hate this man...he will completely destroy this country even more than his clone Bush.

    April 30, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. Chris

    Thank you, CNN, for your step-by-step reporting of every single word that comes out of Karl Rove's mouth. You give this man credit b/c he "engineered" two White House wins–the first of which was highly contested in terms of legality, the second of which was hardly a landslide victory gained by maligning the record of a veteran. Additionally, the entirety of the administration has been an unmitigated failure, so, I'm not sure why we are suppose to care at all about what this divisive, overrated man has to say.

    April 30, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. andrea, Illinois

    As much as I do not like the guy, he has a point!
    McCain is not only too private but also more importantly too OLD!!

    April 30, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. craig

    Good O'l Karl.....He's just like Dick Chenney hit em and run.

    April 30, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. Steve, Seattl

    In response to Michael......what makes you so sure that the negative comments are from "Bush hating Democrats"....there are PLENTY of "Bush hating Republicans" out there!

    April 30, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Ann,PA

    Maybe McCain needs a distraction like Obama has Wright So that we can a pity party for him now and feel sorry for him. The more I see John the more i am beginning to like him I am just bout ready to switch parties..............

    April 30, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. Blayze Kohime

    Don't be so private, says the man responsible for covering up a lot of the bad deals in washington.

    April 30, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. beevee

    It is best if Mr. Rove keep his opinions to himself and let the candidates do what is best for them.

    April 30, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. Michael Hartsock

    I'm curious as to why anyone cares what a man living in an ethical vacuum such as Karl Rove thinks. CNN should try to elevate the conversation.

    April 30, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. Mike, Land O Lakes, FL

    There is a reason why McBush doesn't want to disclose all his private life. That'll mean he also needs to come clean with the fact that he likes chasing lobbyist skirts.

    April 30, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. Lizzy

    I thought this scumbag Rove said he was going to go away and live some kind of private life when he resigned from the White House. I wish he would!!!
    This guy is as corrupt and scummy as they come. I wouldn't believe anything he had to say even if his hand was on a Bible.
    Why he never got indicted in the Valerie Plume thing is an absolute travesty to American justice. Same goes for Dick Cheney.

    April 30, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. kelly WI

    ooooooooooh, so many jealous bitter mean Dems out. there. lol
    Why dont you yell at this do nothing dem congress and tell them to let us drill our own oil and gas. They promised an energy plan to get the votes in 06 and haven't even brought it up. Where is the PLAN!?
    Besides just raising taxes on every one and thing.
    McCain08

    April 30, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. norleftnoright

    was he not helping obama. enough said

    April 30, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. nate

    Will he include his cheating affairs?

    April 30, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. robert e lowe

    hey who cares about rove advice look he got g.w bush in the white house and where we at now gloom and doom.and we all are headed for the poor house we can thank g.w.bush and rove for putting us there. CLINTON 08 only hope we have

    April 30, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. THE REAL CHERYL FOR HILLARY!

    SINCE WHEN DOES CNN GIVE ROVE A FORUM ON THIS PAGE?

    I DON'T THINK MOST PEOPLE CARE WHAT HE HAS TO SAY!!!!!

    WE NEED TO GET OVER ALL THIS DRAMA AND GET TO THE FACTS OF WHO CAN WIN IN NOVEMBER!!!!!

    HILLARY HAS DISPLAYED GREAT LEADERSHIP SKILLS.
    SHE HAS ROLLED OUT A NEW GAS TAX RELIEF PLAN!
    SHE HAS SOLUTIONS RIGHT NOW!

    I THINK SHE WILL WIN THE NOMINATION, BECAUSE SHE IS PROVING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT SHE IS ABLE AND READY TO LEAD US IN A NEW DIRECTION!!!!!

    SHE HAS MY SUPPORT!!!! GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!

    April 30, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  18. That's Reality

    Even if the liberals knew the good truth about McCain they wouldn't vote for him because they don't understand the value of goodness and truth. They prefer liars and will vote for liars.

    April 30, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  19. Tjaye

    I am not a McCain supporter, but I have so much respect for McCain as a man. I like that he is not public and that he only discusses that which is pertaining to the issues.

    Honestly, if he were to run with Huckabee...I will vote for him if Hillary steals this election.

    Obama O-8!

    April 30, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. beevee

    It is best if Mr. Rove keeps his opinions to himself and let the candidates do what is best for them.

    April 30, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  21. Nancy

    Don't bet your life on it, McCain doesnt need to get in the getteos with the other running contenders. Sometimes less is more, so I give him my vote and dont care about what he has or hasnt done, if it takes slander and being nasty to win, then he is doing what is right, keeping it all to himself and his family and friends. Fussing and arguing as to see who is the smartest is just so ignorant as none of the two others running are not making big marks for themselves, just giving people something to talk about. I am sure McCain is doing what he thinks is right, and I believe most people think the same who are giving him their support.

    April 30, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  22. sheshouldbowout

    ILL Take McCain OVER Hillary any day.

    April 30, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. California Voter

    Interesting to see that Obama followed Rove's advice regarding Rev. Wright –but too little and too late. Wonder what McCain will do.

    April 30, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
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