July 31st, 2008
09:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama camp says McCain tactics worse than Rove's

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Obama's campaign said the latest McCain ad is beyond Karl Rove's playbook.
Obama's campaign said the latest McCain ad is beyond Karl Rove's playbook.

(CNN) - Few names inspire more of a heated reaction among Democrats than Karl Rove, and Barack Obama’s campaign is making a concerted effort Thursday to link the former Bush advisor to John McCain's presidential campaign.

On a campaign conference call with reporters responding to the Arizona senator's latest television ad, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said the spot is worse than anything Rove would have developed.

"This is not the John McCain voters thought they would be seeing in this presidential campaign," Plouffe said. "He's not just embracing the Rove playbook that people really are tired of, he's taking it to a further extreme."

Those comments came only hours after Plouffe circulated a fundraising e-mail to supporters in which he said McCain's campaign had taken a "nasty turn” with its "Karl Rove-style ploy."

"This Karl Rove-style ploy misleads people about Barack's energy plan and even mocks his ability to inspire voters and bring Americans back into the political process," Plouffe wrote in the e-mail.

The television ad in question compares Obama's celebrity status to that of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, and questions whether the Illinois senator is "ready to lead." Obama dismissed the ad as "game playing" Thursday while McCain said he was "proud of it."

Watch: McCain ad compares Obama to Paris Hilton, Britney Spears

Rove has no official role with the McCain campaign, though Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser in charge of the day-to-day message, was a longtime protégé of Rove's.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Extra • John McCain • Karl Rove
soundoff (497 Responses)
  1. Dan A

    John Mc Cain
    Can feel no pain
    Mainly because
    He has no brain

    He is an " ANTIQUATED MAN IN MODERN TIMES" TO PUT IT MILDLY !

    To put it more bluntly " he is just plain stupid "

    July 31, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  2. MLH

    Tthe celebrity spots are sad and a commentary on the McCain campaign's inability to read the context of Senator Obama's popularity. A man who either can't figure out why his opponent is popular or willfully refuses to direct his rebuttals at the reason for that popularity is NOT a person I would entrust with the job of President of the United States.

    July 31, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. Marc PDX

    Must be fair to say that the point of the ad hit pretty close to home for Obama then. Normally he shrugs off this criticism easily, or he throws them under the bus ("I've never seen that side of him" or "my own grandmother is afraid of black men"). So this one must be hard for him to find an easy dodge.

    Psssst! The emporer has no clothes!

    July 31, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  4. Matt

    I love how Obama in one speech will attack McCain and the Republicans talking about how they will use fear tactics and politics of the past, then moves on to complain that McCain is using dirty tactics. Didn't Obama say he wasn't going to be the same old politician and not use old style tactics. Is that why he spins his opponents words and consistently stays inconsistent.

    July 31, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  5. vic nashville,Tn

    Stop whining
    If you can’t play local politics how you going to play in international
    2004 Obama has changed Who impressed me
    Hillary please come Back you are the only one who can save us from Obama and Republicans
    Clintons for ever

    July 31, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  6. Martha Hussein Baker for Barack

    The republicans are really grasping at straws and the personal attacks have just started. It was refreshing to see an American politician greeted warmly in Europe by applause instead of being burned in effigy. How ironic Grandpa McSame would compare our next president to an empty headed blond heiress like the one he married! What a joke!

    Obama '08

    YES WE CAN!

    July 31, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  7. Joe the Troll

    This is all McCain has. Workable policies are beyond his or his party's abilities.

    July 31, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  8. Bill

    Poor little Obama being picked on again, maybe he should stop crying and grow a pair. He's always calling foul on the people he's running against, yet his campaign indulges in some of the same tactics he whines about. I am surprised people haven't seen through this hypocrite by now.

    July 31, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  9. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    As a political moderate, who doesn't care for either of the two political parties, I want to like both candidates. Having seen the McCain ads, and comparing them with Obama ads, I find myself concluding the Obama ads display more intelligence.
    Obama to blame for rising gas prices? That's too far a stretch. Obama as vapid as Hilton or Spears? That's just an insult. Since Mr. McCain approves these messages, that fact alone tends to cause me to wonder about John McCain's perception of reality.
    I have no reason to believe either candidate is concerned with working citizens. I believe neither candidate understands foreign policy to an extent where others might benefit besides special self-interests. John McCain could be more impressive were he to use a higher road.

    July 31, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  10. Marc PDX

    C'mon, everybody knows that Obama has been revelling in his celebrity. Why all the complaining? He is so popular and so happy about it that he wants to hold his DNC acceptance speech in a stadium – first time ever for such a huge audience. If he loves being a rock star why does he hate having it pointed out? I don't get it????

    Barack Star '08!

    July 31, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  11. MBFLA

    I'm not sure there is worse than old Turd Blossom, who should be in jail on contempt charges, for starters, but I'm sure most of us are sick of the negative ads and the lack of focus on the real issues from the McBush camp!

    July 31, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  12. Timothy

    This shows, that Mccain is another Bush and if Mccain is elect to the Presidency Mccain Administration will be corrupt as the Bush Administration. American People take a long view if we want more of the same or change. American people if we elect Mccain as President we will be sorry just like we are sorry that Bush was elected President. Please American People let us vote for change that change only can come if Obama is President. We must change the direction in Washington or we will have more of the same and we will be sorry.

    July 31, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  13. Olivia

    I hope McCain's campaign gives Obama more of the same.
    Knock that halo right off Obama's head.....he seems to think that all of his little tactics and innuendos have gone unnoticed.
    Look at what the Obama campaign did to Bill Clinton during the primary. Hillary is disappointing me right now.

    July 31, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. Sad in GA

    The truth of the matter is that I'm only thinking that McCain is just TRYING to win the presidency at this moment and he has found himself behind Obama in every way. Now, no one can say that he has any good ideas and even though Obama may seem as though he lives in Happy Land, at least he has a little bit of an idea of how he can make things better. Now this McCain campaign is going exactly the way that I thought that it would...not very well. Stick with the facts. Obama using the race card is an OPINION, not a fact. Obama not looking like any past president is a FACT. This is not any type of card except truth card, but can anyone actually recant the rest of what he said, or are we just locked in he said, she said, nanny-nanny boo-boo? Just curious.

    July 31, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. susie

    Personally, I think Obama's camp's tactics are worse. Obama always plays the race card.

    July 31, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. Glenn

    And some Americans consider McCain a real American hero.....what a phony! McCain is a shameless liar, who lacks honesty, character and integrity. He is a hypocrite!

    July 31, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  17. nerakami

    EXCUSE ME !!! Will the real journalists or commentators PLEASE STAND UP. Stop this MADNESS!!

    what about US... THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. Stop it! Enough of this jibberish about Paris Hilton or whatever, it won't help me take my son to the doctor or put gas in my car to go to work.... I am a single mother and I am pained and sick to see that so few jounalists are willing to be courageous enough to do their job.... INFORM THE CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY. Lay out each candidate's agenda on the most important issues facing us... FACTUAL information...
    don't paint for us your talking points... bring in experts to debate the pros and cons of each policy then we the people WILL US decide who we think is the better candidate. Do not decide this for us. In this our critical hour of need, do not desert us.

    For at the end of the day... there will be media's heores and villains ....
    Determine where you stand

    July 31, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  18. Joe

    Unfortunately, I don't know why people are surprised. The GOP has controlled the White House for 8 years - the economy is faltering, gas prices are crushing the budgets of working families, bridges and infrastructure here at home is crumbling, and all the while we're spending hundreds of billions of dollars and losing American lives in a war that nobody can still say what we're fighting for. I can clearly understand why the GOP DOESN'T want to talk about the issues. They don't have anything to say because the American people don't want to hear "vote for me and I'll give you more of the same" (which is basically John McCain's position on the issues).

    It's disgusting. We all agree. But if we want to end it once and for all, we've got to get up off a big "hind-ends" and vote. It really is that simple.

    July 31, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  19. Arden

    John McCaine has gone from a respected war hero to a mean old man who needs flash cards and Joe Lieberman to help him remember what to say, what he has already said or what he can't remember. Strange that no one has mentioned that John McCaine just made a 3 million dollar donation from one of the largest oil companies in Texas. He received this donation after he flip-flopped on the drilling of oil. And Newsweek announced that if Barack Obama had visited the soldiers in Germany that he was prepared to run an ad saying that Obama was using it as a photo-op and really doesn't care about the military. And the beat goes on. Don't forget Hillary threw the kitchen sink at Obama and she still lost.

    July 31, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  20. Kim

    Oh, the ad is definately in the vein of a long history of linking democrats with African Americans and criminality. The addition of women as criminals (or at least low) has a very long history, too. But too low for Rove, hmm. Looks like he might have helped. That McCain is "proud of it" should raises as much alarm as the disgusting ad. A mean lack of integrity.

    July 31, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  21. McCain 08

    McCain in 08

    July 31, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  22. Rick

    I hate the ugliness of American politics and only pray that the good guys will win. If they don't, America is going to have a very rough road ahead. Shame on McCain and the ugly people who participate in his negative campaign.

    July 31, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  23. irma

    That's interesting, because BO is the KING of regurgitated Rove tactics.

    July 31, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  24. Eugene

    It is time for Americans of all stripes to stand up and tell John McCain that if he is a man of honor, he will turn his campaign into one of decency and issues as he promised. No more Rove smears, Paris Hilton comparisons. Do you hear Sen. Obama comparing McCain to other over the hill folks and men who abandon their wives?

    July 31, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. Susan Scaglione

    John McCain for president?? His ad's are that of a child. If I was a republican, I would be very embarressed.

    July 31, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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