August 1st, 2008
07:15 AM ET
8 years ago

Obama camp says McCain tactics worse than Rove's

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 • John McCain • Karl Rove
soundoff (219 Responses)
  1. Natasha

    The move to seek justice for Civil Rights Era lynching victims came to a screeching halt Monday as Republican members of the U.S. Senate said they will not support any legislation until they can get a vote on an energy bill. The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act would give the U.S. Justice Department $10 million per year to prosecute those responsible for killing Blacks and supporters of civil rights initiatives. In addition, the bill called for $3.5 to aid local law-enforcement agencies involved in the investigations.

    US Senate Republican rejected this Bill and your not racist.

    August 1, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  2. ProudToBeDemocrat

    Any body who have not learned from the past 8 years is an idiot or republican.

    August 1, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  3. Robert in Toronto, ON

    Republicans make me sick to my stomach. I can't wait till they get ousted come November.

    August 1, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  4. Ted - Ohio

    The McSame campaign has stooped very low. It won't work. To Democrats across the country, this is time to rally against the tactics that have given us the last eight years. Let's all let them know.....

    Not this time!

    August 1, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  5. gurv07728

    What else can you expect from a republican, they only know how to attack other's views they certainly never come up with views of thier own. What has John McCain said he would do for America besides the red herring of off shore oil drilling. Give just that a serious thought, the only thing he can think of is drill for more oil??? It will not come onto the market for years first they have to find it then drill, ship, and refine it, that takes years not a year. That oil will not just come to America it will go on sale in the oil market so if China bids more for it, they get not us. I think alot of people forget that America is a full fledged member of OPEC, so whenever a republican gives the line of OPEC controlling oil prices we are part of OPEC so we helped make those decisions. Exxon just netted 11.6 billion in profits the 2nd quater and John McCain thinks they need a tax break. Guess who has to make up the difference of that tax break yes you and I!! That's why they keep playing the Obama is too scarry card, they don't want you to see how scarry they are.

    August 1, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  6. Jerry in Boston


    Obama is doing exactly the same thing to McCain that he did to the Clinton's. Pre-emptively playing the race card in a specious straw-man argument.

    It's like McCain saying – "The Democrats will tell you that I'm too old to be President, that my health is a concern, that I'm confused and forgetful. They'll say I'm not really a war hero and that I betrayed my comrades in Vietnam. Don't believe them when they say these things."

    The democrats have said no such thing and probably never would. Neither have the Republicans said anything about Obama's race or patriotism.

    This ad was tame and harmless compared to Rove. The only inaccurate part of the McCain ad with regards to mocking Obama's celebrity status, was comparing him to Spears and Hilton, who are now has-beens. A more Rovian comparison, given the vast adoring crowds and chants of "Obama! Obama!", would have been the Nuremburg rallies. Now THAT would have been pure Karl Rove.

    August 1, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. Phil Newton, Murphy, OREGON

    Pathetic descends to loathsome.

    OBAMA 08

    August 1, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. NC Man

    there is nothing wrong with the ad ... even the obama supports as well as obama has stated he is a world celebrity and no he isn't ready to lead! i found it to be amusing, direct and true!

    August 1, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. Chas in Iowa

    If you think for a second that Carl is not already heavily involved in the GOP campain effort you are sadly mistaken.
    He's not up front anymore 'cause he has a lot of blood on his shoes but he is still a intrigal player.

    August 1, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  10. Never Again CNN

    it's amazing that the McCain camp would raise this huge outcry about race in the elections. There is an obivous racial element to this election, and there are many paople out there who are just looking for way to justify race as a factor in not voting for Obama and the McCain camp is trying to provide that excuese. They have called him elitist, McCain, who is married to the Bud Barbie, worth millions (or is it hundreds of millions). Attacks his patriotism, his wife, basically accused him of being treasonous in willing to lose a war to win an election which is not true (compared that to Bush, willing to start a war for political and financial gain). And now they accuse him, and quite vociferously so, of playing the race card and in doing so makes race an up fornt part of the election. These tactics seem to be heading in a direction worse that Rove and it's still early. They started negative and have been getting worse. I don't want to see where this ends. The McCain "straight talk' express derailed a long way back.

    August 1, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  11. Patrick Lewis

    They do seem to be scraping the bottom of the barrel lately. I'd like for both candidates to start actually campaigning.

    August 1, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  12. Becky

    Worse for McCain to be linked to Karl Rove than to George W. Bush.

    It's unfortunate the Republican and Democratic parties have become something else. To me, the main differences of the two parties are not just about "small government" and "big government" anymore. Republicans come off as so mean-spirited and keep trying to win elections with fear. Republicans need an attitude-adjustment. I think many Republicans are so prideful that it is not easy to admit mistakes or to change course. What's better for the country as a whole is better than "the Republicans trying to be right all the time". Flip-flopping is a bad word because it suggests change to be bad.

    August 1, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  13. Pat

    Rove may not be directly behind this tactic this year, but it's his work none the less. McScrooge is trying to win the same way Bush did in 2004. Destroy your opponent's character. If the 2000 McCain would have shown up this year, he would have had my vote. But I have now lost all repect for the man. He is not only mocking Obama, he is mocking all the voters of the U.S. especially his own supporters, who don't realize this right wing tactic. Believe me fellow Americans, if McScrooge is elected, we will have another four years of Bush policies. McScrooge says Obama does not have the experience. I say experience = corruption in Washington.

    August 1, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  14. Lauren

    The description couldn't be more accurate. This is exactly the sort of fear mongering that we saw from Karl Rove, except slightly more desperate and ridiculous. Whatever happened to his claim that he was going to run a respectful campaign? If this is respectful to him, I can't imagine what his negative tactics are like.

    August 1, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  15. paul

    Hmm, and what would the Obama camp call their tactics? They can't keep trying to play angels when they are guilty of the same old politics. They did this with Hillary and now they are doing it with McCain.

    August 1, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  16. RJ, CA

    Want to talk about "misleading" the American people? Just look to David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist and "brain."

    Every opinion Obama expresses is orchestrated by Axelrod - that's why you'll rarely see Obama say anything substantive off-the-cuff . The "Obama Phenomenon" is a carefully crafted public relations event - and it was started long go by Axelrod.

    This is the guy who was mostly visible in Chicago the last decade as Mayor Daley’s public relations strategist - defending Daley from charges of corruption.

    Axelrod also operates a second business, ASK Public Strategies. This company plots strategy and advertising campaigns for corporate clients to shift public opinion their way.

    Axelrod is about as slimy as they get!

    August 1, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  17. Rob

    The McCain critique of Obama as a celebrity has an undercurrent of racism that isn't fitting for this campaign. The idea that a very well spoken, gifted African American can't be a true leader and is instead an entertainer strikes me as an attempt by McCain's camp to remind voters of old, hateful stereotypes.

    August 1, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  18. outsider

    That's right. McCain is weird recently. He is losing all the good qualities people like about him before he started this run. He is not the McCain I saw 2 years ago.

    August 1, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  19. EMJ

    Hello Republicans? Want to talk about the important issues facing thee country or Paris Hilton? The real reason I could not vote for McCain today is his campaign is nothing but why not to vote for Obama, and everybody knows ther lies anyway. If the Republicans do this whole kitchen strategy until the election, McCain will lose. It looks too much like want Bush did to McCain in 2000.

    August 1, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
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