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. Charles I Am

    That's Like saying Hell would'nt have him because he is to evil

    August 1, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  2. Kathy

    Every day McCane does something as dumb as this makes me think he really is, "Old man yells at clouds!" K-K-Karl Rove would be proud!!

    August 1, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  3. Larry WI

    Obama is a looser, his fall will be amusing, I believe the fall will happen sooner than most expect, what has Hillary been up to????? Maybe the upcoming convention will shed some light??? PUMA, what the heck is that, pay attention to that group.

    August 1, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  4. Jerry

    In Arizona we call McCain the fish because he flops so much. This is low even for him. Is he that desperate? Obviously!

    August 1, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  5. Nicole, Beverly Hills

    It's time to activate Rove. He'll know exactly how to handle the arrogance and hubris that flows through the entire Obama organization. Bring on the fun.

    August 1, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  6. Weepy

    Karl Rove is no longer in the mix. John McCain's ad was not nasty! That is Plouffe's word!

    GO GET 'EM JOHN. We are sick and tired of hearing about the "chosen one", OBAMA.

    August 1, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  7. NPA

    Forget about the economy and healthcare and Iraq, if Obama can win the Biography Tour against McCain he will win the election. Admittedly Barack Obama does have a better story to tell than John McCain. Obama's story inspires; McCain's not so much. So the issue now is how well can Obama tell his story to the American people? So far Obama has inspired the youth of American, generally all the people around the world, but not yet the senior voters. So how does he make the seniors love his story? The young look to him and say: if Obama could so can we. So of course the young will vote for him; for, a vote for Obama is a vote for themselves. But why should seniors vote for Obama? They can look to McCain and say "the guy got lucky, we did not, that's why he is doing better than us." To many people to be able to ascribe another's success to luck is vindication; so McCain can make seniors feel good about themselves. And by the same token, seniors may more easily accuse Obama of arrogance each time Obama looks the part he is applying for - presidential - than to respect Obama for his success and vote for him. Obama is supposed to go on a Biography Tour soon. That tour, not McCain's attack ads, will determine who wins this election.

    August 1, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  8. Michigan Voter

    Yeah it may be worst then Karl Rove tactics...but not as bad as David Axelrod's...Obama's number one man.

    August 1, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  9. Sam, North Carolina

    Desperate times call for desperate measures! And do you think that you have seen everything that Karl Rove has to offer? Puleeze!

    August 1, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  10. Jimmy



    Poor Obama, he is afraid to play with the big boys.

    Does he think our enemies are going to be harder on him than Rove?????

    Good Lord this clown needs to go away!

    August 1, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  11. BWM

    In my opinion, McCain iwould be considered the one who is racist. Has evryone forgotten that he voted against the Martin Luther King holiday. Having said that, the ad is clearly indicative of the fact that he has not changed his position with regards to race and this Paris Hilton and Spears ad certainly do nothing to erase from the minds of african americans that he comes off as a racist. It also appears that McCain is the one who started the race card issue.

    South Orange,NJ

    August 1, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  12. Dan from Indianapolis

    Mc Cain is starting to come off as a bitter grouch. First the celebrity add and now the race card accusation. First of all Obama said "They are going to make you afraid of me". They could mean the Sean Hannitys and Rush Limbaughs of the world. In this case he would have a point because those guys have certainely used code language when talking about Sen Obama and his wife.

    The right CAN'T have it both ways. They can't go around describing Michelle as "ANGRY" and calling Sen Obama "Hueseinn" and then when they get called to the carpet about it say it is using the race card.

    Gimme a break!

    August 1, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  13. Kris from AZ

    I think Kark roves playbook is just as cant justify dirty politics. sad dirty politics is alive.

    August 1, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  14. Brian

    Why is it ok for Obama to link Bush to every negative comment he makes in his speaches, but when McCain portrays Obama as a "celebrity", it is nasty politics. I am tired of hearing "Do we want 4 more years of a Bush-McCain administration?" I am a conservative voter, and I have to say that McCain is the farthest thing from a Bush.

    August 1, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  15. Renee

    Mr. Obama made a similar comment (I don't look like the ones who came before me...) in Germany. He looks just like a man! The only difference is color and that is playing the race card!

    August 1, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  16. JB

    Comparisons to Hilton or Spears, while inappropriate, does bring up a good question. Is he ready?

    That is pretty much all McCain has got at this point, his experience. And, of course Iraq.

    If I was McCain, I would remind people of who I have been. Doing what he thinks is right ie standing up to Bush etc. . . .crossing party lines. That is the McCain that many Independents want to see

    August 1, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  17. Minded

    McCain is proud of that ad? Meanwhile, family struggle to pay for college, keep their gas tanks filled, and buy food....all while John McCain plays the fear and race cards.

    McCain you are a pathetic shell of a man and far from Presidential material

    August 1, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  18. rice, bryan

    the picture says a thousand words doesn't it? if ever there was a stereotype of what a republican looks like rove would be it. fat, and unintelligent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 1, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  19. Peter

    At least Obama talk about and has good position on the issues.

    Does anyone even know where McCain stands or know what he has to offer.

    He has NO answers....yet he is proud of this mockery of politics???!!!?

    August 1, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  20. BHO Not my candidate

    It doesent mislead people, less drilling means more foreign oil... cnn please stop publishing lies.. and please run a culumn on how oil prices work, instead of white guilt...

    August 1, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  21. Margaret Anderson

    Unless voters decide they will not vote for candidates who put out such stupid ads, these candidates will keep doing it. The people control this. We are the village who directs people to do the right thing. Negative ads should have an adverse reaction to those who use them. I am tired of these negative ads, are you? This truely is the power of the people.

    Boise, Idaho

    August 1, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  22. MurphyMorseJohnson

    An irreverent campaign strategy such as McCain's rarely works in the long term. It is a smoke screen that Americans hurting from the Republican/McCain economy already have seen through. When the smoke screen clears, a furious American electorate will still be there–waiting to oust Republicans in November. It will be an electorate furious over the trillions Republicans have squandered–and no bin Laden. It will be a furious electorate over the trillions Republicans have caused us to owe abroad, 60,000 American jobs lost per month, higher gas and energy costs, and higher food costs. The Republican smoke will ultimately be the equivalent of salt on an open wound created by a Republican economy.

    August 1, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  23. Jim Schimmer

    McSenile has really lost it.

    He's way to dumb and way to old to even remember thing and we want to secure America's future in his old nasty flip flopper hands!

    August 1, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  24. AF Vet

    Give me a break. What do people expect, it's an election year, both sides play dirty. It doesn't matter if it's McCain or The Messiah, they both do it.

    August 1, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  25. Chris from NY

    Of course Karl Rove is running McCain's camp from behind the scene. Schmidth was his protege and he's lending him a big hand from behind the scene. We expected this kind of ads but not this mean spirited type. McCain should have learned his lessons form his campaign against Bush in 2000. McCain came out bruised and battered. He's going that direction again for the same possible outcome. Be careful what you wish for because you may actually get it.

    August 1, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
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