August 1st, 2008
07:15 AM ET
4 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. Paula K. Calvert

    Race will not now, or ever, be an issue for me in any election. I am a high school teacher and I have found that race is not a factor in the present "failure" of our educational system. It is government control mandated by elected officials acting out of ignorance, inexperience and arrogance. Remember, please, that ignorance is not stupidity. It is not having knowledge of something. That means that the most educated, most intelligent person on earth is ignorant of some things.
    Our President must have enough experience and humility to realize that he/she cannot possibly have all the answers.
    I think Sen. Obama will make a much better president in 15 or 20 years due to his lack of leadership experience of any kind. He is simply not old enough to understand the importance of this. At this point, he is as much in awe of himself and the media seems to be.
    Yes, he has subtly played the race card, like a poker player who keeps his finger on a card, knowing the whole table has seen it and he can't take it back.
    It is Obama that has taken the low road. Hopefully only the racists, both black and white, will let this smokescreen distract them from the crucial issues.
    Bigger government has not and will never be the answer.

    Paula K. Calvert
    Smackover, Arkansas

    August 1, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  2. mike

    Karl Rove never said the ad from John McCain was nasty which it is not. What is the matter, is osama and and his group getting worried? He cannot pull ahead in the polls and is afraid to go one on one with McCain in a debate where he does not know the questions in advance. osama sends his hacks out to attack and claims he has nothing to do with negative campaigning where as McCain attacks him head on. Sure sounds racists to me. NOT

    August 1, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  3. AJP Richardson, TX

    McCain and Rove even look alike, they are both chubby in the face.

    And let's not forget they are both liars.

    August 1, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  4. Lexington KY

    Who played the race card first? It was not John McCain.

    Obama better realize that he is not in a primary where candidates are scared to call him out for what he is.

    August 1, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  5. Jim in Florida

    CNN is severely slanting it's coverage toward Obama. Just look at the articles under the Politics link on the website – most all negative on McCain – positive for Obama.

    CNN only reports polls that serve their political agenda. No mention of Quinnipac polling in the 3 battleground states that show Obama's lead shrinking day by day.

    It's obvious that CNN has their candidate and their agenda. It's also obvious that CNN is out of touch with mainstream America.

    CNN is just another NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS – no difference.

    August 1, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  6. Hiram Scott

    I never cared for the W administration, Rove he is a dog, but this is politics if Obama, couldn't handle Hillary, mainstream feels in their gut that BOOWHO, will reley on liberal guilt, to get what he wants. We the People deserve a Pres. leader, that is a fighter for the mainstream not a big talker. What has Barack really done in his 143 days in the Senate; Zippo, Nada, voted a ultra left record. Is he a fighter? I think not.Mainstream is thinking Repuke Pres. and Demo. Congress check and checkmate....:-)

    August 1, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  7. Jamaal Kansas

    MCshame and his campaign are getting advise from Karl Rove this is the reason why he is attacking Obama in the form he has but Unfortunatly for Mcshame it will not work because no can stand a Republican this year and many years to come if you vote for a Repubican god Help you and your family because you mad a bad decision Obama is the Only hope this year and i will not let this oppurtunity get away and no else should either Obama 08 Yes we Can!

    August 1, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  8. Luis

    Whiners who use race when convenient.......they have absolutely nothing else. The false Messiah better hope people don't take the time to see past the hype and look into his writings (wanting to rid himsel of his white blood), his Socilaist/Communist mentors, and on and on

    This cult of personality mentality Liberals have will do nothing but lead us to Third World status.

    Vote McCain or join the insane...

    August 1, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  9. Melba

    I' rather have a celebrety at the white house, than other clown like the one we have right now. Obama is prodigy and he does not need to take low punches. McCain you look really desperate. get out now!!!!!!!!!!

    August 1, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  10. ark

    Obama shld keep his focus on the real issues. the world truly needs a total change. the times of cain and abel was in the old testa. this is a new testament buddy. uncle cain, even your kids love the celeb

    August 1, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  11. Charles Hussein, Memphis

    John McSame.

    Same failed policies.

    Same warmongering.

    Same dirty tactics.

    August 1, 2008 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    These attack ads don't tell me what McCain is planning on doing. I would like to hear from him what he plans on doing should he win the White House. I don't usually visit the campaign website, so these commercials I hear about are the only way I know.

    Right now, McCain seems to complain that the media focuses on Obama. I guess that is true because McCain has run ads attacking Obama. All the reaction is to that and not anything positive describing his platforms. McCain, where are you and what do you have to say about yourself?

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

    Questioning his substance and readiness to lead is "nasty"? Time to toughen up a little.

    August 1, 2008 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  14. Peter

    How about Obama stops telling me what I am supposed to be thinking according to him regarding how McCain is acting and goes back to his socialist policies that will be the down fall of America and its values if he gets elected.

    August 1, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  15. Janice Bloodworth

    If you can not discuss the issues, then you resort to this level.......meanwhile the Bush Administration continues to pile on to the national debt . I am thinking that whomever is our next President, Democrat or Republican, all of us will be paying higher taxes period!
    And this is what we are leaving to next generation. As a senior, I will support Senator Obama, because he is trying to offer new ideas and insight for the future problems facing the U.S.
    A Senior from Maryland

    August 1, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  16. J. S.

    What's so "nasty" about the ad??? Obama does have celebrity status–emails from the troops in the Middle East say he did not visit the troops while he was there–just appeared for a photo shot. The Truth sometimes hurts. And yes, I am a long time registered Democrat.

    August 1, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  17. an american`

    oh poor Obaby go cry me a river

    August 1, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  18. Michael

    Obama's response to the ad was appropriate. The McCain camp were attempting to set up a swift-boating of Obama and are upset because their bluff was called. There is nothing wrong with stating what an opponent stands for, and then countering that position. McCain, however, is not doing this. He is attempting to become the master of dirty politics. That he is proud of his strategy should wake us all up. Shame on you McCain! Or should we call you McShame?

    August 1, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  19. Van

    It's hard to imagine anyone lower than Karl Rove!!

    August 1, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  20. Mike

    McSame will say or do just about anything to get elected. I hope Americans have smartened up over the last few years.

    August 1, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  21. DAVID MC DOUGALL

    I WATCHED THE ADD IN QUESTION AND I CAN HONESTLY SAY THERE IS NO REASON FOR THE KIND OF UPSET FROM THE OBAMA CAMP. THIS IS FAR FROM LOW DIRTY POLITICS IN MY MIND. IF THE DEMOCRATS WANT THERE GUY TO WIN IN NOVEMBER THEY BETTER TELL HIM TO TOUGHEN UP. ALSO HE SHOULD NOT BE BRINGING RACE INTO THE RACE, BUSH NOR MCCAIN NEVER EVER MENTIONED THOSE THINS HE SAID IN THOSE STUMP SPEECHES. SHAME ON HIM!.

    August 1, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  22. Uncle Sam

    McSplit Personality is losing it. He can't decide what he wants to do. Out of his own mouth he said that he was not going to run a negative campaign. Not it's full ahead with the negative stuff. Where I come from, that telling a lie, pure and simple. The American people deserve better.

    August 1, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  23. Cynthia Perry

    I am shocked at what I hear on cable TV. Talk show hosts like Morning joe and some of his political hosts talk as if an African American man who is confident, articulate, and intelligent all at the same time is arrogant. But a white man with the same qualities is just astounding.

    Someone please explain why this type of behavior occur among Americans still today. I truly believe that Barack Obama will stop the madness of prejudice because he is not one but both, black and white.

    August 1, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  24. Doug

    No kidding. It is apparent that Rove is working for McCain behind the scenes. The Republicans are running the same strategy of "distraction" campaigning with no reference to sunstantive solutions to the issues facing the country. And McCain attaches his approval to all of this, because he is desperate to win.

    Obama is not stooping to this low level; hence, he is not farther ahead than he is. This is due to the fact that the average American voter (and face it; most voters are average at best) is not too bright. They like the cartoon-ish crap and believe it.

    Obama has a delemna: All intelligent, free-thinking Americans will vote for him. The problem is....he needs a majority.

    August 1, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  25. Chanda-Cincinnati

    I have said it before,and I will say it again. I think it is absolutely ridiculous to balme Obama for the media's love affair with his campaign. He is the fresh face, soemthing new, and McCain is just upset that he can not garner the same interest. This ad is MORE than stupid, and will not appeal to anyone who can multiply past 12 x 12. It is childish, and smacks of desperation. I don't want a desperate president. The McCain of 2008, is nothing like the McCain of 2000. His character and judgement, or lack there of, during this campaign make him seem like a deminished version of the man that he once was. McCain has done nothing for the past two weeks except launch personal attacks. Talk to me about the issues McCain. Stick to the issues. Stop acting like the jealous towel boy fantasizing about being the star quarter back. The economy is in the toilet, and you tell me you don't really know much about the economy. This country is in an energy crisis, but then you tell me your plan will have more of a psychological affect. (whatever the HELL that means). You seem to be willing to sacrifice more soilders and more money to indefinitely stay in a war that the GOVERNMENT OF IRAQ DOES NOT EVEN WANT ANYMORE!!! Tell me when gas is going to drop from $4 a gallon. Tell me what longterm plans you have to decrease America's dependency on foreign oil. I don't want to hear any more about the battery contest...taht sir is a gimick and this country desreves better. Tell me when my co-workers son may actually be able to come home from Iraq. Tell me anything that does not begin with you bashing your opponent. My mother always told me when a person has to constantly put someone else down, to elevate their own status, then that person does not have much of substance to offer.

    P.S. If I hear you say the word SURGE one more time, I am going to VOMIT!!!!!!!

    August 1, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
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