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. kashif

    McCain is frequently becoming a liar.

    Not just misspeaking
    or forgetting

    but deliberately lying to win this election.

    Of course McCain loves America. However, there is one thing McCain loves more then America.. Himself.

    August 1, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  2. Erik

    McCain has sadly become a snide little gnome who is more irritating every day. How far such a great man has fallen. His time has come and gone.

    August 1, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  3. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    Well, when I added a thoughtful, pertinent comment it got deleted. That's what I get for staying on topic.

    August 1, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  4. Super delegate NJ

    I am aware that CNN will moderate my comments for days and then refuse to publish them because they think Obama is the anointed one. Let’s just call it as it is guys...if you can dish it, be ready to take it. Obama and his campaign are a bunch of cry babies. During the primaries Senator Clinton and Obama went around equating Mc Cain to Bush. Obama has run ads in which he has Bush with Mc Cain together. Now unknown to those in Obamaville is a simple fact, EVERY ACTION COMMANDS A REACTION. If Obama is going to run around comparing Mc Cain to Bush, then fair rules dictate that Mc Cain is at liberty to compare him to anyone of his choice. Obama was the first to go negative and if he does not like the reaction then he should stop..

    August 1, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  5. Tom Eyemdaman

    Regardless of the "nastiness" of the ad (and I would argue that it isn't "nasty") the ad is on the mark – is Obama ready to lead? Has the presidential election become nothing more than a national reality show in which the most popular person wins?

    The problem McCain is having is that while he was talking issues, the MSM and the general public practically ignored him. Obama's limited dialog about the issues isn't what gives him his impetus – it's his rhetoric and general popularity amongst the "change" and "hope" crowd. So, you have to attack him where he's strongest, which is not on the issues.

    August 1, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  6. Kevin, NC

    Throughout the History of America, The majority culture, especially misguided and often times uneducated white men have always tried to emasculate black men. By taking their very dignity, making them work day in day out in the field while they the left the big house to go down into the Slave Quarters to rape and have their way with our Black Women. And while this ad is by no means suggesting that White man are going after our women just yet. It still shows that their relentless effort to emasculate Black men, is alive and well, by comparing him to two trouble white women who lack the knowledge to control their lives circumstances let alone the world around them.

    I dont know about you AMERICA but I say to John McCain you've got to come much better than that in 2008, and if insulting Barack Obama is all you have, then you might as well retire now.

    By the way McCain, is your wife's family going to divest in Anhauser Busch, not that they've been acquired by a FOREIGN Company?

    August 1, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  7. Illene hebert

    I am so tired of seeing the same pundits saying the same thing over and over how about having different people say liberterian independent or un-affiliated. Ross Perrot is one example after all he was right about NAFTA one of wich he was wright about among others things that would offer other point of view and or direction on the trouble this country is facing and in dire need this country need all the help it can gather

    August 1, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  8. Maty Rowers

    I am so fed up with Obama's whining!!! He is the one playing the race card. Man up!

    August 1, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  9. Bud

    This Republican dirt Machine is beyond belief in their ability to distort the facts, throw personal attacks and lower the integrity of the election process. Of course the same group brought us George Bush and now, the new and Bushier, John McCain. It's sounding more and more despate on the Republican side these days.

    August 1, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  10. Patrick Henry, Fort Myers

    Mr. Plouffe and his blogger legion could be seen as guilty of the same thing...

    But one difference is that McCain is using the candidates own words to contrast the differences between himself and Obama–very unlike Rove who tends to invent.

    Mr. Obama's comments are no more taken out of context than McCains' comments, and explanation of spending 100 years in Iraq by Plouffe and his marketing team...rh campaign team

    Obama may become the only President to ever be elected by the internet, Google, blogs, and spam.

    Thank God...real people still have to enter the voting booth!!!

    August 1, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  11. Jan From Boca Raton, Fl

    Obama needs to quit whinning. I'm tired of him playing the race card.

    August 1, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  12. Linda

    I think the media has gone over the top on this one. We see negative campaigning all the time. It is sad that it is so effective, but you have to blame voters for that. I am a McCain supporter, and frankly I don't like the ad (minus the blonde chicks I think it would be okay, but still not my cup of tea). I think however that the media has really over reacted, and you are probably just giving McCain what he sought from the ad in the first place – coverage. Too bad the media, just like the voters is more interested in dirt than solid unbiased news coverage.

    August 1, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  13. MD in GA

    Supporters of Obama were already expecting this. Obviously these attack adds are targeting independents and undecided. Folks, please don't get sidetracked with this foolishness. We have some real problems to solve in this country and none of them have anything to do with Paris Hilton or Britney Spears...

    August 1, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  14. Bonnie

    This latest nasty shift in McCain's campaign has Rove written all over it. He may not have a campaign staff title, but you can't convince me he's not pulling the strings backstage. Rove belongs in jail – but only after W is out of office so there won't be any last-day-in-office pardon. These insidious unwarranted attacks must surely backfire. We're all as sick and tired of it as we are of 'the surge' . . . the only time I ever want to hear those words again are in relation to the Dow Jones Industrial Average . . .

    August 1, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  15. Eric

    After watching for months the primaries and now the election coverage, I came to the conclusion that the US is sicker than anything I would have thought.

    I do think that by large, the problem is the amazing lack of morality that permeates every domain, starting from the economy, politicians and media. The complete obsession for profits, which, for the media, is equivalent with ratings, is more important than any other criteria, and they go to great length to stir up contreverses when there are none, while they don't spend any time checking out the facts.

    I no other democratic countries did I see such a deplorable media coverage, such a lack of intelligence, so many lies being told on screen without a journalist confronting the pundit. It is pathetic and it's no wonder why the average American is so poorly informed.

    So the last "new" is simply one other example. Obama making fun of the scare tactics used by the republicans, McCain campaign jumping on every word, and the journalists have nothing better to do but to repeat like parrots the different twists. They call that the news.

    August 1, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  16. J. McKinney

    Apparently anything negative about Obama is completely off-limits. How does one campaign against the "super-star"?? Come on, folks. This man is completely inexperienced. His main support is the huge amount of new voting teens and early 20's who have never voted before, and AA's who have never registered to vote before, and whose only concern is to "get a black man in office". Both groups have no idea what they are getting this country into. We are in enough of a mess that we may never get out of it, anyway, even with an experienced hand at the helm. When the Media ruined it for Hillary, they finished the country, in my opinion.
    I am a life-long democrat, who voted the first time for Kennedy, but this year, I can't decide whether to sit out the election (for the first time in my life) or to vote for McCain. I am leaning towards voting for McCain. God Bless America.

    August 1, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  17. Chipster

    John McCain's campaign tells us that Sen. McCain doesn't speak for the McCain campaign.

    Doesn't that sort of sum it up? I just get a very sad feeling whenever Sen. McCain speaks these days. He has become a tragic figure – no longer the maverick, just a confused old man who does whatever he's told. The Bush political machine simply destroyed him years ago.

    August 1, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  18. Michelle, PA

    I realize the Republican primaries didn't get the same amount of attention as those for the Democrats, but there were signs of this kind of sliminess from McCain in those debates with his attacks on Romney. He is showing himself to be a bitter, angry, thwarted man who will pull any trick to demean those who stand in his way. It's personal. It's also sickening. I was a McCain supporter in 2000, but I can't see any evidence of the man I respected then in what McCain has become. Unfortunately, these tactics are exactly what a portion of the electorate wants to see from its candidate. That speaks volumes to me about the future of our nation, regardless of who wins or loses this election. If the American public actually admires this kind of slime, America as we have known and loved it is finished.

    August 1, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  19. CarlosN

    This election will see even worser than that. Republicans have been killing this country for the last 7 years, the dollar is at all time low, the gas prices all time high, the economy's on the gutter and our international allies don't want anything to do with the current administration... the ONLY way they can 'win' is by painting Obama as something even scarier than Bush. So you can just imagine what they will say or do to try to achieve that !!!

    Everybody, even the Repugs, knows that McCain is not the man to get the country out of this mess. He is too old for the job, he forgets what he has to say, he confuses things and he even recognized that he knows nothing about the Economy.

    Electing Bush twice was the biggest mistake this country made in modern times. Electing McCain would be like the dumbest ever mistake, something, as scary as it sounds, I think could be the last mistake we make. I don't know if we can survive that.

    CNN, please, post my comment.

    August 1, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  20. Frank Chase Jr,

    Obama, needs to watch out. McCain is going to swift boat the election. The Republican smear machine is not to be taken lightly. They can destroy lives and derail campaigns at the drop of dime. The Republicans are like Rick Flair the wrestle, the dirtiest players in the game. Obama, you've got to fight for your life.

    August 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  21. lisa m

    Don't tell me why I shouldn't vote for someone else, tell me why I should vote for you.

    Give me reasons not excuses.

    August 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  22. Hope

    When you have nothing to offer, you have to attack you opponent. Mc – Same is caught in the dilemma of wanting to bring the "base" along while not shunning the independents he'll need to win in November. He has sold his "soul" to the devil (turd-blossom) and the maverick has died an untimely death.

    August 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  23. America First

    Democrats: Stop Acting Like Babies! The things that come from your mouths and blogs are so violent, it makes the so-called, right wing look like boy scouts. Grow a pair and act like men, not like a communist dog!

    August 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  24. Amber

    I am no great fan of Obama, but these McCain ads are getting out of control. I don't understand how voters could fall for such transparent tactics, so I'm hoping the ads have little to do with the recent polls. Senator McCain obviously does not have a valuable message, and his platform seems to be all about smearing Obama–but not in any believable way. Fortunately Senator Obama has not responded in kind, which illustrates that he may be ready to lead the country. The employment of these tactics so early in the campaign, shows McCain might not be ready for such responsibility.

    August 1, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  25. mel

    McCain do or say anything to win. Race card is a smoke screen.

    August 1, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
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