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. Kelvin

    McCain has lost, he has fallen into the same trap as Hillary, trying to define Obama instead on running his campaign on policy and the direction of the country. McCain has also over step his experience remarking "he knows how to win wars" someone ought to call him on it. What wars has he won? He only participated in Vietnam, in no command capacity, and we lost that one by all measures. As far as the economy McSame in stumped the only leg up he had on Obama was the support of the surge in Iraq but now that the Iraqi government wants us out, ie time table, that view has benefited Obama, all the while our troops are being ran over by the Taliban and the like in Afghanistan.

    August 1, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  2. Jeff

    Your sense of frustration and/or apathy are normal reactions to the realization that the Republicans are going to lose the election. You're brain is simply trying to reject and deny the inevitable. These feelings will soon give way to some mild anger, and finally, acceptance. Hang in there, you'll be fine.

    August 1, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  3. jason twombley-missouri

    John McCain ...more and more, a thoroughly disgusting and habitual liar !! God have mercy on America if the old senile fool gets elected.

    August 1, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  4. Tired of W, OH

    It's hard to believe that the GOP can actually trump the dirty tactics used in the last election. I smell desperation...

    I remember vividly when McCain said he would run a clean campaign, but as soon as it started looking bleak, he went ballistically negative.

    I am worried about America actually electing McCain. Normally, I wouldn't be too concerned about it. The guy's got nothing to run on other than the fact he was a POW (which he reminds us of every day). But America was actually dumb enough to elect, then re-elect Dubya (questionable, but that is another debate). If America is actually stupid enough to go with McCain, then we as a nation deserve everything that will come afterwards.

    When we're paying $10/gallon for gas while we wait for those oil companies to drill up our coasts, when desperate women have to resort to back-alley abortions because their right to choose was taken away from them, when more American families are torn apart because daddy is in Iraq again and mommy just can't take it anymore, then you can thank the people who voted for McCain because they didn't want to elect a "celebrity" or someone with a funny sounding name. That is, if any of us are still alive because we've got a shell-shocked old war hawk in the oval office having senior moments...

    August 1, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  5. Mary Sarnia Canada

    McCain use to be a man I admired standing up and speaking his mind even if it differed from his party line.
    But somewhere along the way he has sold his sole to become president. Not only flip flopping on off shore oil drilling, abortion and immigrantion he continues to adopt more of Bush policies. The latest ad just continues to add to my disappointment in him. He is now using Bush disgusting campaigning tacits.
    I just feel sorry for the old boy and have no respect for him anymore.

    August 1, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  6. Larry

    You Ticker guys must be overworked to post the same identical article on two different days. Take a break!

    August 1, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  7. TK

    This just show that John McSame is a mean spirited old man> He has nothing to run on so he want to bad mouth B O. Scarface needs to go somewere and retire. Maybe Florida were the Old people go. He will fit in real good there.

    August 1, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  8. Gary Menten

    Is there any surprise in this? The only way a Republican can win the nomination is to pander the ultra-conservative branch of the party and embrace the disastrous and absurd policy agenda of George W. Bush. The only way this sort of candidate can win the presidency is the same way that Bush did; to scare the people into thinking that his opponent isn't tough enough to run a government in wartime. It's therefore not surprising that Republicans aspiring to the presidency want to prolong the war in Iraq as long as they can; it's the best way to keep control of the White House. If elected, McCain for sure, would start something up with Iran just to make sure he gets a second term. After all, it worked for Bush, didn't it?

    August 1, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  9. Pat M

    If Obama dosen't stop answering to and playing by McCains' Tactics he's going to loose and Big Time! He needs to stop jabbing back at McCain's ridiculous charges and marketing ploys. He's only lowering himself to the same Republican Rove standards. He needs to employ the same tactics he used on Hillary. Kill them with feigned love, respect, smiles and total indifference. They can't attack that stance without looking like the barbarians they are.

    August 1, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  10. Irene

    John McCain has nothing to offer but negative, slanted ads against Senator Obama.

    ISSUES are what the American public wants to hear about. They want proposed SOLUTIONS

    August 1, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  11. Chuck

    Just look at it as desperate Republicans who want to hold on to the Whitehouse. They also want to make as much money as possible. Maybe CNN could do a real story and tell the american people who the primary stock holders in EXXON are. Now that would be real reporting. I think It would truley shock America as to how many of these stockholders are Republican politicians. C'mon CNN do your job and not just instigate.

    August 1, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  12. Shelley

    McCain is soo desperate that's he's now flip-flopped and is taking Karl Roves's tactics.. Say anything and do anything!

    August 1, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  13. Alice in Florida

    LOL – the latest Gallup Poll has Obama a whopping ONE PERCENTAGE POINT ahead of McCain – 45% to McCain's 44%! He be's slippin – may have something to do with the fact that he has done played out the race card, 'specially considerin' his racist wife and formerly beloved Reverend Uncle Looney!

    AND Gallup DOES call CELL PHONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it, Obamabots!!!!!!

    August 1, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  14. George

    The reason NOBAMA is mad, is because it is true. By the way, Rove is not running for President or involved in the campaign.

    *** NOBAMA is a NOVELTY being used by the LEFT. HOW SAD.***

    August 1, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  15. anne griffiths

    I went to bed last night at about midnight with a comment echoing in my brain – a comment that had recently been made by the politically conservative woman who was sharing commentary with David Gurgen and one other analyst. At about midnight, the segment ended with this woman quickly inserting a remark like, "Isn't there any room for a joke in here?", referring to the collage of Obama/Spears/Hilton in Berlin, created and promoted by the McCain campaign.

    I know that I'm not the only person who is outraged by such a destructive, thoughtless and ignorant comment.

    We are in the process of choosing the president of our country. Just like the cover of The New Yorker was NOT FUNNY, no, we are not in a position to make jokes about the courageous, vulnerable and dignified people who are attempting to shape the world that we and our children will live in.

    I think that this woman is a disgrace and I will be surprised if her comment /question is allowed to go unanswered.


    August 1, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  16. Peggy

    Put drilling oil on the ballot and let the american people vote. Why should we leave it to Congress? Years ago in the West you could see oil drills everywhere, Texas to California.
    Obama is using the race card, course the Black people won't see it that way. Obama in Jacksonville Florida and now. Why bring up the fact he doesn't look white like the persons on the bills if it isn't racist. Keep it up Obama and you will turn a lot more people away. You have turned me away due to your over seas trip. It would have been alright if you had just visited the troops in Iraq but to visit the Berlin Wall , what's up with that?

    August 1, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  17. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    I'm sorry, Barack...A little reality, please! NO ONE IS WORSE THAN KARL ROVE! In a perfect world, Herr Rove would be be playing the role of Ned Beatty in "Deliverance" in a maxiumum security prison for every felony he committed going back to the days of Watergate when he was part of Donald Segretti's Dirty Tricks squad. The punks working for McSame are rank amatuers compared to Karl Rove...

    August 1, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  18. Scott, West Chester, OH

    Karl Rove is a genius–that's why Democrats fear and loathe him. They wish he was on their side.

    August 1, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  19. Bill from ALabama

    Obama, After the Rev. Wright,Father Pfleger,and Bill Ayers connections for 20+ years,I wouldn't open my mouth about the temporament of someone else's campaign! That is the "Pot calling the Kettle Black.",no pun intended! If we had a News Media worth a dang,they'de call you on it,as well. I think I'd leave well enough alone,and concentrate on your message! You are not going to garner more voters,by accusing people of the things you have already mastered! It is more than hypocritical,it is laughable!!!!!

    August 1, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  20. Derrick in Miami

    Booo, reposting this!

    Nothing will change by an election. Obama, McCain, neither will interrupt America. Vote McKinney if you want change, otherwise enjoy 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... and 4 more years... etc.

    August 1, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  21. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    when talking about this Obama said, instead of debating me McCain would rather talk about Paris and Britney.
    The fact is that McCain has challenged Obama to ten town hall debates Obama Said he will not take part in ten but he will hold one or two. He has yet to do so. So the short and skinny of this is that Obama is holding off the debates and then criticizing McCain for not debating him. Obama is scared to debate McCain and every one knows it.

    August 1, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  22. Whats left in your wallet?

    If you look behind the curtain,Im sure you will find Carl Rove.

    August 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  23. Vote Nader


    Ralph Nader does not get involved in petty arguements like this. He's too busy working for you.

    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    August 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  24. Mike

    Lets just call McBush's tactics, Rovienesque. Hey it is politics 101. When you have nothing to offer. Then attack the guy that does.

    August 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  25. Audrey

    McCain has to defend the ad, after all it was put out by his campaign. However, Obama's reaction is an excellent one.He is also not 'calling the race' card – just bringing to the public's attention what the McCain campaign is stating in the ad. It is not even a fair comparison – in my opinion it demonstrates jealousy on the McCain's campaign's part. I am trying to be interested in what McCain has to say but he all he does is whine about Obama.

    August 1, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
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