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. Another Republican for Obama

    Absolutely agree. McCain said he would run a respective campaign. He has stooped to levels lower than Karl Rove even did.

    Why does the media group Obama and McCain together as both running a negative campaign? This is purely a McCain tactic. Obama is just responding.

    August 1, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  2. Grant (Orlando, FL)

    I think it's funny that CNN has nothing good to say about John McCain. You guys never follow him around when he's visiting wounded vets or talking to the public. Instead you guys try to bash everything he does and put it in a negative light. You guys didn't have to make it that obvious, obviously Barack Obama is CNN's pick for president! If you guys could be anymore bias you would be FOX News. Barack Obama is just some power hungry rookie senator who should just hush his mouth and go back to the senate for a few years and get some experience! If Barack is not making horrible decisions about the war and the economy, he's flying round Euroupe and the Middle East trying to pull a political stunt! This is obviously the last breath from a dying Democratic party.

    August 1, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  3. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    McCain's resentment, grudges or negative campaiging will do no harm to Obama for which he holds these feelings against him, but every day and every night of McCain's life, they are eating at him. Please, listen to Karl Rove's advice McCain and be opened minded, because Rove's stupidy will surely corrupt it.

    August 1, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  4. Joyce in Florida

    People, wake up. This goes to show you the REAL John McCain. I don't believe that Rove is involved. McCain and his camp are doing this all on their own. Shows you how desperate McCain is and it will only turn off people who were thinking of voting for him in November. I will NOT be one of those people nor was I ever planning on voting for him. The convention in August should be an interesting one.

    August 1, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  5. John

    My family of 5 voters will only vote positive for Obama, a leader who is positive and will bring the positive changes that we positivly need to remain a super power. I positivly support Barack Obama.

    August 1, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  6. Poor Comsumer

    It has been apparent that the race would move to the race issue eventually. Whether it was on a hidden agenda or not the first to strike about race was the republican party, the party of fear mongering politics. It's disappointing to see the US presidential candidates stoop this low trying to win. Bush has became irrevelant today in American politics in the US and around the world. It will be bad to elect a gnome to succeed him that the US nor the world already don't trust.

    It's time for the republican party to wake up and realize they are not the only ones on this planet. You don't like McCain but you will foolishly vote for him out of prinicple because the other guy don't look like you and many or afraid he will increase their taxes. Well, the only way out of this debt is to raises taxes.

    "Face facts and not lies" Get Real

    August 1, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  7. 82nd Airborne Division

    I truely believe that Obama has been a real blessing to the African
    American Community throughout this whole campaign season.

    He has helped me realize as a proud Anglo American that we
    still have alot of work too do in our own culture when dealing
    with race relations in america.

    I have been very active in following these political tickers because
    I believe it is a good way too get a true feeling on how we feel as Americans about the problems we all face in this Great Nation.

    The majority of the comments on these blogs are tainted with
    vague generalizations second hand rhetoric some of you heard
    down at the old country store or better yet from your intellectually
    endowed second cousin who is attending some prestigous
    University.

    The point I'm trying too make is, and I'm going to be quite frank when
    saying this there is an Air of entitlement amongst us Anglo Americans.

    Some of us just can't get past the fact that Obama might just turn
    out to be a pretty good fella at heart. I have heard the whole list
    of arguments about how inexperienced he is too that he is an Elitist.

    I don't know about the rest of you good ole boys, I was always taught
    not too bare false witness on thy neighbor. If I heard Obama say
    that I was white trash then I would pray for him. But I haven't heard
    him mention any thing negative about us White Americans.
    I know what your thinking what about Rev. Wright, well pray for him
    and keep it positive. I sure some of you all on here have friends or
    realatives that have used racial slurs in your presence, does that
    make you a racist?

    This is our chance to make amends as Americans for the last 8
    years of hell our Countyry has been subjected too. SO Hug a brother
    no matter what color he is!

    Vote Wisely

    August 1, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  8. Jewel

    I agree, McCain is desperate, as you can tell by the new ads.

    It won't work and Barack will win. So cry me a river McCain.

    Exxon Oil posted 12 billion dollars in profits yesterday, and McCain is talking about Britney Spears. give me a break.

    August 1, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  9. roger dowdle, lockhart, Tx

    McCain is just proving Obama's contention that he is nothing more than an extension of bush! He is campaigning like bush and will govern like bush. A McCain election, and 4 years of his administration would guarrentee the days of ten trillion national debt would be a thing of the past–it wou probably be twenty trillion! His current tactic of "sewer politics, and then complaign if Obama defends himself" is pure bush. Since McCain "threw the first stone", he has no business complaining that Obama is throwing them back!

    August 1, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  10. MMN-Milwaukee WI

    McCain is spiting into the wind now, come November it will blow back on his face.

    August 1, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  11. Kevin C

    If anyone has noticed, this has been the Obama style politics. Take competition, compare them to hated person. He's been pushing the "Bush" card from the beginning, and now he's pushing the "Rove" card. His campaign cries foul and slander whenever any ad hits too close to home (The Britney/Paris ad was a little silly, but it highlights the ridiculousness of his celebrity status, and americans are finally paying attention to that and his ego.) The ad only said he's getting a lot of coverage, but really his energy plan is a bad idea. That's not going below the belt, that's talking about the ISSUE.

    I think we need a full indepth research on what constitutes "mud-slinging" and "Rovian politics", and what constitutes "defining the issues". Personally, saying "Obama has a lot of hype, but where he stands on the issues isn't that great" ia fair statement. Whether or not you agree with the statement, well, that's politics.

    August 1, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  12. Rice

    Barack Obama is Grey, or Black if you like. he does not look like other presidents on our currency. He has not been in Washington long enough to be corrupted or to owe anyone anything- so yeah, he is different. How is stating the truth playing the so called race card. McCain is old, crotchety , mean spirited and void of any honest solutions or experience to be the next POTUS. Barack is not running as a Black candidate but rather as the best candidate. McCain is a disgrace to all Americans and he had better believe that not only are we watching, but the world is watching. He has lost all and any credibility he may have had in the past. If he should be able to steal the election based on fear and and negativity and not based on his ability to be the best candidate, unfortunately we will get what we deserve. That said, I doubt that that will happen, because in the words of Bjork " If he complains once more, he'll meet an army of me" and other Barack supporters. We are in full force on the ground and with money to fight this war to win back the WH for all Americans. And this is a war we intend to win.

    August 1, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  13. Art

    It could have been worse. Pee Wee Herman, Tiny Tim, Eric Estrada to name a few would have been my choice. Never really cared for them either.

    August 1, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  14. Eileen from Maine

    As many of his Colleagues in the Senate have attested to, John McCain of 2008 is not the same man he was in 2000.
    Something is seriously wrong with him and he is a danger to himself and to this country. This is not intended to be a smear.
    Watch him closely, listen to what he says. Don't rely on the pretty picture the media paints of him. \
    Please take the time to find out for yourself.

    August 1, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  15. Faye in Tucson

    To quote "Lord" Senator Obama"

    "Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. So what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me," Obama said. "You know, `he's not patriotic enough, he's got a funny name,' you know, `he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."'

    This is typical Obama playing the race card as the above statement is absolutely false. Never have Bush or McCain said Obama has a funny name or that he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills! That statement is a bald-face lie and typical of Senator Obama trying to incite his supporters. This is the self-proclaimed "unifier"!

    Obama bamboozled Hillary and Bill Clinton into public apologies with the race card accusation about their comments regarding: Jessie Jackson winning S. Carolina but losing the race for president and that President Johnson contributed an important role in the civil rights movement. Both of those statements are historically correct and yet Obama imtimidated two political pros into making public apologies! What a crock.

    John McCain's ad displaying Obama as a rock star with adoring fans and the media hype giving Britney, Paris and Obama more coverage than they deserve is poking fun at the exreme-adoration of fans and the media. Obama is not going to intimidate McCain- one advantage to being a wise, old turkey!

    August 1, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  16. Rennae, VA

    Let the games BEGIN!!!

    sad, sad, sad...

    August 1, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  17. TJ Johnson

    SEE? This is one of the big problems with democrats of today: they are deriding Rove, who is not involved with any candidate. Democrat nastiness is causing your downfall. Americans like fairplay, and this ain't it.

    August 1, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  18. Mike in Houston

    Obama's a joke.
    OBAMA PLAYS THE RACE CARD.
    OBAMA IS THE WHINNER ("...did they tell you he's black").

    This is what happens when the ONLY qualification needed to get the democratic nomination for President is that you are African-american.

    Ferraro was right. If Obama were a white male he would still be in the Illinios state senate.

    If by some chance Obama is elected, someone should tell him that his playing of the "race victim" card doesn't work with foreign leaders.

    Pathetic..

    August 1, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  19. not an obamabot, thank GOD

    we dont need to drill, just inflate your tires, that will save all the gas that we could drill out. simple plan.

    August 1, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  20. Larry

    Just wait until the new book by the author of the book Unfit for Command – John Kerry book hits the shelves...then we can start to see some real truth about Barry O.

    August 1, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  21. Canada

    Rove, Gingrich, Morris give Fox News their talking points every day. Even Huckabee has lowered himself to their level.

    Sean Hannity at Fox is worse than Rove and other GOP reps and has to be the worst in the media business at taking statements out of context and creating his story lines.

    Hannity is like a paid advertisement of the GOP. I keep waiting for McCain to say "I approve this message" every time Hannity speaks.

    August 1, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  22. Dr Williams MD. Florida

    I hate that commercial, it had no substance, we need to focus on the issues, not try to compare a presidential hopeful to Britney Spears. Poor choice for John McCain. Dont forget John McCain you went to Canada and spoke to Canadians and you were not appointed president as well.

    Obama 08.

    August 1, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  23. sally

    I think it is demeaning the American public for John McCain to run the kind of ads he is running. I think we should all ask "Just how dumb does he think we all are?" Blaming high gas prices and comparisons to celebrities, these Rove-like tactics just make him look desperate and jealous. He knows he doesn't stand a chance on his own merit so he wants to distort and fabricate things that aren't even relevant issues in the hope that us dumb Americans will again fall for the old political ways.
    People are smarter than that and they are sick and tired of being treated like they aren't. The fact is McCain does not have the money to run legitimate ads about the real issues so he takes cheap shots and low blows for the free press coverage and most American see right through him.

    August 1, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  24. PC

    Why are Rove-like tactics so toxic? In order for voters to make informed choices, they need to see both the strengths and weaknesses of both candidates. Karl Rove is a master of distorting his opponents positions, exaggerating their weaknesses and acknowledging none of their positive qualities. Rove and others of his ilk turn the voting process into a nasty, petty spectacle, it's no wonder that so many voters are never bother to show up on election day.

    August 1, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  25. Hongli Guo

    This email is to correct what John McCain thinks of Obama speech about "funny name,different image on dollar bill etc."To all Republicans let me tell you english language is very easy when you read and listen carefully.What Obama was saying to the folks and all American was to be aware of all accusations in the future.He was clearly speaking in the future tense."they will say and they will tell you...." Thank You.

    August 1, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
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