September 11th, 2008
01:50 PM ET
6 years ago

Rove to Obama: Attacking Palin is dumb

Karl Rove is offering unsolicited campaign advice to Obama .
Karl Rove is offering unsolicited campaign advice to Obama .

(CNN) – Karl Rove is again offering unsolicited advice to Barack Obama, this time advising the Democratic presidential nominee to avoid attacking Sarah Palin directly if he hopes to win the White House in November.

“It's a match-up he'll lose," Rove writes Thursday in his regular Wall Street Journal column. "If Mr. Obama wants to win, he needs to remember he's running against John McCain for president, not Mrs. Palin for vice president."

Rove notes past attempts by Democratic presidential nominees to attack the No. 2 on the GOP ticket have largely fell flat, and says the issues Obama is hitting Palin on are ones the Illinois senator is weak on himself.

"If Mr. Obama keeps attacking Mrs. Palin, he could suffer the fate of his Democratic predecessors. These assaults highlight his own tissue-thin résumé, waste precious time better spent reassuring voters he is up for the job, and diminish him - not her," Rove writes.

Specifically, Rove says it is not in Obama's interest to attack the Alaska governor on her lack of experience or the earmarks she has requested - two issues, Rove says, on which voters may also question Obama's record.


Since she was named to the GOP ticket two weeks ago, Obama has rarely called out Palin directly, often attacking both her and McCain together as representing a continuation of President Bush's policies. But in an interview on CNN last week, Obama suggested his executive experience surpassed Palin's.

“My understanding is that Gov. Palin’s town, Wasilla, has I think 50 employees," he said. "We've got 2500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe 12 million dollars a year – we have a budget of about three times that just for the month."

He also on Sunday called out her claim she is an anti-earmark reformer, saying "I know the governor of Alaska has been saying she's change, and that's great…[but] when you've been taking all these earmarks when it's convenient, and then suddenly you're the champion anti-earmark person, that's not change….you can't just make stuff up."


Filed under: Karl Rove
soundoff (494 Responses)
  1. Dick in Sioux Falls

    I forgot one item. Sarah Palin, like McCain and Bush, opposes Universal Health Care. In the paragraphs above, I only referred to the unholy trio's opposition to Health Care for returning veterans.

    September 11, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Obama/Biden 08

    and he is credible to listen to why??? He is the one having them make mountains of mole hills to avoid issues at hand!!

    September 11, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. Chloe

    Yeah, Obama should ignore the lies - the media will tell the truth for him, the way they did when Kerry was swift boated and Gore was accused of claiming to have invented the Internet.

    Sorry, Karl, that dog won't hunt.

    September 11, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. Nate- Minneapolis

    Rove giving Obama advice please. This is more of the Palin is qualified house of cards that the GOP is trying to sell. If she was qualified to lead this country or even sit in waiting what are they afraid of.> Why is she not answering questions on her own, taking interviews from the press or campaigning on her own? Because she's just not ready and they are afraid people will see that reality- not the reality they've spun.

    Secondly, Rove coming out and saying attacking Palin is stupid appeals their supporters and suggests that Obama has been attacking Palin. That's the message he wants to send is "Obama is a bad guy because he's attacking Palin." This is very misleading. He's referred to her once. He's not attacking her but attacking the issues.

    What Rove wants Obama to do is the exact opposite. He wants Obama to stay away from Palin. If people realize how inexperienced she is, how undereducated she is, or how unvetted she is this house of cards or illusion that they've created will disappear. Furthermore he wants the focus to be on Obama rather than Palin. They make a mistake in choosing her and they want to cover that up. Sure people are excited now, when the excitement wears off and reality sets in everyone will see the truth. Their hope is that there is too little time to really expose Palin, or for her to make a mistake.

    Obama will win the experience argument hands down. He's been fully vetted and involved in national politics on a federal and legistative level for years now. People are comfortable with his experience and judgement or he would not be the democratic nominee. McCain has more experience but he's also a puppet to the GOP and special interests. He's fallen in line with them so he can win. He's not the same candidate he was. Palin was selected for her appeal, not experience, not judgement, not because she is ready to govern or advise the president. She was chosen because it was politically expedient.

    September 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. Anna

    HEY DON'T GET MAD WITH CNN, MSNBC, FOX NEWS, NBC, ABC,CBS AND ROVE IF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE SO BRAIN DEAD THAT THEY WILL FALL FOR EVERY LIE ROVE MCCAIN,PALIN THE MEDIA AND THE RNC PUT OUT THERE THEN IT'S ON THEM NOT THE MEDIA .LIKE I SAID OBAMA SHOULD NOT BE SAD WHEN HE LOSE IN NOV. I WON'T BECAUSE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE THE LOSER AGAIN LIKE THEY WERE IN 2000 AND 2004. THEY WHAT TOO KEEP PUTTING PEOPLE IN OFFICE BECAUSE THEY LIKE THEM WELL THEY WILL GET WHAT THEY ARE GETTING NOW .

    September 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. karen raleigh

    Poetic justice will eventually get him.

    September 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. LB

    I'm so tired of hearing Repigs. saying McCain was a POW. NO BODY cares except the repugs. Being a POW in no way automaticly qualifies a person to be Pres. of the USA. Someone explain to me how living in a 4 X 6 cell for 5 years gives you the knowledge and experience to be a President of anything. If that is all it takes then we need to check out the State Prisons for a candidate. McCain has no judgement, look who he picked for a running mate, again no one with any real experience. Oh she claims 10 years of elected service, but I hardly believe anyone in their right mind would want a small time mayor of a town of 5000 people running this country. Even her own father did not think she was qualified to run as Governor of Alaska.

    September 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. mike

    Why would Obama take advice from a McCain advisor?

    September 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. TyWebb

    Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Karl Rove should be dropped off on a small deserted island.

    September 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. wannabeobamagirl

    when did Obama "attack" Palin??? Am I missing something? so, he's just supposed to sit back and not respond to McCain's lies??? Rove is a moron and this political race is by far the least ethical of any I've ever witnessed. can you say SWIFTBOAT???

    September 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. Alex, SanJose, CA

    Karl Rove giving advice to Democrats is like a fox giving advice to hens.

    September 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. JImmy in California

    I have no idea how old Karl Rove is but for the first time in his life, he has said something smart when he suggested to Senator Obama not attack Gov. Palin. I am an Obama supporter but on this matter, I agree with Rove. Obama needs to stay on message and win votes. He needs to let his surrogates take care of Palin. In fact from what I am seeing, she will take care of herself for him. People are beginning to tire of hearing the same old thing over and over from her. People are also beginning to see how McCain is using her as his extended mouthpiece to say the things he cannot say because of the damage it would do to his "Honorable Reputation". Senator Obama, listen to Karl Rove on this matter and get back on message.

    September 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. Enough Karl!

    Second the poster above who notes Rove's comments on the anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history. One could reasonably hope that all would abide by the example of the two candiates and refrain from "politics as usual" on 9/11, but, as usual,
    Rove hasn't a clue.

    September 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  14. NoDumbA$$ Cheesehead, WI

    The McCain campaign has given only the sketchiest policy proposals; it has spent most of its time trying to divert the national conversation away from matters of substance.

    FACT: No single Republican president has ever delivered on the promise to shrink the federal government, but ignorant people buy into this every election cycle.

    Obama said it in Denver ENOUGH! He also repeated it again yesterday in Virginia.

    We need to support Obama in claiming our righteous OUTRAGE of what has happened to America since GOP took control of Congress 12 of last 14 years and what they have done with Bush in the last 6 of 8 years. Let’s all join Obama and tell them ENOUGH! Is ENOUGH! We do not only want our country back we are going to take it back from the jaws of mediocrity and incompetence. AND we do NOT have to apologize for telling the TRUTH.

    September 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    How stupid does Senator Obama think we are? He brings up a budget of of a small town when Sarah Palin was Mayor and not the budget from when she was Governor. Also, how do you compare running a campaign to running a city or a state. I also thought that Obama had a campaign manager that was running his campaign. He really shouldn't take credit for what his campaign manager has done. Wow people really want this guy to be President.

    September 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. Independent Just Decided to Vote for Obama

    Here, Barack, let me help. You keep to the big message, I will plug away at the little ones.

    PALIN POINT: Sarah Palin, Republican nominee for vice president, attended Hawaii Pacific University, North Idaho College University of Idaho, Matanuska-Susitna College, and University of Idaho.

    Result: BA in Journalism

    No master's work, no doctorate, no political science, no law.

    NO LAW.

    September 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. Jim

    Rove speaks the truth. ... of course he knows that by speaking this truth, Obama and the Dems won't listen to him. Which is what he wants. It's a cunning way to encourage Obama to keep helping the McCain Campaign by focusing on Palin. And most of the comments above this are responding exactly how Rove would want you to. Ever take a minute to wonder why the Republicans are on top in the polls right now? It's because you can't turn on CNN without hearing the word "Palin". You can't look at a magazine without seeing her face this week. Obama and the Liberal Media are highlighting the Republican ticket. This is the first week that Obama has not been flooding the news networks, magazines, newspapers, etc. Now the spotlight has moved to the Republican ticket.
    So go ahead and don't listen to Rove. Myself and the other 47% of us voting for McCain sure don't mind the media attention.

    September 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. No2GOPGimmicks

    Tony...you said it all!!! Brilliant!!!

    Besides, Obama wasn't attacking Palin... he was making a point that she talks against earmarks when she herself graciously received them for her city and state.

    It's true..."You can't just make stuff up"... you'll always get caught in the lie. Her earmark reform claims have been shot down time and time again, but she still repeats her earlier comments because that's what's on her script-blowing in the wind on the podium, while she's trying to read it word for word.

    Unfortunately, the people who are looking for an excuse to not support Obama (other than he being black) will latch onto anything...

    September 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. no trickle down...

    What a snake!

    September 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. FreeNLovIt

    i just wish the best for America. Nobody LOVES us. We need to take good care of this country.

    The fact of the matter is, the Republican Fighting Machine is battery-operated by the Democrats. Every now and then, this Machine must yield to the Democrats, so they can re-tool, re-engineered and re-fueld the battery, for more vicious battles ahead.

    We are running a marathon. We're on Lap 3. We cannot afford to overheat and drop dead, because of greed and selfishness.

    What good is it if you win 10 years of war? Burn yourself out and lose all other wars to defend your country. We're 200 years, old, we have 800 years to go.

    It's selfish to not let the Democrats have this election. If you hate the Democrats, then dont use the Internet! Clinton, with his vision and guidance, jumpstart us to a new Age.

    Both these political teams are fused together. One cannot survive without the other.

    September 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. Stacy from Loudoun, VA

    Karl the lummox has spoken. I have no respect for this individual.

    September 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. Steve

    The Republican Party would be a lot better off without slimeballs like Rove. He and others like him have turned the Republican Party from an honorable party that was the party of great presidents like Abraham Lincoln into a bunch of lying, self-serving, money-grubbing weasels. I was a Republican. I am one no longer. I am ashamed of what the Republican party has become.

    The national polls are missing huge segments of the American population. The race is not nearly as close as the Republicans hope.
    People are sick and tired of being taken advantage of by their own government. McCain will go to retirement, and Palin will go back to running her local PTA. It is the job she is truly suited for. VP? Yeah. Right.

    September 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. Rick

    To Tony (first post):

    It appears that you type a single sentence related to the article at hand and then simply paste all of the rest of your non-sense onto each of your posts. Do ya think you could at least correct all of the typos in what you're copying? Cripes.

    RudyNYC: The article appeared in todays WSJ. I'm guessing he didn't write it this morning Sparky.

    September 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. aljrmh

    Why does anyone listen to Rove?

    September 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. TyWebb

    By the way – nice picture – Rove needed to clean his nose before posing.

    September 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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