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. WIlly Brown

    The Change choo choo is off the tracks.

    September 11, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Ron from Baltimore

    Puh-leeze, Karl, leave the poor nation alone with this kind of game playing. Think back to Lee Atwater's change of heart toward the end of his life, and start from there as you go forward in yours.

    September 11, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Dick in Sioux Falls

    In mentioning the Unholy Trinity of Palin, McCain, and Bush's opposition to adequate Health Care for returning Veterans, I forgot to also mention the Palin/McCain/Busn opposition to Univerals Health Care for all Americans.

    September 11, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Mom3

    Rove, you are the one behind of all these dirty ideas.

    CNN, please let all American know who Rove really is!

    September 11, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Erik

    Rove is wrong. The sad truth is that successful American political races are and have always been primarily negative. The Democrats must come out swinging, attacking both McCain and his likely successor, Palin, with everything the've got, or the Democrats will lose this election. Flooding prime time with attack ads will increase their odds. Playing nice won't.

    September 11, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Joan

    Dear Pat,

    If you vote for McCain, than you are voting for the 3rd term of Bush, and yes you are evil.

    September 11, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. Horace

    Careful Ralphie – you'll shoot your eye out.

    September 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. si mwen te konen tou jou deye

    thanks but no thanks karl..........you can take the bridge to where, to no where so that you can reflect the pain you have cause the american people by helping bush steal the last 2 elections

    September 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. Lee

    Ah yes, the man(?) who was looking to install the 100 year majority, the one who attempted to increase american neo-con economic power across the world with events like the Iraq war, etc., etc., etc. How'd all that work out for him?

    September 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. The prophete

    I think he is right, and his statement mean that he know how ignorent is America. Remember Al Gore, John Kerry , they were the first casuality of this Republican lie machine.

    McCain has chosen Sara Palin not to help America but to help him win against Obama. That's why Sara Palin will not be allow to be alone and answering questions.

    Obama has chosen Joe Biden to help him build America and Joe Biden himself was a candidate to be president.

    Obama is a good and lovely inteligent man and the only way for McCain to win, is to make Obama look like a angry ugly crocodile.
    To do that he need a chicken, This is were Sara Palin come in.

    Read between the line.

    September 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. Bridget

    Shouldn't Karl Rove be in jail? Why is he being given 15 more minutes of fame?

    September 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. Freedom Lovin Patriot

    Looks like Rove can use a little lipstick.

    September 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. Larry B

    Obama is no longer a celebrity on the political circuit – he has competition and he does not like it one bit- As a result, his campaign has stooped to dirty tricks – pathetic. His running mate, Joe Biden, comes out in NH and says that Obama may have made a mistake and that Hillary Clinton would have been a better pick for VP A new poll has come out and concluded that the combined ticket of McCain and Palin is more experienced than Obama – Biden. Now, if you take the VP's out of the mix, the experience level is off the charts for McCain. Americans and politicians alike trust McCain, and even the Dems acknowledge that McCain would be an honest and effective President who would bring change and a cooperative working spirit to DC - Let's go with a proven commodity that we can trust – Let's go with McCain – Palin. As for Obama - America is very quickly concluding that he is all talk with little substance – and even less experience. His clever tongue is beginning to trip him up

    September 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. Jeremy

    Oh, how "clever." Do we really think Rove wants to help Obama get elected? This is a ploy to turn down the heat on an unqualifed VP pick. How stupid do they think we are?

    September 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    Can someone please make him dissapear and the crooks that are just like him, see people like him give America a bad name.

    September 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. Rove

    In December 1969, the man Rove had known as his father left the family, and divorced Rove's mother soon afterward; it later became known he was homosexual.[6][7] After his parents' divorce, Rove learned from his aunt and uncle that the man who had raised him was not his biological father; both he and his older brother Eric were the children of another man. Rove has expressed great love and admiration for his adoptive father and for "how selfless" his love had been.[8] In 1981 Rove's mother committed suicide in Reno, Nevada.[8]
    - from Wikepedia

    September 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. Matt

    Rove is the lowest common denominator. Who gives a _____ what he thinks? I'm sure Obama doesn't.

    September 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Michelle

    Actually, from the way John McCain has let Palin take the stage for the last few weeks, it appears that Obama IS running against Palin. And Palin still has not answered for her bad decisions while Alaska's governor (including the millions of dollars in earmarks and the money she kept for the "bridge to nowhere" that she approved and then refused), so it will most likely be left up to the Obama campaign to point out her myriad inconsistencies. Just remember – no fair calling the sex card when people start criticizing your so-called "reformer" past. Palin wanted to run with the boys, so she has to take her hits like a big girl and not whine about it.

    September 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. Mark

    It's over for Obama. He is running scared and acting like the inexperienced, immature, unqualified candidate that he has always been. And the media is running scared too: apparently the only person in this race is Palin, if you read the headlines, watch the television coverage. it's only about her, in a decidedly negative manner. CNN, your boast of "no bias, no bull" is a lie, and is hilarious. Only when one is flat out guilty will they go to the extent you have gone to try convincing people you are innocent. No Bias, No Bull? Really? You, CNN, are joke!
    And Obama-bots, your about to lose what you all thought what your inevitable coronation. Funny how things work, isn't it!

    September 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. Sue/PA

    Enough is Enough!!!!!

    September 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. tanner, ca

    It's funny how predictable the lefties are with their comments anytime Rove is named in a story.

    Baaa baaa left sheep.

    September 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. caywen

    Rove, today's about 9/11 commemoration. Can you STFU plz?

    September 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    I don't even know who to respond to Karl Rove.

    Because of him he turned my former, Governor George W Bush into what he is today.

    So sad.

    Instead of hating him, Americans, we ought to pray for him.

    WE ARE THE ONES WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR.
    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008

    September 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. Dante in Madison, WI

    Karl Rove is irrelevant.

    People put credit him with having way too much "power and influence" than he actually does in reality.

    He may be good at crafting distractions and campaigns based on non-issues and lies, but the man is totally irrelevant in this election. He's not running for office so why waste valuable media space on stories about him and his opinion?

    CNN, why aren't you hammering McCain and Palin for avoiding talking about the real issues facing our country? Why aren't your correspondents and anchors hammering McCain and Palin for not giving straight answers about what they plan on doing about the rotten economy, the failing housing market, and the loss of jobs in this country?

    Who in the media is going to champion these questions for the American people?

    September 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. Rich in Seattle

    Agreed, ignore her and make her impact mean nothing.

    No reason to go after her, McCain needs her to firm up his own weakness. If we make this a culture war then Palin has the advantage, if you make this about the issues, then Obama has it all over McCain. So make it about the issues with McCain. That is what we should be focusing on anyway. If the Republicans were going to do anything about abortion or gun control, or any of those other issues, they would have done it by now.

    September 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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