September 14th, 2008
03:54 PM ET
3 years ago

Rove: Some McCain ads don't pass '100 percent truth' test

Karl Rove had some rare criticism for McCain Sunday.
Karl Rove had some rare criticism for McCain Sunday.

(CNN) – Former Bush adviser Karl Rove suggested Sunday that John McCain had gone “one step too far” in some of his recent ads attacking Barack Obama.

Rove has leveled similar criticism against Obama. “McCain has gone in some of his ads - similarly gone one step too far,” he told Fox News, “and sort of attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the ‘100 percent truth’ test.”

Watch: The campaign ad wars heat up

The Obama campaign immediately leaped on the quote. "In case anyone was still wondering whether John McCain is running the sleaziest, most dishonest campaign in history, today Karl Rove - the man who held the previous record - said McCain's ads have gone too far," said campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor, in a statement sent to reporters minutes after Rove’s on-air comments.

Listen: the Obama camp slams McCain in Sunday conference call


Rove masterminded both of President Bush’s successful White House bids, including a tough primary season battle with John McCain in 2000.

UPDATE: Rove said Sunday Democrats e-mailing around his quote without noting that he levels similar criticism against Obama were distorting his meaning. “Of course, they fail to say anything about the fact I said they were even more misleading,” he told Politico.


Filed under: John McCain • Karl Rove
soundoff (720 Responses)
  1. nova voter

    jim from chicago hates america.

    September 14, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. Obama Supporter

    HAHAHAHH
    When the SNAKES start "eating their own" whatch out.
    SOMETHING funny is going on here

    I smell "murder"

    September 14, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Disclaimer

    Jim of Chicago's comment is revealing. The Republicans endorse sleezy politics and the end justifying the means. The Republicans, who think they own the flag, and the deed for patriotism, simply do not care about our county enough to face the issues honestly and see where the chips may fall. These people give a new meaning to the term "Ugly American".

    September 14, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Joni, NH

    It's a real problem if people don't care about the truth as long as they win. Seems to fly in the face of the America I was raised to believe in (truth, justice and all that...) Win at any cost. But the ones who pay are the American people. We pay in our reputation abroad (with our former allies) and in economic policies that lead us into greater deficits. Tax cuts paid for by the money borrowed from China. 250,000 (approximately) Iraqui civilians killed, cited by our Administration as "collateral damage." If we keep on keeping on with the McSame policies we may someday be someone else's collateral damage.

    September 14, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. Sean

    While I'm not saying Rove didn't say this, try watching the entire interview, where Rove was making the same point about Obama. If you are going to have a headline, try not making it so one sided. CNN talks about MSNBC on the Left and FOX News on the right. Just where does CNN stand? Well based on the headline, the answer is clear. Try reporting something worth while like the issues.

    September 14, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. Johnny V

    Wow, you know things have GOT to be bad if Rove claims something is sleazy.

    September 14, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Mark, MA

    After eight years of lies, corruption and scandals I think we are losing our souls and forgetting to measure people by their character.

    I don't think it matters if the republicans are lying or not. What ever the republicans say CAN'T be contested by the media anymore because they always call any commentary against them as sexism or media bias. No matter how unbiased or right wing the media leans it will still be "the left wing media" so the media feels guilty and leans even more to the right.

    September 14, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. CarolO McBain MI

    Even when Carl Rowe admits McCains ads are lies is something. Another swiftboarding campaign now begans.

    September 14, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Jai

    How do you figure it's working?

    Since the convention, McCain has gone from up 10 in the gallup polls (a 19 point bump from post-DNC polls) to up 2 in the gallup polls?

    How is that working for John McCain exactly?
    I don't see the logic here.

    September 14, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Victoria

    It's NOT working and Obama is on the way to the white house. $66 million in August alone!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 14, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. Lisa from VA

    Jim, Chicago....you idiot. Of course you should care if your leaders are honest or not....good lord.

    September 14, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. Pam in Vermont

    WHO CARES? The American people who have had enough of lies and half truths from the Leader of their country; That is who cares! If you can not win an election by being "transparent" and truthful, then why would voters believe that you will run the country with "transparency and truthfulness? This white, female, 46 year old single mother$37,000 annually, who has two sons, who will have to live with the consequences of this election has a few things to say about this. One, "ENOUGH!" Enough of this crap, lets get to the real issues that we as a nation face; and YES! YES WE CAN! rid our Govenment of liars, half-truth tellers, Leaders who truly believe change is not needed and/or that simply ridding our Government of lobbiests will fix the problems we face. We must heal this broken nation by working together on the REAL issues that are before us and Barack Obama is the only candidate offering real plans. I just purchased a book I would happily share with anyone who has doubts. "Change We Can Believe In" Available on Amazon for $8.37.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 14, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. Rory O' Shea

    Jim-

    Truly pathetic. Yet, true Republican fashion. "It's okay to lie as long as our guy wins". You are a perfect example of the lack of character that Republicans have.

    September 14, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. James

    @Jim from Chicago
    Who cares? What do you mean, who cares? The very integrity of our presidential process is coming the rails and you say simply, who cares? What you're basically saying is that it's okay to just make anything up at will to win the election. I am beginning to see that the Republican party doesn't really care about the election, the economy, the very future of our country. The only thing they seem to enjoy is angering Democrats. This is too important of a time in our history to allow lies dictate who our next president will be.

    September 14, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. Jason

    Hey Jim, you think there are enough of you conservatives (base) and old people to override us younger people? You do realize that you have lost 344.000 registered republican voters and we have gained 2 miliion, right? Also, with a projected 89% of african american voters coming in on Obama's side, you still think McSame can win? I love a recent article I read, " Palin doesn't matter, numbers do". Sleezy politics will only energize the base to keep them interested until November, those of use that have decided on Obama, we've been interested. Argue all you want, but the numbers game is wholely against McSame. I dare you to bring in the recent "polls", they aren't conducted to cell phone users. All you neo-cons are in for a shock in November.

    -CNN, please post this.

    September 14, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Doreen

    Rove also said in the same quote that Obama's ads have gone too far.

    September 14, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. The Point Man

    Rove must know something! This is the master of sleeze politics. The right seems to approve of McCain's distorted ads. How can they run on a 'moral' platform and still put out these ads filled with distortions and lies. How can they complain about Obama's ads? Sounds hypocritical to me. McCain is hitting low so O'bama is hitting back. McCain is avoiding talking about the issues that matter by using distractions.

    September 14, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. Jason

    Eh, once the newness wears off and mccain cuts palins leash, the country will see her (and him) for what they really are; corrupt, sleazy, lying, cheating, do whatever it takes even if it means selling your soul to get into the white house, politicians. I used to respect mccain till this election. He shows he's willing to put partison politics above country, and like his wife said on the view, put career first. Woops, must have been a freudian slip.

    September 14, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. jim

    If this came out of the master strategist of dirty politics,Carl, then imagine how dirty and desperate McCain's campaign has become. What is it gonna take for the american people to see reality of the state this country isin after 8 years of republicans and George Bush? Are most of these poeple following McCain hypnotized so much so that they will vote McCain even when they know he will continue the same George Bush policies, are they so content with the current state of affairs that they are willing to ignore Palin's lies about her previous record and blindly follow? It's not only amazing but uneducated.

    September 14, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. Moon Maiden from Lake Michigan

    Rove needs to go to Jail.
    What a liar, he knows he is running his camp.
    Now he makes a statement to try and fool us he's innocent.
    Another Rove tactic.

    September 14, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. Tim

    Rove is speaking out against anything related to McCain? Are you sure this isn't the 6th sign of the apocalypse?

    September 14, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. Rhia

    OMG! Am I going to laugh so hard??? Karl Rove saying John McCain dishonest???

    Actually, he's the promoter of these lies. And in the end of the month, there will be swift boat attacks to Obama. And guess what? Karl Rove is one of their advisers.

    September 14, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  23. Adam in CA

    Some people want to cheer for their party's candidate no matter how dishonest and incompetent they may be. The fact that Karl Rove is repulsed by McCain/Palin's lies demonstrates that the GOP has gone too far this time.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 14, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. Michelle, Kansas City

    Hey Jim from Chicago,

    Your comment is EXACT proof of the sort of corruption seems to be permissible in the Republican party. Its voters don't even care if their candidates lie! As long as they win, then it's okay for them to lie and slander. Typical.

    "Good Christians" that the Republicans claim to be – so honest and pure. Gag me with a rusty spork, you guys are all the same. Level lies about the other candidate, pretend they're true, and refuse to acknowledge the multiple bipartisan sources saying, "Uh, you're lying through your teeth."

    This is the exact sort of corruption and lies our country needs to remove from Washington D.C. Our citizens deserve better. Our nation deserves better. I'm an Army veteran myself, and one of our core values was INTEGRITY. It's a shame that a decorated veteran would violate such an integral value and lie to the whole nation.

    September 14, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  25. Shane

    So, Jim, you don't care if your candidate wins by being right on the issues, or that America stands for his ideas for leadership into the new era of change? You care that he win at any cost, including lying, distorting facts, or other nefarious methods? Wouldn't you rather be strong in the facts, to have the truth on your side, and to have a candidate that can win by being better in touch with the will of the people, to better represent them as a strong leader as opposed to the biggest liar? I find it deplorable. I would hope any self-respecting American would as well – regardless of party affiliation.

    September 14, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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