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. CLS in VT

    Wow when Rove thinks you've gone too far.....

    September 14, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. Felicia

    Karl Rove is only saying this to pretend that he isn't behind those ads and this negative disgusting smear campaign and also so people won't link Bush and McCain together by having Rove running both campaigns. Nice try Karl! It is so obvious!

    September 14, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Lee

    Rove is a scum bag, and we all know that McCain/Palin ticket are scum bags too. MCain couldn't even answer Walter's question on The View regarding ads that are false and have been debunked. McCain has sold his soul to try and win this election.

    He will not win, too much negative ads can turn on him and it will.

    Obama/Biden 08! cant wait til they win!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 14, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. TERENCE

    Amazing! The lowest form of campaign life is saying McCain's gone too far. America First LOL- He will do anything to become president.
    My Mom aways told me to not accuse or say anything untrue about someone else. It will come back to you and bite you. How's the nip John? How's the nip from saying Obama didn't have the Experience? Is good old Sarah biting painful on your earmark. Maverick to Karl Rover now to just plain Sleaze.

    September 14, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. Brian

    Said the pot to the kettle.

    September 14, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. Cawboy

    McCain is making his way to the White House with lies, so what! That’s the way he works. Remember that he lies about his age to seduce the women he’s married with right know. In the game of war one must never reject a winning strategy. Keep on going grand-pa!

    September 14, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  7. Anthony in Fl

    Sure Jim that's what we need from a leader. Someone who's willing to out right lie and distort the facts in order to win or get what they desire. Wow, a McCain Presidency is sounding more and more like a 3rd Bush Term to me.

    September 14, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. elisabeth

    Jim from Chicago...you are one of those superficial pinheads who make up the race of the dumb and ugly American....zero integrity and character. Like McCain: leaving his family for a 100 Mio heiress......who cares, right? amazing how the holier than though party ignores such character traits!

    September 14, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. Dante in Madison, WI

    Karl Rove is irrelevant.

    This man has been elevated to the position of a "political genius"–an "architect" of one of the worst presidencies in the history of this country.

    His views and opinions are meaningless. He carries no weight whatsoever and has no direct influence in this race even if he thinks that McCain's ads are pushing the envelope and aren't 100% true.

    It's nice of him to take notice and express an opinion that many free-thinking people of this country have, however, the man is irrelevant.

    September 14, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. Worse than bush

    Mccain lies are so disgusting even karl rove cant defend them .. Mccain is a greater phony than bush.... Mccain
    Lies more than bush

    September 14, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. Rauji kibet

    he knows that to discredit your opponent with lies might backfire and destroy your reputation and that is exactly what has happened,anything Mcain says about Obama will from now on will be first taken as a lie.when you shout snake,snake and there is no snake but the real snake comes noone will come for your rescue.

    September 14, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. NO PALIN

    Unfortunately it is lies and smears that win elections! This must stop!

    NO WAY! NO HOW! NO MCCAIN/PALIN!

    September 14, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. DrMan

    Face it, negative ads work and until someone provides actual evidence that they don't, both the left and right will continue to use to get an advantage.

    September 14, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. Kim, Charlotte NC

    Jim, Chicago............. I wonder if you look as stupid as you sound?

    September 14, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Tony

    This week McCain gains ground by lying to the American people.

    Next year McCain starts a war in Iran by lying to the American people.

    I'm just saying that it's happened before and it could happen again.

    September 14, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. Dan

    To Jim:

    Glad to see you're such a "principled" guy. I guess your loyalty to the McCain camp means more to you than your loyalty to the truth, eh? Quite an example you're setting there.

    September 14, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. Independent

    Enough is enough! As an independant, I really am disappointed by the degree in which John McBush is running his compain. Why Can you lie on everything? Is this the way you're going to run this country? To go far, you chose as your running mate, an expert liar named Sarah Palin, who, since choses, has never said something true (bridge to nowhere, jet sold in ebay with profit, against earmarks, been in Irack to visit our troops,...)and not knowing her own party leader's doctrine... What the hell is that? What is John McBush's judgement? Is this Palin who will lead the continental USA in case something happens to Mcain? This is ashame for America. And the world sees this, how could anybody in this world will reconsider America?
    My friends, we need to think deeply about this election. Giving this country to Mcain is giving up this great country. Thank lord we got one more chance, we can still reverse our decision if we thought that Mcain and his celebrity VP are the best fit, but if you count their lies in this short period, you need to think twice. Next time you'll hear the truth that Palin is not a women! LOL
    Seriously, we can't abandon this country to Mcain and his band who a want nothing but keeping the power so they can serve their own interest, that's why they are running from the issues and feeding us with lies in order to distruct us.
    Thanks God we're a mature peaople!

    September 14, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. David

    And Karl Rove is a man who knows truth!

    September 14, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. Warren

    See... it's people like "Jim" in this comment section that are ruining America. Nevermind if the ads are false... nevermind if it's outright lies... as long as it "works" it's ok. What a pitiful way of thinking.

    September 14, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Ex-mod-GOP for Obama

    Jim in Chicago: You can't be serious.

    September 14, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. bco

    re:
    Jim, Chicago: "Who cares."

    Dear America,

    This is what we are running against. More of the same... nothing matters but "winning" a political prize.

    If it takes starting a war that will kill 4,000+ Americans to win the 2004 election, then,
    "who cares?"

    If it requires stirring up hatred for one group of Americans or another, then, "who cares?"

    If it takes pandering to the Religious Right by trampling on our Constitution's Separation of Church and State, then, "who cares?"

    If it takes bankrupting our children and sending our jobs to China, then, "who cares?"

    If it takes choosing a Vice Presidential candidate who would make abortion illegal for incest and rape victims, and whose foreign policy experience will be whatever she can "cram" over a few weeks, then, "who cares?"

    Some of us do care. Please say NO to 4 or 8 or more years of this kind of reckless political opportunism.

    Please vote those responsible for the last 8 years of tragedy and failure out of power.

    Obama – Biden 2008

    September 14, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. EqualBranchesofGovernment

    Didn't Karl Rove serve in Vietnam with Dick Cheney?

    September 14, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Independent for Obama-Biden

    Like we didn't know.Duh. Of course McCain ads have been false. Just like the reason for the War in Iraq. Fabrications! Let Colin Powel come out the tell the truth. Thanks to Bush and his cronies gas is so high. But it does not bother them. It is us who have to pay so much and count every dollar spent. The only solution is Obama-Biden.

    September 14, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. Yngvai

    I think the "Straight Talk Express" isn't going straight anymore

    September 14, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  25. Stephen

    Truth in politics is a paradox anyways. Obama should stop taking the high road and start driving down the path to victory. John McCain's campaign is more dishonest than both of W's shenanigans in the past two elections.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 14, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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