September 14th, 2008
03:54 PM ET
7 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. It is Obama-Biden in 2008 and 2012

    This is another bad strategy from Rove – trying to convince the American people that he has not been involved in the negative, divisive, distraction, low campaign road , and no real solutions on the issues of the McCain-Bush 2008 campaign.

    Rove the American people are too smart to buy into your nonsense and lies !

    September 14, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Gia

    McCain has no honor. And neither does his party. They have become everything America has always fought against. They might as well ship themselves off to Iran and call themselves "terrorists", because they are now domestic terrorists of true Americans; putting fear and digust into our hearts with their FILTH.

    September 14, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. John Starnes

    Karl Rove lecturing others about the virtues of being truthful? Yeah, right.

    September 14, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. tsolow

    It's amazing to me that in a country as advanced as we are–in some ways–a major political candidate can blatantly lie, maintain the lie, and not suffer any immediate consequences.

    The first poster even acknowledges that his candidate is lying and it doesn't mean a thing to him.

    September 14, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. Kappa Man for Obama

    As you see the GOP is just doing anything possible to derail Obama from winning the presidency (which he will). Its a shame John McCain went from a man who had energy and a good character in my eyes back in the late 90's and 2000. But ever since he crossed those lines of being a Republican he hasnt been the same. Too bad it was going to be a close race if McCain wouldnt go below the be with his trickery and misleading ads. We americans see the truth and its not with the McCain-Palin aka Maverick-Pitbull ticket. Its with the Obama-Biden ticket. The "REAL' ticket for change. Go Obama go!

    September 14, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. james

    the thing i don't understand is why cnn never tells the whole truth about what is said about obama you only take little words out of what macain says then you turn it to what you want you are so wraped up in obama that you never say anything bad about what he says i though your job was to tell the news and the truth you have never checked out obama or biden but you sure check out mccain &palin

    September 14, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. Restless In New Orleans

    Rove is up to something!!!!!!!!!!! and who cares what he thinks. Everybody knows that the Repubs are dishonest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    September 14, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. Chanel

    I'm not impressed..who cares what Karl Rove thinks and why the Obama camp is quoting him bothers me

    September 14, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. John

    Hey Jim (from Chicago),

    I think it says something about McCain's character when he is willing to lie and deceive the American people in order to win the election. He changed his position on immigration, on oil drilling, and on taxes when his principled stances weren't popular with the Republican base. So who cares? Even if you support McCain, you should care because do you really want a President who is willing to lie to the American people to fullfill his own personal political ambitions. Would you be saying the same if Obama were using tactics this dirty? No, right. Stop being a partisan hack, start thinking. And no you are not thinking, you are being an idiot.

    September 14, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. Drew

    The problem with the Democrats this year is that they have a very flawed candidate at the top of their ticket. Generically, Democrats hold a 10 point edge against Republicans in head-to-head this year. But Obama is 2-3 points behind. He is underperforming dramatically.

    Americans are not going to vote for tax increases and government takeover of health care. With a $500 billion deficit, universal health care on top of that, social security and medicare going bankrupt, God only knows how high the politicians are going to raise taxes to keep this country from going bankrupt.

    But what about cutting the spending and entitlement programs? The politicians care more about their careers than the country's future.

    September 14, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  11. No way, no how, no McCain!

    OK, if Karl Rove thinks he's gone too far, then we know: John McCain has sold his soul to Satan!!!!

    September 14, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. Donna

    Well if Rove says it, Obama must be doing/saying something right....and as much as McCain's campaign is full of lies and deceit, I say KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK OBAMA!!!!!!!

    September 14, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. Sheryl from Michigan

    The media now has a chance to ask the tough questions about McCain and Palin. But are they going to do it? NO. The media let us down when Bush was sending our troops to their deaths in Iraq. The media let us down for the entirety of the Bush Administration. The corporate owned media wants McCain to get into office so they can continue unfettered in receiving their tax breaks and making money off the American people. You don't care about us. You don't care about the truth. There are things about McCain and Palin that need to be brought out. But instead, the media sits idly by while they get away with lies and distortions. McCain the deceiver will unjustly win the White House because the media propped up he and Palin into superstar status that they are not deserving of. When crooked Karl Rove says McCain has gone too far, maybe that should send off an alarm to the media. Save America. Vote Obama/Biden in 2008

    September 14, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. April in Texas

    Duh! I would think truth is an important factor in the presidency.. How is one to believe about policies if ads are not true? It places alot of doubt on whats truth and whats not. Its like the boy that cried wolf story.. with so many lies and fibs it eventually caught up to him and was not believed when he did actually speak truth.. God doesnt do lies to well I don't believe.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 14, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. shawn

    great question, active. Where is the mainstream media on this?
    It seems that republicans are doing what they do..Lie. Where has cnn been all this time, on this issue. Call it like it is!!!

    September 14, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. California Voter

    Both campaigns tell half-truths to try and sway the voters. It helps to have listened to the campaigns from the beginning and to do your own research. So I'm not a bit surprised that Rove would say that neither campaign sticks to the whole truth. For better or worse, that's politics.

    September 14, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. richard

    if only tim russert were alive to scrutinize our politicians spin on all sides. death is a very bad reaper. no way no how no mcsame no pitbul with lipstick palin.

    September 14, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  18. Chloe

    Jim, Chicago is right. Lying has put McCain and Palin ahead, so who cares? Just because McCain and Palin lie to get elected doesn't mean they'll lie when they are Presidents.


    September 14, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  19. Truth Does Still Matter

    Rove finds McCain to be "sleezy"? Coming from the most unethical political player in the Republican Party that is pretty funny. McCain you have finally lied one too many times. You are even making Rove sick of your increasingly ridiculously false ads not only about Obama but also lies about your and Palin's past. When you can make a snake slither away, you know you are really in the gutter. Whoa..McCain, you have finally been exposed for the sleezy liar you have become!! The media won't expose you but now your own Party is Wake Up America! McCain cannot be trusted and his no-name, can see Russia from Alaksa foreign policy VP are done.

    Go Obama – your continued stance on taking the high ground is finally paying off. The whole country will soon see who the real agent of change is and who is really telling the truth.

    Go Karl Rove – help up expose McCain and Palin for their constant lies and disgraceful behavior!

    September 14, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  20. Keith


    September 14, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. David

    Obama is siding with Rove... this legitimizes Rove... in coming weeks it will be harder to polarize Rove when he begins making predictions against the Obama camp, since they have been losing ground for the past two months, namely in North Eastern traditoinal Democrat battlegorund states.

    September 14, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  22. LS

    Look how McCain has run his campaign with all his lies and negative attacks on Obama. Do the McCain supporters think that people in the United States only see this?

    This is really a concern on how this country is viewed. Leaders and people all over the world are watching this election process. And all they see is how McCain has lied and has played dirty – Do you think that Leaders in other countries are going to believe anything, or trust McCain – I don't.

    WE are too gullible of a country Not to put the right man in the seat and Obama is the man. He is a natural true leader, who has run a extremely good campaign and is someone leaders around the world and the people of this country can trust.

    September 14, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. Ennis, LA

    McCain knows he needs Palin's coattails to win . Knows he must go
    negative against Obama to win with these sleazy ads. Watch him during the debates as he boasts, scowels, rambles, and blinks...

    September 14, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Amy in Woodstock, NY

    Rove wants attention. But it is true. The Republicans are lying there way back into the White House. And they will still continue the Bush agenda, give tax breaks to their rich friends, and send our kids to wars because we can't afford their college.

    I am sick of being taken advantage of. I am patriotic too. Everyone puts their country first. But the Republicans need to know that means AMERICANS first. We need a better economy, we need jobs, college education and healthcare. We don't need Bush Republicans for 4 more years. No way, no how!

    September 14, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. Tony

    Tina Fey as Sarah Palin = Priceless.

    September 14, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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