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. Dorrie

    This is why we need to be really nervous–and very vigilant (from an online site):

    Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels was the master of the “big lie” tactic in which a lie, no matter how outrageous, is repeated often enough that it will eventually be accepted as truth. Goebbels explained:

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Given Mr. Rove's diabolical brilliance–I'm not so sure how to interpret his statements.

    I do know, however, that a campaign that distorts as much as this one does is very dangerous. The question: how can we as citizens make sure that the media–the 4th estate–is acting responsibly to alert us to these reprehensible tactics?

    September 14, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. Tim

    WOW. McCain's campaign ads must really be bad.

    If the king of sleazy political ads and current McCain consultant, Karl Rove, says it's lies – then it must be lies.

    Wake up America or we'll be stuck with a liar and a know-nothing neophyte in the White House in 2009.

    September 14, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. Andrew


    September 14, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. jim

    It is so amazing that so many people can so blindly follow McCain and Palin even when they know that the two will continue the famous failed George Bush policies. What is gonna take for people to see the lies that Palin and the republicans are perpetrating. Does telling the truth by politicians matter any more in this country? well, hopefully people educate themselves about what these politicians records are and what their policies will do to you the individual voter. DON'T JUST FOLLOW BLINDLY AS THOUGH HYPNOTIZED.

    September 14, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. Breck

    McCain just got called a liar by the sleaziest liar in history? Nice.

    September 14, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. ButRove'sMinionsRunMcCain'sCampaign

    Wow, a skunk complaining of the smell from a rotten fish.

    September 14, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. NationalGuardForObama

    Finally the truth comes out!

    McSame is the worste when it comes to veteran affairs.
    No on GI Bill
    No on legislation for homeless vets
    Obama gets a B+ on veteran issues.
    The neocons tell lies because they can't fight on the issues.

    September 14, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Don B. Wijetunge

    Longer the Mr. McCain/Palin campaign progress they will bring down level of this presidential campaign closer to that of Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and several other countries of the developing world. I feel really sad

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

    Im down with OBB. Yea you know me

    Obama -Biden 08

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

    Most of us have known most of McCain's ads have been full of crap for a while, we don't need Rove to tell us that - this is only helpful for those clowns out there that don't know how to research anything on their own. Fact check people! You HAVE TO FACT CHECK. I guarantee anyone who goes out and does some fact checking of their own on any policies, will drop McCain and especially Palin within hours.

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

    It continues to amaze me that the Republican “win at all cost” mentality is so blatant in the McCain / Palin ticket, yet their supporters continue to defend their tactics. Jim from Chicago appears to be the rule rather than the exception. Wake up America – vote for decency and statesmanship. The John McCain of old seemed to stand for these two fundamentally American attributes. It seems he is now just hell-bent on finally achieving his goal of the Presidency that he has lost all credibility and scruples. Sad.

    Obama/ Biden – for America!

    September 14, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. MW / Calif

    My High School aged son said it best. He said that since this comment came from a sleazy Republican politician ," I guess this makes McCain THE SLEAZIEST REPUBLICAN POLITICIAN EVER."

    i told him perhaps, but there are many to choose from in the Republican party.

    By they way, I think that McCain supporters would benefit from a prescription for Ritalin. Because they obviously are not paying attention to the facts.

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

    Obama is on fire. The shine is starting to come off and McCain / Palin convention bounce is already diminshing.

    Obama '08!

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

    Obama is getting desperate…They now believe Karl Rove? Go figure….

    September 14, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Jim from Chicago is a Moron

    Another Bush die-hard, trying to confuse America for the third time, eh Jim?

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

    Take-it from me, a seior citizen: The McCain ads are so juvenile, some outright childish, maybe he reached his second childhood!!!!!
    Ready for pick-a -Booooooo?

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

    its so clear dat americans dont knw what they want, Mccain is just using palin to achieve his goal

    September 14, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Sara

    Since when is Karl Rove a moral authority or trugh expert?

    September 14, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Annie

    Oh this is ripe! The king of sleaze thinks McCain is sleazier. Gutter politics at it's finest.

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

    Redistribute wealth huh?
    Let me see, if Karl Rove and the oil rich neocons and Oprah paid an extra $115,0000 in taxes, do anyone think they would not drive in a limo, take private jets, or buy million dollar jewelry?......just a thought.
    Besides someone's got to foot the bill for the 7 billion a month cost of the wars

    September 14, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. swen ERIC

    For Jim, Chicago

    Due to you Bush had won twice.
    It is due to you they have created so much mess.
    If American are smart enough than they won't fool us again.

    It is due to you , Bush and Mcsame provided us Katrina, unemployment, gas price, mortagage mess, credit mess, bear stern, Freddie mac, outsourcing , enron.

    It s due to you. I hope you do not have any kid else they will ask you one day about there future?.

    Which will be in China or india any how ... If you stay in US.

    September 14, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. Senior Gal

    Gee. I thought McCain's 'over the top' attack ads against Obama had the smell of Karl Rove all over them. Maybe Rove is trying to cover his 'you know what'.

    McCain used to be an honorable man. Not anymore.

    September 14, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. ATG

    Its too sad to see people like "Jim, Chicago". They dont care about truth..and I pity them coz they do not know who is getting robbed in this election. Alas !

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

    I wonder. Can John McCain ever tell the truth? So far most of the stuff they say about theyr reccord or politics are lie. Do people want a truthteller or a lier in the with house? I want the first. So sorry John McCain, then your not even an option.

    September 14, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. Outsider

    It is not even close to 1 percent truth. I have not seen where Obama was disrespectful of Palin. If deception is how you are going to be elected president of the great nation in the world–the USA, then how is it different from vote rigging? Oh, my God. There is virtually no healthy politics.

    September 14, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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