September 14th, 2008
03:54 PM ET
4 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. Anonymous

    I am tired of hearing about sexism. I am a woman voter and I know that some questions about family and ability to work should not be the issue, but remember when we asked Sen. Edwards if he was planning to continue his campaign when his wife was diagnosed with cancer? No one said that was inappropriate then. These are legitimate questions but should be phrased carefully when it comes to women, but enough is enough about shielding her. This is a strategy from the McCain campaign to stop the media from asking the real questions about Palin's qualifications. She will be a heartbeat away from the presidency, let the media do the vetting that McCain never did.

    For example, look how their ad is dishonest about how the word pretty became sexist.

    Why dosn't anyone draw attention to those buttons that the men delegates at the RNC Convention were wearing stating that Palin is "hot" and other sexist remarks. Biden pointed out that Palin is prettier than him when he was asked, but he said it in the spirit of the moment and without any disrespect. He was actually joking and denigrating his looks I wish Fox = Fair and Balanced, would get their hands on some of these clips during the RNC convention and would show these delegates with their comments and their buttons how Palin is a looker, hot, etc...

    Please combat this false sexism charge that the McCain campaign is falsely spreading about Obama and show who is really being disrespectful. Whoever read this, please spread the word so that the media can scrutinize McCain instead of just perpetuating the negative and false ads from McCain without a counter punch. The media are playing into his hands.

    September 14, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. Greg Turner

    Rove does not want the Obama administrations to put him in jail so he is playing nice now, lol...

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

    Well none of the Obama ads do. Nobama

    September 14, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Alaskan

    STOP SPREADING LIES

    September 14, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. Independant for Obama

    If He's lying to America know what would he do in the White House???????????????????????????????????????

    September 14, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. Susy Struble

    To: McCain- stop your corrupt politics!

    September 14, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. jean from orlando

    To Jim – it's people like you that makes me sad to call my self an American. If you truly took the time to research and study the specifics about this election and the issues facing our country – I doubt you would be saying "Who cares". I take it you are either a true Republican that really doesn't care about the issues as long as your party is elected – then you'll be the first to complain about how messed up this country is – or you just so Un-informed about what issues are facing our country.

    September 14, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Candi

    Why is the Repubs turning on each other. If the American people have any sense they will turn on everyone when elected.

    September 14, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. Matthew

    Oh my.

    Regardless of your party affiliation, I don't think anyone could NOT be knocked over by a feather with the irony going on in this article.

    Wow. I guess since he doesn't have a horse in the race he's more honest, but ... wow...

    September 14, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Norah (Boston, MA)

    Some might say that the McCain camp has sunk to new lows if Rove is criticizing the "truth" of the ads. We know however that McCain has lost all credibility- all sense of honor, in his avaricious desire to be President.
    While I never really liked him, I was always willing to give him the benefit of a doubt because of his POW status- something that he never gave the families of the missing POWs. But no more- this guy is shameless.
    Mccain- McSame- McShame

    September 14, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. ken

    this guy is up to something,i dont trust karl rove,obama has better stop listening to the republicans in start listening to his base,thats why he is having problems,the republicans forced him to pick biden by starting up spmething with russis,they forced him to vote against the fisa bill,when is this guy going to come to his base,right now we is all hes got,kerry did the samething in 2004,so did gore,in we see what that got them

    September 14, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. Tom in Delaware

    In addition to his regrets about not picking Hillary to be his running mate (Biden...Change you can believe in...even HE said so...jeez.), Obama is now feeling the sting of losing his 'New Kid on the Block' appeal to Sarah Palin.

    If issues were so important to Barack, then why did he fail to keep his commitment to 10 Town Hall meetings across the United States?

    Answer- He can't afford to draw contrasts with John McCain, which is why the Saddleback Forum changed the direction of this election.

    I can't wait til the debates when the Democrats break all the records for sticking their feet in their mouths, cause you guys have got two of the best stammering bufoons of all time. (sans teleprompter)

    BTW- You don't dare hear any Democrats willing to be objective about their own party...do you. Congrats Karl, for being fair and open-minded.

    McCain/Palin '08

    September 14, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. Andy

    McCain / Palin or Palin / McCain offer nothing but Republican failures and blunders. History must not be allowed to repeat itself!

    September 14, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. Obama Biden

    We have already lived what a "C" student can do .

    Do we need to find out what a "D" student can do next with "F" VP as his side kick ?

    WAKE UP AMERICA just lies and more lies are 95 % of this pair and the lies keep coming they are trying to get your focus off the real issues facing our Country .
    They evade answering any question voters have and go off on some round about tale hoping you forget what you were asking then they come up with more lies,hate.
    Rove is their Altar boy he advises them with every word they say including their lies .
    If you think the it is Hell now you ain't seen nothing yet yhou won't be thinking you are in HELL you will know you are in HELL.

    September 14, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  15. frank Jackson

    McCain/ Palin '08....NOT!!! these people are not ready, never will be! Let me ask you this, if the investment company you have your stocks in decided to allow someone to handle your portfolio who has the same educational background as Sarah Palin instead of the educational background of Barack Obama, I'm willing to guess that you wouldnt be so quick to accept that as you are now quick to accept Sarah Palin in the 2nd most powerful job in the world. Let me ask you this, whene was the last time you have offered your services pro bono to help a hungry family, or help out at the shelter or help the elderly with a need they have?? Majority of republicans have not nor do not bother themselves, they fill its someone elses job or responsility to help out. I dare say that you fall into that majority of "selfish, me and only me " generation. Yes true, Obama visions are out of the sixties BUT that was a time when america was growing working with each other. You on the otherhand are stuck in the 80's where the "greed is good" doctaraine prevails. The slogan works well "we cant take another 4 years of the same old thing.

    September 14, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. Sebastien, from Kamloops, B.C.

    Wow even KARL ROVE thinks McCain has gone too far with his 'old politics as usual' ???

    This is not CHANGE that we can believe in.

    September 14, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. kimbo

    Do the women out there believe it is OK to hide Palin from tough interviews. Don't they think that a woman is strong enough to stand on her own two feet. And don't tell me Obama hasn't done tough interviews. He's st down with O'Reilly of the Fox (Republican) Network. He's not afraid to tlk about the issues. the Republicans are playin the media like a fiddle. they are helping to keep the campaign off the true issues. How is this the liberal media.

    September 14, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Worse than bush

    Mccain : lies you cam truly belive in ... Grose

    September 14, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. Patricia

    The sad part is that too many people believe these ads. It seems that Obama has to keep fighting lies in the ads taking him off message. Some people think his sad negative ads are working. How stupid we can be at times!!!!

    September 14, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. anyonmous

    rove should just join the obama campaing if hes giving him advice

    September 14, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. Tom in MD

    Wow, you know you're full of it when one of the most infamously deceptive people ON YOUR OWN SIDE is questioning your honesty. I wonder if Rove is just trying to soften the blow to McCain now that the dishonesty of his ads is getting some media attention... i.e. tell something that's 10% true, then tell people "well it's not quite 100% true" in an attempt to get people to accept it as maybe 90% true instead of 10%.

    September 14, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. Truth to our children

    THIS MAN HAD MADE A MOCKERY OF CONGRESS, SENATE, JUDICIARY AND THE AMERICA OUR GRNDPARENTS FOUGHT FOR.

    Co-producer of the frce for evil in the U.S.

    ARREST ROVE, ARREST ROVE ARREST ROVE, ARREST AND INDICT THEM ALL, PUT IT ON THE RECORD.

    NO MORE DARKNESS!!!!!

    September 14, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. Kent, Illinois

    I think it would of been interesting to see Rove's ability in helping the DEMOCRATS win. The Dems are too nice all the time. They have great candidates many years and people like Rove are able to figure out ways to win against them. Rove could prove he is the great master of politics if he would walk out of the dark side and head to the light. Help the Dems Rove..........show them how to win. Show them how to fight fire with fire................that alone would be the story of the year..............

    September 14, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. tim

    it wont get know play because the media dont report anything negative about the mccain camp,i have never seen anything like this in years,this media should be ashame of themselves,i will never watch anymore news programs until they start reporting the truth,it makes me sick to even turn on any news outlets,all they reported lastweek was about lipstick on a pig,when our country is facing the biggest economic crises in our history

    September 14, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. arlene, CA

    I just do not trust Carl Rove, He does not want to help Obama. There must be some alternative reason why Rove is saying this. I heard it may have some legal ramifications if you knowing put out lies about someone even in this campaign. We know there are lies in the ads against Obama. Rove should be held accountable for his lies, he is getting away with criminal actions. He thinks he is above the law. He belongs in jail.

    September 14, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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