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. Diing in Washington

    H! Karl Rove,
    McCain-Palin are liars. There is no such thing as "Gone too far".
    Like you, they are liars. McCain would rather loose his integrity to win an election. He lost my respect.

    September 14, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. kimbo

    I've also heard Mcain supporters say that if a woman is raped, she should sit back and enjoys, or others that have condemned Catholics with hatred. The difference is, I don't think that these are McCains positions. They are worse than anything Rev. Wright has said.And I don't think Rev. Wright statements are Obama's positions either. But of course, how else could the Republicans distract the public without trying to equate the two.

    September 14, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. New Yorker

    How many of you bloggers read the UPDATE under the main article?

    September 14, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. jeliebe

    I can't even understand how the americans people cannot even see what is going on about Palin/Maccain. Now , we can say that, Palin/Maccain , not anymore Maccain/Palin. It seems to be that is Palin who will be the commander in Chief. Franckly, I think it over for both of them.They need to show their really face about what they think about the future. You guys, did watch the View ? what do you think about that point, Palin for change to the white house !! how could that happen ! the point is, at the white house, they are not doing anything ! and you can understand what is it about. the fact is change equal Obama+Biden. What about Maccain, he could be a nice person, but he just missed his turn ! we cannot anymore stand a 4 years in that way !

    September 14, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Sheila

    McCain made the lipstick on a pig comment when discussing Hilary Clinton's policies way before Obama even used the expression. How hypocritical to try to use this now in an ad against Obama. McCain was honorable but his actions now are not.

    September 14, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Ruth

    All the christians- in this country who comprise the conservatives must be proud that the Republican party is running a campaign full of lies, mockery, hypocrisy and slander. All the speeches about Obama at the convention were mockery and Slander except- Mike Huckabees. Is these what christians are all about?
    The Liberals i.e democrats at their convention were more respectfull of Mccain, thier campaign is based on truth not Lies. Policy positions not personalities.What a shame- Conservatives-thats the way to retain power through lies and slander. WAKE UP AMMERICA!!!

    September 14, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. Former Republican

    Think about this: Do we really want Sarah Palin as the next president. I am crossing party lines to vote for Obama because I LOVE MY CONTRY more than i love any political party.

    September 14, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Rove has it right. Obama is the new King of Sleaze. He really hit bottom yesterday when he said he would give a tax cut to 95% of Americans.

    That is a laugh

    When he made the lipstick in the barnyard was he referring to his wife or women in general?

    September 14, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. David

    Both Obama and McCain are guilty of dishonest ads. There should be a monitoring system in place for ads from the campaigns so they get verified before they can run on tv or the internet.

    September 14, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. Michael Roden

    Rove is just trying to make himself look like a good guy by pretending that he is giving out free, bipartisan advice. That way the Democrat's argument that McCain is using Karl Rove campaign tactics will not hold as much sway in the next 7 weeks. He is a very smart, evil genius.

    September 14, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. Jen B

    Karl Rove is not worthy of anyone's respect, but I agree with him this time. John McCain is running a dishonorable campaign, full of lies and innuendo. He is not to be trusted. His irresponsible choice of running mate tells us that country does not come first.

    September 14, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  12. Michael

    It's pretty hard to go so far as to get this kind of reaction out of Karl Rove! Better get out your ice skates, hell may have just frozen over.

    But kudos to him for saying what the press is finally waking up to and starting to report on: the continuous stream of distortions, half-truths, and outright lies from the McCain campaign.

    September 14, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. Frank Lee

    Karl Rove would certainly know what lying is all about.

    Caribou Barbie is adding to the Lie-O-Meter every day now.

    Too bad Karl isn't in a holding cell awaiting a flight to the Hague.

    September 14, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Linda Brown

    This is the pot calling the kettle black. Rove has his nerve even making a comment such as this.

    September 14, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Alan Boyer

    This is a trick. A fake flag of surrender. Keep your guard up, Obama.

    September 14, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Gene from Georgia

    "Jim from Chicago" is a rare phenomenon – an honest Republican.

    September 14, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. Hilary B

    Maybe it's a reverse psychology thing? Maybe Rove is banking on the fact that McCain supporters don't trust him and will think that what he's saying about the ads is a lie when in fact it's the truth?

    September 14, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. Jess

    Jesse: If McCain can write- he should be able to type an email.

    I'm sorry, but there are blind people who can use computers- and deaf people who can compose symphonies.

    September 14, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. redwhiteblue

    Obama is drawing the biggest crowds, drawing in the most money, making the most sense, trying to talk issues and McCain is ahead in the polls?I do not believe it. There is something very wrong here.
    When Obama went overseas, he looked and acted presidential, and was received with respect, and the foreign people stated they were hoping for an Obama win. No bump in the polls. Obama bringing in the huge crowds and setting records for the money sent in, no bump. The fantastic convention should have boosted his ratings way up. Nothing. Choosing the popular Joe Biden and no bump. Are all these new people that are registering as Democrats going to vote Republican? Not likely!
    The American people are going to miss the opportunity of curing this country of the Bush and the Republican led congress disasters. Obama is a highly intelligent man and has as his running mate a man who could step into the presidency if that became necessary.
    I have been thinking for quite awhile that something is very wrong here. I believe they are again about to steal the election. Why are we always so helpless in stopping them?

    September 14, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Roy P

    Obama runs an ad that insults 30 million older people. Who cares about the truth. The Obama campaign is destroying our party.

    September 14, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. alex

    Im confused isnt Karl Roveone of McCain's advisers!! What is really going on in the McCain Camp!!!!!

    September 14, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. nate

    Hmm perhaps the guru (Rove) is getting jealous of his disciple (Schmidt).

    September 14, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Montana Independent

    1. McCain's lies seem to be working to a small extent.
    2. When will Americans wake up and stop believing lies?
    3. When will women realize they are being lied to and manipulated?
    4. Those people who willingly vote for McCain/Palin and say Clinton 2012 deserve what they get. With McCain/Palin there may not be a 2012 in which to elect Hillary.
    5. The Republicans are NOT making history by nominating a woman VP. The Democrats did that in the 1980s with Geraldine Ferraro.
    6. What short and selective memories some people have.
    7. If we, as a nation, elect McCain/Palin, we will be much worse off than we are now, economically, socially, internationally.

    Stupid people get what stupid people deserve.

    September 14, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. pam Eugene OR

    What's up with Rove? I am astounded. Possibly the Repugs have conceded this election and have decided to start over in 2012 with better candidates! They sure have losers this time.
    Obama/Biden

    September 14, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. RA Crouch, Michigan

    The sad part of this election is we can demonstrate conclusively that McCain cannot tell the truth and some people will still vote for him.

    Is this is what the Christian Conservatives want? Lies.

    I am going for the integrity ticket.

    September 14, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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