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. Nonya

    One would expect Rove to say 'Obama is worse'. The idiots who say 'Who cares', or "But he says Obama is worse" are beyond stupid. You must be part of the 'below 100 IQ' club.

    September 14, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. Nick

    well Karl Rove said that both campaigns went over the top. Why is CNN saying he talked about the McCain campaign alone.
    If the media can not report accurately maybe they should just stick to reporting celebrity lifestyles.
    Anyhow i don't care how over the top either campaign is because i always check what they put out. I am an Independent voter and i wish i could have had a McCain/ Biden ticket or Biden/McCain ticket. Seriously this is the poorest choices i've got since i've been voting, and the only presidential candidate that i voted for that lost an election was Al Gore 2000 ( and i can argue he still won the popular vote) and i've been voting since 1980.
    I'm just not comfortable with Palin nor Obama.
    How can Obama outsmart Putin, a former KGB agent. and what if Palin ends up president how is she going to handle that.
    The situation there is extra complex we can not go to war there; not that we can't beat them but they would inflict a lot of losses to us before we reach victory there. they have nukes and some very bad weapons even thought our military is the best in the world.
    National security matters a lot to me; and this war on terrorism is far from over.
    Of course i want a great economy but there is no substitute for national security.
    I know doctors that graduated in france and come to work here. So people please stop with the France and Britain comparisons, it is non sense. You don't copy anyone when you are the best and if anyone believe we are not the greatest country just go and spend a year or two in europe and you will never leave this country again.
    Hopefully from now until election day i can here more about national security and the economy ( jobs, small businesses, energy) to help make a decision.
    Nick from Ottawa

    September 14, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. John

    In the update Mr. Rove wants us all to note that he says Obama's advertisements are as full of un-truth as McCain's.

    But his saying that does not make it true. Making one statement about mcCain that IS true, does not un-do Mr. Rove's deserved reputation, it does not make him all the sudden a honorable teller of truth.

    That was his point, I think–to undermine his reputation, to make people think for a second that he can be trusted because he states one truth, only so that he can then drag Obama to the McCain level of med.

    This is important and I have been following it all along. McCain lies and that is provable. So far Obama has not lied.

    September 14, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. Jen

    Democrats did not want Hillary as well. Women can see it and we will vote for Palin. Good luck DNC.

    September 14, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. voter

    What Karl rove said is true. McCain's lies are very obvious and the media knows it. The media still refuses to discuss the lies of the McCain-Palin ticket. In fact, Palin yesturday continued to discuss how she stopped the bridge to know where and sold the plane on e-bay. Both of these stories have been debunked. Cnn is not talking about it. It says alot about a team that consisitantly lies. It is ridiculous and shameful that the media does not call them out on it. Second, I don't trust karl rove. If I were the deomcrats, I be careful in quoting Rove. You never know if he is settin up the dems.

    September 14, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Diana

    I have a question??? Why do the democrats oppose killing animals when they are pro-choice .... its like its fine to kill the unborn but not the animals Am I missing something here

    September 14, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. Brad

    The best way to catch a pickpocket is with another pickpocket. Similarly, the best way to catch a liar is with another liar.

    September 14, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Ken

    Karl Rove really said that? Ike not only knocked out our power last knight but must it have blown us into the Bizarro universe as well.

    September 14, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. Ito

    Did McCain "offend" the almighty Karl Rove by not paying him the agreed fee to get him elected? Did McCain do this by persuading Rove that he can now win without Rove because he now has Palin another 'marverick"?

    You know McCain, you dare not cross the line with Karl Rove or you lose. Ask your "silent" partner Bush – he knows Karl Rove.

    September 14, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. A CANUCK

    In Alaska Palen is known as an extremist....who thinks her way is the only way...and pushes her agenda on others. And the way I see it....Obama is the one with family values and Palen is simply trailer trash.....after reading up about her and all her lies I can't believe a sane American would vote for her !!!!

    September 14, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. Crystal for Obama

    Duh, tell us something we don't know. Now let's see if the people who are for McCain and Palin are intelligent enough to do their research and see that McCain and Palin are the same unethical liars, con-artists and criminals that we currently have in the administration.

    Come on, America, wake up and smell the coffee!

    September 14, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. TRUBLU

    A trublu american when will they just get to the issues ?

    September 14, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. john

    To all democrats who say they see the truth... listen to cnn or Fox instead of nbc or abc and you will really learn the truth

    September 14, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. Larry - Hazleton, pa

    I can only wonder as to how far down that Mr McCain will fall – as a Naval Officer he was sworn to truth and honesty – gave his pledge to now allow anyone to lie – cheat or steal – will we all know that he has failed his duty on 2 out of three for sure – he has surly lied and cheated – but by republican standards being perhaps right on 1 out 3 ain't bad. As for his running mate – just more of the same. No one in there right mind would vote for that team.

    September 14, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. Becca

    Since when does Rove know anything about the truth?....I'm sure he is loving the recent Palin-mania..... Think about it..... new window dressing to distract from the same old policies....

    This is a joke and an an insult to those people in America that have been suffering as a result of the disasterous policies of the past 7+ years!! The McCain campaign would like us to "PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN". ..... why? .... because Bush's brain is controlling the "show."

    There's only one way to put an end to the disasterous Bush Policies....

    We do't need to REFORM the Bush policies....WE NEED TO "CHANGE" THEM!!!!!!

    September 14, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. James Johannsen

    Rove wants to keep himself in the forefront – he should get lost.
    Politics is a two way street and both sides have said some "funny duck" things...have they not?
    Obama is slamming Palin because she was for the Bridge before she was not – well when the Bridge first came up Palin was not a Governor and when she found out that people did not want it and she was Governor at the time it came up – Anchorage Daily in Feb and Alaskan News in Feb said "Palin put an end to the Bridge to Nowhere". Congress did not cut off the money as Obama says either, as Alaska still received the money and spent this money on infrastructure.
    McCain and Paris HIlton and that dumb ad was not funny either. WHO VOTED FOR THE BRIDGE TO NOWHWERE? Obama and Biden even though they were asked to work to send the money to New Orleans for Katrina , and they refused- what do we make of that?
    Spinning of the words makes most Americans laugh and a little sick to the stomach when we view many of those ads.
    I'm an Indpendent but let's see them slice an dice the words of all four candidates, not just the woman – this is what they did to Hillary who I thought was a good condidate.
    Who did NOT vote for the Bridge to NOwhwere? McCain. Who has never had a Pork Barrel (rip off the American people ) project – McCain folks.
    Corp. runs America and that stranglehood has to be cut or we will end up being a third world country in 10 yrs.
    James Johannsen

    September 14, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. ginger

    Jesse, McCain said, he didn't know to use computers. Obama just used it in an ad. You find the Sen. McCains comments about his inability to use computers on youtube.

    September 14, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Follow The 2nd Derivative

    In Calculus, the 2nd derivative of an equation represents acceleration. When the sign of acceleration changes, the velocity is about to change.

    Rove stating that McCain's ads are UNTRUTHFUL represent his realization that the public is focusing on a lack of HONOR, INTEGRITY & ETHICS from the Republican Party and he's trying to manage the damage before it gets out of hand. Rove is smart enough to watch the 2nd derivative.

    You can be sure that if he is criticizing McCain, he's doing so because he thinks it's to the benefit of the Republican Party. Kind of like Palin saying that Obama is "regrettin" not selecting Hillary as VP.

    GOP needs to stop trying to manipulate people and present concrete solutions for the country. There is NO THERE .... there.

    September 14, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. Martha

    Medical doctors are now questioning McCain's medical records. Even Sanjay Gupta seems to think that McCain's melanoma should be questioned for a man of his age. There are far more questions to be answered about McCain's medical records, which shows that he is physically and mentally unfit for the job. Even so, this will also reveal to the people of Arizona how this man duped them into believing he is fit for office.

    September 14, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. Jilly Billy

    Rob of Scranton – I just vomited on myself. What a load of crap.

    September 14, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Marva L. Dowdin

    Your news coverage should be bias and show equal statements, but you have distorted Mr. Obama’s every word. He is the only reason so many people are going to the polls and that is a fact. It is also a fact that he is a smart black man. Sen. McCain was in the White House at that time when Enron and other multi-million dollar companies were dishing out big cash to politicians. Thousands of people lost their jobs, retirement pensions, benefits, and savings. Drugs company executives got kickbacks, bonuses, and raises while working people in this country could not afford their prescription medicines. Our Seniors are eating cat and dog food, not buying their medicine, freezing in the winter because heating bills are too high, our schools, roads and bridges are falling apart, millions of people are without health care, Louisiana is still tore up from Hurricane Katrina, millions have lost their homes due to foreclosure, millions of jobs are lost due to contracts with China, which are making our children sick with the lead paint that is being used on toys; our automobile, chemical, and steel plants are being closed and last food is too high and the gasoline is outrageous; you need to tell it like it is, we are mad, mad, mad; now tell that. Marva L. Dowdin

    September 14, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. Bill Colorado

    Karl Rove is simply attempting a misdirection play. He knows that saying McCain went to far will spur the Dems on to do the same.

    Amazing how some Dems actually believe him ......when they have such contempt for him.

    September 14, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  23. sarahdoodles

    I find this whole election process so sophmoric and sad. The fact that grown adults lie on national television about each other is completely pathetic – what does this all say to the rest of the world about American society – much less our young children whom we admonish never to lie? What's more, a lot of this lying is coming from the party who have won many elections in modern times championing "christian" values. Shame on both sides for utilizing this practice. Thank goodness for and other non-partisan fact-finding groups. I was quite saddened and dismayed this morning when I heard a member of the Republican Party being quoted regarding his opinions on what he called "the bubba vote". He stated the "bubba vote" are those who will vote against Mr. Obama solely because he is black, and these people will never admit to this in any poll. I hope and sincerely pray that he is untterly wrong.

    I am so disappointed in Mr. McCain for pandering to the far right of the Republican party, a group with whom, before he chose Gov. Palin, he had a strained relationship at best. (I am neither a registered dem. nor repub.) Ms. Palin and her extreme conservative views scare the hell out of me (how's that abstinence only thing working out for you?). Mr. McCain insulted my intelligence by obviously thinking that just because he picked a woman he would get my vote. Does he think that would matter to me more than how she feels about a woman's right to control her body (I am the mother of three teen-aged daughters)? Does he think it would matter to me more than how intelligent this person is (you know, you can see Russia from parts of Alaska)? Does he think it would matter to me more than my fear of her extreme religious views? C'mon Mr. McCain, I was educated in these United States, and I am too intelligent to fall for any of your shananigans.

    September 14, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  24. mitchell

    like we dont know that! someone put that man in jail ,where he belongs!

    September 14, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  25. Luigi

    I wish karl rove would just go into hiding, cause he really is not helping. Why are the republicans allowing him to hang around after all that cia leaking stuff?

    September 14, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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