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. Bigbubba

    I can see this attack dog of the ultra right saying Obama is wrong. He has said that before when Obama was obviously correct. But to say that McCain has gone too far is almost beyond belief. Rove has been saying things for years that are right on the line, and sometimes over, of being slander or libel. His comments about politicians against his candidates have been dispicable and beneath the lowest of all possible denominators. Rove would seemingly have been at home telling everyone the trains are on time and everything good comes from our leader in mid-century Germany.

    And John McCain is too dirty for Rove. I huess it is true. You do get the candidates you deserve. Go Republicans.

    September 14, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. hard workin ohio

    They didn't go far enough! John and Sarah will save America from terrorism and rescue the unborn from the criminal women who try to prevent them from receiving the lord's blessing.This is why millions of Hilary supporters are now on our side. They understand that America must be saved.

    September 14, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. khistian

    who cares?? nobody seems to care about this country anymore thats why republicans keep winning supported by conservative christians freaks and oil companys

    September 14, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. David

    A pot calling a kettle?
    The republicans have destroyed this country beyond repair. They are good in lie and cheap shots but they are driving the country to a point of no return. I don't want my children to go to India or China to get excellent education but that might be the case if we continue to drive this country the same way it was driven for the last eight years. I liked what NYT said today ...."Sorry, but there is no sustainable political/military power without economic power, and talking about one without the other is nonsense. Unless we make America the country most able to innovate, compete and win in the age of globalization, our leverage in the world will continue to slowly erode. Those are the issues this election needs to be about, because that is what the next four years need to be about. "

    September 14, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. Proactive voter

    My grand father told me that an intelligent person cannot be fooled 3 times in a row.
    Bush has fooled Americans twice. He is now coming for the third time.
    He will never make it.

    This time truth is prevailing, I can feel it despite the mist
    OBAMA&BIDEN 08

    September 14, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. Heike, Germany(greetings to all!)

    This so called "born again" Christians have know no shame whatsoever! They are in politics and prey on the truely God fearíng ones: I ask what would Jesus say to these people?
    Can they convince me to accept Jesus Christ if I didn't previously believe in him? Sarah Palin is supposed to be a Christain "born again" Thou shall not lie – the Bible says, i guess it is acceptable for her to lie to the American people about "The Bridge to no Where" and the plane she presumes to have sold on ebay with profit!
    Church leaders are even applauding her so called " reformer" record.
    Hey what happened to "pray for your enemies an d bless those who curse you"? – her ex brother in law has a different experience in that department.
    What happened to "peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest in righteousness"?

    September 14, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  7. Michigan Voter

    When McCain's elected, I'm sure Rove and Cheney will have very high places in his cabinet. When McCain dies or has to resign, they'll be the ones controlling Palin.

    September 14, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. facts are facts

    Talk outside of the U.S. is that surveys were done and an astonishingly high number of Americans have the reading and writing skills of a grade seven education.

    This is supposed to represent a large segment of the population and if at all accurate it would explain why people are so easily fooled by the Republican Party year after year.

    This is especially true if you factor in the another large segment of the population (1/3) that have no interest in anything except their religion and having everyone conform to their own perverted views of how a society should operate.

    September 14, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. Rachel Wheeler

    I don't get it. I had a hard time understanding how Bush was re-elected in 2004, but really thought that Americans finally realized what an awful job he was doing. Now it seems like so many are falling for McCain/Palin. Palin is so right-wing conservative that it's scary and electing them is as bad to me as re-electing Bush. While I respect different views, how can one justfiy that they are change, look at what Greenspan had to say "Economy in a once-in-a-century crisis."

    Regarding Rove, he's a huge part of the current problem, why would anyone listen to what he has to say.

    September 14, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. john

    Anything that goes thru the congress Dem Rep Joe Sestak said its the democrats fault because their the majority party...when asked it he takes some of the blame he said yes I'm democrat.....I think Obama is getting what he deserves .... look at the lies on top of lies he spread about Sarah Palin

    September 14, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  11. Michelle

    Finally, the truth! Thanks Rove for admitting that your buddy, McCan't is a liar. I hate that the Democrats are so soft, but I guess John Lennon said it best, "All that we're saying is give peace a chance." What ever happened to being nice to one another. What's amazing is the United States touts itself as being a "Christian nation," yet I see nothing Christ like in its actions. For sure, church and state are separate, according to the Constitution, but one wouldn't know it, after following the last two Presidental elections. However, I have a remedy for it all. If the church, any church, wants to push its beliefs on the American public, that denomination should pay taxes. I wish George Carlin were around to see and comment on this fiasco.

    By the way, the President of Venezula, Hugo Chávez, has decided that Venezula will not do business with the U.S. until there is a change in our government. I don't think he meant switching from Bush to McCain.

    Please, someone, check out the issues this raises. You think fuel costs are high now...

    September 14, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  12. mitchell

    should keep ur trap shut then karl. but, we know mccain/palin are lying to win.

    September 14, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  13. Joe Regis

    McCain – P campaign is built on a house of card, it come crumbling down before you know it. Even Rove is dismayed at the blatant naked-lies and the repubs are running on Obama's plans of change and reform as if they are not the party that's been in power for 8 years and brought hard time to the American people.

    This is truly unprecedented the way the repubs see fit to lies.

    No more repubs this year.

    Obama/Biden 08/12.

    September 14, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. Dan in CA

    Jim, the first commenter, is right! We don't want truth, we want winners! *sigh*

    September 14, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. Larry

    Karl Rove cannot be trusted at all

    Everything he does is for Republican gain

    I'm sure ... as is this quote

    Lipstick on the Rove pig

    Is still a Rove pig

    September 14, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. Free

    I do not believe McCain or Palin actually know how to tell the truth anymore. I am undecided and I was leaning towards McCain because he seemed to be more factual and issue oriented. Now McCain seems to be the BIGGEST LIAR. AS A CHRISTIAN, I thought that we were not supposed to LIE. This campaign has been more about spreading lies and it is very sad. I think we are in a sad state when CHRISTIANS continually LIE and even our CHRISTIAN LEADERS LIKE CHRISTIAN LIARS. So a new headline can be 'EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS SUPPORT LIAR'S'.

    WWJD-Jesus is it okay if I intentially and consistently lie to get what I want, even though I am walking in direct contracdiction of your Word?

    September 14, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. Jeffer65

    Karl Rove would know, wouldn't he.

    September 14, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  18. Michelle

    Ladies, I continue to be baffled by the cry for equality and the demand to be treated tenderly. It's a contradiction. If a female decides to become a football player, should the team not tackle her as they would any man? Do you think Bobby Rigg held back because Billy Jean King was a woman?
    I can only suspect why no one takes the feminist movement seriously. Women want to be treated equally on their terms. For sure, I am all woman, and I still prefer a man open the door for me and pull out my chair. However, I don't cry and whine when such does not occur. Palin called Sen. Clinton a whiner. Now, the Republican Party whines every time someone asks a question of Palin that she is ill prepared to answer. Doing so is not sexism!!! She refers to herself as a barracuda, a pitbull, etc. Well, let her play with the big dogs. It's called equality not sexism.
    As long as women think it unfair to asks questions, we will always be treated unfairly.

    September 14, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. UK FOR OBAMA

    Y'know I'm sorry to say that I can see a McCain win in November. I badly want to be wrong, but America just can't seem to make what is obviously a clear cut decision. McCain/Palin are shameless, deceitful liars...and it seems a lot of Americans are sucking it up and asking for more.

    Sad...

    September 14, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. WilKo

    It's good to observe that the Obama-Biden campaign is being quick to respond to these comments, and seize on what ever opportunity that arises...this is Politics 101.

    However, for Karl Rove, of all people, to state that the McCain-Palin campaign has 'gone one step to far' is about as stark as an example of "the pot calling the kettle black" as I've ever seen.

    This guy will do anything to keep his name in lights.

    September 14, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. Hillary Voter

    To "All for Palin" – I seriously beg to differ – she will set women's rights back decades. Hillary supporters vote issues, not gender, and I can't imagine any thinking woman voting for her. The straight talk express is serious derailed . . .

    September 14, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Wisdom

    America PLEASE wake up before this GREAT country of ours becomes 2nd rate.

    OBAMA/BIDEN is the vote of TRUTH, INTELLIGENCE, WISDOM & HOPE

    September 14, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  23. WOW - Cedar Hill, TX

    its about time someone from the Repubs step up and tell John Mccain he is wrong...

    Thanks

    September 14, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. Rachielle in VA

    Karl is full of it. He's the main one behind these ads. Wow. The nerve.

    September 14, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. CLS in VT

    OMG I just Googled "lies"> This is what came up at top:
    "Related searches: palin lies mccain lies lies quotes why people lie "

    September 14, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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