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. SCOTT

    THE RIGHT WINGED REPUBLICANS AND JOHN MCCAIN HAVE NEVER BEEN TRUTHFUL. THEY GET AHEAD BY PLAYING THE AMERICAN PUBLIC FOR FOOLS.

    OBAMA 08

    September 14, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. mitchell

    i can type with one finger.why cant mccain?

    September 14, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. The Point Man

    Sara Palin has been not been honest about earmarks that she has gotten for her town and state. She is the queen of earmarks. Her people are trying to stonewall an investigation into a possible abuse of her powers. McCain claims to want to clean up Washington. A Washington that he has been a part of. He says that he is against lobbyists but has lobbyists running his campaign. Is this how you spell change? All of a sudden, they are the change candidates. They avoid talking about the issues because their positions on the economy are especially weak.These people are as phony as they come. Add that to McCain's dirty politics, i can't see where they would be good for the country. I have noticed that the Republicans like to dish out the low blows but cry like hell when the tables are turned on them. If they can't take it ,then they shouldn't dish it out!

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

    ROB-SCRANTON YOU DONT KNOW WHO OBAMA IS. GET THE REA;L FACTS THAT THE MEDIA AND HE WONT TELL YOU. DIDN'TKNOW THE MUSLIMS PAYED HIS WAY THROUGH COLLEGE. THERE IS A LOT OF CORRUPTIONS OBAMA IS INVOLVED IN BUT THE MEDIA WONT TELL YOU. THEIR TO BUSY CRITISIZING PALIN,MCCAIN AND HRC WHEN SHE WAS RUNNING.THE DNC,MEDIA,AND O.B. RAILROADED HRC OUT OF THE RACE. YOU JUST KEEP BELIEVING THE PUPPET MASTER,AND HE WILL KEEP PULLING YOUR STRINGS AND TELLING YOU WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR. FOR RETURN YOU KEEP SENDING YOUR MONEY AND VOTES. IF IT WAS UP TO O.B. ARE COUNTRY WOULD HAVE BEEN ATTACKED MANY TIMES SINCE 911. MCCAIN IS THE ONE THAT KEPT US SAFE AND NO ATTACKS SINCE 911. OUR COUNTRY COMES FIRST .WITHOUT THAT NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. MCCAIN/PALIN.

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

    Nova voter, How will NOVA vote? and what about the rest of the state?

    September 14, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  6. Cyberjockie

    Its a shame when you are so desperate that you have to lie about your opponet to make yourself look better. He should be focusing his time and energy on telling the american people how he is going to fix our issues. The way I see, i don't think McCain has any real plan and that is why he is lashing out at his opponet.

    I personally think that you should be fined for launching an ad that is not 100% true. Additionally to a steep fine of at least 1 million dollars, the person who made the false ad should be forced to make a public apology. If the person continues to do lie, then they should not be allowed to continue to campaign for the presidency. This would sent a message to anyone running for office that Americans are tired of being lied to by our most trusted government officials.

    September 14, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. Ron Pab,San Francisco

    what about ads thats attack Sarah?Is that fair game?We already
    learned the lessons when Obama attacks hilliary during primary?SExism!
    Not this time Obama,Sarah is tough.

    Palin Power 2008

    September 14, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  8. How many days since Palin went to Iraq?

    WOW KARL ROVE CALLING JOHN MCCAIN DISHONEST.......

    Remember John McCain going on and on and on about Barack Obama and how many days it had been since he last paid a visit there.

    TELL ME AGAIN HOW MANY DAYS HAS IT BEEN SINCE SARAH PALIN WENT TO IRAQ. I KNOW IT'S AT LEAST 44 YEARS WORTH.

    THE JOHN MCCAIN PLATFORM OF CHANGE CONSISTS OF (SHORT LIST)

    CHANGING WASHINGTON – NO SPECIFICS OFFERED.

    ENDING PORK BARREL SPENDING. HE WILL HAVE TO GET SARAH ON BOARD FOR THIS AS SHE GOT THE MOST PORK MONEY PER PERSON THAN ANY OTHER POLITICIAN IN THE USA.

    MORE TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY AND CORPORATIONS.

    TAXING OUR HEALTH BENEFITS MAKING HEALTH CARE MORE EXPENSIVE THAN IT ALREADY IS.

    ONE THING FOR SURE – JOHN MCCAIN DOES NOTHING FOR ANYONE MAKING UNDER 100 K PER YEAR. HE DOES HELP PEOPLE LIKE HIMSELF AND CINDY MCCAIN.

    SARAH PALIN IS ON A HUGE EGO TRIP. THIS JOB IS OUT OF HER ELEMENT AND QUALIFICATIONS.

    VOTE OBAMA AND BIDEN FOR A CHANGE IN DIRECTION. FOR HOPE AND PROSPERITY AND PEACE AROUND THE WORLD.

    September 14, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  9. NoMccain

    It is becoming increasingly more clear that Obama is the only leader left in this two year presidential nomination process. By the way, why has there been no one on one debates yet? It seems to me like the Media is trying to capitalize on our waiting process in order to either intentionally keep us uninformed, or make tons of money off of it when it does happen by interjecting superbowl style commercials. Nothing like taking advantage of destitute Americans.

    September 14, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  10. The NEW democrats

    Ruth... you demonstrate the ignorance and bigotry of the NEW democrats.

    I am a Christian and as liberal as they get... so what's with " all the Christians who comprise the conservatives"?

    Obama will lose because democrats have been the sexist, insulting, nasty, biased haters in this election. And that does not fly well.

    September 14, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  11. Peter (CA)

    Rove saying McCain is not 100% truthful is like saying Hurricane Ike was a pretty strong rainstorm. I'm glad he is noting the lies. There are even articles in MSM papers now noting that they keep lying so that it will eventually become the "truth".

    Well, of course, he also called out Obama......but I would like to see what he means by that. We can easily tick off the McCain lies.

    September 14, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  12. Will

    Funny how he's also helping the McCain Campaign as an adviser and a criticizer?

    Karl you could never escape hyprocracy after leaving the White House could you?

    September 14, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  13. Anna SW Missouri

    As a Republican woman that has felt that the extreme right wing religious idiots have taken over our party, but now I wonder what they are actually talking about within their own homes. They were so happy with this choice for VP, but then came the news of the daughter's pregnancy, and of course we are all supposed to give them respect because "Life happens!" But now, it comes out that Sarah Palin was also pregnant when she got married. Her son was born 7 1/2 months after she eloped to "save her parent's money"

    Are they sure they really want to put her into the white house? Obviously, she hasn't quite lived the moral life she wants everyone to think she has. How are they ever going to be able to condemn the "Liberal left" for their low moral lifestyle when all Dems will have to do on every issue is point to the Republican VP.

    She wants to control how all mothers and families deal with "Life happens" issues, and she even wants to make sure that we cannot even protect our own daughters and granddaughters if they are raped, The hypocracy has got to be eating at the women that are wanting to move their social conservative issues forward that Sarah will actually make it next to impossible to get that done. Many may even be a little concerned that if Palin gets into office, that abortion may actually get outlawed, so they themselves that have had those secret abortions for their daughters or themselves won't actually be available the next time! Isn't hypocracy great?

    September 14, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. The World is Watching.

    I will like to ask Americans to look deep into thier heart and ask themselves, why they want McCain to be President with his history of abandoning his sick wife who waited while he was in Vietnam. some of you called yourself christians but will not vote for Obama because, her loving mother who is one of you married a man from another race. I plead to you not to give Bush and his friend(McCain) another 4 years because of racism(Fear). God is watching. God bless America

    September 14, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  15. BK

    Karl Rove: The only man that can be a monkey wrench in everyone's campaigns at once.

    Still, for a liar like Rove who had to quite because he got caught at it too much to say someone is more of a liar than he is... only John McCain could pull off that title.

    September 14, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  16. Texas

    Coming from Rove it means they are a 100% lie

    September 14, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  17. McCain the Man

    TO: Tom in Delaware September 14th, 2008 3:27 pm ET
    IS THIS THE BEST YOU CAN COME UP WITH "TOWN HALL MEETINGS"...............after McCain has USED Palin to add fumes to his LIES about Obama? all you can say is something about Town Hall Meetings....If that was the WAY to get our economy back on track and bring back ALL our jobs that have been sent over SEAS, to REDUCE the cost of gas/oil.......Your POINT would add up to MEAN something, you are another person who is willing to VOTE for lies then truths, you are another person that cares nothing about his fellow Americans and you are another person that ENJOYS to entertain McCain and Palin with ALL theirs LIES about Obama. Let's not forget those LIES that Palin keeps repeating about herself.........SAD!!!!!!

    September 14, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  18. Rodham Democrat

    What is Karl Rove up to?

    DO NOT FALL FOR IT.

    Rove probably has some other damaging info on Obama (that will probably turn out to be lies in true John McCain fashion), and that's why Rove is coming to Obama's defense now so he claim his analysis is objective because he can to Obama's side before

    September 14, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  19. Hypocrisy is the name of the game

    Rove is A FAT LIAR just like McCain/Palin=Unstable/Unable. I wouldn't believe a word that comes out of this man lips even with lipstick.

    DO NOT FALL FOR LIES FROM UNSTABLE/UNABLE.

    September 14, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  20. Larry

    true there has been no attacks on US soil but the fact of the matter it was easier to attack americans in Iraq both military and private.

    September 14, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. McCain the Man

    All for Palin...........Yes, your RIGHT she is a REAL LIER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 14, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  22. ruby jones

    What will happen if Palin is found guilty of miss use of power? Will she still be allowed to run for VP?

    September 14, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. James in Ohio

    He said BOTH sides have gone a step too far, and both sides probably have gone a step too far.

    Obama's email ad is too far,

    and

    McCain's sex-ed ad is too far.

    The question I would ask is which one of these "too far's" will have the greatest backlash, distorting children's education or belittling a handicap.

    The one with the greatest potential in Rove's opinion is probably belittling a handicap.

    Make no mistake Rove, love him or hate him, is a very smart man.

    September 14, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. Abe

    THE MEDIA WAS NOT REPORTING THE FACTS,THEY WERE NOT ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CASE TO INVADE IRAQ.

    THEY ARE NOT REPORTING THE LIES MCBUSH/PALIN ARE SAYING NOW.
    THE MEDIA IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MESS WE ARE IN AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE IN FOR ANOTHER FOUR YEARS.
    GOD HELP THE POOR.

    QUESTION TO THE CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES.
    HOW ABOUT ONE OF GOD'S COMMANDMENTS,THOU SHALL NOT LIE? WE ALL KNOW THAT McCAIN IS TELLING LIES JUST TO WIN.

    FOR THE SAKE OF GOD AND THE MILLIONS OF POOR PEOPLE WHO ARE SUFFERING AND WILL CONTINUE TO SUFFER IF WE ELECT McCAIN/PALIN WHO REPRESENT THE SAME POLICIES AS BUSH,PLEASE VOTE ON THE ISSUE.

    September 14, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. Ron L

    BUT THIS DOESN'T NOT MATTER TO THE McCAIN CAMPAIGN!!
    The only thing they care about is WINNING!!! They know that with MANY Americans if you tell them VERY negative things over and over they WILL believe them even if they are not true. Karl Rove knows this better than most!!
    It is up to Americans to wake-up and not just listen to the ads of EITHER candidate!! This is EXACTLY how we got stuck with the present President.

    September 14, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
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