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. 4change

    McCain/Palin team is the worst thing that could happen to our country:

    Both candidates lack of integrity. Merriam-Webster Definition: Integrity implies trustworthiness and incorruptibility to a degree that one is incapable of being false to a trust, responsibility, or pledge.

    McCain’s multiple infidelities while married to his first wife Carol, his continued misrepresentation of the facts and right down lies about Obama’s record and policies, lies and misrepresentation of Palin’s real record and experience, his lobbyist friends who are running his campaign, it goes on and on and on. Even McCain’s wife does not trust him, otherwise, why would she had insisted on a prenuptial agreement that denies McCain any access to her money? If she trusts him as a person and believes on his honesty, why would she need a prenuptial agreement?

    McCain is trying to win our votes by drilling into the minds of the American people, his experience as a POW, and while at the same time running a very dishonest campaign, which takes away the honor of that sacrifice. And now Rove of all people is openly criticizing McCain for misrepresenting the truth on his ads against Obama.

    Palin is no better than McCain; she has consistently lied about her own record, her hiring of lobbyist, her knowledge of foreign affairs, her use and misuse of earmarks, etc. Her interview with ABC really scared me. According to the FBI, Alaska is the first in the nation, per capita, for rapes, and second for murder of women by men. Then there is the well publicized state Senate committee's investigation of Palin. The McCain campaign has launched an attack on its credibility, saying four of its members are Democrats supporting Obama, but they failed to mention that the other 10 members of the committee are Republicans.

    McCain's health is an issue of grave concern for all Americans, regardless of political persuasion. If McCain wins this election, given the fact that he has been treated for an invasive melanoma and other maladies, there is a very good chance that at some point in the near future Palin will be running our country. If that doesn’t worry you than I don’t know what will.

    McCain has said that this race is about personalities and how much the candidates are liked by the voters; he refuses to discuss issues, and is using Palin to attract women voters. Does he think that women are stupid? I hope Americans’ wake up before it’s too late.

    September 14, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. McCain stands beside Palin as she LIE!

    It’s sad that we the Obama supporters are reporting lies and tricks by McCain and Palin in the present, but the Republicans want to go back in time acting as if they are proving a legit reason NOT to vote for Obama. Then to think we are going to turn away from Obama because they say he lied….Well McCain and Palin ARE still lying and continue to LIE even when it is proven they LIED, DAY one when Palin open her mouth she lied with a straight face, SCARY. Don’t TRUST Rove Obama, he’s up to something or MANY MORE of Palin LIES are about to be revealed by the real reporters “THE VIEW”.

    September 14, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

    I never cease to be amazed by politics and politicians... Even in light of the grand-daddy of dirty politics making a statement like ,almost half of the voting public will be throwing their weight behind a worthless McPain ticket

    September 14, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. UK FOR OBAMA

    McCain doesn't say how he's going to fix your issues, because McCain won't fix your issues. He'll perpetuate them.

    September 14, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. Ted:Canada

    ROVE – THNAKS FOR WAKING UP

    Republicans will tell you directly that they lie!!! Rudy Giuliani did at the convention – he said

    “I learned as a trial lawyer a long time ago, if you don’t have the facts, you’ve got to change them.” Check the transcript.

    So while he used this jargon against Obama… Here is my question.

    Giuliani – based on what you learned "a long time ago" when do we know when you are lying and when you are telling the truth?

    In our country he would be sued by Legal Organizations – in your country he gets to stand up at a national convention and say that lawyers are liars.
    Christian Right where are you ?????
    Medai where are you????

    September 14, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. Lynn Vilen

    John McCain is trying to distract voters from the real issues. And he's willing to take the low road by making cheap personal attacks and lying outright about Barack and his record.

    September 14, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. Tennisguypitt

    Holy crap! You know SOMETHING is up if Karl Rove criticizes McCain for lying!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 14, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  8. james

    When does Biden get some air time from the media? There are two vise-presidential candidates.

    September 14, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. Cila

    McCain should have left out the kindergarten sex education ad in my opinion. But it is factually correct that there wasn't a clause that provided less information for the younger students. I personally see nothing wrong with providing factual biological information (geared for young kids) on sex and reproduction. But we have more important issues of grave concern. McCain was not as petty as Obama, who really meant the pig comment – all women know a man like him – he'll put you down, then blame it on you. Or call you a poor sport. The DNC web site even has an ad called "Flipper TV" featuring John McCain. If questioned, Obama would recoil in fake outrage that you think he's making sport of McCain's war injuries where his arms were broken, leaving them like "flippers" he can't raise above his head. Your man is a loser people, face it.

    September 14, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  10. Phil Edou

    The man is just suggesting that Mccain is even worse than the current president and that a third Bush term would be even better than a single Mccain term.
    God help America!!!

    September 14, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. John

    Come on CNN! Put the entire quote up there for goodness sakes! Rove was much harder on Obama. This is why everyone says CNN is just another liberal media source. And, by the way, why don't you report on what the person who coined the phrase "Bush Docrtine" has to say about the Palin interview? Be REAL news reporters.

    September 14, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  12. Patty

    Did anyone read the update under the article???????????

    September 14, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  13. Hypocrisy is the name of the game

    Karl Rove is irrelevant .............I want to know why CNN never reported on the Anti-Palin rally that took place yesterday in Alaska............and why a conservative radio personality tried to censor the organizers by giving out their private phone numbers over the air. THIS IS A SERIOUS THING. Palin supporters are acting like dictators in Alaska by trying to intimidate people who appose her............... It speaks to the kind of leader she'll be.......ARE PEOPLE AFRAID TO SPEAK OUT AND LOSE THEIR JOBS?

    September 14, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  14. McCain stands beside Palin as she LIE!

    Those who say that Obama has a lot of CORRUPTIONS going on and we just don’t know it, Be for REAL…Do you honestly think McCain and Palin would be telling lies after lie with ads if what you say and think about Obama was TRUE? McCain and Palin can’t find any TRUTH to these FALSE allegation that seem to be an ad used by a lot of people making negative ADS on these blogs. Be informed WITH the TRUTH…..

    September 14, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  15. Country First for Obama

    Jim, from Chicago - 'who cares it's working" huh? You sir, are one of the problems in America. I wish you and your ilk would get a clue! CNN, PLEASE POST.
    '

    September 14, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  16. Michael Dunn

    Who would have thought that Carl Rove would actually look like a voice of reason....

    September 14, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  17. Obama 08

    To "Jim in Chicago"...you better think again buddy. That's wishful thinking on your part. Palin is nothing more than a bubble on water. She will be gone soon and McCain is and always will be old news.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    September 14, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  18. Blinded by the lie

    @ gary...I think you need to move to Russia caz you sound predjudice.

    September 14, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  19. The Point Man

    Hear we go again! Another person that is upset that Palin is being criticized. Her record should be scrutinized. There are things that she should have to answer for. Obama has been through this for 18 months. Palin should go through the same scrutiny as everybody else. You make me laugh! Stop trying to protect her. This is the big time. If she can't stand up to the pressure, she should go back to Alaska!

    September 14, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. pzc

    I feel sorry for the polar bears...

    Now the American people I have no sympathy for ...

    They deserve just what they are going to get...

    September 14, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  21. J E

    This is so funny! I actually can't believe it! The biggest repug sleazeball in politics is calling you a liar and saying you stepped over the edge John! Talk about backfiring. Americans if you've been believing McCain's lies and propoganda you need to seriously rethink.

    September 14, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  22. james

    GARY- NO MORE LIES. OBAMA IS ONE OF US. WHO BELIEVES THIS TRASH, EXCEPT FOR YOU AND THE GRAND WIZZARD. GET A LIFE.

    September 14, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  23. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    HA! Karl Rove, of all people, to even comment on McCain's twisted lies-he's the author of most of them! Don't give us that crud that you're only advising from way in the background, Rove. YOU are the MASTER LIAR sneakily directing the rest of the ex-Bush campaign crowd now running the McCain campaign!

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08 AND '12!!!

    September 14, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  24. Kiyanna1

    I do not believe anything out of eith Palin or Mccains mouths or ads. My god people wake up! These 2 will put the US back into the dark ages, banning wome's free choice, only abstinace sex education in school(that obviously worked real well in her own home) Do u honestly believe Mccain knew about Palin's daughter being pregnant? Not likely. His senior press advisor was even toungue tied on the news. I would expect someone like that to be articulate when interviewed about something they claim to know about.
    Bridge to nowhere. Lies Ebay plane sale makes a profit Lies. She has gouged the earmark funds for years, now says she won't support them? She had better win and go to the Whitehouse after that comment I am sure not too many Alaskans are going to want her back anyway!

    September 14, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  25. Griff

    CNN's add, for Sealis? Cealis??? Is this an Election? Or an Ere$#%$#???? Sexist's. Or Sex-Inc? You should put this, Crap to Bed, CNN..

    September 14, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
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