September 14th, 2008
03:54 PM ET
4 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. Independent in NC

    We have been looking for bin Laden for the last 7 years. We probably would have had an easier time of it to begin with if Clinton hadn't told the world we were listening to his satellite phone conversations prior to 9/11 (but then, would 9/11 even have happened? Food for thought.)
    We may not like the war or the Patriot Act, but Al Qaida has not been able to perpetrate another attack on the US since 9/11. A large part of that has to do with our troops killing off members of their organization.

    I'm glad Obama has said he is going to do things, because so far, he hasn't done much in our government. He's a one term senator who has been campaigning most of the time instead of doing the job he was elected to do (I have the same criticism of Biden and McCain). Obama talks about change, but he has voted with his party 97% of the time. It seems the message is only "change from Bush," not true change, with that record.

    But he's not running against Bush, he's running against McCain. McCain is a senator, he is not a member of the Bush administration, despite being of the same party. I want to hear about Obama's vision of change for the GOVERNMENT we have now – the whole thing – not just the person in the White House. Ousting Bush and following the Democratic party line is not real change, it's just another person in charge doing what the party says.

    One thing I like about McCain is that over the last 26 years, he has broken with his party, and he has taken a stand, be it right or wrong. One of my concerns about Obama is that he has not struck out on his own, and often will not even pick a side. I agree with quite a bit of his platform, but my concern is whether he is willing to make an unpopular choice right off the bat for the nation, rather than waiting and changing his mind later.

    September 14, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. suv2001

    Rove is not fooling anyone, and he is doing damage control. The ladies of the View did what the media has fail to do, that is to call McCain on his lies. The ladies of the View open up in full view what type of campaign McCain is running. Rove is also looking at the poll numbers. McCain convention bounce is disappearing. Some polls have McCain up by 2, other polls have Obama and McCain even, and some polls have Obama slightly ahead. All of this is good news for Obama, McCain camp fail in their attempts go negative without being call on it. Now, even his convention bounce with Palin is gone.

    September 14, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  3. a woman well educated

    Gary please, you could at least spell properly, but that is the least of your problems. Did you ever actually see a check written by a Muslim for Obamas Education? All you are saying is hearsay. If you are going to open your mouth then have proof of what you are talking about. You are no better than McPAIN in the a- – for spreading the lies. I suggest you go to factchecker on the internet and get your story straight

    September 14, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  4. joe m

    sadly both sides are guilty of this... several news organiztions, including CNN, have pointed out that both sides have gone to airing charges, accusations, and commnents that they either should or must know that are just outright lies. dems should not be so happy that rove made this statement as, as this reports points out, he made similar comments about obama. it would be ridiculous for dems to say that one should take rove's comments to how low the mccain camp has gone, while expecting, at the same time, that rove's criticism of their candidate be ignored. this is the same old washington politics and both sides and candidates are guilty. it is disappointing, for me more so that sen. obama has taken this route.

    September 14, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. Enlightened Voter

    If Rove is even saying mccain and palin are lying, they are lying.

    September 14, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  6. Independent in NC

    Oh, and in the spirit of bringing everyone together, can we make a pact to ignore everything Karl Rove says from now on unless it is "I am now disappearing back into the dark, dank, icky place from whence I came, never to bother you again"?

    September 14, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  7. RONNEBRASKA

    If I were a Republican supporter I would feel extremely offended that my party obviously thinks I am a complete moron.

    September 14, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  8. Candy West Virginia

    Not all Americans are stupid (although alot are) but the ones that aren't will be insulted that mccain/palin thinks so low of them. mccain/palin = proven pathological liars.

    September 14, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. Jeff Brown

    Regarding Rove, no matter how hard you try, you can't polish a turd!

    September 14, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  10. Ken, LA California

    The republican party thinks that the US has become it colony and that they are only answerable to God, that is why Palin keeps on talking of the holy war in Iraq, much like the Devine Right of the Kings, they are operating like a monarchy.

    September 14, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. linad

    The Barack Obama people are really going bazurk to jump and distort Roves comment, but between the two camps there have been alot of hype and no hope what's so ever and between the two the Obama campaign has been more disingenuous with their attacks. You know what they say, the more things change the more they stay the same.

    September 14, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. Shirley-Ohio

    I JUST PRAY TO GOD THAT AMERICA GETS IT RIGHT THIS TIME OR WE ARE GOING TO HAVE HELL TO PAY, RICH, POOR, BLACK AND WHITE, EVERYBODY IS GOING TO PAY. GET IT RIGHT THIS TIME AMERICA

    September 14, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. Marie-Gurnee, IL

    Gary, Who cares if Muslims paid for his college? How is this relevant? Being that is was a SCHOLARSHIP, there were probably Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Baptists, Aethists, Pagans, Wicans, Satanists, etc as part of the alumni/taxpayers that provided the funding for the scholarship. Unless you have factual evidence to prove that Obama is something over than what he says he is, shut up. Better yet, focus on your own best interests and stop spreading gossip.

    By the way, the US was not founded by the founding fathers to be a CHRISTIAN nation and there is no LIMITUS test for president indicating that you have to be a christian to lead this country. You may think Christians are holier than thou, but go back and history (ie, educate yourself) and you will find that no religion can claim to be the end all be all nor can it be so self-righteous to say their hands are blood free.

    McCain is a puppet and liar who cannot answer a simple question on his own voting record. That speaks more to me, than whether Obama is a practicing muslim, christian, Jew or gourd worshipper. I frankly don't care what faith a candidate practices as it has no bearing in my beliefs. You sound very insecure in yours.

    September 14, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  14. Steph

    I love the the lies of McCain/Palin. So I'm waiting for the next war to begin. Iran? Russia? China? Syria?

    They will lie us a nuke in on of those nations.

    Go McCain/Palin

    September 14, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  15. Georgia Gal

    Whoa ... Karl Rove telling the truth?? Who knew??

    September 14, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  16. Trysh

    Gary, that is a blatant lie; its okay to say you don't want to vote for a Black man, but its pathetic to spread blatant lies because of your personal prejudice.

    September 14, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. Phillip

    Jim from Chicago:

    "Who cares [if our candidate is running a campaign so sleazy that even Karl Rove, a fellow Republican, and a man known for being the sleaziest politician in history, disapproves], it's working!"

    You're a loyal Republican, Jim. Here's hope there aren't enough of you to give us another 4 years of Bush.

    September 14, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. No Country For Old Men

    Jim, Chicago: Who cares.

    I care and you need to change your underwear.
    You smell like you want to be alone on a windless day.
    McCain and Palin lie like a rug.
    Now that’s no lie.
    I'll smell you later.

    Obama & Biden ‘08
    Hillary & Warner ‘16

    September 14, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  19. Y

    Gary,
    Stop spreading lies. Even if what you said is true, what do you have against American Muslims?

    September 14, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. (Tappin' on mike)is this on

    LO...as usuall

    Gary, Gary, Gary

    September 14, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. Clinton Fringer

    Me thinks Rove is up to something. :)

    September 14, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  22. gluvnast

    @ gary

    for starters....obama didn't get paid by muslims to get thru college he made it thru scholarships & loans.

    and even if muslims paid his way, whut is WRONG with that?...do you have a bigoted mind in suspecting that ALL muslims are evil terrorists?

    2nd, name ONE thing that obama is linked to as being currupted? even with the rekzo issue, it has been repeatedly investigated years and years even before obama decided to run for presidency, to show that obama NEVER done any wrong-doing. but that in comparison to mccain & the keating five

    3rd, HRC lost the camapign because of imcompetency within her own people, especially mark penn. they couldn't manage her camapign funds, had conflicting strategies, and were at each other's throats. the media attacked BOTH campaigns evenly...to every hillary negative report, there's the obsessiveness of rev. wright, or the ABC debates and something to that effect.

    lastly, how did a SENATOR who's only power is to push laws through help make us safe in regards of national security? if you're talking about ONE military strategy that ended up being successful, well kudos for him, but obama was RIGHT about we never should of been there in the 1st place, and 95% RIGHT as to WHY we never should of been there in the 1st place. obama been RIGHT about everything currently going on in regards of foreign policy and national security as we speak, from iraq getting a timetable, to direct talks to quadaffi to now we're allies with lybia, to going into pakistan to get the terrorists, to us dropping the ball on afghanistan....obama actually got A PLAN on how we'll finish in iraq whereas mccain has NO plan just saying we need to stay to "win"...win whut?

    September 14, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  23. McCain/Palin

    The people who are writing these blogs and criticizing John McCain are doing the same thing they say he does. If you read the whole article Carl Rove also said the democrats do the same thing only they are worse at distorting the truth...... You are all being very hypocritical.

    September 14, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  24. FlaDem

    Never thought I would see the day when someone could sink lower than Rove. McCain is now the Sleaze King!

    September 14, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  25. Canadian Observer

    Americans.....and I understand that a good portion of you could care less about what any non-Americans think......but PLEASE consider the issues.....the thought of McCain, and worse Palin, in the white house is down right frightening to the rest of the world.....this election is far too important to waste your vote based on the b.s. that McCain/Palin are pushing.....

    September 14, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
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