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. OswaldP

    People running these Ads full of lies know that a large number of Amerians believe in any BS they see on TV or on Internet, without thinking or further researching. This is why Sarah Palin is still riding on the lies she strated telling at the RNC. She has repeated those lies so many times, now she has convinced herself they are the truth! Best excample: the Bridge to Nowhere. She "officially" cancelled the project on 2007 AFTER the US Congress pulled the plug on the project in 2006! Now she is refusing to back down on the claim and keep repeating the same thing! Go figure!

    September 14, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  2. Elizabeth

    To be clear, Obama and the media are distorting what Rove said!

    Rove said BOTH the McCain camp and the Obama camp have gone too far in some of their ads. Obama just chose to point the finger at McCain.

    As an Obama supporter, I am dismayed by the lackluster quality of the Obama ads. It seems like McCain is running ads on every channel, all times of day, and his ads make sense, whether or not they're true. Obama isn't getting his message across to the people. As a supporter, if his ads don't grab me, that's bad.

    Obama, you need to focus on how McCain changed his tactics around 2006. Up until then he was doing everything according to Bush. He hasn't changed his whole life until then. Then he only did it to win this election. Jon Stewart made that clear and so can you. You need to. Your current advertising campaign is not working and we will lose this election unless you fire your advertising campaign manager and hire someone else.

    September 14, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. catching bin laden would make us safer

    hey.. gary... first off, dont be stupid.. the initials for Barak Obama are B.O. , not ob.. and secondly, we should be thanking God, not the bush administration, for their being no more horrific terror attacks on american soil since 9/11, since W and his cronies didnt go after the mastermind of that attack, leaving the inteligence that came up with that idea still out there thinking.. so , gary, for americas sake, dont be naive and stupid

    September 14, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  4. LJinLACA

    Obama corrupt?

    You need to google John McCain Italian con
    man to see Rachel Maddow's story on the photo of McCain following lobbyist Rick Davis onto a yacht in

    He celebrated his 70th birthday with these people including the convicted fella.

    Funny thing is
    John doesn't look like the guest of honor, but the desparate candidate looking for help in all the wrong places. No Cindy either...

    September 14, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  5. Im-Palin

    Yes how dare anyone ask Palin about her switching 5 colleges in two years – those sexist barbarians?! You're not allowed to question McCain's team! Never ever question authority!

    September 14, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  6. keith Franklin, Tn

    Oh my good ness!!!!! The evil Rove calling out the candidates for things that he started MANY years ago as a hatchet man.

    Karl....we aren't going to forget how you lied and cheated and almost run this country into the ground.

    I hope Obama's admin throws you in jail for wouldn't last

    September 14, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  7. Lzfenimore

    Tom in Deleware:
    Perhaps Obama was waiting for McCain to actually have something the debate about.
    So far, there has been nothing.
    Kudos to Obama for not taking the bait earlier – I am sure it would have ended badly for all of us: a debate desolving into a cat fight.
    And. for McCain to state that all this negative advertising coming from his camp was somehow "payback" for Obama NOT joining him for those 10 town hall meetings –
    Is this really what we want from our leader?
    Not me.

    September 14, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. Go America

    You know it's bad when Rove speaks out.

    September 14, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  9. Yvonne

    It really bothers me when people make sexism an issue in this election. The American woman’s movement never included women of color. How can we compare the journey of the white woman with the journey of the black man? The struggles are entirely different. While the white woman was fixing her petty coat, the black man was on a slave boat. While the white woman was beginning to further her education the black man was working on a plantation. Wake up America…we’re being bamboozled.
    Obama/Biden ‘08

    September 14, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  10. go away mongers-Ventura ca

    Kommandant Karl should know a lie when he hears one- He's a MASTER at lying in campaigns- that's why he is famous....or INFAMOUS.

    September 14, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  11. Ali

    Tom in Deleware, are you really that dumb? His own party is calling him dishonorable and you try to turn that around on Obama. No matter what Obama does you find a way to criticize. That to me screams of racisim.

    September 14, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. Maggie

    Why did CNN not also report that Rover also said that Obama stepped over that line as well. I am seeing only one sided reporting on CNN and I thought the media was suppose to be neutal.

    I feel that someone who owns CNN is part of the Obama camapign and that is why CNN is not being neutral. This is really poor reporting and if CNN does not change, I can see them losing alot of viewers tuning into them. Cone on CNN why don't you give both sides and just give the negative side for the republicans and don't report the same thing for Obama.

    This kind of reporting is not going to win Obama the election because the voters have to like and trust him. If they don't, they will not vote for him. CNN, STOP BEING SO BIASED. IT IS NOT NOT GOING TO WIN THE ELECTION FOR OBAMA. THE VOTERS WANT MCCAIN & PALIN AND THEY WILL WIN IN NOVEMBER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 14, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  13. wow

    No- he did not say that...Karl rove???

    September 14, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  14. Mike

    Karl Rove even admitting that the McCain ads are going overboard with the lying? KARL friggin' ROVE????!!!! Are we in another dimension?

    Where's Rod Serling?

    September 14, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  15. ty

    Obama/Biden 08 and 12 just wait and see........ the Dems are gonna shake up the WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 14, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  16. Taylor

    Question: Why is it the McCain and Palin are stating they are trying to appeal to the Hockey mom's, shouldn't they be trying to appeal to all Americans, You never here them say we are trying to reach African Americans, Asians, Hispanic or any other minority group. The question is if you are seeking the office of President of the United States should you be trying to appeal to the all the people of the United Sates and not one segment.

    September 14, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  17. People make no sense

    If you vote for McCain/Palin, then you deserve what you get and I hope it is really horrible so I can get a good laugh.

    September 14, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  18. Marissa from Chicago


    I am from Chicago and I care. Both sides are guilty of streching the truth but McCAIN HAS DOWNRIGHT LIED AND SO HAS PALIN. For instance the sex education for 5 year olds. Obama didnt mean that we were going to teach kids about sex at 5 but age appropriate things such as knowing what is a good touch or bad touch. Considering how many Republicans are pedophiles I think this is a good thing

    Palin has lied about going to Iraq, the bridge to nowhere........ etc

    It offends me when Mccain lies and Palin because they state how "moral they are" Maybe McCain should start with thou shall not commit adultery

    September 14, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. rena

    let's tell the whole truth, CNN...

    He also said Obama was out of line as well...


    September 14, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |

    Even the sleaziest one of them all say John McCain has gone too far...!!! What now John McSame and Sarah Painful?

    September 14, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  21. Trish A

    When Karl Rove says anything good about a Democrat you know the Fish are Running! Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid! Keep looking up as your walking for an unidentified object plumeting to earth and take cover! There's a rat in the wood pile! I bet my meager pay cheque on it!

    September 14, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  22. patros

    I am sure that my comment is not going to be published....but hey I just thought it this forum needs input from an undecided vote.

    Both Obama and McCain have lied...maybe lie is too strong a word....they have both stretched the truth....democrats can say Obama is clean and Republicans can make the same claim about McCain but as someone is not biased towards either side I am hoping both sides will talk about the real issues and stay away from negative ads.

    But one thing I am finding real disturbing is the fact that many new agencies including CNN are pro Obama (on the same hand I would have to say Fox News seems pro McCain)....I don't want new agencies to make the choice for me...share the news as it is....lay it out for us and let us make the is shameful what you guys are doing....this particular article is prime example....Karl Rove called out both parties when it came to the ads but CNN had to make it sound like he only called out the Republicans...come on this is not reporting....I would expect this from a sleazy tabloid not from CNN.

    At this point of time I am undecided and will vote for the candidate who does the best job in explaining what he hopes to accomplish and that decision is not going to be based on WHICH PARTY HE BELONGS TO, THE ORATORY SKILLS OF THE CANDIDATE, THE RACE OR THE GENDER.....we need a President who has a plan (a plan that is logical and has a chance to succeed)....neither party has gone into details yet.

    September 14, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  23. josh

    simple fact:
    if we as a nation vote for liars, we cannot expect them to tell the truth after they're elected.

    September 14, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  24. Jawinka

    You know, it's funny.

    Everyone accuses John McCain of lying. However, you must have some blinders on.

    One of the reasons I do not support Obama is that I got so sick and tired of Obama construing words of others to suit his own agenda.

    I am now getting so sick and tired of every Democrat on TV saying "McCain is more of the same" and "McCain embraces Bush policy." Listen. If this were so true, Americans can figure it out. We don't need every answer to every question on these talk shows to be: "McCain is more of the same." If he is, America will be able to tell.

    After all, even Obama said, "Americans aren't stupid." However, Democrats are treating us like we are.

    September 14, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  25. josh

    btw... i just read a comment that said "Palin is all for women"...
    Is this the same person I've read about that actually wanted to charge victims of rape for the rape kits? oh yeah, she's "all for women" all right... at least joe biden championed the violence against women act...

    September 14, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29